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Noob Attempting 80s MIJ Squier P-bass Rehab/Setup

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by NickX, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. NickX


    Jan 11, 2013
    Hello folks, looking for some advice regarding rehabbing a old P-Bass. It's a MIJ Squier P-bass (e9 serial number). Bought it back in the 90s used, played around with it for a few years, and haven't touched it again until a few weeks ago.

    I first tried setting the neck relief using a makeshift capo on the first fret (rubber tourniquet) and depressing the last fret on the E string. Measured the gap between the string and 8th fret and it was higher than Fender's recommended range .4-.5mm (0.15-0.20"). Removed the neck and attempted to adjust truss rod by turning it clockwise approximately half a turn before the resistance increased significantly and the nut became difficult to turn. Not wanting to damage the rod/nut I stopped, re-tuned and measured relief again. Measured close to but not quite at the top of Fender's recommended range of .5mm.

    Unable to get the relief set properly and after searching around the forums, I got worried that I might have over tightened the nut. Additionally, the height adjustment screws on the bridge are corroded and some of the saddles can no longer be adjusted properly. Here's some pictures of the bridge:



    So, I thought it might be a better idea to disassemble the guitar again, check the truss rod/nut, and rehab the bridge and take care of some other minor issues while I was at it.

    When I removed the truss rod nut it appeared to be in good condition. The threads didn't seem stripped. However, there appeared to be sawdust (?) on the top of the truss rod and that someone may have already put a shim in. I can't really tell though. Should I only be able to see wood around the rod when I remove the nut?

    I tried taking some pictures that I think show what's going on:





    In order to rehab the bridge I was going remove the bridge and soak it in some naphtha with a few drops of light machine oil. I read that this would be a good way to break up some of the crud and corrosion before attempting to remove the old height adjusters before replacing. Are there any pitfalls to this approach that I should be aware of? I'm assuming removing and reinstalling the bridge is pretty straight forward.

    The tuners are missing a few small screws on the back. Some of the screws were loose and I attempted to re-tighten them but wasn't able to get them to snug down. Also, some of the replacement screws - which unfortunately aren't an exact match - didn't actually catch on anything when I tried to screw them in making me think that the previous owner somehow stripped these screws. Reading around I heard that one way to repair would be to place a piece of toothpick brushed with wood glue into the holes, cut off the excess, and then re-screw. Does that sound like the right approach? Here's a picture of the screws I'm taking about:


    Finally, the pups always seemed a bit loose and I wasn't able to really adjust their height. I thought that the foam underneath them might have gone bad, but when I took them out to check I found that foam was still in pretty good shape (firm not crumbling/disintegrating) and attached to the ground plate not the pups. Is that normal for a p-bass? I always thought the foam was attached to the pups. Also, are the pups covers supposed feel kind of loose? Sadly, I didn't take any pictures for this part of my post.

    Well, that's pretty much it. To sum it up I was wondering if:

    - my general approach was sound or if I should stop while I'm ahead and take it to a professional?
    - is it possible that a truss rod shim was already installed?
    - is it ok to remove the bridge and soak it in naphtha/oil to clean before replacing height adjustment screws?
    - should I try to repair the screw holes for the tuners with toothpicks/wood glue?
    - should I do anything re: the pups and the foam?

    Anything else I missed or should be aware of?

    Hopefully this isn't too long-winded or confusing, and thanks in advance.