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Project Retro: '51 P-5

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Chef, Dec 12, 2005.


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  1. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    OK...I dig old basses. I've had quite a few. Lately I've been looking at the Fender Custom Shop '51 Re-Issue P. Got the old school P/Tele body and neck, big fat sound, baseball bat neck, transparent blonde finish...Beautiful! It embodies the intial move from DB to electric like no other bass.
    Which is all good, except for that when I'm not playing DB, I sorta prefer my 5's anymore.

    So, Project Retro '51 P-5! Warmouth makes this spiffy '51 P shaped 5'er body:
     
  2. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Add the 5 string P/Tele neck...
     
  3. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Now, since there aren't any standard '51 P/Tele pups (there aren't are there?), why not add two of these? Fred Hammon over at Dark Star tells me 5 string pups are in the works for 06 :cool:
     
  4. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Control Plate below...using two stack pots would get me volume and tone for each pup, pretty much eliminating the need for a pup selector...
     
  5. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    I think all this would add up to one bad retro mofo!
    I'd buy the wood bits pre-finished from Warmouth: see thru blonde for the body, satin finish on the neck. I could even get the stock pup cover for the neck position pup for more retro good looks...This saves me having to make it look good...then all I have to do is bolt it all together and wire it, right;)

    Thoughts?

    thx-chef
    never built a bass before
     
  6. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Bridge:
    Hip shot 5 string A bridge.
    "Hipshot type "A" 5 string bass bridge. Chrome finish. Features variable string spacing adjustment for even greater versatility and fine intonation adjustment as well. Operates as both a top-load and string-thru bridge depending on application. Made in the USA."
    I've never shopped for bridges...got something better? To keep the orignal P/Tele vibe going, string thru body needs to be optional...
     
  7. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Tuners:
    Gotoh classic lights to help ward off neck dive...
     
  8. Don't forget, you'll have to have the frets on the neck levelled.
     
  9. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    quote from the warmoth page:
    "Leveling, planing, dressing all refer to the operation of lapping the tops of all the frets so that they are all in parallel planes, ensuring no fret buzz, even with the lowest action. This precision work is usually followed by a "re-crown", wherein the fret tops are re-rounded.

    Warmoth necks feature precision sanded fingerboards and excellent fret seating. Fret leveling generally needs to be done only in cases of very low action, or on maple fingerboards that are spray finished (to remove the finish). If you are encountering fret buzz and are inexperienced with fretwork, we STRONGLY suggest a visit to a competent local luthier."

    So, they seem to be implying "maybe not."
     
  10. It'd be great if you could skip the levelling. I suspect the definition of "very low action" could be the determining factor.
     
  11. Great idea, and I think it would look amazing!
     
  12. Even if you have to, it is unlikely that it would require a lot of levelling. If you are planning to learn how to build the instrument, you might as well do the levelling yourself. You require a few more tools and some patience.
     
  13. MAJOR METAL

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sounds Cool, go for it ! :bassist:
     
  14. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I was at the same crossroads that you are in in mid 2002. Had the same body and headstock picked out, even the transparent blonde on ash bit ;)
    I lack the finishing skillz and went a different route. I may still build one myself (or more likely have Nino put together), but it'll be a slabbed ash P with new style pickguard and split P like the Ox played.

    For authentic look, I first flirted with a dual coil in the neck spot, but ended up going with a pair of Jazz pickups covered so the screws are at the end of the pickups... just a skinny bar like the original. I think it would have looked very authentic with just the one, but I was also looking for modern tones to I had the bridge pickup added too.
     
  15. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    bump for additional ideas and comments
    like maybe "anyone got a bridge they like more?"

    thx-chef
     
  16. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Sounds really cool to me. There was some talk in the repair forum recently of using threaded inserts and machine screws for the neck heel atachment, which should give you slightly better attachment at the neck joint, which should help with dead spots and low-B solidity. Somthing to consider.

    The darkstar sounds like the right pickup if you've got the patience.
     
  17. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Hey Chef,

    I think this looks like a great project. Not unlike when I built my USACG Tele trying to replicate a 1964, but with a few little tweaks to make a 'wolf in sheep's clothing' guitar (in my case that meant different pickups and a lightweight swamp ash body instead of alder).

    If'n you're into it, I'd suggest talking to the guy who did my neck and body finishing, Mark Jenny. He does vintage Fender re-fins that look completely authentic. He'll either make it 'look like new' or give it appropriate looking aging/wear. It's all nitro and really nails the vibe. I think it would definitely be cool to do the super-vintage-Precision-five with a really 'true' looking finish.

    I think it would be killer to have a bass that looks like a big blocky 51-P but would be a real burner underneath the ol' time looks.
     
  18. Just a minor thing, but for the last few Warmoth projects I've gone with "vintage tint" for the maple necks. I think it looks great, especially for a vintage looking project like yours:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Re. fret levelling, I've done it in all my Warmoth projects (eight so far) and I can tell you that more often than not it wouldn't have been necessary, but on a couple or three of them there were some high and/or low frets, especially towards the heel, that could have given some problems even with "normal" action. In any case some people recommend putting it together as-is and play it for a while so the wood and frets have time to "settle" under string tension and playing conditions before doing the levelling, so any fret buzzes or lack thereof will tell you whether the levelling is necessary or not.

    Note that if you order it finished and with the nut installed, the finish is applied after installing the nut, so either be very careful not to mess up the finish when you remove the nut for the fret levelling, or install the nut yourself (if you have the skills and tools) so it's easier to remove later.
     
  19. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine

    This is an approach Hambone highly recommended to me, for those reasons....
     
  20. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Burning Skies (and all)
    Couple of things:
    I'm not dead set on doing this myself, and in fact the cost of all the parts might put me in a ballpark to have someone competent like Makr help me with the project at a price point I could live with. I've never done anything like this, and while it might be fun, it might also be nice to have a project that works up to my expectations when deon. Feel free to throw out names and contact info of people you've been happy with.

    Woods: another point I could probably use help/advise on. I know nothing about what woods would sound best for this project/vibe, and what would look best with the vintage aged blonde finish...

    All comments and advise, reading resources etc appreciated.

    thx-chef


     



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