Would you renovate an old bass

As a few of you know I was fortunate enough to get my greasy mitts on a mid-70’s Fender Jazz bass last year.
The back of the neck wasn’t in great nick with its fair share of pealing clear coat so I gave it a light sanding and oiled it.
Looking at it every night when I’m playing I’m now pondering on wether I should refinish the whole bass.
With it being an oldie in some ways I’m a little reluctant in some ways but keen to do it on the other hand.
What would you folks do in this situation?


I should add its not 100% original with period replacement pickups and a BadAss one bridge ( which looking at it was installed by a butcher :scream:!)






I guess you need to find out WHY you’d want to renovate it:

  • does it play alright or not?
  • does it feel right or not?
  • can’t you stand the way it looks?

if it plays well and feels well and you don’t mind the little blemishes, then I (personally) wouldn’t “mess” with it.

It, on the other hand, it doesn’t play and feel well and it’s an eyesore, then you should do something about it. Then, the next set of questions might be:

  • what is it worth as it is?
  • can I do the repairs and not “ruin” it in the process (accidentally)?
  • is it worth to let a luthier give it some TLC?
  • am I doing this for myself or for a future sale?

Again, depending on your answers, and if it is a 2000+ dollar bass, you might want to be more careful about what you do. Otherwise, and from reading between the lines, it seems you are ready go give it a good overhaul :smile:


That’s the logic I wanted to hear @joergkutter . Thank you.
The old girl plays beautifully and someone with real talent could no doubt make her sing.
I’ve just finished my usual practice tonight and realistically I would have to say I would be refreshing things purely for aesthetic reasons if I were to do anything.
I have got to finish the job I did on the neck but as to the rest I’m still in a quandary lol


Then I think you should do as little as you NEED to and as much as you CAN do on your own (towards those aesthetic goals you mentioned) :wink:


The YouTube algorithm has a tendency to recommend asmr videos of people restoring guitars. In the evenings, I almost always get sucked into watching one or two of them.

There’s that intrusive thought that always creeps in that says “Hey, Crispy, you have zero skills in woodworking or painting like that. You should totally get a cheap junk guitar and try restoring it so that you have something else to add to your pile of failed hobby endeavors.”


@mr.crispy I was 100% doing exactly this all afternoon yesterday… luckily, so far, I’ve remind myself “self, maybe you should learn more than the two riffs you know first…”
Damn logic always getting in the way. :slight_smile:


You bought it to see what you thought of it, not because you were planning to flip it. If you were going to sell it, I would leave it alone.

It seems, you’ve kept this one because you enjoy it more than any of its predecessors. Is it “the One”? If it is, it’s your keeper, and you should make it into whatever you want it to be.


LoL! If that’s the requirement for making bad decisions, I’ve already failed!


I think it looks really cool!


I love the look of the old instruments!
Hell, I even bought a relic-ed 50s reissue as my main P-bass.
Please don’t refinish it.
If you ever want to gift it to someone, sell it, play it… everyone will ooh and aah and pay top doller for the vintage, well-earned battle scars.
Everyone will be disappointed to hear it has been refinished.

Unless it’s for you, and you don’t care and you want to refinish it.
Then, go for it.


3 bolt neck? That looks like a 75’ I would not touch it aesthetic wise. If it’s a 75 Jazz bass it’s probably worth noth of $2500 on a low estimate. Reissued USA is just above 2k and right under 2k are MIJs.

I paid $700 for the 76’ body in somewhat similar body condition, just the body, neck starts at about double that. I would not touch it. If you don’t like relic or vintage look sell it and get what you want, but I’d hold on to it. You can put same color pickup from Fralin and have yourself a great time.

on the left is the 76 body with 2001 nos neck reissue Fralin split pickup. I’d killed to have the white neck binding like yours.


Nice bass! I would just lightly clean the caked gunk off it (if any), oil the fretboard and maybe polish the frets, make sure all moving parts move freely, give it a good setup (if needed), and leave everything else as is!


Yes I do think it’s the one @eric.kiser . Never pick anything else up

Yep, 3 bolt neck @Al1885 Made in ‘77 ?

After reading the comments and a good nights sleep I better not be disappointing folks @Gio

Thank you all for your responses. Definitely swayed me in the right direction .


I’d spend a couple hundred bucks on a plek service and setup usually they come together as a package. Getting fret work done would significantly improve feel and playability.

The pickup looks great though I prefer split pickups for less noise.




I’ll have to check if plek is available here @Al1885 but it is something that I hadn’t considered.
Until now that is