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The tale of Frankenbass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sleazylenny, Sep 18, 2002.

  1. sleazylenny


    Jun 20, 2002
    Mpls, MN
    A couple of years ago I was going through Music-go-Round up here in Minnesota when I found my soul mate. Up on the wall was a used P-bass. She was mistreated. Badly painted with a few unmentionable things done to her. I picked her up, played her and fell in love.

    "how much for this old P?"
    "That one? $450."
    "Do you know what year it is?"
    " '76 I believe."
    " I'll take it!"

    I don't know how to verify the age of this bass. I suppose there's something I could do with the serial numbers. If you know how, I'd like to know. The body is standard P dimensions, but the neck is pure Jazz, really thin. The yellowed headstock has an old school ( large letters) P-bass decal.

    Anyhoo, It had a Bart in the P position and a Dimarzio in the J position ( but, oddly, closer to the P pup than should be.) It had been badly painted with what looked like a can of cheap white spray paint. The first thing I did was strip it down and thats when I saw the rout and fill jobs. Some one had installed a J pup RIGHT NEXT TO THE BRIDGE, yanked it out, filled the hole, then rerouted and reinstalled it higher. I refinished the body with a light stain and oiled it ( looks tough, kinda weathered, a real rockers bass.) Then I replaced the dimarzio with a J-Bart, slapped on a badass II and had a friend rewire it so it had one knob, volume. I slapped on of those "mudflap" girls on the pick gaurd and christened her "The Bitch".

    Me and her have been through a lot. I broke the nut one day ( can't remember how) when I had a gig that night. I fashioned a nut out of stock aluminum, installed it and it worked great. But now I'd like to return her to her original glory, so here are my questions.

    I'm pretty good with my hands and can fix most stuff myself. I think my friend put the wrong volume pot in. What should I put in for volume and tone for the BArt ( I believe it's passive)?

    Do you think I shoud ditch the aluminum nut an put in a bone, or maybe other material?

    What is the best way to fill that ugly hole where I'll be removing the J pup? Should I route it out square and fit a piece of wood in there? Maybe I'll just leave it a PJ. If so, would the volume pots be the same for the J as the P? Where would I find the proper wiring diagrams?

    The neck, beautiful as it feels, has a lot of hacks and chips in the finish. Suggestions?

    Finally, she really needs a fret job. I'm fairly certain I can yank out and install new frets. What size wire would any of you suggest? I imagine I could have a luthier dress them after I install them. Or is this something I should leave to a pro. Any help would be appreciated.
  2. Talk to Leonard Shapiro (a/k/a Moses Oakland). His e-mail address is moses@tcis.com or look for his ad in the City Pages (Leonard Shapiro guitar repair) and call him. He does great work. You may want to talk to him before doing anything but especially the frets.
  3. extreme


    Mar 20, 2000
    ...or go talk to Johnny B at Brown's Guitar Factory. He really knows his stuff!

    John Brown
    7482 Concord Blvd
    Inver Grove Hgts, MN 55076
  4. sleazylenny


    Jun 20, 2002
    Mpls, MN
    Wish I could. No digital cam. I have a couple shots of me playing it I could scan in, but then basses "finer" features would be obscured by my ridiculous costumes.

    Like I asked before, does anyone know how to use those serial numbers to date this thing?
  5. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    FWIW I would just leave it PJ, I mean the body's already been routed for it twice, however the holes are covered it's never going to look or be original in the regard. The two pickups give you more options, so I'd just keep them in there. I would however take the time rewire the whole thing properly especially if you think the pot values are off.
  6. geoffzilla


    Oct 30, 2001
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification
    I have a franken PJ that currently has stacked volume and tone pots. I'm considering swapping out the stacked pots for straight volumes(2 volumes, no tones) Does anyone know how this might affect the tone of the bass? I don't want to do anything that might alter the tone adversley, but I never use the tones, and I think it would look cleaner.

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