Refurbishing/redesigning the first bass I ever played - help and update thread

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by harrumphicus, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. harrumphicus


    Jan 13, 2017
    I'm in the very early process of refurbishing the first bass I got when I was 13 or 14, a Dinosaur brand P-bass. It seems to be a maple neck with real rosewood fingerboard, and a solid alder (possibly basswood) body. I painted it twice (without bothering to remove even the top-coat from most of it) and then defretted it after moving on to better gear.

    The quick and dirty of my plan right now is to fill the fret slots with some maple veneer, strip all of the paint and sand down to bare wood (past the sealer) so I can stain it a dark walnut. I'm sure I'll be back to leach some more of your knowledge about this in the future, but for now I'm thinking about what to do with the headstock. This is what she looks like stock:


    Very Fender inspired but, comparing it to my 2002 Jazz, it has about 3mm less material north of the tuning pegs, a little extra south, and an obviously non-round tip. In that picture I've sketched out one option I'm considering, something more akin to the tele-bass headstock. Quick and dirty paint mock-up here:


    Can anyone weigh in on my lines there? Will there be enough material remaining for headstock stability? Just general design suggestions? The goal is partly to remove the decal without having to match the aged finish on such a high-vis location, and also because I've always loved the look of the tele-bass. Pre-aged finish is shown here, under the tuning pegs:


    Second option is to carefully sand off the decal and try to match the finish, which I have absolutely no experience doing and would rather not do.

    Third option is to sand down the whole face and stain it to match the finish on the body. Lastly, I could just leave it alone.

    I'm sure I'll have more questions later, and will continue to update this thread as work progresses, but I want to make this design choice before I start work on the fingerboard. Any and all help is appreciated!
  2. You have to sand the body down past the sealer, it might not be obvious how far you have to go. If you don't get all of the sealer then your stain will be inconsistently absorbed. You may know that already, but thought I'd point it out.
  3. harrumphicus


    Jan 13, 2017
    Yep, I've read other threads on here about it and I knew that would be the first comment. I even said in there "past the sealer"!:thumbsup:

    Edit question, so I don't double post: Is it possible to use an oil finish with stain or will I have to lacquer it after that? If that's the case, I may sand down the whole neck and lacquer that as well.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  4. harrumphicus


    Jan 13, 2017
    Spent a few hours earlier with the heatgun and sander getting the paint and most of the sealer off. The rest is going to be done by hand. Can anyone tell me what type of wood this is? I expected basswood, but it looks better than I expected it to, especially the markings on the back. I might end up going with a lighter color stain.

    20171008_202758.jpg 20171008_202808.jpg
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