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Not so much a build as a steampunk dressup.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by DDXdesign, Apr 7, 2015.


  1. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    OK. So, my next bass I knew had to have a CF/graphite/composite neck, because I realized that THAT is my go-to workhorse in the feel department - a Modulus.

    And, I happened to stumble upon something very heartening - while all the Quanta and Funk Unlimiteds are still in the financial stratosphere, the newer, weird Vertex is coasting along at half what my Ric cost, and even a bit less than my Carrigan, for a near-mint example.

    Now, the Vertex, if you don't know, is very Jetsons-60s-future-retro. Not exactly my style, but I love odd-shaped basses and have had Buzzards, Steinbergers, a V, a Dolphin, etc.

    She looks like this:
    21289208.
    So what I did was grabbed a photo of a white one and created a little mockup, just digital painting on top quickly. Strip the finish off down to the bare Ash and oil it, make a new pickguard and opposing plate in a dull brass-bronzey color, and I've got this brassy gauge-face I'd add to the front as well, like so.
    RjTKgcb.

    Now, that's mostly the look I'm after - maybe replace the HW with brushed brass or something as well, but 1. i think a darker stain would do well with a lighter gold for the plastic plates, and 2. I can't tell if it's too little done for the steampunk look. I don't want to completely cover the whole thing with stuff or any of that.

    Thoughts from SP fans?
     
  2. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Oh yeah, and uhhhh I've never taken the finish off a guitar before. Or refinished a guitar before. Or have any idea how to put the electronics back together. I'm basically an idea man at the moment. I will enlist pros for steps that I don't want to take myself though.
     
  3. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    If the finish is Polyurethane, then use a heat gun to peel it off. For a steampunk look, I'd definitely go with a darker color on the wood- something like a walnut stain, I think. Oh, and brass rather than gold.
     
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I'll vouch for the fact that trying to sand off poly is a royal pain.
     
  5. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    Here's how the heat gun does it:
    ercontent.com%2F-0yI5IdP0GhY%2FVP1uoA_ovAI%2FAAAAAAAACow%2FvyDByivC1bc%2Fw863-h647-no%2FGEDC1561.

    Mind you, I had struggled with chemical strippers elsewhere on the bass, I finally just said "Screw it, I'll try heat". An hour later, the neck was stripped.
     
  6. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Yep, was going to go the heat gun route. I've seen it happen like you show, but I saw another one where the heat just made the finish gooey and had to be scraped off - I suppose that was lacquer rather than poly, though.

    I'm somewhat mechanically handy, just not electronically, so I do hope I can do this myself. That said, any finish that takes longer than about 2 days to be DONE would suck because I may not have my other bass to play in the meantime.
     
  7. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    Quick test to see if it's lacquer or poly: rub with acetone: lacquer will melt, poly won't. As for the electronics, you shouldn't have to do much: unsolder the pickup and the bridge wire to take apart. You should be able to transfer the harness intact. Take pictures before you unsolder anything to help remember where to put it back ;)
     
  8. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Hey I notice you are also in NoVA! You know, with my current living situation (long story) I don't have any of my tools or workbench - feel like helping a newb out? I'll gladly pay for your assistance if needed.
     
  9. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    Gawd, I'd have to clean up my basement to make it presentable. :D What kind of time frame are you looking at?
     
  10. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Ha! Well, I should be receiving the bass today or tomorrow, and of course I'll need a couple weeks to really know it's a keeper... Early to mid may, perhaps?

    EDIT: Got it! Dig the hell out of it so far! But I'm at work so I haven't plugged it in yet. Dat Neck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015
  11. yoshi

    yoshi

    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    How's this project going?!
     
  12. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Actually, it's vastly changed direction. Instead of refinishing the Vertex body, I replaced it with a nice, figured-top P body. Everybody in the Basses forum says to leave it as is, but I am still very tempted to add some steamy business to it - just a little.

    6ARwlQ6.
     
    Jeffrey Bryan likes this.
  13. wraub

    wraub

    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    previated devert
    Please leave that one alone. It looks great imo.
    Get a Squier or an SX for cheap, and steampunk that 'til it hurts. :)
     
    josiah goldfish likes this.
  14. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Well, I generally only operate with one instrument at a time these days, and my ideal concept of steampunk is way more judicious than just parts smashed all over the place. =0)
     
  15. wraub

    wraub

    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    previated devert
    OK, cool. Most "steampunk" inspired guitars I see look like some random Fred raided a junk shop and sat down with a guitar, some brass, some dials, and some glue.
     
    josiah goldfish likes this.
  16. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    Actually I think that something like this:
    v-bass-.

    Or something like this:
    poly_2-686x1030.

    or a mandocello, would be a better starting point for a steampunk body than something modern looking like the Vertex or a Fender anyway.
     
    josiah goldfish and wraub like this.
  17. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Yes, that's very true - I love that first one you posted!
     
    josiah goldfish likes this.
  18. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    That's Basshappy's bass. Truly gorgeous.
     
    BassHappy and josiah goldfish like this.

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