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Restoring a Gibson G-3...slowly

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by UnDoNe, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. UnDoNe


    Dec 6, 2002
    Hi all,

    I picked this up yesterday from Parcelforce and finally got to spend a bit of time with it this afternoon. As you can see, it's a 70's Gibson G-3. I bought it saying it was a '1974' but I think they weren't in production just then. Pot codes date it to 1976, so I'll go with that. I got it off fleabay, saying it had been left in a cupboard for years, no bridge, no strings, wiring all shot, so I was never expecting a closet classic. Saying that, it is in better condition than I thought it would be.. always nice!


    The neck has really seen some action with the tuners covered in gunk/mold/crap from many years. Despite looking pretty bad, they still turn smoothly, so a good clean should help. The neck is lovely and worn in, but with a few chips out the fingerboard. Frets will need a good clean to assess them, they may need replacing. No nut on it currently, so I'll need a pro to sort that for me. I haven't tried the truss yet as I don't have the right Gibson tool for it, but neck seems pretty straight with a very slight back bow which will hopefully change under tension.


    Body is in good condition, although I suspect it's been refinished at some point. The paint job is good for its age, with only a few chips and nicks in the finish, but the pick-guard screw holes and one of the strap button holes are filled and painted - hence me thinking refinish. I'm not too fussed though, I love the look of these basses when they're beat up!


    Pickups were stuck hard onto the pick-guard thanks to the rusted screws, but I've got them off now. They're pretty filthy (my girlfriend called them disgusting) but nothing a good scrub won't cure. Pickguard was well cracked with cut wires between pickups. One of the pots wouldn't even budge but I managed to salvage the knobs. Everything else is being thrown out - sacrilege maybe, but it really is good for nobody!


    So I'm not wanting to spend a huge amount on bringing her back to life. I can get a replacement pick-guard from the states and pots etc are cheap enough. Biggest expense will probably be a new bridge as I'm looking at a Hipshot A style. Seems a few folks have replaced Grabber bridges with these with good results.

    So there we go...oh I should have mentioned. I have zero cash at the moment thanks to this, a car service and a new roof last year, so don't expect daily updates. Probably won't start buying things for it for a few months, but it'll be nice to keep coming back to it every few months.

    Wish me luck!
  2. GreaserMatt


    Sep 4, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Nice! I'll we watching this one...
  3. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    I thought the pg on G3s were b/w/b/w. I know mine is and so were the ones in the adds way back when. Same for the one I bought new in '75. When replacing the guard I's go that route looks much better than the one ply black on yours. Looks like a fun project.
  4. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    Good luck!
  5. UnDoNe


    Dec 6, 2002
    godofthunder - yes I think you're right, and I too much prefer the b/w/b/w/b guards. Don't know why the guard is just all black - maybe an aftermarket one, but not sure.
  6. aquateen


    Apr 14, 2005
    the 00 serial number was used in 1976. you can get a lot of the gunk & grime off by wiping it down with naptha, which is safe for the finish and metal.
  7. UnDoNe


    Dec 6, 2002
    Thanks aqua...didnt know that about the serial number. Would naptha work on the fretboard marks do you know?
  8. Phendyr_Loon


    Sep 4, 2010
    Wow, that bass looks like it will need some love. At least you have all the original guts. Good luck.
  9. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Nice bass and it looks to be in not that bad of shape. Might need a fret job?
  10. UnDoNe


    Dec 6, 2002
    Yeah I think you may be right. I've been ordering a few parts for it this weekend - namely the pickguard and switches, pots and a few other bits. I need a 100k tone pot but they are proving rather difficult to find. I still have the original but it it stuck solid and won't move. Nothing seems to sort it....any ideas?
  11. Andii Syckz

    Andii Syckz

    Jan 2, 2011
    if you're dead set for vintage stuff, ebay might be your best luck. If not, i'd upgrade to a 250K tone pot. brighten thigns up
  12. UnDoNe


    Dec 6, 2002
    Thought I'd update this as things are not starting to take shape. Dropped the bass off in Manchester for the restoration a while back. We've had to go with a new fretboard as the old one was pretty much shot, so it'll have a new board and new frets. Spoke to the tech last week and we're going to get the old lacquer off the neck and start from scratch with a bit of a vintage tint, but nothing too orange! All the pickups were getting their correct readings when we tested them, so should be good to go with those and I've decided on a Badass II for the bridge. Looking forward to getting it back and giving it a thrashing :)
  13. UnDoNe


    Dec 6, 2002
    So...picking this up on Saturday :)

  14. CnB77


    Jan 7, 2011
    Wow! Looks almost brand new!
  15. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef “the brian” Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    Wow! Great resto! Did you ever try soaking the pots overnight in electrical cleaner? I will spray CRC (or whatever brand) cleaner into a shot glass until it's about 1/2 full, throw the pot in, and see if it's freed up in the morning. I realize I'm late to the party now, but if it works, you could always put the original pots back in it (or sell em on ebay). Sweet bass!
  16. Yea that is looking like a job well done! Love it!! :bassist:
  17. UnDoNe


    Dec 6, 2002
    Thanks all, appreciate the kind words. Couldn't believe the pics when my guy sent them to me. Looks stunning.

    thebrian - pots are long gone in the rubbish bin I'm afraid, but they were really shot. Tried all sorts to get them moving, but they were stuck hard. Annoyingly, the one that was stuck the worst was the 100k tone pot, which seems pretty impossible to find these days. Shame. Gone with a normal CTS 250k in it now.
  18. UnDoNe


    Dec 6, 2002
    Also, he sent me loads of pics so I'll get them uploaded tonight
  19. Teacher


    May 3, 2012

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