Riverhead Phantom Bass RESTORATION PROJECT follow-along!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by neutralomen, Mar 29, 2021.

  1. neutralomen


    Jan 31, 2018
    Hey everyone. I've posted here a few times after having acquired an old Riverhead Phantom Bass. The purpose of this acquisition is for an 80s cover band that will be starting up.

    I was lucky enough to get the bass for only $150, down from a $500 asking price at the pawn shop. The reason for this crazy markdown is, as I inspected the bass, I noticed problem after problem. Chief among them, the 4 band EQ was just dead. All that worked was the master volume pot.
    At first, this perplexed me. If it's an active-only bass, but the preamp isn't working, why is it making noise? Some of you here on the forum helped me figure out that the previous owner bypassed the circuit board. You can see a crude jumper cable passing over the whole thing.
    Also, the previous owner lost the original master volume pot and SUPER GLUED a replacement knob.

    I was lucky enough to find a new old stock replacement of the original master volume from AliExpress.


    From there, I needed to start working on a refinish/restoration. I reached out to the eccentric repair man Johnny Long and his "HOBO DEPOT" repair shop. He has a good reputation, so I'm taking my first major gamble on him. So far, he's been super nice and helpful, and the bass is now with him.

    On his recommendation, I ordered an Audere 4 band preamp which should be a drop-in replacement for this old mangled circuit. The original probably could have been restored, but many of you advised me that it would not only be cheaper and easier, but probably sound better to just use a modern preamp.

    Before I sent the bass and parts to Mr. Long, I tried to reach out to Riverhead(now based in the Philippines) to get restoration decals. They did not have any. Since I work as an illustrator, I was able to reverse engineer them by hand. Here are the first couple test runs.

    20201218_020935.jpg 20201218_023717.jpg

    After doubling the resolution and making some final tweaks, I sent them to get made into waterslides.


    The rest is in the hands of the HOBO DEPOT.

    Follow along this thread if you want to see how things progress.

    In terms of the color, since I'm not a big fan of white pearl, and since it's probably impossible to exactly match this color, I think I'm going to go with just a solid gloss white. Otherwise, we're going for as close to a full restoration as possible.

    Any suggestions on color? I've got a couple weeks to make a final decision. I'm probably just going to go with solid gloss white, but I'm open to suggestions.

    Here is Mr. Long's "before" video with a rundown of what he intends to do.

    Thanks everyone! Wish me luck.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2021
  2. neutralomen


    Jan 31, 2018
    another day or two to decide on the color. I'm still thinking just solid white, but I'd love some opinions/input. The original pink this came in was called "mother of pink." If I could find an exact color match of that, I'd probably go with it.
    LowEndLobster likes this.
  3. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Pearlescent white.
    P. Aaron likes this.
  4. neutralomen


    Jan 31, 2018
    Mr. Long has sent me some progress. The solid white refinish is pretty much done save for some detail work. The restoration logos that I made myself from scratch are looking really cool. (I hope they got the placement exactly right because I'm a neurotic lol)
    All that's left is to install the Audere preamp and assemble it, I believe.
    What do you all think? I personally prefer solids to pearls, so I'm happy with my choice to go with a solid white gloss. It looks more 80s to me anyway, like an old toyota!
    How does the finish work look to you all? so far it looks like a pretty good job to me, as far as I can tell.
    Stay tuned!
    123_1(1).jpeg 123_1(2).jpeg 123_1(3).jpeg
  5. I had no idea he did refurbishing work. I’ve only seen him playing bass. You really do learn something new every day. Love that guy.

    Good luck with the project!
    5fingerfrenzy and Wood and Wire like this.
  6. neutralomen


    Jan 31, 2018
    Yeah I'll provide a review of his services and my experience working with him when all is said and done.
    sectsmonk likes this.
  7. Can't wait to see it completed!
  8. neutralomen


    Jan 31, 2018
    unfortunately, Johnny Long badly botched the job. I have been meaning to post a "buyer beware" review on here, but haven't gotten around to it. Most disappointing, when I brought the many fundamental issues perpetrated during this botched repair, asking for NO money back, and going out of my way to assure him I wasn't out to get him, just to bring to his attention these various issues, he never responded. Just ghosted me. 1600 dollar job. Anyway, there will be more in a followup thread.
    sectsmonk likes this.
  9. Oh, man. Sorry to hear that.
  10. neutralomen


    Jan 31, 2018
    Here is a link to my review of Johnny Long's HOBO DEPOT. Buyer beware. I had a terrible experience.
  11. Interesting read, luckily I found one in a decent state.