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Project: Relicing A Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ejaggers, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. ejaggers

    ejaggers Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    Fort Worth, tx
    My next project will probable be relicing a bass, so I need your advice and opinions.
    I’m going to buy something cheap (Squier, Epiphone, etc.), and I’m buying used which means I take what’s available.
    But what bass (P, J, etc), color, and neck (rosewood, maple, etc) would be ideal?

    There’s a cheap Harmony P on CL but it’s black/rosewood and no PG, which is my last choice of color.
    However, I’d consider it if it had a maple neck.
    So what looks good to you.

  2. shifty-eyed-dog-o.
    Chrisk-K and saabfender like this.
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    so you need something to practice your 'artistic' skills --- the ax doesn't matter? :)
    saabfender likes this.
  4. B2D259FE-652C-4712-BE82-35E8D1756444. 644DC6B0-9F9B-444A-B068-97B752C8690D. Ha!! I’ve been thinking the same thing but the fixer uppers I’ve bought recently were too nice to beat up. You might want to take a look at these. Theres a thread here about them. Most folks think they’re pretty darn good value for the money.

    Edit; I am not affiliated in any way, just followed the thread here a bit.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
    ejaggers and RobertUI like this.
  5. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    I like these.
    White over red.
    Blue over burst.
    Gold over burst...extreme relic.
    wraub, ejaggers, fretno and 1 other person like this.
  6. ejaggers

    ejaggers Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    Fort Worth, tx
    Oddly enough I did look at these the other day, in fact, that's why I started thinking about this project.
    They say great minds think alike......thank for the info.

  7. ejaggers

    ejaggers Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    Fort Worth, tx
    Thanks for the suggestions jd.
    That gold is off the chain.
    White would work for me if it was aged.
    jd56hawk likes this.
  8. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    You're welcome.
    I've been wanting to buy a bass from these guys for a while but either they've stopped making them or they're just few and far between.
    ejaggers likes this.
  9. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
  10. ejaggers

    ejaggers Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    Fort Worth, tx
    Thanks JIO,

    I've actually seen that thread. But my question is more of what would you personally like to have, i.e. J, P, TBird, SG, or what.
    Maybe the title should've read, "If You Only Had One...", because after I do one, I'll find a different project to obsess about.

    For me, I'm thinking a tobacco burst P, because I can just picture some back-in-the-day blues man playing one in a juke joint with dead round wounds and a bad setup.
    And yes, I've played and played in that juke joint before.
    JIO likes this.
  11. lfmn16

    lfmn16 SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Good choice. Love well done relics in general, but don't care for the thought of a TBird or SG.

    Glad you got good advice early. These threads always go south quickly.
    JIO and ejaggers like this.
  12. saabfender

    saabfender Banned

    Jan 10, 2018
    I prefer vintage boutique bicycle chains to relic a bass. Modern bike chains don't work nearly as well. My NOS sandpaper from the '50s also produces awesome results.
    JRA likes this.
  13. ejaggers

    ejaggers Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    Fort Worth, tx
    I kindda hate buying something I already have, and I have a P and a J.
    I agree with you on the Tbird, but there's a cheap EBO on CL I could tear up,
    although I have an SG.
  14. lfmn16

    lfmn16 SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Yea, but you can buy Squier P and J basses on Craigslist all day for $100, at least in my area.
  15. Versatek6

    Versatek6 Fretless is like Trombone Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2008
    Twin Cities, MN
    Buy the cheap black one, overspray it in red, then in blue, apply lighter fluid and flame. One hot relic.
    ejaggers likes this.
  16. ejaggers

    ejaggers Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    Fort Worth, tx
    Certain basses will have more appeal relic'd than others in my opinion.
    For instance, I'd rather have a new Starfire or Jack Casady than a relic’d one.
    Tbird, Cirrus, and anything Gretsch also come to mind.
  17. BlueMINI


    Sep 10, 2013
    Olympia, WA
    Doing a believable relic job takes practice-- and the right materials. Meaning, your best bet is to start with an unfinished body, then paint it with something like Re-Ranch paints. Getting a nice finish to begin with takes practice and a huge amount of patience as well. The distressing should be in places where the bass comes in contact with the body, belt buckles, etc.

    99.9% of relic jobs look like... well, there's no kind way of saying it-- looks like some kid tried to relic it. Especially on those finishes that are poly based. The relic jobs on mass produced guitars/basses are the most obvious. Even Fender's Custom Shop only gets it right occasionally. The reality is most vintage guitars look nothing like the typical "relic" job.

    In the end, it is a skill that comes from practice-- AND it's not unique to guitars-- distressing has long been used in restoration of furniture, mainly as a means to make the repair look less obvious on an old piece of furniture. That's a good place to begin understanding the skills required and how to develop them.

    Best of luck!
    ejaggers likes this.
  18. Poly finish doesn’t age well, so you’d have to go nitro or natural finish. I’ve been on this road before.
    ejaggers likes this.
  19. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    FGo for it, but please look at lots of pics of vintage basses. The biggest mistake in relicing is not knowing how basses actually age. The wear marks are very similar bass to bass, and where they DON'T wear is just as important.
    You are going to have a hard time making it authentic looking with a poly finish. The missing paint on a vintage bass is a combination of wear and impact. If you try to wear it with sandpaper it will look like a sanded bass. The forearm cut, and the belly cut get wear, almost everything else gets impact. Every single mark you make on the instrument, ask yourself - how would this have happened in real-life? In the pics. Wear marks on neck, versus impact marks where the bass has been set down. At the end of the headstock is a combination of wear and impact.

    IMG_3009.JPG IMG_3007.JPG IMG_3008.JPG
    JIO and ejaggers like this.
  20. ejaggers

    ejaggers Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    Fort Worth, tx

    Thanks for your advice. I didn’t realize this was so involved.
    Sounds like this is above my pay grade, so I guess I’ll pass on destroying a perfectly good but cheap bass.
    I do want a nice road worn bass but I never see them on CL.
    AndrewTaran likes this.

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