Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Putting an Exotic top on existing bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by K-Frog, Oct 3, 2005.


  1. K-Frog

    K-Frog

    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    i have a bolt on 5 string that I like, but I'd like an exotic top look. Doesn't have to be extremely exotic, but some figuing would be nice if you know what I mean.

    Should I just glue on a veneer, or run the body through a planer or sander and recap it?

    There was some fellow who did something similar to a peavey bass, but i wouldn't know where to start in terms of a search.
    "Peavey" would bring up an unreasonable number of thread to slog through.

    Comments?
     
  2. Well, it's possible to do, but I don't know if you should actually do it. I guess the questions I have would be:

    How experienced are you at woodworking?

    How much is this bass worth? What brand/model is it?
     
  3. K-Frog

    K-Frog

    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    moderately experienced at woodworking.

    bass is not worth a lot, which is both good and bad for this operation.

    Good in that if something were to go totally wrong, it wouldn't be devastating. Bad in that I wouldn't significantly increase its' value (not that I care)

    Yamaha BB5N, dark stain over alder, obtained for about what neck alone is worth.
     
  4. You could glue a piece of thin veneer on the top and just refinish from there but I would take a page from Bud LeCompte's book o' basses and inlet the top and drop in a slightly thicker piece and then refinish the top smooth.
     
  5. ArtisFallen

    ArtisFallen

    Jul 21, 2004
    +1

    I'm thinking a thicker drop top would reduce that quazi-cheezy that comes from having a really thin veneer with no binding.
     
  6. K-Frog

    K-Frog

    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    inlet the top?

    Whachoo talkin' 'bout Willis?

    i guess that differes in some way to my idea of just taking off about 1/4" of the alder and slap on something like a figured maple or something?

    I appreciate your interest in my thread. Of all the folks around here i had hoped you would be one the folks to offer suggestions.

    Please explain further.
     
  7. K-Frog

    K-Frog

    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    I was thinking simple, cheap and easy.

    i notice how cheap and easy = cheezy :D
    Even a 1/4" cap would have no binding though. Would look nicer.
     
  8. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    I bought a mid-80's mahogany-bodied G&L that somebody "improved" by routing the heck out of it and sticking in jazz and P-pickups. Quite the mess, but the body was mahogany, and I knew the neck was great... soooo....
    I bought a bookmatched set of figured walnut boards, about 5/16" thick off the 'Bay. Also got some 1/8 inch flamed maple, and then filled in the routed areas of the body with more mahogany.
    Then I planed down the front of the body about 1/2 inch, and glued up the maple and walnut sheets and clamped them to the top of the body and parked the car's front tire on top of the whole stack. The next morning, I band sawed away all the excess wood, finished shaping with a belt sander, and re-routed out the neck pocket and new pickup holes.
    Five or six packs of sandpaper, about ten days sanding, two bottles of Tru-Oil, and some fine steel wool and I had a figured walnut topped G&L bass that I'll post pics of tomorrow.
    It's not that hard. With some moderate woodworking skills, you can do it.
     
  9. awesome! I've been thinking about putting a walnut burl on my P-bass...now I'm even more inspired...

    I especially like your clamping method...what's the make and model of your car, so I can assess the pressure? :D

    I can't wait to see pics... :hyper:
     
  10. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Any Minivan will do the trick!!!
     
  11. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    So you can see the Maple lamination better...
     
  12. OH MY!!! That bass WAS pretty wrecked, wasn't it?

    You did a GREAT Job! Nice job doing the forearm contour, too. You say you did that with a belt sander?

    How did you measure how much of the original body to take off...I assume you needed to take off the amount equal to the thickness of your laminates so that the neck pocket depth would be right...

    what type of glue did you use?

    that's a very nice oil finish...does it require much maintenance?
     
  13. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    I did all the contours mainly with a belt sander. I don't have commercial grade tools, just a few Harbor Freight specials, LOL!!!!
     
  14. 4x4Given

    4x4Given

    Jul 2, 2005
    Austin, TX
    That's *REALLY* encouraging for me, as well. I have an Alvarez that I love the feel and sound of. But, frankly, I've never liked the finish. It appears to be a "photo" type finish, or the thinnest quilted maple veneer on the planet. Anyway, the body is three piece alder, so just sanding it down wouldn't look very good either. But what was shown above would work quite nicely. :D
     
  15. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    The glue I really like is this powdered stuff from Weldwood that you mix with water, some sort of resin glue. Dries like rock, and I plop a couple drops of brown dye into the mix so the glue "hides" into the walnut lamination.... you can't see any glue lines at all on this bass.

    Yes, you're absolutely right, you just subtract the thickness of your laminates off the top of the bass.

    As for the Tru-Oil finish, I LOVE this stuff... I didn't even go full-gloss on it, I stopped with #0000 Steel Wool for a satin-y finish. The best thing about Tru-Oil is that if you do scratch it, you just rub in a little more and the scratch disappears. It's warm, it makes the wood look great, and it does dry plenty hard. It's soooo easy!!
     
  16. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    Here: http://www.geocities.com/orion_vtol/EMBE.html
     
  17. K-Frog

    K-Frog

    Feb 6, 2002
    Camden, AR, USA
    that's the one man.

    Thanks, K