Fast forward a few months and I got into playing bass (again) and I was gasing for a p-bass...
So I pulled out the hofner and started messing around to see what it would take to get her playing again :
1. Refurbed the tuners, I could find the missing two ferrules from the UK at 15GBP...each! So I made some sleeves for the two missing ones out of a golf club shaft - not pretty, but they work.
2. Checked out the neck. Truss rod was a little stiff, but some patience + valve oil and she adjusts easily now. Nut was fine, frets were worn, so a quick n nasty level and crown along with a strip and refinish of the fretboard was in order. I'll have to go back and pay some more attention to the frets, I missed a few spots =(.
3. The bridge...the biggest part of the build was figuring out how to get the bridge to work on this bass. Eventually I thumbsucked that 5mm was about the height I needed to raise the bridge (original two plastic plates were 7mm). My mate Paul cut me a piece of steel - which with a touch of tweaking worked like a charm. During the test fit the bridge lifted when I was tuning up - noticed that holes were skew, probably for the original tailpiece bridge. Not gonna work for this one, so filled and re-drilled.
Now about the "finish"...I never intended on refinishing the bass. I had a feeling it was far too much like hard work. And I was right. At least four re-finishes in it's past!
From what I can find on the net, she was probably a sunburst finish originally. I reckon it had a lots of play, had some touch up's in brown and then someone went and stripped her and did a really through refinish in white. Then a nasty rattle can job in green and finally the crappy black rattlecan spray job.
In my defense, I did NOT intend on a 'relic'. I just pulled out some scraper blades and investigated what lay under the paint. A week later there was only one option, get creative. Some of the relic'ing existed before I started, hidden under the white paint. As I pulled up the paint it was interesting to check out the wear patterns - the neck was very nicely worn. The body not so much, but I think that's because the white refinish was a bare wood refinish on the body (but not the neck - weird).
To get the aged look - a combo of tea, vinegar and steel wool was used as a "chemical stain" and finally it was 'sealed' with coconut oil for that greasy & used look. I'm very happy with the way the neck came out - I'm still deciding if I like the front of the body - there's a art to how much tea (tannin) vs how strong the vinegar/steel wool solution reacts. Basically, the more tannin = darker aging. It's gone a bit darker than I intended and is continuing to darken after two weeks. If I want, it's real easy to strip the bare wood and try a lighter solution - two hours from start to finish.
Applying some tea. First of four coats, next time I reckon one or maybe two is enough.
Left to right : Before aging, after aging, after waxing
Some idea's are just bad...