Restoring A Vintage Hagstrom Bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Thatcher, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. Thatcher


    Jun 18, 2019
    IMG_0988.jpeg IMG_0990.jpeg IMG_0991.jpeg IMG_0992.jpeg IMG_0993.jpeg IMG_0995.jpeg IMG_0996.jpeg IMG_0997.jpeg IMG_1001.jpeg IMG_1002.jpeg IMG_1003.jpeg
    Hello all, I'm going to be restoring a vintage bass, and since I'm a total beginner in this field, I thought I'd share my journey here and humbly ask for some help. My goal is to bring the bass to a higher level of playability and beauty so I can maximize it's selling potential. Please refer tothe images above in reference to the points below.

    The instrument is a red Hagstom Futurama II bass, circa 1964. It came to me through a friend of my Uncle, who apparently rubbed off the label and etched notes into the neck. Therefore, it seems that the bulk of the work will be focused on that portion. Here are the things that I think need to be done before sale. (Please feel free to add to this list if you think of something I do not, or to protest anything that seems like a bad idea!)

    1. Clean the existing hardware. (I'm not sure how to do this or with what cleaner, etc. Much of the original hardware, tuning machines, etc, is slightly rusty and rather dusty. Would it be possible to spray paint a new coat of chrome on or can the original material be cleaned well? If so, how?)
    2. Replace missing hardware. (There are several missing screws, and some rusty ones that need replacing, but luckily I have at least one of each missing item.)
    3. Remove finish/marking from necks. (Removing the finish is a choice of playability, but removing the markings will prove to be more difficult. I suppose I should remove the finish first and then see how much further I should sand after that is done. I'm curious whether sanding off the markings would be a poor choice for any reason?)
    4. Remove completely the marking on the headstock and revarnish. (I'm unsure whether this action would devalue the bass or whether the different would be negligible. For me, it seems like a choice of aesthetics.)
    5. The bass may need to a fret job. (It could be a question of neck action, but several of the last frets don't produce notes that speak as well as in the low end. It seems some of the frets may be a little flat on the top, though it's hard to tell. I have tried to include pictures of this.)
    6. There is a small hole in the bottom of the bass (which can be seen in the last picture), right near the strap peg. I'm not sure what this is or what to do about it. Thoughts?

    Thanks for reading this and for your responses. If you have any additional information to share about this bass, or any advice for my project, please feel free to share. I'm excited to learn a few things about bass repair in the process!
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  2. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I wouldn't worry about trying to restore it to new looking. It would take a lot of work, skill, and $$$. It looks like an older, well loved bass should. Get the neck straightened out, and make sure the electronics are sound, and play it.
    Thatcher likes this.
  3. ChristoMephisto


    Sep 4, 2011
    Yeah just give it a good cleaning and replace the small missing parts.
    There's headstock logos on ebay after you fix up the neck.
    The strings need to be wound reverse like your A string is, not the normal way like the D.
    Also with a solid one peice bridge that can't be adjusted individually, you may need to drop your D string guage by 5. So a 100-80-60-45 instead of 65. Your may have different results with that.
    The small hole is where the strap button was originally
    Thatcher and buldog5151bass like this.
  4. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    DO NOT replace any working parts just due to rust, and no, you can't re-chrome something with spray paint. Leave it be. If the decal on the head stock is still partially visible, leave that as well. I wouldn't sand the neck, or refinish it. Hagstrom instruments have the tendency for the frets to become loose over time. Especially the higher ones. They should be professionally re-seated and dressed.
  5. Richard Blair

    Richard Blair

    Jun 22, 2017
    Toronto, ON
    I had one of those. My first bass.
  6. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    If you want to restore it to learn restoration ok. It is very unlikely that a first restoration will add value, more likely it will reduce it. I would practice restoration on a yard sale find, not a vintage bass.
    Lownote38 likes this.
  7. ChristoMephisto


    Sep 4, 2011
    Any update on the restoration?