Should I repair a 40 year old Ibanez violin bass?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by GaryCorby, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. GaryCorby


    Dec 11, 2014
    Hi, this is my first post, and I'm a guitar player who's never played bass, so you get to laugh at my laughable errors.

    I've been looking at getting a bass, have tried out quite a few. I'm in no rush and willing to spend months learning about basses before I pick one. In my adventures I've come across a violin bass made by Ibanez that the owner's looking to sell. I believe it's an Ibanez model 2357, made some time in the late sixties or early seventies. It looks, feels, plays and sounds far better than the modern Hofner Ignition. It also has enormous neck dive, but I gather that's normal for this type of bass. The neck seems to be perfectly straight. The action is good. The wooden body parts seem in excellent condition.

    Now for the bad news. The binding is yellowed and cracked in places. The scratch plate clip is rusted. The height adjustment mechanism on the bridge is very rusted. The bridge would surely need to be replaced. The E-string screw on the bridge pickup is completely rusted. That's not a good sign for pickup health, though it sounds okay when played. The other pickup screws look a bit tainted. I assume if I opened it to look at the wiring it would be a sad sight. The neck plate is in good condition but the plate screws are so worn that I doubt a screwdriver would bite. The neck has obviously been off and on quite a lot. Owner is asking $600.

    My questions for you experts:

    What is this bass really worth?

    Is this vintage violin bass worth spending the money to fix up?

    Where on earth do you get replacement parts?

    What do you think?
  2. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    I'm not an expert but I wouldn't pay over $400 offer $300. ITS AN IBANEZ! Was like 69.95 new. How is it worth 6 bones now? It isn't.

    Rusted pup screws mean nothing, just brush the rust off and squirt some Deoxit on them.

    Take the bridge apart and put the metal bits in some pb blaster or similar to soak. Separate the parts, brush the loose corrosion off. Let them soak. Dry them off. Reassemble.

    Scratch plate clips are easy to find, you'll likely have to mod it a bit to fit. Or get some stainless sheet and make one.

    The binding can be stabilized with careful use of CA glue. Cracks are patina so as long as it isn't falling off it's fine.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
    vmabus likes this.
  3. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Dec 25, 2007
    Gastonia, NC
    Without benefit of pics and further model information, $600 might be a little steep. Try EBay's completed and/or sold listings and Google the model etc. However, the binding and the rust, those are insignificant problems. Rust is easily handled. Oftentimes, just a wire brush attachment on your drill will buff most, if not all of that away. Combine with what 96tbird said, should be no problems.
  4. No. Just no.

    If you want to learn bass, do the sensible thing and buy one of the common, reliable starter basses available. My first was a Yamaha RBX 170. It was rock solid and only $150 bucks new. I sold it later for the same amount.

    If you buy that pile-o-problems, you'll only regret it and risk turning yourself off playing the instrument. Worse, you'll mourn the laughable hole in your wallet.
  5. Way too much money. heck you can get a used Guild Pilot, (one of the most underrated basses of all time) in mint condition for between $300 and $400!
    bassthumpersf likes this.
  6. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I agree, and I'm a fan of basses from that period. The violin bass is cool, but don't put yourself through the hassle. There are many really good basses out there used for a LOT less than $600.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  7. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    $600??? Uh.....NO! Even in mint condition, I wouldn't pay anywhere near that.
  8. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan. Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    Thomas Kievit, mongo2 and vmabus like this.
  9. Mvilmany


    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    The price seems very steep. If the bass was in perfect condition then yes, $600 would be reasonable considering that older ibby's are starting to be collectable. But if it needs work, then definitely no.

    Also, if you're new to bass from guitar, welcome. I, myself was a guitarist for years before falling in love with and switching to bass.

    One thing: you mentioned "neck dive". Deal breaker for me.
  10. GaryCorby


    Dec 11, 2014
    Message received and understood. Shall give it a miss. Thanks for the wise words.

    I shall continue the educational hunt. Everything else I've looked at is stock standard new off the shelf. For your amusement, my favourite at the moment is the G&L L-2000, which sounds awesome. I'm less keen on the 34" scale though. Maybe it's my utter lack of technique, but 30" seems a happy length to me. The others on my list are the Ibanez SR800 and the disconcertingly small Mikro Bass that feels and sounds way better than its price tag.
  11. Nothing really wrong with a good short scale, though you might get a funny look now and then or "size matters" type comments.
  12. Unless you just happen to have very dexterous fingers, the "five fret stretch" is something learned with time. I started on the RBX170, but moved on to a contemporary series Hofner Club Bass. Again, 30". Never think of short scale as lacking, it's just a different instrument. Over time I needed a 34" for added sustain, but that's dependent upon you.

    Keep looking. Everything you mentioned in your last post is a well-received instrument that would serve you well. Also important, keep reading and feel free to ask questions. There's a wealth of knowledge on this site and many are willing to share.
  13. GaryCorby


    Dec 11, 2014
    Thanks guys!
  14. look at the Squiers ss versions. good players. Small price tags. If you like viola basses look at used Epiphones. About $225 on most boards well made too
  15. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    When in doubt, get a simple, passive, solid body, bolt on neck 4 string bass (there is a reason there are lots of Precisions and P clones out there). Make your life easy. You can always get a project later.
    iiipopes likes this.
  16. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    I'd strongly recommend against learning bass on an instrument with a serious neck-dive problem. You'll quickly develop bad habits in both your fretting and plucking hands from having to keep the bass in position.

    Better choice: a brand new Squier, either P or J. Cheap and serviceable. Try a few out at a music store.
  17. telecopy


    Dec 6, 2009
    And, why no.. drumroll... PIC!
  18. GaryCorby


    Dec 11, 2014
    All good advice. Which I will take! Thanks.
  19. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    This is the reason why the Squier Affinity Bass Pak is a Precision clone. Set up, tune up, play.
  20. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    This is the reason why the Squier Affinity Bass Pak is a Precision clone.