Cracks in the Body

Hello, everybody. A noob here, but not to music.

I have a MIM Fender P that, on the recommendation of my stepson, I bought from a pawn shop that he worked at. He didn’t tell me about the 8" crack in the front of the body that pretty much lines up with a 6" crack on the back of the body. Looking at the “heel” (not sure if that’s a term or not – i.e., the bottom of the bass closest to the bridge), it’s evident that this bass was either dropped from a significant height or somebody slammed the heel on the ground. In any event, that is the source of the crack(s).

Repairing these cracks isn’t worth what I paid for the bass. I’m in the process of evaluating the effect of these cracks on the overall instrument, understanding it would be far better without the cracks - of course.

Understanding that I’m a complete noob at the electric bass and probably wouldn’t recognize the impact if it slapped me in the face, what do you think the effect would be on the instrument? Can’t hold in tune? Rattles? Bad string alignment? Something else, or all of the above?

Having this bass evaluated by a local shop isn’t cheap. Before I invest anything more in this instrument, I wanted to first evaluate it myself against a tuner (in the process of doing that) and otherwise see if there are other potential issues that you could foresee. I could then look for those problems more specifically on my own before investing anything more in the instrument.

BTW, the serial number can’t be determined, though a sticker does say “Made in Mexico.”

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this issue!


Any chance of posting some pics of it, @Eupher ?

Perhaps it might be repairable after all.

Cheers, Joe


I don’t think I’m allowed to post any photos at this point – I’m too new. I can certainly take some photos and possibly link to Dropbox - I see the ability to post a link.


I think overall it’s hard to judge without examining the bass itself. It always is easier with pictures if you could provide any. I understand there’s a crack on both sides but is it deformed?

A crack might influence the tone overall like different wood might to a certain degree. I don’t think as beginner it would make a difference to you. I think the main thing is the neck and the pickups since there also exist minimalist/plastic body builds of bass guitars and currently one of the builders of this community builds a bass guitar out of a cigar box.

I think a real problem would be deformation of the bass body itself or even the neck. If it was slammed holding the neck I can imagine it being deformed. I know most beginners are scared of damaging their instrument during a setup. I know I was. This video helped me a lot and might help you identify issues regarding a deformed neck. If step one on your bass doesn’t work for any reason I think it would need to be repaired/exchanged for a working model.

Another thing to setup/check is if the octave is clean. So using a tuner checking the empty string and the 12th fret for every string although this is an adjustable setting on the bridge.

But overall I think we need pictures to be of real help. You should be able to just copy & paste a picture from your clipboard into a post. I think it should work as just registered member.


Besides, I was going on the supposition that the cracks CAN be repaired – but at the quoted price of $20 per INCH, that is beyond what the instrument is worth.


Maybe there’s a viable DIY solution.
I’m not one of them but there are a few builders here who build their own bass guitars and they are very knowledgable about this stuff.


You can find p style bodies for sale on eBay and the likes for very reasonable prices. Then just swap everything over. Although the thought of it maybe a little scary it is really very simple. I even managed to build a guitar from a kit and there is a wealth of knowledge here and out there on the net.


You should be able to upload a photo from your device, @Eupher

When you make a post or a reply, click on the upload icon.

Cheers, Joe


This is something to consider. If you evaluate a cheap body vs. condition of the current body. Then again, it’s a MIM Fender. If the rest of the instrument is worth it, Fender does sell MIM bodies, not cheap ($249) --but, significantly less than a complete new MIM. However, the fit should be spot on. Warmoth says they build to exact specs as well (plus they have more color options, etc.)

…or for $50 get a 3rd party new p-bass body:

Way require some tweaks since the quality control isn’t the same as Fender or Warmoth

Options to consider.


After mulling it over the last hour or so, a few points occurred to me :thinking:

Even if @Eupher posted pics, they might not show up well enough for anyone to see. Both @mac and @kwt7667 bring up an interesting point of replacing the body.

OTOH, the bass may play “well enough” for a beginner as @juli0r alludes, and may not be worth any further attention.

Bottom line is if @Eupher likes the way it plays and it stays in tune, especially if he is just concerned with learning how to play . . . . :slight_smile:

Cheers, Joe


Depending on where the crack is, it could very well have little effect on the structural integrity of your bass.

The important part is that the body, from where the neck joins the body to the where the bridge attaches to the body, is intact.


I apparently reached my noob limit on post responses, so I had to wait a number of hours. Hopefully these will upload. Anybody with comments or thoughts about these cracks, thanks in advance for taking the time.

Thank you too @juli0r!


The overall plan is to continue to evaluate this instrument and see if there is an impact. Hard to say at this point. Working with a tuner, which after tuning, seems to be OK but after time to see how badly it goes out of tune.

There is no question this instrument could use a going-over by a competent repair tech and I just may do that – but I had hoped to get some opinions on that nasty divot on the bottom of the body and the resulting cracks.

I definitely would be interested in getting another body and doing the swapping out of parts. I’m reasonably adept with tools, so that’s not something that I’d run from.


I’m no expert either but to me looks like it could certainly still be playable.
As I said and kerrigan demonstrated with the minimal build picture there - the body itself is not really an important part so If you can setup your action okay and the neck isn’t warped/deformed I think it’s more of an aesthetic issue than a tone/sound issue.


The back and the front don’t look bad to the eye but the edge looks like it’s had a good thumping!
If it was me and I was starting out on my bass journey I must confess I would be tempted just to play it with a view to doing something about the damage in the future.
If it is indeed playable then I’d go on the hunt for a replacement body but take my time so I might pick up a bargain along the way.
Good luck . At the end of the day you have a genuine P bass and I do have bass envy :flushed:


Thanks, @mac! Seems like good advice!


I think it looks bad ass the way it is. Good character to that bass there. Like a Timex, takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

I don’t think the cracks are an issue at all.
The bottom is a bit bashed, but still should be playable.

Setting up the bass is really easy, and fun IMO.

Maybe give a couple of the set up videos a watch, and get a feel for what (little) is actually involved. I think you may just decide to do it yourself.

There is not anything you can do to the bass that can’t be fixed, and in the case of this bass, nothing you can’t do to it that has not already been done to it.

Also remember, the quality of any set up is determined by the end user. What feels right to me may feel wrong to you, so if I set up your bass for you, I will end up setting it like I do mine, and you will be unhappy with it, and need to make adjustments to get it right for you. So instead of paying someone to do it, and then need to “FIX” it on your own, try and just do it.

Most Basses will go out of tune when played, so try not to be too critical of the tuners.
You don’t want them changing tune while just plucking open strings, but if you need to make an adjustment when starting to play daily, it does not mean they are shot.


More great advice! Thanks @T_dub!