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Jazz Bass Makeover 2013 (-2021)

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Ok, here I go again. This time to update my 1978 Fender Jazz Bass.
It’s not the first time I have done so. Around 1988 (I don’t remember exactly when) I decided to replace the neck with a fretless neck. I was serving in the US Navy in the Print Shop on an aircraft carrier based in Norfolk, VA.
A friend of mine, a fellow sailor, took me to Virginia Beach Guitar Shop (I don’t think they are still around – at least not at the same address). They gave me a catalog to search through and I fell in love with this all-rosewood neck. It was beautiful.
To make a long story even longer, I installed it using the original Fender hardware from the old neck and lost the original neck in a storage locker debacle.
I came to cherish that neck and played it in bars, back yards and garage bands for many years as my primary bass. Most people that heard it didn’t really know what a fretless bass was until I explained it to them.
While living in Augusta, Maine in 2002, I decided to refinish the body, as it had some severe cracks in the original Fender thick clear finish.
That resulted in the dark “walnut” body color that you see in the first few pics.

I am now going to attempt to match the neck color and body color.
I am also refinishing the neck and adding my new “Ish Custom” logo. Originally, I had a “graphic artist” (in the 80s, before computer-generated graphics were prevalent) paint the logo I created on the headstock and he then used stick-on letters for the word “CUSTOM” as you can see in the pics. I wasn’t overly happy with it, but it was already done, it was mine, and I had already taken too long and been too meticulous with details. I wanted to play it!
Another revision is to replace the “nut” on the bass. This is a bar that the strings go over at the headstock and defines the end of the playable string. I am removing the white ‘bone’ nut that is there now and replacing it with a black “teflon-impregnated” nut.
Essentially I want this bass to match the way I refinished the P-Bass, but with darker wood and black finishes instead of the lighter wood and white materials.
Well, without further ado, well maybe a little more ado…
Okay, after a long break between the dis-assembly, stripping and sanding stages and now…

Staining has begun on the body.

Matching the neck and body colors. Back and forth. Back and forth.

I think I’m getting close.


Ok, my OCD got the best of me and I couldn’t match the colors as close as I wanted. Today, 1/22/2017, I decided to give it another try.


After sanding it,
I put the neck in place to show what I needed to match.
– and !voila! The answer presented itself.  Now working toward finishing it like this:



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