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Newbie Hypothetical Question: How hard would it be to turn a lefty bass into a righty

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Milk, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    First of all, it's a symmetrical bass. So it's easy to just remove the pickguard (which i don't like anyway) and put another on on the right side...of course you have to figure there'll be holes in the body on the side it was on originally. Next, and the most problematic, putting all the knobs on the other side along with the electronics....

    Keep in mind i know nothing about hardware, but if i knew someone who knew (my cousin has made himself a few guitars). Could this be done easy? Where the knobs used to be would naturally also leave holes obviously... how do you cover holes up in an instrument so that it leaves as little marks of damage as possible? How big anyway are holes left by knobs? I never even took an instrument apart.... I suppose it would also imply using paint of nearly identical color to the body color to paint over the hole fillings...which...probably would from up close look like it's not the same color.

    Is this something i should even get involved with if i consider that the odds i could find this bass for a right-handed person are terribly unlikely?

    And assuming my cousin isn't up to it...do you think a luthier could take on such job for a more or less reasonable price?
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Hey welcome to TalkBass! Where are you located if you don't mind my asking?
  3. Most experienced luthiers should be able to.

    You could at home by simply mirroring the cavity with a router, but then you'll need another cover for the second home you made! You'd also have to drill for pickup wires, drill a new hole for the output, and holes for the pots.

    It's not overly hard if you have done DIY wood working before.
  4. The controls are probably the hardest part, and they're not that bad, but they will require some drilling and routing the body to make a cavity for them. It's not hard to hide the original holes as long as you paint the bass. Matching it perfectly isn't really very practical, but you could just paint the whole body quite easily. Then you would just have to replace the nut.

    Come to think of it, probably the simplest would be to make a new pickguard that hid both the new routing AND the old. Then you wouldn't have to paint it at all.

    It makes no financial sense to have this done. If the bass is worth anything, the work will have a very negative impact on the value of the bass. If the bass isn't worth anything, then the work will cost WAY more than the whole bass is worth.

    The only way this makes any sense is if there is something about this bass that makes you want it really bad, a right-handed version is simply not available, and you are going to do the work yourself.
  5. What type of bass is it?

    The symmetry is a good thing, sunburst would make it a bit tougher, I would think.
    Also, you{d have to put new side dots in, cut a new nut, redo the bridge and invert everything.
    It would be a very cool project to follow, keep us posted.
  6. JellinWellen


    Oct 18, 2012
    If you are new at bass I find it doesn't matter what hand dominance you are. You don't know how to play the instrument regardless. I'm left handed and can ONLY play right handed basses because when I learned I wanted to get a right handed bass and used one of those when I first started.
  7. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    To clarify, when i said newbie i meant i'm new to any such kind of work with body and hardware. I'm not new at bass, i've been playing for 17 years, i've just never had an interest for that kind of stuff at all so i've never ever worked (or had work done) on any instrument. I change strings, thats it :p (well ok and i know how to raise the bridge and i messed with a truss rod that one time but that's the extent of it...). As for new to this forum, well i've been here for like a month now, so yeah stil a newbie but not total. And for the one who asked, i'm from Canada. Montreal.

    I was afraid of that...it making no financial sense i mean. The bass is not worth that much (and its being sold for slightly less than what it's worth, probably on account that it's a lefty) and i didn't mind paying even the same price i paid for the bass to have the work done...but that still didn't equal that big an amount... if you think this will cost me like... +600$ to have this done, then no, i can't do it. I was hoping this wouldn't be THAT expensive even for a luthier... but i've never tried to have anything done by one so.... I guess i have no idea of prices for that kind of stuff. I actually emailed a luthier today about it, waiting for his answer...now i feel he probably thought i was stupid...

    Even if i have it done by my cousin i'll want to pay him SOME. The problem is he's not a luthier, just a guy who has decent experience at this, so i don't know how well he could do this... Also, this is a bass with a floating pickguard so i can't have one that covers both sides.

    Forgive me if any of this is causing you to facepalm but...

    Wow...i had forgot about the nut..though i suppose that's not too much an issue cause it won't really cause cosmetic damage. Redo the bridge though? Aren't the spaces for the strings on the bridge all the same size?... I thought they were....

    And sh**...i hadn't thought of the side dots thing. But...i suppose it doesn't matter THAT much to me if it had side dots on both sides...it's not like anyone can see them from a playing position.

    And obviously technically yeah the best thing to do would be to do a whole repaint...but that's more money.
  8. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    Ok I actually just got an answer from the luthier i emailed. He estimated the work at 540$ Yeah... a bit high. I guess i'll have to pass....or get the guy to sell me the bass for cheaper:p. In perfect shape this bass was maybe worth 600$ and the guy was selling it for half that price. So i thought i wouldn't mind putting 300$ in the work. But now that's 240$ more than i was willing to spend. I guess i either have to forget about it or call my cousin.... But the luthier detailed answer and description fo the work (he explained to me about the bridge thing and why...yeah...i'm stupid) leads me to believe i should have this done by a pro. It bears mentionning, the bass IS a semi-hollow...
  9. Ewwwwww, semi-hollow? I think we were all presuming a solid body. For me that teleports it from:kinda crazy but interesting, into: makes no sense.
  10. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Just go buy what you need. The conversion will cost more than a new axe.
  11. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada
    Yeah the luthier pretty much said that just more nicely. I mean they'll take my money if i want to do it so it's a no win for them in telling me this is stupid but...yeah.

    Well at least i bothered to find out... now i know getting this bass lefty is not an option. I'll just have to go be depressed now because it might take years or never before a rightie comes along (while it's not worth that much, it's not a famous brand and it didn't get mass produced).

    So yeah if anyone ever wants to have this done professionally on a semi-hollow as least now you know...about 550$. Id guess on a solidbody would have been less though. That's what the luthier implied.
  12. Forecaster


    Feb 8, 2013
    You could install the controlls on the control cover in the back and have no controls on the front. Lot of lefties have done that to righties.
  13. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Why not just do it Hendrix style? Flip it, string it upside down, and move the front strap button. You might need to get a new nut made for it and it might be a bit awkward out of the gate, but with a little time under the strap it would come together for you. Plenty of players have done it so it's not like you would be plowing new ground or anything. Once you got comfortable it would add to the novelty and enhance your stage presence.
  14. cerokilik


    Aug 22, 2013
    Clinton, MI
    like fhm555 said, get a left handed nut,swap it with the original; adjust the bridge, and string it up. be done with it. its simple although my advice, dont go to a shop to get it done if its guitar center or similar. I was in the same boat, had a EB3 had it flipped around, looked down at my wallet after getting the bass back, moths flew out along with dust. 115 for the new nut, setup and restringing. All the guy did was cut the nut, raise the action, destroy my bridge, make the neck a banana and slap strings on it. Its easier and cheaper to DIY just flipping things around. You'd pay probably at most 15 for the nut and that's steep in my opinion. then you switch around the bridge or adjust it if its attached firmly. slap some strings on and you are done and good to go. Only thing to watch out for is the dials digging into your arm.

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