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New Project: Am I Crazy?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by fcleff, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. fcleff


    Apr 22, 2005
    Austin, Texas
    Howdy. I have never built a bass or guitar before. But I have played bass for the better part of 30 years (music degree, blah, blah, blah [I actually went to music school with Talkbass's founder.]).
    Back in 1989 I picked up my second bass, a Yamaha BB30 (made June 2, 1984; Taiwan). For whatever reason I decided to take it to a local luthier and have it modified with a brass nut, Schaller tuners, and a BadAss II bridge (don't ask me why but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I was 19 and had only been playing for 4 years and 'brass nut' sounded cool; still love the bridge and tuners, though).I played it for a few years until I bought another bass and the Yamaha became my backup.
    One night, circa 1991 I sat up channeling Bacchus and decided I needed a fretless bass. Of course my first thought was, "If Jaco can do it, why can't I?" So out came the chisel and hammer and out went the frets. All things considered I did a good enough job at filling the spaces with epoxy so that I get a decent fretless tone. The new Yamaha BB 300 'F Custom' continued to be my backup.
    Fast forward to now. I have decided to clean it up and use it as an experiment of sorts to learn the inner workings of the instrument.
    My plan is to sand off all the stickers and paint so that I can get it to a natural finish and re-varnish. I will replace the pickups and am leaning toward Seymour Duncan Steve Harris Signatures. I don't know what I can do with the finger board so it may just stay the same.
    Anyhow, am I crazy to do this? Does anyone see this just going horribly wrong? I'd be interested to hear some thoughts from people who have experience with this kind of thing. As I said, it is a learning experiment for me and I suppose I don't mind sacrificing this bass. It's been good to me for years and is pretty beat up. My hope is to lovingly bring it back to Grace and learn some useful things along the way.
    Also, I am in contact with a man who builds guitars. He has given me some good advice, lots of stuff I never would have thought of, that has probably already steered me away from some potholes (tips on removing the neck, drawing a wiring diagram for when I rewire, etc.).
    Thanks for your time. I'll post pics when I can.

  2. senp5f


    Jan 27, 2008
    Santa Barbara, CA
    In general, thick poly finishes are very hard to remove and then hide some ugly wood underneath. If it's a burst there may be stain that won't allow for a natural finish.

    If it were me, I would not do all that to a bass with sentimental value (even if it has no other value). Build a parts bass or get a cheap beater to refurbish if you are hankering for a project.
  3. vdub75


    Feb 15, 2013
    go for it! take a heat gun to remove the poly and sand the rest of it down. if the wood underneath isn't nice you can easily repaint it with nitro or something....