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weird japanese sixties bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jj.833, Apr 3, 2019.

  1. I've got my hands on ca 1962 japanese Ibanez bass. It's ugly, beautiful, and sounds surprisingly fine unplugged as well as plugged. See pics, and if you are willing, please look at few technical questions below.

    I am trying to help this bass shine again, I'd be grateful for any advice. So far I found two problems:

    - the neck is glued from three pieces of wood (5 on the headstock, pic 2). Where the neck meets the body, there's a little cleft on the G string side suggesting that the glue is slowly giving way (pic 3). The cleft is about 30mm long, about 0.5mm wide on the body side. Is this a problem? Is there a way to repair it? Would I damage the bass, if I adjust the truss rod?

    - the bridge (pic 4+5) is clearly not a fender copy :) There seems to be no way of adjusting the height of the strings. Or, anyone having such a bridge, is there?

    I'll buy strings, clean the neck, check the frets and try to adjust the string height. Hopefuly the bass won't fall apart.
    JIO, MattZilla, Axstar and 9 others like this.
  2. RedVee


    Dec 24, 2014
    That’s beautiful.

    Sorry I can’t help with your questions.
    bassbenj and jd56hawk like this.
  3. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    J_Bass, RedVee, Ductapeman and 2 others like this.
  4. Yes, the catalogues say that they made this version from cca 1965. The bass in question is probably a few years older, I found it in 1962 catalogue.
    jd56hawk likes this.
  5. Cool bass. The bridge saddles can adjust down, with a file! :smug: Seriously, if there are no height adjustment screws, and there does not appear to be, you’d have to either file the slots in the saddle deeper or use a small shim at one end of the neck or the other depending on which way the string height needs to go.

    On the neck, is the crack just in the finish? If not, is it open and does it move or can it be forced (gently) open more? If it is open and will close with light clamping pressure or will open slightly with hand pressure then use an Xacto knife or something similar to clean the crack out, try to remove only dirt or debris, not wood. Then use a little wood glue or CA glue down in the crack and clamp it and let it dry.
    Beej, BrentD and jj.833 like this.
  6. It's not apparent from the photo, but of course, somebody adjusted the saddles with a file in the past. I'm afraid to do the same (by the way, the plastic looks bit waxy, like something from Marie Curie's lab). I'm thinking about having a locksmith make the same from metal; they are high enough to make them adjustable... if it proves neccessary.

    It's open, I'll try to measure the depth with a needle. Won't close slightly. Didn't try to open it more.

    Thanks for the input!
    nbsipics and Matt Liebenau like this.
  7. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    Unless the seam gets worse I wouldn't mess with it. The pocket walls ought to prevent further separation. As to the non-adjustable bridge, if you want to keep the bass completely original, shim the neck.
  8. That is why I suggested shiming the neck. A cut up piece of playing card in one end or the other of the pocket can make a big difference in string height.

    As @GretschWretch suggested, you could give the neck a little time and if the split doesn’t get any worse, don’t worry too much about it, just keep an eye on it.
  9. The bridge saddles are probably made of Nylon or Delrin. Looks like Delrin to me.
  10. MVE


    Aug 8, 2010
    Take those saddles to a machine shop and ask how much it would cost to cut from brass.
    Make them half as thick and add adjustment screws.

    You could also go to a 3D printer and just make a handful of them and keep filing and sanding till you get the strings where you want them.

    Those originals look like they might be dry and ready to crack and crumble like most 1960’s plastic parts Ive ever worked with.
    jj.833 likes this.
  11. mellowgerman


    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    I had an early 60's Goya bass some years ago that had the same bridge, same finish, and the same woodgrain (pretty sure it was solid mahogany). In regard to those bridge saddles, filing is the way to go. I went a hair to low on one of mine, but a little shim underneath the saddle was all that was needed to correct the height. Definitely file very carefully though! As MVE mentions above, they will crumble if you're not gentle
    jj.833 likes this.
  12. It's a beautiful bass. Congrats for the purchase! I can't help you but I hope your bass come back to life ASAP.
    RedVee likes this.
  13. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    i would leave the neck well enough alone, unless a problem actually exists. if not, you may make it worse.

    that bass has great character. i love the look.
    jj.833 likes this.
  14. nilorius

    nilorius Suspended

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    I think it should stay as it is, it's pretty fine and if you like the sound - go for the wine !!!
  15. mark roberts

    mark roberts Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    Great find in surprisingly good condition for it's age. I remember these from the time I lived in Japan during the mid'60's to early '70's. I remember they were pretty good sounding, too. I recommend using low tension strings.
    jj.833 likes this.
  16. put a new bridge on there, shim the neck as others suggested, hopefully the tuners hold tension OK, and crank it up!
    nbsipics likes this.
  17. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    The pup's are the same (at least looking) as were on my Decca's. Unless they have gone microphonic, I would expect some deep boom.
    jj.833 likes this.
  18. jd56hawk likes this.
  19. rashrader


    Mar 4, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    It’s got a bit of a BTB Vibe going on... :D
  20. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Are you able to o adjust the bridge for intonation?

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