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Pre CBS cleanup

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bssist, Oct 3, 2010.

  1. bssist


    Jun 23, 2007
    St. Louis, MO USA

    I have not been here for a while so I may not have found previous discussions on a similar topic. Feel free to send me to old posts if they answer my questions.

    I just got a pre-CBS jazz. The bridge pickup was moved above the neck pickup, between the neck pickup and the neck. :crying: The routing job looks like it was done with a screwdriver. Would it be better to fill it in with something or leave it ($$ value wise).

    Also, the hardware is pretty dingy. What is the best way to clean it up without doing any damage?

  2. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    I'd just move the pickup back to where it belongs, then put a pickguard on it- I wouldn't worry about filling the ugly hole, just cover it up.

  3. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    JTE is a wise man. I second that vote. Minimal change is the best course on any pre-CBS Fender.
  4. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    Of course, once it's been hacked that badly, I doubt that anyone cares about it being pre-CBS.
  5. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Not necessarily. It is too bad that someone desecrated this piece of history. It wasn't an unusual thing back in the seventies. Back then, it was just a ten year old used bass guitar. None of that changes the fact that it is a pre-CBS Jazz Bass. Plenty of folks who cannot afford to purchase a mint condition example would leap at the chance to own a beat up player piece.

    As far as the value goes, there are two ways to look at it. The modification probably knocks the value down to fifty per cent of market price. Parted out, it is worth far more than that.
  6. bssist


    Jun 23, 2007
    St. Louis, MO USA
    Thanks for all the information. This particular instrument was bought used by my father early in the seventies for $100. He said he never even pulled off the pickguard to see the work that had been done. He liked the sound the way it was. It has been on many recordings. I am interested in the instrument more for tone and "cool factor" than for $$ value. That said, I don't want to do anything to drop the $$ value any further. Would it be advisable to clean the hardware or leave it dingy?

  7. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Premise: Since I might want to sell my house, should I clean it or leave it dirty?

    Alternate Premise: Since I live here, should I clean my house?

    Same thing applies to your instrument. The only thing to watch is to do no harm when cleaning. So that means no alcohol, or most especially, lacquer thinner, acetone, or nail polish remover (which is the same thing). Acetone will eat through a nitro finish in mere seconds. Go easy on any cleaners that contain abrasives, too. If you use water based cleaners or water and soap, be careful to keep it out of any screw holes or pickup routes because it can lift the finish.

    Dan Erlewine used to recommend the "warm breath and soft cloth method", cleaning from the center of the piece to the sides. Tedious and safe, it works just fine.
  8. bssist


    Jun 23, 2007
    St. Louis, MO USA
    Thank you for your information (and for not offending my lack of knowledge about what makes vintage equipment valuable:spit:) If it was just a matter of my owning and playing the instrument I would undoubtedly clean it, just as I will not reside in a house so coated with years of debris that I cannot see the floor. However, if the debris was manuscripts from some famous and treasured author I would be smart enough to seek counsel before scooping the debris into a haul-away with a coal shovel.

    Is there a place where uninformed individuals can go and ask questions without having passive agressive insults thrown at them? "I don't think I did anything to offend that guy. Maybe he just needs to talk down to people in order to feel a sense of power.":ninja:
  9. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    You are welcome to the information.

    My apologies for the heavy handed attempt at humor.
  10. DrSmaggs


    Oct 15, 2003
    Endorsing Artist:
    I like the idea of moving the pickup back and sticking a pickguard over the hole... preferably a pickguard that's as beaten as the bass.

    Congrats on your find!
  11. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    "Tedious" may be the operative word here. But at least it is safe. The problem is that more aggressive procedures require much more skill and care. And that's a crap shoot. Some folks thinks they have the skill and do a creditable job. Others think they have the skill but create a disaster. I guess that's why I advocate leaving the job to the pro's.
  12. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2009
    Normal care as if it were six month old Custom Shop Guitar, and leave as much of the mojo (and parts) alone as you possibly can!

    Temporarily cover the hole with some tape (masking) with a non-invasive adhesive if it bothers you to look at it.
  13. bssist


    Jun 23, 2007
    St. Louis, MO USA
    Thanks for all the input. It shall hit the stage soon with a standard clean and setup, a new pickguard, mojo otherwise intact. Maybe I'll leave the new pickguard in the driveway for a week to make it match.
  14. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    I didn't mean to come off rudely with my comment earlier. I thought the routing job showed and wasn't covered by the pickguard. And, yes, I suppose people did all kinds of things to used instruments. If we could anticipate future value, we'd be collecting lots of stuff. (Hey, I wonder if old "Urkel" lunchboxes are worth anything?)

    As for aging the pickguard, you can soften its shine using Bon Ami or Barkeeper's Friend and water. Leave it more shiny under the strings, so you simulate wear from use. (Or just buff under the string area to bring back some shine.) I did this when my '65 P was refinished.
  15. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I like Virtuoso cleaner and polish - safe for any finish. Certainly nothing wrong with the Erlewine technique, but I'd go with the Virtuoso cleaner. It has done a nice, gentle job on more than one older bass for me.
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