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Should I give my 76 P the Janek Gwizdala treatment?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JimmyM, Dec 9, 2019.

  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Precision 76 PJ.jpg
    This is my 76 Precision. I bought it new in 76 and it looked exactly like this.

    Not really :D It's been through the mill over the years, been 4 or 5 different colors, had three necks (this one's an 83) and had I don't know how many pickup and pickguard changes, and now it's got a light tung oil finish that exists solely to make the grain pop a little. Which it does...it's actually a great looking piece of ash. But the only thing original on it is the body so collector's value is out the window.

    Yesterday I saw this bass, and I've seen it twice since then, and every time I see it, I fall in love with the look:


    It's a Mattison Janek Gwizdala sig prototype. I have liked black finishes on Fenders since 2008 and discovered how good I look with them (my wife says I'm a winter). And I'm thinking that with the tort pickguard and the fact that the body is already pretty much unfinished, I could clean off the tung oil and sand it a little, get a can of $5 flat black paint, repaint it in an afternoon and have it ready to rock by Friday. My wife also loves the distressed finish of the Janek, and thinks I should do it.

    The only thing stopping me is that piece of wood. Despite loving black and not being so crazy about wood finishes, it's really gorgeous. For that reason, I'm thinking I could leave enough of it unfinished at the upper bout to show the wood a little, but not too much because the distressed black keeps calling my name. Of course it won't be a direct cop of the Janek, but certainly in that vein.

    I'm thinking I'm going to do it regardless of how the poll turns out, considering total out-of-pocket will be about $5 and it's easily rectified if I end up not liking it, but what the hell...I'm a glutton for TB punishment, so let me have it and give me your opinions good or bad. Just bear in mind that I love dings and distressed black finishes, so if you don't, I don't care.
  2. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I'd say go for it - one step closer to being uniquely yours. :thumbsup: (and post pics!) Use satin black (not flat) for that look, or shoot satin clear over the flat black once you distress it.

    If you'd like some inspiration/reference - SHOW YOUR DISTRESSED FINISHES!
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
    jackn1202, zon6c-f, Jim C and 5 others like this.
  3. eastcoasteddie

    eastcoasteddie Supporting Member

    I personally love a natural wood finish on a great piece of ash....so there’s my opinion.

    I suppose you can try it and see how much you like it in the long run.

    the last time I had the idea to try something new with an open-ended result, I thought about all the work I’d need to do to get there, and said F-it. I don’t feel like doing this anymore...
  4. MobileHolmes

    MobileHolmes I used to be BassoP

    Nov 4, 2006
    I think your bass has too nice of grain to cover up. I’d buy a body from warmoth or somebody if you wanted to do this.
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Dang it! I just came from the store with flat! Oh well, satin is cheaper so that's good news other than having to go back and return it :D
    zon6c-f and Highroler79 like this.
  6. Hell yeah. Go for it.
    JimmyM likes this.
  7. Do it!
    JimmyM likes this.
  8. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Chillin' n Grillin' on the Best Coast
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    See if they have egg shell finish. Satin will have a noticeable shine to it.

    Or go with flat, the favorite rat-rod finish. It'll get beat up asap.
    bdplaid and JIO like this.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sheesh! Now I don't know what to do! Tell you what...you and @JIO fight it out amongst yourselves and tell me which I should use to get a look like Janek's bass whilst I strip and sand it.
  10. five7

    five7 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2009
    Black will definitely make it look better, not a fan of natural. Maybe you like the look because of the maple fb. Then what?
    JimmyM likes this.
  11. Funky Ghost

    Funky Ghost Translucently Groovy

    Wow what a looker Jimmy. I really, REALLY dig that wood grain/tung look. If it were me, and this is tough for me to say because I love tort more than most, but I think either a clear PG or sans PG would be a step in the right direction ( for me ). I'd also consider nickle plating the hardware for an antique-ish vibe.

    Out of curiosity, what pups and pre (if any) are you running? One of the best basses I borrowed/used at a studio here in Sac was a '76 P with Joe Barden pups ( the bass was converted to a PJ ) I coveted that bass mightly! The Bardens sounded funky and fat.
    macmanlou, Highroler79 and JimmyM like this.
  12. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    Do it!
    JimmyM likes this.
  13. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    Whatever will give you the @#&*\% eating grin when you pick it up. That bass has certainly earned it's battle scars. Beats my '70s jazz mutt that I bought used in '83.
    JimmyM likes this.
  14. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I am pro-$5 rattlecan distressed finish, always. But that is one NICE looking slab of natural. I personally would maybe do it on a Squier body and never worry about it.

    Even if you used gloss black, the sanding and distressing would scuff it down to satin once you buffed it back up a little. I usually give mine a thin coat of paste wax to make it look a little extra weird.
    jchrisk1, higain617 and JimmyM like this.
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'm pretty sure I can deal with it regardless of the FB.

    It's an 83 neck that looked like it was hardly ever used when I got it a few years ago. Not interested in messing with it, though...it's the only part of the bass that has any collector's value whatsoever :D And as much as that custom tort guard was, I ain't changing it! Plus with that giant rout under the knobs, there's no way I could get away with clear or no pickguard.

    EMG Geezer Butlers with no preamp, just the stock wiring. At one time I did have active EMG's with a BTC pre, but now it's just three knobs and one's a dummy. Respect to Mr. Barden who does make really good stuff but I'm not changing them out, either.
    Funky Ghost likes this.
  16. Try covering it with stick-on black vinyl, then just peel it back to where you want it exposed.

    Completely reversible, scratches your itch, and will be a good ‘template’ of where to paint it if/when you decide you will do it.
    JimmyM and osonu like this.
  17. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    Pick up an alder body and a $5 can of paint. Don't cover up that woodgrain, unless you can do a clear black finish....
    JimmyM likes this.
  18. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Flat black will provide these things which you will have to determine if you like or don't like; it will have a sort of chalky feel compared to satin - which feels very nice. Flat will show all marks made with fingernails, finger oil, etc. Satin will stay pretty much satin, but... where you play it it will buff to a slightly higher sheen. I personally like that because it subtly shows the bass is being used/played. Depending on the flat black used, this will also happen but in a more noticeable way. That can look cool too. Rat-rods aren't touched like a guitar - so comparing 'the look' is relative, meaning - both flat and satin will evolve as you play it. (the rat-rod will look the same with time) Either can work - you can always test the feel by spraying both on a smooth piece of wood and feel for yourself. As recommended above, if you can get eggshell spray black - that's a nice finish also but I can't recall seeing it in a rattle can. With satin, once you spray a couple coats, by doing a mild pad sanding of it takes off any little nibs and makes it pretty much eggshell anyway.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
  19. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi Jimmy :)

    It's better to have a bass with the Janek Gwizdala treatment than a bass with the Paul Simonon treatment :D


    Looks like you have no choice! :D => Do it!


  20. BluesWalker

    BluesWalker Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2008
    I would not do it. I have never been impressed with the fake vintage, worn look.
    10cc, Bassist30, JimK and 4 others like this.

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