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New (old) bass: rescued Ibanez USATK.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Benjamin Strange, Mar 7, 2013.


  1. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I posted this in the Ibanez ATK club thread, but I thought I'd spread this around a little, lest it get buried in a thread 10 pages deep.

    I just finished up a semi-restoration on an old USATK that I rescued off Craigslist a few months back. As I've been buried in gigs and guitar repair work since returning to New Orleans last October, I haven't gotten a chance to spend much time on my own projects. Well, a break in my schedule this week allowed me to put some time in getting this thing back in fighting shape, and after some long hours, I've finally finished it. Behold!

    IMG_1334.

    I've had to heat press the neck, bend the internal steel rod, replace some broken screws, refret it, make a new brass nut, flatten the warped pickguard, set it up, bypass the preamp, etc., etc., etc.... just to get it to where I can actually play it. It was in ROUGH shape when I got it, and now it's a monster. Hopefully, after all this work, I'll actually want to keep it!

    (For the curious, I just posted a blog about the work on my guitar repair site: http://www.strangeguitarworks.com/ibanez-usatk-restoration/)

    This thing sounds like a Stingray, without all the high-end unmusical "clank". It's kind of got a sort of Tony Levin like tone built right in (maybe due to my bypassing the preamp). It's probably my heaviest bass, which is saying something as my other two basses are Ovation Magnums. I know this is going to kill my shoulder on long gigs.

    So yeah, I have a new bass. Woot.
     
    chombebass likes this.
  2. 2cooltoolz

    2cooltoolz Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Lake Conroe, TX
    That looks really beautiful! Very nice work!

    Got any "before" pics?
     
  3. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Not really. It mostly looks the same, it's just the functionality that was completely jacked.
     
  4. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    NYC
    What I am wondering most is how you flattened the warped pickguard. I have read about a few different methods here on the board with little detail and sometimes mixed results.

    Can you tell us a bit about your process for that procedure. Warped pickguards are an all too common ailment from which rescued guitars suffer in my experience.

    Thanks!
     
  5. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    NYC
    Oh and by the way, GREAT snag on this bass. I have one in red. An incredible player. Looks like she found a great new home.
     
  6. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    +1 I would like to know also and congrats on the rescue.
     
  7. smcd

    smcd

    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Nice job on that bass. I'll always be amazed that someone would let a nice instrument like that go into such disrepair.
     
  8. Primakurtz

    Primakurtz Registered Nihilist Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    Beautiful work! Well done.
     
  9. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks

    Odd - had I know that people would have been interested in such a mundane procedure I would have taken pictures! All I had to do was take a heat gun (perhaps a hair dryer would work), gently warm up the guard, flattened it under a board for a few seconds, and that was it. Just a little bit of heat is all it takes.
     
  10. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    NYC
    Awesome Benjamin. Thanks! I have a pickguard on a rare bird that is going to get that treatment, hence the interest from my end.

    Best.

    RBM
     
  11. giacomini

    giacomini

    Dec 14, 2008
    Florianopolis - Brazil
    Endorsing: Copetti Guitars
    Great looking bass!
     
  12. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Speaking of pickguards, I might not keep this one on there - methinks it's a bit too fancy. Perhaps I'll track down a black one at some point.

    If I end up liking the bass, I just might decide to add a pickup or two or three...
     
  13. danomite64

    danomite64

    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    I Being a Jazz bass kind of guy, I considered putting another pickup in my ATK (also a rescue), but eventually I came to the conclusion that on an ATK, one pickup is plenty.
     
  14. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I just played it's inaugural gig tonight, and methinks it didn't quite have all the tonal options I was after. Maybe adding a couple more ATK pickups would do the trick...
     
  15. smcd

    smcd

    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Do you really want to rout into a rare bass like this? Especially when you can get an Asian-made ATK for under $200?
     
  16. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I don't see why not - I did it to both of my Ovation Magnums, too. For me, it's a tool, not a treasure.
     
  17. smcd

    smcd

    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    You own it, you can do as you please. But a more prudent approach to something like this would be to experiment on an identical $150 bass before you gouge into a $650 bass, thereby turning that $650 bass into a $150 bass.
     
  18. Bitterdale

    Bitterdale Natural Born Lurker

    Dec 4, 2010
    Ocala, FL
    I'm not saying this is impossible, but, it's getting much harder to score an ATK for $200 let alone under.
     
  19. smcd

    smcd

    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    There are tons of ATK's on ebay that recently went for under $200.
     
  20. Bitterdale

    Bitterdale Natural Born Lurker

    Dec 4, 2010
    Ocala, FL
    Tons?

    Out of 24 sold in the past 3 months:
    2 sold under $200
    However, with shipping included both were over $200.
     

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