Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Music Man Stingray V de-fretting

 I got a call the other day from Matt from the Auckland Rockshop - "can I de-fret a Music Man Stingray 5 string Bass for them?"
 Well in fact he said "what will it cost?".
 This is a job I do from time to time so I thought I'd write a bit about the process.
 It turns out this bass is for Tony Levin

 He's playing at the G-Taranaki Guitar Festival in New Plymouth and isn't bringing an electric bass with him. Rockshop being the NZ dealer for Music Man are lending him an instrument (nice of them). The only 5 string Stingray they had was fretted - that's where I come in.
  Tony Levin is a brilliantly creative, thinking musician so I'm hugely chuffed to be working on an instrument for him. Not that I get to meet him - he's not stopping in Auckland at all.

 The first part of the job is to take the neck off the guitar and strip it of hardware. Then remove the nut and on to the frets.

 I gently lift the frets with my modified pincers but you can see from this picture that the board is crumbling a little. This guitar is new - straight out of the box so I'm a little surprised but it isn't too big a deal, I can fix that.
 Here's an area of the board with a few little chunks missing

 It's the three wee pieces in the middle of the picture I'm going to repair.

I put a piece of metal in the fret slot to prevent it from filling up with glue

I then pack the holes with rosewood dust. I keep jars of different coloured wood dust for jobs like this

Then I saturate the dust with a thin super glue. I prefer the 'Hot Stuff' brand.

Once the area has been sanded the fills are almost undetectable.

I've decided to fill the fret slots with Maple veneer. I can't hide them so I'm making a feature instead. If there was more time I could have made a new fingerboard but I only had 48 hours to do the entire job.
 I measure the radius of the board with guages I made when I was in college 15 years ago. Its 7.5 inches - rather less than I'd imagined.

I cut pieces of veneer with a 7.5 inch radius on the underside and to the exact length to fit the slot.

This is the most time consuming parts of the job - they all have to be an exact fit.

Once they're all made I glue them in using Titebond Alaphatic Resin. I leave it overnight to dry.

The following day I trim the excess veneer off with a very sharp chisel and sand the board smooth. I start at 150 grade and work through up to 1000 wetting the board between grits. There's no need to go to such a fine grade I just can't help myself - it feels so good.
 I string it and set it up and its ready to be picked up by Rockshop and delivered to Mr Levin.

Not wanting to take any chances I leave it with my highly trained head of security to guard while waiting for Richard from the Auckland Rockshop to pick it up.

 Matt tells me the bass is going to be for sale at Rockshop after Tony's used it at the festival. So there's a chance to get a one off instrument with some serious pedigree.




Tony liked the bass and played it at the gig. Matt from Rockshop sent me some pics of him with it.

I am no longer repairing guitars - since covid 19 I now work full time making pickups