March 2016 | Bench Press Newsletter

Basses Loaded

Our long-time, super star customer Dave had a 71 P-Bass that had been sanded, poorly painted and left without a real purpose. But then Dave had a vision. Being a Giants’ fan of the highest order, he decided to have it redone in a Giants’ tribute style. Once we gave it a look over, it was apparent that the project wasn’t just going to be a pretty new paint job. The bass would need a full restoration to make its look and playability worthy of the team’s colors—refinish, refret, as well as replacing the nut, hardware, pickup and electronics.


My first order was to strip the bass and get it ready for refinishing. Before we sent it, I planed the fingerboard on the Plek, then installed and beveled the frets, which are Jescar 47104 Nickel. I like to install the frets before necks go for finish so the fret ends are finished over, and the neck has a nice, clean look.


Dave decided on a Giants orange body in nitro, matching headstock with a period correct waterslide, and a gunstock oil neck shaft and fingerboard. Steven at Southbound Custom does most of our refinishing these days, and his work is stunning. The body and neck needed some sanding and sculpting to undo some of the old work, which Steven handled. He really hit this one out of the park.


I wired the pickguard and installed the pickup. Not a complicated wiring job, but as always, clean and tidy. The pickup is a Seymour Duncan Antiquity, which just nails that vintage tone. Dave didn’t specify a tone cap, but I decided to use a .022 Orange Drop. Just made sense somehow…


I shaped the nut and polished the frets. It has a narrower nut than many P-Basses, almost like a J, which I find more comfortable. During the final setup, there were a few curve balls, but nothing major. The neck needed to be shimmed to create the proper angle to the body, and the pickups needed some extra foam to reach the height needed for great tone. When all was finished, it felt solid, and sounded like you’d expect a vintage P-Bass to sound.

 “He hits it hard ... he hits it deep ... it is ... OUTTA HERE!"  


I love when clients come in with a clear vision to change an instrument into one that better fits their personality or playing style, and we work together to make it happen. If you have an old instrument laying around, get creative and dream something up for it. You just might turn it from a dust collector into your favorite instrument.