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SX Bass Idea

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Greg Johnsen, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    Hey guys, I'm not sure if my parents will let me do this yet, but if they don't I can always pull out my good grades and I hope that they'll see that this is actually educational as well as fun.

    I plan to buy an SX Black Jazz bass and hot rod the heck out of it. I would do a total overhaul and only keep the neck and body. I plan on having around a 600 dollar budget but with the prices I have now, that won't be necissary (sp.?). I love the way all black basses look, and I plan on making an SX into one. I will get high quality pickups and hardware to replace the existing parts.

    The parts:
    SX SJB-62 (black)-$120
    Seymour Duncan Basslines Quarter Pounder Jazz Pickups-$110
    Gotoh Bridge for Jazz Bass (black)-$50
    Gotoh Vintage Reverse Tuners (black)-$95
    Black Jazz Control Plate-$18
    3-Ply Black Jazz Pickguard-$20
    Black Strap buttons-$3
    Black Chicken Head knobs-$6(I've always loved those...)
    Black String Tree-$3
    Standard wiring kit for jazz bass (wire and pots included)-$16
    Black Pickguard Screws-$7
    Black Neck Plate-$8


    These prices came from Rondomusic.net and guitarpartsresource.com

    I know how to solder, and the pickups come with a wiring schematics, and I am aware of how those are, so wiring will not be a problem, and if I need help I can always ask my dad.

    One of the thibgs I need help deciding with is should I sand off the finish on the headstock and repaint it black to match the bass? I've never painted anything like the before and I really don't want to screw up and make this bass look cheap. Should I ask a professional to do it for me? (give them the neck while I work one the body)

    Also, What size peg holes are in the SX headstock? The tuners (like many others) require a 11/16 inch hole, and I want to make sure there is a perfect fit.

    Should I spend 10 more dollars and buy a tort pickguard? or should I keep with the black? I love black on black AND tort on black...

    Is it worth it to get black hardware or should I save money ($66) and get chrome hardware? I care about the looks but the quality of sound and feel comes first, and I know I'll be proud of the bass as longas I finish it...

    I'd appreciate any help, and if you see any problems with the hardware or electronics I'd love to hear your reccomendations on how to fix the problem.

    The reason I'm asking everything so early before I start the project is because I want to have everything figured out before I start so everything will go as smoothly as possible.

  2. Sounds like a plan to me. Everything there is a fit or near fit. The pickguard will have to be massaged into place but by taking your time with the right sharp tools or abrasives, you can do a clean job. Wait and see what you get for a neck on the J. I just bought a new P and a new J and they both have nicely figured, tightly grained necks. You might want to leave it alone if it's pretty enough. But if it's fer sure then you'll have to get it off because it's a poly (of some far eastern mixture - very bad, very bad) and nothing will stick to it. If you don't want to paint, consider buying a roll of Black Baron film or something similar used in building RC planes. It's a heat applied mylar film that's only about 1.5 mils thick and perfectly colored. The adhesive activates at about 200º and it will stick well to wood. You can get it at the good hobby shops. Try Cobb Parkway. Be prepared - you'll be getting a roll that will do 54,682 headstocks if you nest them right but it should cost less than $20. The idea would be to pull the film tight over the face of the headstock and then use a heat gun or small iron to apply it to the face. Once it's stuck and smooth, you can trim it off the sides with a razorblade and then clearcoat over it with a spray poly. Build, build, build with the coats until they are thick enough and cured enough to polish and you're done.
  3. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    Thanks Hambone, will I be able to right on the adhesive? I wanted to put my signature in silver ink on the headstock because I kind of wanted to make it a signature bass just for me.

    Well, I'm glad you think everything will fit, I have files, a dremel, and lots of sand paper, so the pickguard probably won't be a problem.

    thanks again.

  4. I think you should be able to use one of those type of pens on it. You'll certainly have enough to test on! If the pen doesn't work, just fall back on a waterslide decal on the black. Use white paper and make white or colored lettering with a black border and apply.
  5. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    ok, sounds good! I just hope my parents agree with me on this one, because I know for a fact that this will be cheaper than my buying a new 4 string bass, and this will have everything that I want in it, making it the best choice IMO. If there hasn't already been many successes with these basses, I'd probably look away, but because many people have created awesome basses from these, I know mine should turn out well.

    do the prices of the parts I'm getting seem reasonable or have you guy's seen cheaper?

    And what about the pickguard, black or tortoise?

  6. My $.02...

    Black pickguard would look best on a completely blacked out bass. Including hardware. In my opinion, not much looks cooler than a pure black anything, be it a guitar, a car, or lingerie... ;) :p

    However, on the other end of the spectrum, the tortouise would look so superb with chrome hardware. If you have any question about that, there's a music video (Time To Waste ) from Alkaline Trio, that sports a black jazz, maple neck w/ black block inlays, and chrome harware and a tort pg. Looks fabulous.

    Black headstock, could be easily done with a black can of spray, no problem. Just make sure you take even moderately pased passes about 8 inches away from the object. Do as many as you need, I find 3 coats usually looks best. Apply any graphics, ie. signature, decals, w/e. BTW, I think a paint pen from a hobby shop would work well for your signature. Perhaps even a silver Sharpie, I'd put my money on the paint pen though. Then apply your clear, either gloss (shine) or satin (flat)

    Other than that, I think you got one helluva a project on your hands, and I wish you the best of luck with getting it by your parents.

  7. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Just remember, though- the project doesn't exist until you post pics! :) We need proof!
  8. TBL brings up a major point - if you strip the headstock and repaint, you don't really have to worry to awfully much about the quality of the paint application. Just get good coverage without trash and bubbles. The real looks are achieved with the clear coat. If there's a run in the black, you'll be sanding it down smooth and you can recoat the black as many times as needed until you get it right. Then the clear will go on the same way. Trust me - you can use the Minwax Clear Poly in a can and it will give you as hard a poly finish on top as an automotive finish but you'll have to let it cure longer. You'll sand and polish the clear coats and they'll look great. Black is pretty forgiving under a clear because light doesn't show up imperfections in the paint surface - only in the clearcoat surface.
  9. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    cool, and thanks for the idea. Spray paint is relatively cheap and there's alot in the can, so this should work, and I'm sure my local walmart has a clear poly in stock, or I'll just go to a sherwin williams or something of that sort.

    I'm really starting to have GAS for this because I know that if I am allowed to do it, I'll be able to and it'll look awesome.

    Has anyone heard anything about gotoh straplocks? I the way they look and I can figure out how they work, I just need to know if they're reliable because I want to have most of the hardware like that from the same company for unknown reasons, I'm weird like that...

    Has anyone ever tried gotoh reverse tuners? Should I go with hipshot or are gotoh the same quality? I have sealed gotoh's on ym 6er right now, and I absolutely love them, they keep their tuning forever and they are very smooth, and I hope the same will be for the vintage tuners.

    how big are chickenhead knobs? will they fit on the control plate and have room to turn easily or will they be to big?


  10. I use the Gotoh straplocks. They've held up fine and are a quality piece. I've used both the black and the gold. They release by twisting the knob on the strap. Go for it.

    I also have 2 sets of the Gotoh reverse tuners. Probably better quality than Hipshot (ain't blasphemy great?) They are miles above Schaller and Fender and they are a better vintage match than any of the aforementioned. Go again.

    Most of the chickens I've seen would probably fit but be crowded. You'll have to find the exact ones and see.
  11. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    ok, I was recosidering the knobs too, I'll probably go barrel knobs or jazz knobs, I'll be fine with both.

  12. Cerb


    Sep 27, 2004
    I like that... massaged into place. I'm going to have to use that phrase one of these days. It sure beats "Smack it hard with a soft hammer so as to not scratch the finish." :D
  13. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    lol...I'll try, and I'll mod the guard if I have to a little bit.

    Has anyone had any experience with gotoh bridges? Especially the high mass ones? Are they as good of quality as the BadAss bridges?

    I've been looking at other pickups, and I can't decide on if I should stay with the quarter pounders, or go classic series bartolini, or got hotstack basslines, or even atiquity II's...

    What would you pick if you were trying to get:

    Warm dark sound, a little vintage sounding, great range, and good quality?

  14. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    hmm, I've been looking more closely at the hot stack pickups by semour duncan, and they've intrigued me. The seem to be able to go to parallel, series, and in or out phase. I personally don't know what they mean but I do know that it's a lot of options, and they aren't too much more expensive than the quarter's.

    if I get the hot stacks, will I need 2 switches, like an on-on-on for each pickup to work these pickups? Or should I just stick with the quarter's?