Not sure if this is possible....

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by McThud, Dec 17, 2015.


  1. McThud

    McThud Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2013
    Arlington, VA
    So, I'm sure someone has considered something similar to this before, but I thought I'd ask anyway. I'm not usually a fan of 'signature' instruments, but I had the chance to play a year-old Fender "Pino Palladino" precision at my local favorite independent music store earlier this week, and not surprisingly, loved it. Needless to say I don't have $3,800 (or whatever the price was) around to purchase it.
    IMG_3824.jpg
    I've never built a bass before, but I do all my own setups as I am a full time musician. Also, I've "converted" a p/j bass combo into a precision-only bass with a new body (drilled the bridge ground wire channel - what a hellish process! - did my own soldering/de-soldering, shielding - all the basics).

    Finally, my question is, would it be possible to attempt to build something similar to that bass? I really don't care about the relic-ing - my favorite bit was the feel of the neck. It's a nice c-shape, but a bit slimmer than a vintage '62 neck, and the frets/fretboard are nicely made to feel worn-in but not abused.

    I'm not sure what my budget would be as I didn't even know if something like that would be possible for an inexperienced guy like me. I mean, where would I find a neck close to those specs that feels broken in? (I've seen the prices for vintage earl-60s necks - way too rich for my account!).

    So to all my more experienced TB folks, do you think this is something a newbie could tackle or am I just kidding myself? And if you think it's possible, where would you think I should start to plan something like this?
     
    Jah Wobble Fan likes this.
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    If you're talking about buying and assembling premade parts, perfectly reasonable to try. Making them all yourself, that's a whole different thing. Lots of turf in between. :) I think your best bet is if Warmoth offers that as one of their neck profiles, if so, just order it and the rest of the parts and get started. :)
     
  3. McThud

    McThud Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2013
    Arlington, VA
    Oh, yes. Definitely a "parts" build. No major woodworking involved. If I do find the appropriately spec'd neck, I wonder if it's possible to do anything to the neck itself and/or the fretboard to give it a more "worn-in" feel. I know....play it for 20 - 30 years. The neck on the Pino bass is a nitro-finish, but the back where your thumb goes is not glossy at all - it seems more rubbed out as if someone took low grit steel wool to it and simply removed it.
     
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Well, a lot of folks like the green scotch-brite treatment on the backs of necks, especially thick glossy sticky poly ones. Warmoth offers a satin finish and even unfinished if you want to go that route. Not sure how best to get the feel you're looking for, I don't really know finishes, but there are some experts here, hope they'll chime in.
     
  5. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    I don't see why you shouldn't be able to do this. Assuming that you don't need to precisely replicate the finish and its faux road wear, your two main (only?) challenges are matching the neck profile and the pickup.

    The pickup question has been discussed here before, I know, and IIRC the wise guys maintain that the Pino pickup is unique, although no one was certain what the ultimate difference was, be it number of winds or wind style... I personally call a bit of BS on this and would assert that your favorite of the Fender split coil pickups would suffice, be it CS60's, Original 62 or what-not.

    That leaves neck profile as the big question. If the neck is indeed a re-planed or sanded '62 AVRI neck, then there must exist specs on what it is supposed to be reshaped to so as to constitute a "Pino" shape. If there exist no ultimate specs and the necks are shaped to the satisfaction of the assembler, then I should think you only have more license to please yourself and still call it "correct."

    Anyone know the deal on the necks?
     
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  6. thebassbuilder

    thebassbuilder

    Mar 7, 2012
    Spartanburg SC
    guitar builder, Meyers Guitars
    You may want to go try some Squire P basses and see if you find one you like and then mod it to taste. It would be a lot cheaper than building a parts bass.
     
  7. McThud

    McThud Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2013
    Arlington, VA
    Not sure how accurate these are, but the
    Yes - I've read through bits and pieces of those posts about his bass - not many seem to agree on much. And some stated that the specs on the Fender site are incorrect. However, with the one I played at my local shop -he's had it in inventory for about a year and he knows his stuff. I could ask him about it and see what he thinks (he's a local indie shop whose been in business for 20 years - he knows his stuff well).
     
    Jah Wobble Fan likes this.
  8. McThud

    McThud Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2013
    Arlington, VA
    For what it's worth, here's what I found on the Fender site:

    Model Name: Pino Palladino Signature Precision Bass®, Rosewood Fingerboard, Fiesta Red
    Body Material: Select Alder
    Body Finish: Nitrocellulose Lacquer
    Neck Material: Quartersawn Maple
    Neck Finish: Nitrocellulose Lacquer
    Neck Shape: "C" Shape
    Scale Length: 34" (864 mm)
    Fingerboard: Rosewood
    Fingerboard Radius: 7.25" (184.1 mm)
    Number of Frets: 20
    Fret Size: Vintage-Style
    String Nut: Synthetic Bone
    Nut Width: 1.75" (44.45 mm)
    Position Inlays: Dot
    Truss Rod Nut: Vintage-Style Slotted
    Neck Plate: 4-Bolt Serialized
    Middle Pickup: Vintage Split Single-Coil Precision Bass
    Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone
    Pickup Configuration: Split Single-Coil
    Bridge: 4-Saddle American Vintage Bass
    Hardware Finish: Nickel/Chrome
    Pickguard: 4-Ply Tortoiseshell
    Control Knobs: Knurled Flat-Top
    Strings: Thomastik-Infeld® Flatwounds, Gauges: (.043 .056 .070 .100)
    Unique Features: Vintage Styling, Shows natural wear and tear of years of heavy use, nicks, scratches, worn finish rusty hardware and aged plastic parts.

    The things I really liked that are getting me to even consider this project were the weight (nice and comfortable) and the neck. I have an 'Original '62' pickup in my current p-bass - my hunch is that it's rather close to that sound. I bought a set of the thomastiks to try on my p - they sounded really nice (but even better on my jazz, so I switched my p back to my La Bellas).
     
  9. McThud

    McThud Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2013
    Arlington, VA
    Maybe like one of those 'roadworn' basses. Some folks have raved about them - or the "vintage modified" series. I have a squier fretless jazz from that series and it sounds sweet.
     
  10. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    The lack of agreement on the specs jibes with all I've read on this site over the last few years.

    I'd assert that sonically speaking, an alder body, a CS or vintage style split coil, a 7.25" neck and TI Flats will get you 95% percent there. That being the case, I'd recommend finding a used 62 AVRI for around a grand. And another two bucks for the scotch-bright pad and some fine grit sandpaper.
     
  11. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    ...The 62 AVRI necks are NOT quartersawn, by the way - unlike the Pino.
     
  12. Back in the early 70's I put myself through college buying PreCBS basses and guitars cheap (when I could find them cheap) and selling them for more - also bought and sold a lot of newer fender and gibson stuff that never felt nearly as nice as the vintage stuff. So on newer gear that didn't feel very good, I would strip the paint/finish off the back of the neck and reprofile to give them a feel closer to the Pre CBS instruments (back then nobody would have believed that those CBS instruments would ever be collectible). Tung oil finish felt better than the paint or lacquer and players always thought I had made a major improvement. Occasionally I ruined a neck when shaving a chunky neck down too far and hitting the truss rod channel - it only took that happening once to make me much more careful about how far I went. So it can be done - but it's also easy to ruin things if you're doing it for the first time on expensive parts. I practiced a lot on crappy instruments I bought at pawn shops for $25 (that would probably be collector items today - hard to believe what people think is "vintage" nowadays)

    I have a couple of high end basses that I leave totally stock to preserve the resale value - but I also have two really inexpensive Yamaha BB300 basses that both had really flat neck profile. So I reshaped the neck profile and tung oiled the neck. And I find that I keep going back to play the cheap bass that is modified to my liking - it just feels worn in and like an old friend. The extremely flat profile on the right is how both of these basses were stock and the profile on the left is what I reshaped them to
    BB300_profile.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
    Rip Van Dan and McThud like this.
  13. Sure, why not. You have got to start somewhere.
    Go for it. You will learn a lot along the way and number two will be even better.
    Leo Fender had never built a guitar before his first one.
     
    McThud likes this.
  14. McThud

    McThud Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2013
    Arlington, VA
    Yes - something else I learned from reading all those 'Pino' posts.
     
    Jah Wobble Fan likes this.
  15. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Sounds like a fun project. Warmouth parts are the best I've seen, but not cheap. Maybe get an unfinished neck and oil yourself? Unless you believe that nitro has magical tone properties, ( I don't) id get a Poly finish, at least on the body. Nitro is pretty fragile and reactive with stuff like foam rubber guitar stands, can't see much advantage to it. I've put together a couple Warmouth parts basses before trying scratch built. It's a fun "treasure hunt" finding parts and electronics. Allparts and Mighty Mite have some cheaper parts alternatives, fine for bodies and hardware, but I'd spend your money on the best neck you can afford.
     
  16. McThud

    McThud Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2013
    Arlington, VA
    I'd agree - most especially since it was the neck on that bass that made me really take notice when I picked it up to play. And I'm not wedded to any particular finish; I know I just really liked the way the neck felt, and how responsive it was. Many have suggested just getting a finished neck and 'sanding' it with some very fine grit steel wool to remove the sheen and some of the finish on the back side of the neck.
     
  17. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    The sanding trick works fine if you still want a gloss finish on the headstock. If you use very fine sandpaper, like 400 or 600 grit, it's reversible by buffing it back up to gloss. I don't think I'd use a scotchbrite on it, unless it's one of the really fine grey or white ones. I built a Warmouth parts fretless Jazz and had a satin finish put on the neck, it's not sticky at all. Here's a link to the scotchbrite color code:
    Scotchbrite Grit Chart | Predator Racing

    Good luck, and post photos! Love me some parts builds.
     
  18. Fat Steve

    Fat Steve The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.

    Green scotchbrite is the best stuff to know the gloss off the back of a neck.
     
  19. JIO

    JIO Be seeing you. Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    The Mission SF/CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I wanted a dot/bound '66 J for a while and could never consider paying up to 10K for one. At one point I played one at Chicago Music Exchange and was not impressed. That helped de-mystify it a bit, but it could have just been that particular instrument. So I built up my own for about $1300 give or take and love it. My focus on '66 J's is now for appreciation and not of wanting. (note: hs tip is a shadow, not cut that way)

    IMG_8612_zpsa7aqi4m4.jpg
     
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  20. McThud

    McThud Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2013
    Arlington, VA
    That is one sexy beast of a bass you built there.
     
    JIO likes this.
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