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Manton Customs

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  1. Thanks @jebroad and everyone else who helped make it happen. Was a great day of bass chatting!
  2. Thanks for the mention. Feel free to send me a PM @jazzyvee if you’re still looking.
  3. It’s a reasonably common issue with the design of the Babicz. As you raise the saddle/cam it also moves the witness point backward and lowering it will have the opposite effect. So when you’re adjusting the action, you’re also altering the intonation to a fairly substantial degree also. If you were to raise the action on the E it would move the witness point backwards and increase your range of intonation adjustment. Give that a go (raise action on the E) and see if it does the trick. If it does, you can then shim the shim the neck to the point where your action is how you like it and your saddle is higher than it is currently.
  4. It’s the board shrinking, Rosewood and Ebony will do it more than (finished) Maple. Wood gains and loses moisture and the frets obviously do not, so it leaves sharp fret tangs and corners sticking out the side as the wood shrinks away from the frets. It can happen to basses of any price range and it’s just wood being wood. The chances of it happening can be minimised by making sure it never gets too dry in the room the basses are kept in, you want 40-50% humidity. Oiling the fretboard every 6-12 months or so can help as it acts as a barrier to stop the board sucking in moisture too fast or releasing it too quickly. But oil won’t actually add any moisture. As for the fix, sometimes as the board takes on moisture again it can swell and the fret sprout will be gone. However it might not swell to the exact same level, so might still leave a bit of sharpeness. Also if you get it sorted now, it shouldn’t happen again, as the board is probably already at 0% moisture content (too dry).
  5. If it's poly it's possible the finish is de-laminating and moisture is getting under the area the finish is not adhered properly to. If it's Nitro or Shellac, yes cloudiness can appear later on, but it usually looks a bit different to bloom when spraying. It can be caused by the finish itself absorbing moisture (not the wood) as Nitro never cures like Poly does. Cloudiness could also be caused by Silicone or Alcohol damage if you've been cleaning the guitar with anything.
  6. Loctite is a brand rather than a product - I presume you meant something like their epoxy metal putty? Regardless, that plan probably wouldn’t work very well. Gluing it straight and correctly wouldn’t be easy with such limited access. And to create access would make a mess. Even if you did manage to get it to bond successfully, I’d be concerned about it holding up long term. As it’s a double action rod, the only real guaranteed option is fretboard removal. Which really isn’t that big of a deal for someone with experience. Whip off fretboard, replace truss rod, glue back up and bam! But it would cost at least as much as the bass. Theres a slim possibility the truss rod could be pulled out through the access at the headstock. But it’d depend on the type of rod they used. You could try that first though.
  7. Hardware on The finished restoration! Thanks for watching, any questions regarding any of the process let me know.
  8. Here it is after wet sanding from 1000 grit to 2000 (1000, 1200, 1500, 2000) and then buffed using a DA buffer and compound, Menzerna is my preferred compound. You can buff by hand but you won’t get as good results on the large flat surfaces and some scratches always seem to remain visible in certain light. Whereas a buffer will completely remove them. I buff inside the cutaway and the smaller hard to reach surfaces by hand where you won’t have this problem. The workshop! A clear reflection with no haze, swirls or scratches it what you're going for. Here the finished neck after having some satin sprayed and new truss rod nut fitted.
  9. Time for some finish on the neck, I'll be using Nitrocellulose for both body and neck. I'll be spraying gloss to start with then finishing off with a few coats of Satin. This way you get a better depth of finish rather than just spraying satin. I spray a few coats to create a good base for the decal, then apply the decal to the correct spot - I traced the original location, so it ends up in the right place! After this the decal is buried in clear coat. Fretboard sprayed, there are till some traces of discolouration from the damage if you look very closely, but it blends nicely now and just looks like figure in the wood if you didn’t already know the story. Over to the body. I sprayed a coat of clear nitro to see what the state of things are, I could’ve skipped this step, but if I remember correctly I was thinking about using clear as the sanding sealer at this point. After the clear went on I decided to instead use a primer as there were still some bits which needed evening out and the grain was a bit more porous than I expected. It’s always a good idea to use primer really, it highlights areas which need attention, fills the grain in tight grained woods (Alder, Poplar, Maple etc) reasonably well and sands easily. It will usually result in fewer coats of colour and clear and a better finish. I used a grey primer, but didn't get a pic of this stage. Here the colour coats have been sprayed. You can't buy this colour, so I mixed it up using pigments. It was a colour used on the Squier Bullet basses and I believe they called it 'off white', but it's really more of an opaque butterscotch with a lot more yellow in it that any Olympic whites. I'll follow up with several coats of gloss clear - 3 passes = 1 coat, 3 coats a day for 3 days is the fool proof method for using aerosols. But I tend to lay it on a bit thicker with my gun setup, so I usually go for around 6 or 7 coats. Keep in mind Nitro is evaporative, so it will shrink dramatically after the first week as the thinners evaporate. After which you'll end up with a much thinner finish than it previously was. People think the vintage Fenders and Gibsons were sprayed very thin because that's how they are now...the reality is 50 years of off gassing and shrinking. In the first place they would've been much thicker. Back to the body after giving the lacquer 4 weeks of hardening up. I got a pretty decent final coat straight from the gun but in the right light you’ll see spray texture, so this needs to be wet sanded out. This is unavoidable, however the better your final coats the higher grit you can start with. I’m starting with 1000 grit for this one, I don’t ever go below 800... if I needed to go coarser than that I’d spray a better final coat. I’ve had to play with the lighting of the pic above as I wasn’t getting an accurate representation. The final pics show it more accurately. Looks pretty good from this angle, but with reflective light (below) you can see the texture mentioned above which will need flattening. The spray texture is deliberately exaggerated with the lighting here, so you can see it.
  10. Time to start rectifying these issues, the first stage was to strip all the finish off. Fortunately it wasn’t 2k paint so came off easily enough with acetone. Then lots of sanding to get rid of those huge grooves, also discovered it'd been burnt when the paint came off...poor bass! After this I re cut the roundover (the rounded edge) using the router to ensure accuracy all the way round. Stripped Edges re cut This was previously one of the worst areas (which I pictured in the previous post) now it’s all nice and smooth again! Over to the neck. Below I’ve defretted it and started sanding out the damage using a long sanding beam checking often with a radius gauge. Defretted and stripped. This was another issue - the chewed up truss rod nut. A replacement was ordered. This pic also shows the date of manufacture. This was kept and lacquered over Refretted! I hadn’t stripped the headstock face at this point as was waiting for the new decal to arrive...that way I can compare before committing to using it. New nut made and headstock now stripped. The nut slot also needed considerable chiselling to bring it back square on the bottom and sides.
  11. Thought this may be of some help for anyone restoring/respraying a bass, or at least be interesting. I was taking pictures throughout for the customer so thought I’d share them here. The victim is this Squier Bullet bass. These were made in Japan and are reasonably rare, this ones from 1984. Unfortunately some complete tool had tried to refinish this one and did way more damage than good. Still can’t figure out how it was possible to end up doing this, but we came to the conclusion the guy must have had a lot of anger in him! The neck was pretty battered but nothing you wouldn’t expect on an abused 36 year old bass. The body though had obviously been completely stripped with deep grooves on the flat surfaces and the rounded edges had been completely destroyed and flattened off (and very wavy also). Then they decided to give it a thick coat of off white paint over the top of all the damage. Here are some pics. I should've got some more pics of the edges, as pretty much every one was like the pic above...but you get the idea. Someone had attacked them with a big file and either didn't know how (or couldn't be bothered!?) to make them round again. Over to the neck - The frets weren’t too bad, but to address this damage and refinish, it needed to be refretted. There would be no way to remove the necessary material and keep a level plane without doing so. Someone had also tried to remove the nut at one point and shattered the wood above the nut, so the nut is twice the size it would’ve originally been. A previous owner didn’t seem to have access to a blank of the right size, so he glued two together...one of them brass for some reason. So here's the list of all the work which needed doing Body stripping and refinishing (Nitro) Refret Neck refinish and new decal New pickguard Pickup rewind Rewire with CTS pots Shielding of pickup cavities New Truss rod nut New string nut (bone) Threaded inserts in neck New control knobs Pics coming of the process.
  12. If you want to know if it’s Nitro just dab some acetone on an inconspicuous area. If it dissolves, it’s nitro....no need for any fire 🔥. Poly is impervious to acetone. That does mean that if it is Nitro you can strip in in about 10 minutes with acetone and a rag. Though I agree it doesn’t sound like Nitro based on what you’re describing. Nitro had also been phased out by the 70s on most mass produced instruments due to the fact it’s more labour intensive and less hard wearing than Poly.
  13. And has your tech tried adding a washer or two under the truss rod nut? That may be all that is needed to buy back some more adjustment. As mentioned above you might want to get someone else to look at it.
  14. It would depend on who did the work really. The only potential concern would be the block inlays, but the warp would have to be quite severe to risk going through those. No, the whole fretboard is planed in situations like this, you're probably thinking of correcting a ski jump when the last frets are levelled. Is the issue a twist, or has the truss rod just ran out of adjustment?
  15. Not really an issue, refinishing a fretboard isn't a huge job.
  16. This is what I’d do if I couldn’t solve it by another method (which I’d try first). Planing and refretting the neck would be guaranteed to work though as it’s letting the wood do what it naturally wants to do and not trying to correct it by forcing it straight. If it’s just the truss rod that has run out of adjustment that can be fixed without going this far though. Thats a very common problem on Fender necks.
  17. I make my own finishing oils, but thanks. What I was getting at is that it's far easier to spray a (decent) gloss than rub one. So what I do when it's a stock build and I have a choice, is to use oil when the build suits it (e.g natural woods which pop from oil) and my spray rig when gloss or paint is needed.
  18. There's a few things you can do to aid drying time, such as heating and air circulation, but after 8 weeks it's pretty safe to say it won't ever cure properly. It was probably caused by spraying it on too quickly without giving previous coats enough time to gas off (as suggested above), the instructions on the can are rarely accurate! Or it could be just a crap product in the first place, the British DIY type finishes really aren't usually up to much. The Poly on guitar and bass bodies these days is actually Polyester rather than Polyurethane but Polyurethane is used on some areas (often necks). However these are quite different than the stuff you get from a DIY store and use a (dangerous) catalyst to make them dry super hard. You could try wiping it down with some white spirit or lighter fluid (presuming it's the oil based poly) and see if it removes any of the tackiness. But if it's just soft rather than tacky I think you're going to need to strip it back unfortunately. Strip it back to bare wood and thoroughly clean any residue of the old finish, then get some Nitrocellulose aerosols which should give you decent results and are fairly user friendly. Alternatively if you're after a satin "woody" finish you could use something like Truoil or Danish Oil. But if you're going for a gloss, it's easier to get gloss out of an aerosol (Nitro) rather than these.
  19. Fall away is something that’s often done during fret levelling - basically the higher frets are uniformly ever so slightly shorter than the lower frets. On guitar it helps get rid of some buzz high up the neck and makes it less susceptible to choking. I like an extremely minor fall away, just a couple of extra strokes with the levelling beam over the frets which extend into the body. If it’s done right you wouldn’t know it’s there. Get carried away and it’ll move the buzz which you would have been getting on the higher frets towards the headstock direction.
  20. Fall away is not really relevant here as 4mm is on the extreme side, so you certainly don’t need fall away to bring that down to even half that. The benefits of fall away on bass are debated fairly often and it’s not as straightforward as “it’s better”. It makes a bit more sense on guitar, but the person doing it has to know what they’re doing, otherwise you can end up with a mess and effectively moving the buzz in the direction of the lower frets...which on a bass are typically used more. I’d start by lowering your action before thinking about removing the shim. If it won’t go any lower without lots of buzz you may have excessive relief which will cause buzz at higher frets even with higher action. Though really it sounds like it’d be well worth paying for a setup or checking out the Basschatter prepared to fix thread in the repairs section.
  21. Can we see a pic of the chip? Sometimes the best way to disguise a mark is to hide it in plain sight...eg make it look like a natural defect in the wood. I’d certainly rather go that route before painting quilted Maple. You could also consider a dark transparent finish, or a burst if it’s at an edge.
  22. Water is fine if you don’t use too much or get any in any unsealed holes. You can plug them up if you’re worried about it. Pre soaking has never really made a noticeable difference for me, but it wouldn’t hurt. Naphtha evaporates pretty quickly and is not very good for you. Something not a lot of people use (but works well) is olive oil. Provided you don’t use too much and you’re going to buff after (which will remove all traces of it). That’s not harmful and will not swell or crack anything. Buy good quality papers and they don’t clog very easily even when dry sanding. Halfords own is particularly crap, Klingspor and Norton (Halfords sell Norton also) are both good. I don’t use anything under p800 after it’s cured. Best to make your final coats of lacquer as good as possible to reduce on sanding and buffing, which in turn reduces risk of burning through and nasty scratches (which have a habit of remaining invisible until you get to your final grade of sanding!)
  23. As mentioned above, the body looks like it’s already been refinished, the original finish wouldn’t have worn/checked like that either. So you could do what you want with the body colour wise (within reason!) without detracting from the value anymore than the current refinish already has done. A body refinish would likely be somewhere in the £250-£350 range depending on the type of finish you go for.
  24. Your finish looks like Nitrocellulose lacquer based on the wear and heavy checking. As far as I’m aware, MM wouldn’t have been using Nitro in 79. I don’t think they’d spray a sunburst over an opaque base at the factory either.
  25. Sorry I’m not sure who you’re referring to about missing the point? The OP was talking about selling it, so people were posting potentially useful information regarding that in an effort to help. I totally agree that it’s a cool bass, well worth preserving and keeping as original as possible. It’d need to be put right in a sensitive way, which is perfectly doable. But the conversation looked like it had moved onto selling it.
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