Thoughts on how to make this bass look better

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Iofflight, Jan 29, 2018.

  1. Iofflight

    Iofflight Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2018
    So I bought an LTD ESP B4E with the intention of upgrading electronics (I'm putting some Barts in and an active passive Bart pre) and possibly the finish. It's a 5-piece neck-thru-body maple/mahogany neck and ebony fingerboard. I've seen pictures that make this bass look a lot better than mine does, with the grain showing through and not quite as dull looking. Given the way the stain is on this bass would it be hard to sand it off do you think? I do rather like the color on the backside of the bass. If the project seems too daunting I'm not opposed to taking it to the shop and having it done. I was just looking for more informed opinions than my own.


    IMG_3792.jpg IMG_3788.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
    JRA likes this.
  2. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    No suggestions here but I really like it just as it is.
    Reedt2000, Coolhandjjl and JRA like this.
  3. Iofflight

    Iofflight Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2018
    Thanks for your input. I don’t hate it. It’s b stock and the finish is a tad messed up it’s also a matte finish and I thought it might look better with a slightly more glossy/oiled stain. But admittedly I don’t know much about wood work, music less doing it to an instrument.
  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    do nothing (at least for awhile!) and rock it out. see if it grows on you...or not. that's my .02.

    i think it looks great! congrats on your new instrument! :thumbsup:
  5. wizerd


    Jan 5, 2012
    Prone to ranting, episodes of moral outrage.
    You might have to sand off a LOT of material to get all of that stain. Then you'll have to stain again to match the back. Respectfully suggest you fiddle with the PUPs if you want but leave the body as is. Nice bass BTW.
    Iofflight likes this.
  6. Iofflight

    Iofflight Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2018
    Thanks man. Okay yeah having to sand too far into the busy is not what I want which is why I’m asking.

    I’ve had it since sept. So not that long but since I was upgrading everything I figured now might be a good time address the finish while I was at it. It honestly is a really decent bass for the price, the build and wood are good quality. I don’t play rock or metal (more a disco, funk, House music person) which is another reason I’m changing out the electronics and pickups. I want a smooth, classy silky tone all the way though, I want her to sing like Barry White.

    I appreciate everyone’s feedback.
  7. EpicSoundtracks


    Mar 10, 2006
    Oakland, CA
    Lollar Pickups, Dunlop Strings
    the only thing that irks me are the fret dots! I really like everything else about it.
    Iofflight likes this.
  8. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Since you’re replacing the electronics, maybe some pickups with some fancy wood covers.
    Redirect Notice
    Iofflight likes this.
  9. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
  10. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Delicious chocolate top man. No improvement needed imo.

    However, if it is poly finished, you can buff the matte to gloss and the grain should pop more. If it’s oiled, wax will do the same.

    Edit. Website says it’s ebony wood top so it’s not stained, just chocolate. The manual says matte finishes clean with dry cloth so it’s matte poly there: you can polish it to glossy if you want 913C7573-EE9A-4020-BC9B-DEE343E07C5C.png
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
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  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Welcome to TalkBass!!!!

    Nice bass. I dig as is. But go nuts. It's yours. Have fun.
    Iofflight likes this.
  12. Iofflight

    Iofflight Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2018
    Yeah I thnk that would be a great idea. It keeps the intrinsic look but gives a bit more polish.
  13. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    See my edit above.
    Iofflight likes this.
  14. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Does the matte finish turn shiny where your hand / thumb rests? If so, I have a couple of ideas which are neither cost nor labor prohibitive.

  15. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    I agree with @96tbird. That's a veneer, not stain. You should be able to scuff the body a little and put gloss clear right over the satin finish and make that wood grain pop. A couple thin coats with a foam brush carefully done will do the trick. Alternatively you could polish it.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
    Iofflight likes this.
  16. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    IMHO Trade it for something you like.
    New electronics and finish won't add value to it.
  17. Iofflight

    Iofflight Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2018
    I may down the line if I find something I like better. It wasn't about adding value to it, it was about making it fit me a bit better when it is already fairly close. It really is a great bass ergonomically, the neck feels great and I actually really like the way it plays, I just wanted a slightly different, less aggressive tone out of it. The ESP SB-4 pickups have a bit of a harshness too them and so I decided to try changing it out as it isn't the sound I want overall. It's a very good solid bass. I have a fender jazz 5 string coming, I love those as well, the body is just bigger and it obviously plays and sounds differently.
  18. Iofflight

    Iofflight Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2018
    You know not that I notice but I tend to wash my hands before I play, sounds weird I know but I don't like going into the studio with greasy hands. But I'm sure it would make it shiny.
  19. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Just the mere skin contact is enough to buff a matte finish into a gloss sheen, cleanliness has nothing to do with it. This is best illustrated when someone rests his/her thumb on or proximal to a pickup. A super-fine cut polish may produce the same may want to try it on a small inconspicuous spot. I use 3M's Finesse-It II machine polish as it produces almost a "wet" look.

    Iofflight likes this.
  20. Cover or paint the neck through at the body to match the wings color.

    The sandwich/flag look is not good
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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