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neepheid

neepheid's Precision-Jazz-Ray-whatever else

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Spur of the minute, I recently picked up a body and neck on eBay. According to the seller, the bulk of the body is "something akin to basswood" and they couldn't recall what the top is made of. The neck is a Mighty Mite Precision copy.





Anyway, I'm in the process of sanding the original finish off, which was patchy and no good, despite appearances in the photos above.



That's it down to 400 grit all over. Will likely do an 800 grit pass before thinking about finishing. My dad has recommended french polishing. I do want a clear finish that will show the nice grain of the wood. What do people generally use?

As far as hardware is concerned, was thinking about using a Hipshot bridge and through body stringing. Pickups are (obviously?) going to be single coil Jazz style in the bridge and a Stingray style in the neck. Will need to do some swotting up regarding wiring.

Anyway, hope to keep you informed as things progress.

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Slow progress due to a wedding reception at the weekend, but the sanding has progressed to 600 grit and I acquired a random jazz pickup to have an idea of how things will look. Still doing research on finishes. Still wondering about pickups - thinking about Bartolinis, unless anyone has any other recommendations?

Link to pictures (so as not to clog the thread with pics of a very small difference) - [url="http://www.wheeee.org/?i=544"]http://www.wheeee.org/?i=544[/url]

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I think maybe the end of this got lost in the transfer to the new site, but here is progress thus far:



Bridge is mounted, and the holes for through body stringing are being drilled tomorrow - have managed to locate a vertical drill stand. My machine heads (Schaller BMFL) are in a DHL van somewhere in town as I type.

Found an inexpensive 2EQ active circuit - the Artec SE2 ([url="http://www.thomann.de/gb/artec_se2_basselektronik.htm"]linky[/url]) so I think I'll use that for my wiring.

Going with speed knobs, have hedged my bets and ordered a set of amber and a set of gold, as I'm not sure how dark the wood is going to end up after finishing.

Once this weekend's drilling is complete, that should be all the holes bored. Then it's time to stop bashing the wallet and do some finishing. Next month can take the hit for pickups/electronics/strings.

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Some developments over the weekend:

Through body stringing - got a shot of my uncle's vertical drill stand, it would have been hopeless to try and do something like this by hand and expect decent results. As it happens, maybe one hole (the leftmost one in the picture) is a little down from the others, but doing this to an already shaped and contoured body isn't the easiest thing in the world, so I'm pretty pleased with the results.



Seeing as that's all the hole drilling done on the body, I've started to do some finishing. Decided to go with french polish (shellac), and it's looking not bad so far, imparting a honey-like glow to the light wood of the back and really bringing out the grain in the top.



2 applications of polish done, I'm going to try for 4 tonight, let it dry overnight then see how it's looking.

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It's all in the link. I won't repeat myself, but suffice to say I made a schoolboy error.

[url="http://www.wheeee.org/showallnews.php?n=554"]http://www.wheeee.org/showallnews.php?n=554[/url]

I think I've just about saved the day.

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[quote name='bassmonster' post='256848' date='Apr 25 2007, 05:53 PM']looking good, the ding you might be able to get that out with a soldering iron and a damp cloth, depending on how big/deep it is....if not it adds character to the bass.[/quote]

Thanks for the comment. I've decided to leave it, I sanded out the worst of it and got creative with regard to the big bash. Steaming wouldn't have worked on it as the fibres of the wood were broken :)

All in all, a reminder to BE MORE CAREFUL in future.

Another french polishing session last night, more tonight.

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[quote name='slaphappygarry' post='257191' date='Apr 26 2007, 02:20 PM']OOfty, that must have been a heart stopping moment.

What sort of french polish are you using? The body is coming out really well.

Garry[/quote]

I'm cheating and using Colron (posh Ronseal) French Polish that you can easily find in your local B&Q. Perhaps one day I'll be cutting my own shellac but until that day I'll go with the premix.

I'm surprised at how "varnish-like" it's becoming, and quickly too.

Neck's being done tonight.

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[quote name='7string' post='257423' date='Apr 27 2007, 01:55 AM']Looks a darn sight better than my attempts at re-finishing !!

It's going to be darn preedy !![/quote]

Thanks, I'm quite pleased with it so far. Dunno if I'll get it looking like a grand piano, but it's pretty good nonetheless. I'm thinking about dulling the neck down with steel wool for a more satin like finish, I think it'll feel better when playing than the current gloss.

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I've started to fit some of the bits and bobs now (machine heads, string ferrules, strap buttons etc.), so it's starting to actually look like a bass. Waiting for another couple of layers of french polishing to dry on the body, so I thought I'd take some pictures.

Eye candy here: [url="http://www.wheeee.org/main.php?i=557"]http://www.wheeee.org/main.php?i=557[/url]

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Professional french polishers cringe now. A couple of nights ago, I got so fed up with the quality of my french polishing that I took some T-cut to the front of it. I wasn't completely daft - I tried it first on the bit that the bridge was going on, so if it made a mess it wouldn't be seen. However, I was pleased to see it starting to shine up. Hard stuff, that shellac though. Took me 6 hours in total to shine up the front of the bass. What a difference!

One pickup is in place, the electronics are installed and the bridge is on. Not much left to do - waiting for the arrival of the second pickup, install pickup, get and install strings, perform setup.








Going to do some soldering tonight, then pace up and down until that pickup arrives. That's the price you pay for being tight and going the eBay route :)

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[quote name='slaphappygarry' post='261252' date='May 6 2007, 09:58 PM']Wow,

That looks amazing

:huh:

Think i need to get some french polish for my jazz finnish some time soon.

G[/quote]

Thanks man :)

I don't know if I would recommend the french polishing. It's a lot of work, and a steep learning curve. It remains to be seen if my T-Cut-ting has any side effects.

I'd definitely recommend having a go on some spare wood first. I was impatient, had a quick go on a scrap, thought "pah, no problem". 2 weeks later and I have to resort to "cheating" to get the result that I want.

Anyway, here's a quick electronics update:



Just the pickups to wire now. May day tomorrow, so probably no post. Hmph.

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Hmph. Pickup arrived today. And not much else. Pickup, two pieces of sticky backed foam, wiring diagram. No mounting hardware, despite being advertised "as new" in the auction. I can rig something up myself, but that's not the bloody point, is it?

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Well, it's mostly finished. Got the pickup mounted by stealing screws/springs from one of my other basses, finished the soldering, fitted strings, basic setup (I'm still quite green when it comes to this - particularly intonation). Great range of sounds available, from deep murk like a more defined version of my EB-3 from the stingray pup (all neck pup, 0 treble, 10 bass) to a bright twang from the jazz pup (all bridge pup, 10 treble, 0 bass). The higher output stingray tends to drown out the jazz when you blend them, but hey ho.

Stuff left to do - play about with action and pickup height, do something about the godawful control cavity cover, get the bloody screws off the guy who sold me the stingray pup so that I can restore my AXL back to normal.

Photos soon.

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Well folks, I'm just about done. So I close off this diary with some pics :)













I've really enjoyed this project, but my better half has "suggested" that I should get down to playing some before embarking upon something new. Next time I want to do more for myself. I've made some mistakes, but that's what learning's all about. Hope you enjoyed following the project as it progressed.

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[quote name='slaphappygarry' post='265810' date='May 15 2007, 02:06 AM']Awesome man,

not a big fan of the knobs or the input jack choices but in all it looks great.

G[/quote]

Well the speed knobs were my little homage to Gibson, I did experiment with metal knobs but found that to be too much metal. What would you have used?

Unfortunately the Neutrik locking jack came already mounted on the body, so I had to go with it. I wouldn't have used it myself either, but hey ho. I don't think it would have looked so bad if the mounting plate was a little less industrial looking and jack release button wasn't bright red! As it stands, it's ugly but functional.

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[quote name='Bloodaxe' post='265821' date='May 15 2007, 02:49 AM']Lovely depth of finish. How have you gone about applying the polish - Rubber or Brush?

Pete.[/quote]

I made a rubber out of an old white t-shirt and cotton wool. It was hard work, and using the rubber alone I was unable to get the finish I wanted - looked like it was brushed on anyway. There's at least 12 layers of polish there, and numerous half layers that I cut back with fine steel wool (I was getting rather frustrated at this point and lost count :) ).

It seemed to be a case of glossy and uneven (after application with the rubber), or smooth but dull (after cutting back with steel wool). As I mentioned before, I ended up cheating and T-Cut-ting the surface. I am confident that shellac is hardy stuff - took me 6 hours of T-Cut-ting to get that shine, and that was only the face of the body!

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[quote name='slaphappygarry' post='266330' date='May 15 2007, 10:38 PM']Its weird. The knobs work well but the input jack is a very modern looking part by comparison. Sure you couldn't get it swapped over?[/quote]

I wish I could, but as it's mounted on the front with two screws and the body of the neutrik is a lot fatter than a normal jack, the only way to mount a normal jack would be to use a washer of some sort. Didn't fancy that for some reason.

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[quote name='neepheid' post='177' date='May 17 2007, 08:52 AM']Well the speed knobs were my little homage to Gibson, I did experiment with metal knobs but found that to be too much metal. What would you have used?[/quote]


How about wooden knobs?
[url="http://www.thgknobs.com/"]http://www.thgknobs.com/[/url]

Rich has some other maker's ones on his Shuker Jazz. They were very reasonable ...
[url="http://basschat.co.uk/index.php?s=&showtopic=2541&view=findpost&p=27037"]Rich's Wooden Knobbie Thread[/url]

Edited by OldGit

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[quote name='OldGit' post='76349' date='Oct 19 2007, 09:37 AM']How about wooden knobs?
[url="http://www.thgknobs.com/"]http://www.thgknobs.com/[/url]

Rich has some other maker's ones on his Shuker Jazz. They were very reasonable ...
[url="http://basschat.co.uk/index.php?s=&showtopic=2541&view=findpost&p=27037"]Rich's Wooden Knobbie Thread[/url][/quote]

Holy thread resurrection, Batman!

Ach, I like the speed knobs. I had some gold ones, but I'm glad I went with amber. I didn't even think of wooden knobs at the time but I do think they're pretty. I might well go with them for a future project.

I still haven't done anything about that godawful plywood control cavity cover yet :)

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sh*t MAN I LOOK THAT!!! seriously it came out better than i was expecting! (no offence but homebuilds are v hard:))


youve done wel mate! i seriously love the finish, its just right :)

i bet that thing sounds like a beast! very unusual pickup positions :huh:

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[quote name='cai!' post='82016' date='Nov 1 2007, 12:21 AM']sh*t MAN I LOOK THAT!!! seriously it came out better than i was expecting! (no offence but homebuilds are v hard:))


youve done wel mate! i seriously love the finish, its just right :)

i bet that thing sounds like a beast! very unusual pickup positions :huh:[/quote]

Thanks :huh:

Yup, quite pleased with the way it all turned out, considering it was my first bash at this building lark. It does sound good, wide range of sounds from the wildly different pickups through the 2EQ and blend. The only down side is that the jazz pickup does get drowned out in the mix quite quickly when you start to blend it with the mm, but apart from that I can't complain. It's comfortable to play, stays in tune, sustains well, can't really ask for much more.

Thanks again for the kind words.

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And yet another thread resurrection....

French polish and speed knobs ! a man after my own heart ;)

Nice work , its always good for someone to show us their efforts and this bass looks excellent. Never been a huge fan of plastic coated basses (unless a solid color)
Wood is always better when you cam actually touch it rather than a poly coated body.
T-Cut ? wonderful stuff, I mix it with polishing paste and use a lot of it.

Edited by Prosebass

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