I have some time off with my band due to our guitarist tearing a rotator cuff in his shoulder. So I thought it would be a good time to refinish my Fender MIM P-Bass. It was a sunburst finish (like in my avatar) with an ugly white pickguard. I ordered a tortoise shell pickguard for it and now I have it completely taken apart and I sanded off all the coats. I noticed while sanding that there seemed to be extra layers of wood. As I sanded I thought, "Oh my God, this is plywood!" but as I kept sanding down I realized that they put a veneer of something on it that was only about 1/32" thick. Underneath this plain, no grain veneer, is a really great wood that appears to be ash. It is a light tan with distinct grain. It looks wonderful, so I wonder why they put a plain veneer over it? The veneer is just on the back (but not on the body contour) and on the front (but it seems like it was bent to fit the front body contour). With it all sanded off the body looks like it is an ash body. Anyone know what woods MIM P-Basses made in 2002-2003 were made of? Or why they would put a very plain wood veneer over it when the body itself looks so good?