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The cheapest bass I've ever purchased...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TimBosby, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    So I found a 1991 Korean-made Ibanez EX Series bass locally for $25. Which, despite the fact that it had been dropped and has a nice chunk taken out of the wood around the input jack, was still a killer deal. Still plays just fine. Just like the first bass I ever owned back in 1994, but mine was a PP fretted and this one is PJ fretless conversion.

    I couldn't resist a $25 bass, and promptly cleaned her up and went out and bought strings... for $27...haha. The de-fretting job is not the prettiest, but overall the board feels smooth and anyone who knows these things knows the necks are thin and fast.

    I want to "change" the appearance of the bass but I don't feel like attempting to strip and sand the finish. Even though it is pretty banged up and I'm not a HUGE fan of black, I was thinking it may be easier to change out and upgrade the hardware. So I'm thinking maybe black 'n gold? I could replace the tuners, bridge, strap buttons with gold ones. Give a little class to an old beater. My question is...what to buy? I believe the tuners are Gotoh but I don't know. The bridge? Would a Badass fit I wonder? I'd like to put a Hipshot D-tuner on too if possible.

    Also thought about changing out the pickups... I love creme DiMarzios.. give this point black metal bass more of a vintage vibe. It's kind of hard to find P/J sets though. It is a passive instrument so no preamp to worry about on this one... and I'd prefer to keep it that way for this particular bass

    Pics attached (I have since attempted to paint over the cracked area by the input jack.. once the paint dries I'll try to smooth it out as best I can with super fine grain sandpaper or steel wool)

    Your thoughts and suggestions are much appreciated... I've never done this before so I'm really wanting to turn this $25 junker into something that can be pretty damn cool!

    Attached Files:

  2. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Couple more pics.

    Attached Files:

  3. thats crazy for $25

    nice lunch for 2
    or a new bass!
  4. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Hahah I know... after getting the bass I went over to Schlotzky's to get some sandwiches/chips/drinks for dinner for my wife and myself... $17 for that. Hahahah... $8 less for a fast food dinner than a bass...:D

  5. That's stellar! I thought I had a deal when I bought my fretless SX Jazz for $130!
  6. Gintaras


    Dec 11, 2004
    Kent Island, Md.
    I have had my share of inexpensive basses and just got a Squier Affinity precision with hard shell case for $50.00 First thing I always do is add a couple coats of Stewart McDonald shielding paint in the cavities and then change out the pots with CTS models. I have always noticed a difference in sound with new pots on inexpensive basses. Also decent strings is high on the list. I am waiting for my pots to arrive and have a set of DR Sunbeams sitting around that are going on my Squier.
  7. christle


    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    First off, congrats on this steal!

    I think a D-tuner would be good, but I would also change the entire set to match and use ultra-lights. As far as color goes I am partial to gold with black or black-chrome with black (not regular chrome). I think that would look sharp. I think sticking with black pups would be better regardless of the hardware colour you choose. The cream would conflict with gold (IMO). At $25 for the bass you could afford to strip it down. If the wood is decent and you can fix the damage piece you might even be able to go with a natural finish with little effort.

    That is just so cool!
  8. Bassman316


    May 27, 2008
    Longs, SC
    Dude.... major points on the ridiculous score! Chunk of wood missing or not, that's just plain crazy!! $25?!? Congrats!!!
  9. Just got an '84 Peavey Patriot with hard plastic case for $50. Needed a new output jack and pickguard(Still waiting on it, I made a temporary out of a piece of surplus smoked plexiglass). Adjusted the trust rod and put on a spare set of strings. Plays and sounds great.
  10. Sufenta

    Sufenta Trudging The Happy Road of Destiny

    Mar 14, 2002
    The Signpost Up Ahead.
    Dano DC. $245. Sold it for $250.:)
  11. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I had my Ric 4003 stolen after a show and needed a playable / giggable bass on the cheap ASAP.

    I went to the local mom & pop and played every sub $400 bass. I left with a dark blue EX with a PP as well. Great bass, nice neck and great tone.
  12. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    The advantage of black basses is you can touch up paint problems with a sharpie. From the audience, it is hard to tell.

    It looks like somebody probably dropped it on the plug. That is one of the big disadvantages of the jack through body.
  13. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Yeah, you're right about cream. I may swap out the pickups for something though. Not sure what.

    I'm starting to have all sorts of ideas flying through my head for this bass. Partially strip finish and re-finish in "cosmic black" sparkle? Fill the fret gaps with wood filler and have the fretboard coated in epoxy?
    Hmm. Some would say not to dump money into a beater but I say hell, upgrades are fun.

    Of course I am pretty much useless at handiwork and generally pay other people to do things for me. Wondering if there are any affordable guitar refinishers that TBers have gone to? Also... are there any affordable alternatives for fretless epoxy jobs other than HG Thor? Some place without a huge waiting list? I know there was a guy down in Texas that would do it for $200 but even that is pretty steep.

    Also... what to use to fill in the fret gaps? Surely there is some kind of rosewood colored filler out there....

  14. christle


    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    All I can say is have fun! You should hang out in the Luthier and Setup forums. You will get lots of advice there.
  15. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Hmm. Looking at some of the black sparkle Darryl Jones Lakland and Musicman basses on these forums. They look really cool.

    Anyone know anyone who could convert a scraped and scratched black finish into a shiny new "black sparkle" finish?
  16. picked up a squire P for 30 bucks w/ case last weekend

    pretty happy with it
  17. amimbari


    May 6, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    the cheapest bass I have is a 99 Samick AS-5. I got it for 60 bucks from C.L. fine player and although I won't be putting too much into it for new pup's etc, for what it is, it sounds good and is in perfect condition.
  18. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    I kind of went overboard tonight and bought the following for it:

    Gold Gotoh 201 4 String Bass Bridge
    Gold Neck Plate
    Gold Deep Panel Stereo Jack
    Gold Schaller Straplocks
    Gold Gotoh tuning machines (4)
    Gold volume/tone knobs with "black pearl" inlays (3)
    Brass slotted nut
    Gold pickup mounting screws (8)
    and a set of EMG PJHZ Passive Bass Pickups (PJ) - I debated between active and passive for a while then decided on passive because they were cheaper and it'll be nice to have another bass without needing a battery.

    I just hope everything fits! But I did take as many measurements as humanly possible and compared them to the things I bought per their spec sheets.

    I've got a guy lined up to fill in the fret gaps and coat the board with superglue/polyurethane as well as repair the cracked jack.

    So all in all my $25 bass is going to end up being more like $525 after all parts and labor but hell it'll be my own custom creation..sort of..hahah
  19. GreaserMatt


    Sep 4, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    My $25 "parts bass": SX jazz. Handed to me in 2 pieces. I got home & bolted the neck on the body & started rockin'...


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