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Restoration: Roadstar (II) to hell

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by DaveRhys, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. Enough lurking - reckon I've finally got a project that might be of some interest.

    I recently emigrated to the fair shores of Western Australia and have been going a little stir-crazy whilst my tools have been in transit.
    So I've been looking for a project I can do with whatever general tools I lay my hands on ... or at least, something to get on with until they arrive.
    Decided a restoration/refinish was in order.
    (this may prove a ridiculous oversight, but I've got to learn)

    Went and found myself a 'lovely' 1984 Ibanez Roadstar II (RB850) recently imported (/ejected) from Japan.

    The poor girl has seen much better days...


    ... and several hundred pints of sweat judging by the corrosion.


    Paintwork and finish are straight-up knackered.


    (the flash brings out the true horror)


    ... I don't even know what the sticky white patch is. Best not to ask.

    ... and the crowning glory:


    A 5 Yen coin 'nailed' into the body as a rear strap lock.

    This bass has a lot of character and has seen some serious action, for which I have a certain respect, but (there's always a but), it's dead.
    Ok, not dead, it's T.F.Bundy.

    That said, it 'appears' structurally sound, which means the glue and clamps can stay where they are.
    Time for a dismantling!
  2. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I love these basses and I've never seen one in pristine condition. This is about average, if you ask me. People played the living **** out of these because the sound and play so damn good.
    The Nailed-in Yen is great, btw.
  3. handofseven

    handofseven Soaking up the cathode rays... Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2010
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    HAWT! I'd clean up the oxidation on the hardware and leave the rest... Perfectly well broken in. :D

    ... But that would defeat the purpose, yeah? Looking forward to the end result. Please carry on. :bassist:
  4. Ho-yes, this is getting messy!


    Absolute filth.


    Normally, with this amount of corrosion, I'd be looking for an exploded battery... but obviously not in a passive bass.

    The bridge screws themselves are rusted to hell... but not as bad as another set of screws...
    These were holding the neck in:


    Oh yeah!
    Rusted through.


    ... and the last nail in the coffin:


    ... all two and a half rusty inches of it (think it's a roofing nail??).

    I'm starting to think she's been for a swim in the sea.
    ... I think I'll call her 'Seabass' (fnar, fnar).

    Let the clean-up commence!
  5. SallyGrowler


    May 17, 2010
    you have to find a way to make the 5 yen piece part of the restoration, as a remninder of its origin...
  6. something seriously evil happened to that bass. Are you sure it wasn't in a flood or something?
  7. Aw hells-teeth...
    (puts 1 and 1 together)
    ... all I can think of is last years tsunami.

    Whilst I hope that's not the case, she definitely deserves proper restoration now.
  8. Hooray on this restoration project!

    I owned this same model Ibanez, also in black, in the mid-80's. I bought mine new and it was a looker in all-black. It had a huge sound with lots of variations. The pickups have individual push-pull dual-single coil switches. Plus, it has a pickup blend. I always liked that control configuration. I played some rippin' music on that bass!

    The original strap buttons on these are proprietary and wing-shaped. They would be hard to find to make this restoration authentic, but regular strap buttons or Strap-locks would be a vast improvement on that nail job! Sheesh! DaveRhys, was the original strap button present on the body wing? I didn't see it in the photos.

    It didn't take long for the black finish to start wearing off the bridge on the one I had. I'm not surprised by the amount of corrosion and oxidation on this bridge, although it's obvious the previous owner(s) did not take care of the bass at ALL. Also, the various screws on mine lost their paint quickly and started to rust. Ibanez was not using a good hardware finishing process, obviously.

    Stupidly, I sold the one I owned and have never seen one quite like it again until now. I don't think I'd do a restoration as extensive as this one is going to be, but I'd still buy one of these if I find one.
  9. I second that idea... Maybe inlay it into the headstock!?!?!?

  10. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    I loved the original strap buttons!! I wish you could get them aftermarket, cuz they didn't need straplocks.

    The yen needs to stay with the bass, IMO. Maybe route a spot and inlay it, or even superglue it to a spot on the bass.
  11. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    I had a suspicion that you like 'em down and dirty :D

    I would braze or tack weld that coin onto an appropriate screw and keep it as a strap lock. Might even look for another to make a pair.

    80's Roadstars FTW! :bassist:
  12. handofseven

    handofseven Soaking up the cathode rays... Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2010
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Indeed! It's a good thing he's in Australia, otherwise I'd be working the gears to figure out a way to get this from him, once he's done the restoration. :D
  13. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    ^ He ain't lyin' either...
  14. handofseven

    handofseven Soaking up the cathode rays... Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2010
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Bwahaha! It's true. GAS is a bitch...

    There is a lack of headstock pics in this thread. I'm beginning to believe this bass doesn't have one or OP is embarrassed to show it. Come on, it can't be in that bad a shape... ;)

    More pics to sate the fanatics pleaze... :D
  15. Wow, awesome project bass, worth every bit of blood, sweat, and tears, I promise you. I used to have one in VGC, candy apple red, these basses ROCK! The electronics system is pure badass. Can't wait to see how she cleans up.
  16. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Were they similar to these


    Planet Waves Elliptical End Pin Strap Button | Musician's Friend
  17. That's affirmative!
    It's currently soaking in my 'yoghurt pot of restorative power' (mixture of white vinegar with a splash of WD40) - the screw holding it to the wing has rusted fast, but I reckon that'll free it.

    Speaking of the pot...


    I left the bridge in it overnight - this morning, after a quick rinse (in which most of the paint simply ran off), we have:


    Whilst it looks immensely cool and relic'd, it's really quite bizarre.
    From what I can tell, it's copper plated aluminium - which (my science hat tells me) is a pretty bad combination: add a little electrolyte (sweat/sea water etc.) and POW! Galvanic corrosion.
    Copper is eating the aluminium.
    (and explains the battery-like residue)

    I like science.
    ... but I'm open to other interpretation if I've got it completely wrong.

    What else...


    Condition's pretty good!
    Just some light dings, but nothing major.

    Finally (for now):

    I have to agree with all the Yen suggestions - I'm thinking dead-centre of the headstock (prior to clear coat); it should match the gold of the Ibanez logo too ;)

    (... which reminds me: order new decal.)
  18. DasClyde

    DasClyde Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Lovin' this thread!