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Refreshing an Old Friend (MIM P-Bass rebuild/refinish)

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by gimp, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. gimp


    Jan 13, 2011
    Catonsville, MD
    My very first bass is long gone. It was an Epiphone P-Bass copy, covered in stickers, etc. My parents got me it when I was 15, and I stuck with it long enough that they bought me my first "real" bass (the Epiphone moved to Philly and got destroyed on stage, according to a friend).

    I had been working at a music store, and we had a white on white MIM P-Bass in stock that I lusted after week after week. Just before Christmas I came in for my shift and it was gone. I was totally heart broken, until that Christmas where I found it under the tree. Evidently my parents talked to my boss about which bass I played the most when I was supposed to be working, and they made a deal.

    I can't seem to find any pictures of it originally, but it looked just like this:


    I played this bass for years, but over time the neck got worse and worse, and it was almost unplayable, so when I was in my early 20s I decided to redo it.

    Murdered out. (Rattle can) black with a "custom" (aka, homemade) blue carbon fiber pickguard, active EMGs, a snazzy LED light, MOSES graphite neck, and a Badass II bridge.


    The finish on it was terrible, and the bass was generally beat up after about 10 years of using it like this. It was also really heavy (I blame the neck). So I bought another bass (Fender Cowpoke) and I've started my rebuild of my old friend.

    I wanted to get it "close" to original, but still make it an evolution.

    I sold the graphite neck to another TBer and began the process.



  2. gimp


    Jan 13, 2011
    Catonsville, MD
    Next, I used a "safe" eco friendly stripper to knock down the rattle can.



    Once the finished started to come off, I remember how lazy I was with sanding this thing the first time! At least some of the original color is intact.

    Next I sanded with 220 then 320.


  3. gimp


    Jan 13, 2011
    Catonsville, MD
    I really wanted to maple neck with blocks, so I hunted around on TB and picked this up:


    Put together by "Syco_bass" of the Arizona Bass Company.



    And then I add my own little touch...

  4. (Just subscribing to the link... I want to watch the progress)
  5. gimp


    Jan 13, 2011
    Catonsville, MD
    I'm waiting on paint to come in from Reranch, so I started some shielding:


    And then I did a "mockup" of what I have now.



    Color is going to be Olympic White, with a tinted clear.

    I'm considering adding a chrome bridge cover, but I'm not sure yet.

    That brings me to current. Next photos should be the color going on. Stay tuned!
  6. I'm looking forward to this project!

    BTW, this should be posted in The Luther's Corner.
  7. gimp


    Jan 13, 2011
    Catonsville, MD
    Me too!
  8. gimp


    Jan 13, 2011
    Catonsville, MD
    I'm starting my build of my paint booth tomorrow. While I'm thinking of it, does anyone know the cure time for the Reranch paints?
  9. My poor project planning always had me painting in cold months in a dirty garage, but I'd spray a coat and put it in the furnace room for te night and spray the next coat the next night etc etc. I was really impatient with my projects, but I could get them done in a month without issue with the paint.
  10. gimp


    Jan 13, 2011
    Catonsville, MD
    The booth is going into my finished basement (I have a very nice wife). I just know I'll want to play this thing before the color is on.
  11. gimp


    Jan 13, 2011
    Catonsville, MD
    Reranch stuff arrived today, so I used the grain sealer. Not much to see there, so I finished the basement paint booth while that was drying.


    Two questions for those that have been there before:

    1. I didn't get the "sand and seal." Is that a necessary step, or can I get away with just a little more primer. Last time I did this I didn't bother and I didn't have adhesion issues.

    2. I've heard the tinted clear moves fast. I'm trying to age it a little, but not a lot. What over the counter (aka Home Depot) clears could work over the Reranch stuff?
  12. gimp


    Jan 13, 2011
    Catonsville, MD
    First two coats of primer went on tonight. They highlighted a few places that need a little sanding, but to be honest, I'm quite happy so far. My wife is getting stoned off the fumes.

    Sorry if the pictures look a little green. The walls in the basement are painted "wasabi" and my iPhone sucks in low light. I'll have real pictures when it's done.


    I can't wait to sand it tomorrow!
  13. Yakob


    Nov 15, 2009
    Philadelphia, PA
    This is going great! Though I did like the "all black" look.
  14. gimp


    Jan 13, 2011
    Catonsville, MD
    Just put on the second coat of color, and now I get to wait a few hours before some photos and an easy wet sand.

    Slightly off topic, but I just got a photo from a custom pedal builder who is making something for me:


    It's a compressor on one side, and a Russian Muff clone on the other, with a switch to change the signal path. The image is a vintage shot of the Baltimore City Hall. I think he's calling the pedal "Gritty Hall."
  15. gimp


    Jan 13, 2011
    Catonsville, MD
    First two coats of color, after a two hour cure, just before some wet sanding:

  16. gimp


    Jan 13, 2011
    Catonsville, MD
    So I put the last two coats of color on, and I've been spraying a test board the whole time. I mentioned that I bought the Reranch tinted clear, but man that stuff is yellow!

    (left to right - primer only, olympic white, one coat tinted clear, two coats tinted clear)

    I'm thinking I like the single coat. I might spray one, color sand it, and maybe another if it's too thin.

    What do you folks think?
  17. gimp


    Jan 13, 2011
    Catonsville, MD
    Alright, forget you guys!


    That's one coat of clear. It's about to get a second so I have some room to sand it before I bury it below a ton of "clear" clear.

    I can't wait!
  18. Dan_nj


    Dec 30, 2011
    Looks good i like it. cant wait to see the end result !
  19. Nice job so far! Keep up the good work.

  20. gimp


    Jan 13, 2011
    Catonsville, MD
    Unintended consequence. Here is the bass after some tinted clear, then the first 9 coats of regular.


    I actually really like the color. It's not as green as it appears here, but still has a tint.

    If I had to do it again, I wouldn't do the tinted clear. To hard to get even and too easy to sand through. As it sits, I guess you could say mine has a very, very minor reliced look, but it's not bad. I do plan on aging this thing in the sun for a while anyway.

    Nine more coats tomorrow. Then 30 days (sad) to dry. Then polish and assembly.