Man “restores” bass bought for 5 bucks at a yard sale

FAIR WARNING: What you will watch below may make a few of you cringe a little…

…or maybe a lot. Or maybe so much that you’re going to comment and point out all the things wrong going on in the video below (such as using a pickup where the poles don’t line up to the strings at all), and that’s fine.

For those of you that freak out and think “Did that guy seriously just completely ruin a vintage Fender bass?”, that’s highly unlikely as there are too many things that don’t match up. Logo font positioning doesn’t look correct, ’68 style body is there, but with bridge mounted closer to the middle, and you’ll spot other things. Nothing on the bass looks to be actual Fender issue.

While true that the end result was a working instrument, I’m sure some of you would have done things much differently to make this bass work properly again.

What would you have done differently? Post a comment or two with your thoughts.

18 thoughts on “Man “restores” bass bought for 5 bucks at a yard sale

      • Early Rickenbacker basses (like the ’65 I owned) had a 6-pole guitar pickup in neck position. Mine wasn’t even lined up properly – I had to move it sideways to get a solid sound from the E string.

  1. Why not? If it feels good, do it! How wrong can you go on a $5 investment?

    I took a $25 garage sale Chinese made tele copy and did something similar. I used automotive primer and paint for the body, leveled the frets, put on a set of locking tuners from another broken neck, used TV Jones pickups, and a Chinese Bigsby copy, a used wilkenson roller bridge, and various spare pots and jacks… cost me about $50 after it was all said and done… plays like a dream and looks just as good.

    It’s all about the vision and the patience to find the deal, acquire the parts, and make it your own. Great Job!

  2. Great job,, well done ,but a proper bass pickup ,would have been the go..take that one out and put a seymour Duncan ,single coil in there ,, it will sound real hot cheers Pete

  3. Yep, a proper bass pickup, and a different color for me – never been a fan of TV yellow or whatever that is that he used. That being said, nice job and kudos to him for bringing a piece of junk back to life.

  4. Appreciate his time and effort.

    That said, I wonder if the intonation of the bass is correct? If this is a fender scale bass, the bridge could be way too close to the neck. In the very last part of the video, he plays octaves, and the higher note sounds too sharp.

    The bridge might have to be moved much closer to the body end…

  5. L7 from Alabama Great job my friend. You didn)t go wrong at all.AWSOME BASS. Remember no matter what you build it with some one who has never accomplished such a task will always complain.Again AWSOME BASS.

  6. Nice job!
    My only concern/curiosity, is by powder coating the bridge assembly, the saddles and baseplate are isolated from being able to utilize a string ground.

    If you find the bass noisy, and or the noise gets quieter when you touch the controls, there is a fix.

    Remove the saddles, take a burr on a dremel and remove the powder coat just beneath each screw head as well as a spot on the underside of the bridge baseplate.

    Now you can run a wire from the control cavity, up under the bridge where the cleaned off spot is.

    Replace the bridge, solder the other end of this wire to the back of your tone pot, or the ground lug of the jack.

    This will give you a working string ground, and keep the cool look you have worked so hard to create.

    Rock on!

  7. That guy rocks! Intonation? Bridge position? come on. Ya know how to fix that? Rip out the frets, fill the gaps, paint and clear the fingerboard and forget about it! It will be a scary “mystery scale” bass. Or maybe slant the bridge and make it the first ever “fanned” fretless.
    Think outside the box.

  8. Very creative on the restoration! There is no right or wrong here if you accomplish your objective and you like it.
    I am a bass player/builder/teacher. Having prefaced that, I do have a few suggestions!
    First, installing a wire under the bridge and soldering it to the controls or jack with help eliminate hum when you touch the strings. You are essentially grounding the bass. Second, if you want to achieve improved tone, a 4 pole bass pup like the original P-Bass (Sting model) with a .05 uf cap for tone will make a big difference.
    Just a bass player perspective…great job!


  9. Nice job. If it were me. I would have kept the neck and thrown away the body. Did you ever find out if it was a real Fender neck? You didn’t have to dress the neck? Awesome work you did.

  10. Wonderful job! You took a pile of parts and turned it into a playable instrument, an admirable achievement!

    People that think it might have been a “real” Fender that he “ruined” – try to find a Fender with a truss rod cover – you’ll quickly realize this is a not very accurate copy, and the perfect fodder for this gentleman’s excellent experiment

  11. Well done, good job done on a wreck. I have no complaints on your work and am surprised at the number of critics, but I find this a lot on forums. There is always someone who could or would have done it differently or even allgedly better. Thanks for the vid and my only observation is I would have used black screws to match all the black hardwear.
    Once again well done.

  12. I got it beat. A friend gave me a non-functioning Iibanez Soundgear GIO (no model nbr) bass in shiny, scarred black missing a string and machine head. Bought a tuner from GF for $12: my 90yo daddy helped me drill out the headstock, used a washer for height adjustment. New strings online for $12; I re-soldered diconnected pup wire with a 10-penny nail heated on the stovetop. Now she thumps! Took my 1st lesson Friday and I like it. Sort of fret-buzzy, strings low near the nut but flying high further ‘up’ the neck, so if I can learn on this old dog I probably can play any bass. Although next lesson I’ll be playing his Ibby SR800-can’t wait.

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