Customizing your Bass

Normally, I am a fan of appreciating the beauty of a good finish; However, I came across a VERY well used P-Bass on FB Marketplace:

I was just wondering if anyone here does anything custom tho their instruments, straps, amps, etc. I would imagine that taking off a pickguard to (re)paint would not be too difficult, but would attempting to paint a body like the one pictured be more hassle than it’s worth?

For the sake of argument, let’s exclude rare models or sentimental items from the discussion. I am just referring to easy to find things that might have been damaged or just worn out.


Personally, I would leave it as it is. It looks kinda cool and has a story to tell if it is genuinely worn like that and not done on purpose.


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It’s funny, but people are paying lots of dough to get brand new instruments relic’d or vintage-ified to look like the one in the picture (along with a made up story of what the bass has been through)! So, is it truly used and worn or not? And, as said, if so, that is what a lot of people go for!!


I think this one is genuinely worn. There are other picks of the back of the body and the back of the neck and head and they all show very similar levels of wear.

However I just meant more in a general sense; This image was just the thing that got me wondering.

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oh, well I didn’t realize that was a thing…maybe this is just a very well done custom vintige-ification then!

The guy did say that it was not a cheap bass in his listing, but I wasn’t sure if he meant that it is good quality or that he plans to charge a lot (it has a listed price of $1)

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Oh, I think this means it is “best bid wins” - it surely is worth way more than $1 :smile:

In any case, he should list the maker/brand and the year, at least!

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Some people can tell the future apparently. Here is the response from the seller:
" This bass was a build by Nash guitars and MJT guitars with a warmoth alder body and musikraft neck. Bass was made to look this way as a tribute to my 63 pbass. Neck has also been pleked. Made in 2018. [$1400]"

But this again leads back to my original question: How does everyone feel about custom finish or DIY altering? Would you ever try to alter yours on your own? If so post some pics!


Now that we know it is a custom job and not natural finish, here are the rest of the pics for anyone that is curious. Gotta be honest, it fooled me into thinking it was real wear:

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Not bad (although I am not an expert in it, but my brother has one looking almost as bad for real wear), but I think they overdid it a bit on the lower edge of the bass - can’t see why it would wear that much in that area.

Back to your other questions, though…

I wouldn’t do it or ever try - it’s just not my thing and I don’t think I have the skills, patience or interest in doing custom paint jobs etc. However, there should be some guys in here in the forum that both have interest and experience with these kinds of things - hope they’ll chime in!


The trend of relic-ing really puzzles me but in this case it is super irritating. Why? Because they gave the neck a sanded-down-to-satin look, which is a mod I would actually DO to a Fender, as I dislike glossy necks.

And then they applied more gloss over the sanded down look.

That’s just deeply irritating :slight_smile:


Good catch, @howard - that is insane!


I added a chrome bridge cover to mine . . . :slight_smile:

Completes the “70’s Vintage” look

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I tried it on a project bass, here’s a pic of the finished product, with the original at the very beginning of that thread: Project Basses

Of course, that bass was bought used for $50, with the intention of just ripping it apart and putting it back together, to learn and experiment on! I don’t think I’d vintage-ify a pricey bass, or, if I did, it wouldn’t be an extreme makeover :slight_smile:

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Yeah, that’s like making holes in your jeans to give them that “aged” look, then adding some iron-on patches to protect them . . . :roll_eyes:


I’ve played guitar all my life and have never seen this type of body wear ever - especially without heavy fret wear! This is the type of hocus-pocus bullshit crap that pisses me off when it comes to buying anything music (or anything else) related. Sorry. But I’m old school human who does not appreciate any assholes trying to screw people over…

If I’m gonna be bullshitted, manipulated, and screwed, I’d rather take my chances in Vegas…


that’s funny because my main guitar (2005 MIA Fender Telecaster) had a factory satin neck, but after some years or playing it finally became glossy, polished by hand :sweat_smile: but it’s pretty easy to give it back a satin look and feel with some very thin steel wool. and it doesn’t mean you have to destroy the finish, as it’s very very superficial.

yeah, to me it does not look natural at all.


Yeah, I’ve heard most people use plastic kitchen scrubbies to do it. Apparently doesn’t take much at all. I would definitely do it.

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I was wondering what would finally bring out the dark side for the BassBuzz forum. Apparently, it’s a bad relic-ing job that finally did it. :rofl:

All of that aside, back to the OP’s original questions…

As for what’s worth it, no body can really answer that question but you. For me, it comes down to cost. How much do I really like this instrument versus how much will it take for me to make this instrument in to what I want it to be. One of the things you can do with upgrading, is spread out the cost over time. Upgrade X this month, upgrade Y next month, etc. So, then the question becomes, “What is the foundation instrument I want to start with?”.

To do a full paint job, you need to remove everything: neck, bridge, pickups, pickguard, strap buttons, etc. That’s just for a jazz bass. Everything that isn’t the body needs to be removed for the paint job and if you’re going to get the head painted to match, all that hardware needs to be removed also. I know @terb either did or had done a custom paint job and he might have some insight to share.

When you start getting into the electronics, either repairing or removing and reinstalling for paint, you need to be able to solder and do Internet research to make sure you’re putting all the connections back together correctly.

All of that really comes down to, “Do you enjoy working with your hands? Do you like using tools? Do you want to do this bad enough to watch hours of YouTube videos to learn how? Do you have a spare you can practice on to learn what the pitfalls could be?” @PeteP found a $50 bass to practice with and he made a bunch of modifications.

It’s like most things, if this sounds fun to you then you’ll probably like doing it and if you like doing it, then you’ll probably enjoy figuring it all out. If all that sounds like a pain in the ass, then you might want to skip it and stick with the things you enjoy.

Okay, if none of that scared you off…

I’m a big fan of both. To me it’s a whole new way of being able to get to know your instrument and understanding why everything works the way it does. Having said that, would I do anything to my primary instrument? Absolutely not. Because, for me, being able to play and practice overrides everything else. I’m looking forward to getting a $50 beater bass for just this purpose.


I’ve done it many times. For example Greenie was trans white/blonde when it was born :sweat_smile: but I like unique custom colors (which in this case is way less unique since Fender released the Olive Green color …). So, yeah, really nothing special to say. You unscrew everything, prepare the body for the paint, do your finish, wait until it’s fully dry, re-screw, check the setup, and that’s it.

before / after :


That Greenie paint job is pretty bad ass.