I've had this Musicmaster for around just over half a year now, and since then I have flip flopped back between loving both the sound and finish and hating them.
Well, I've made up my mind. I am giving it a massive overhaul. Planning starts now, and execution hopefully in about a month and a half - as soon as I can work in a shed without dying, basically.
Before I get started, with my ideas, you should check out the damage.
Here are a bunch of photos of the bass, and I'll give some overview Musicmaster Before - Imgur
I have no idea how this guy finished this bass, but it's horrid. I don't think he removed anything at all, because the tops of the tuners have been painted over, and as you can see in the second last picture, the area under the pickguard is really raised up. I think he left it on and sanded all the way around it.
So now for my ideas.
1) I want a tele bass kind of sound, but I like the idea of staying true to the original bass and putting a guitar pickup in it. So I think I am going to go with a Fralin P92, slightly overwound right in the neck. I am going to give him a call and see what he thinks about that, but it's probably how I'll go.
2) I'll need a custom pick guard, and I drew out the regular guard with a humbucker in the neck... it looks weird. Again, I want to stay true to the original guitar, so I did a drawing very similar to the original pick guard and extended the bottom horn. I have a rough cut out in the last picture. It needs a wee bit of work, but I think I like this shape. With the humbucker it looks very natural.
I am pretty sure I am going to have it made from aluminum. Custom pickguards are not cheap, and due to a "friend of a friend" thing, I could probably get an aluminum one cut for (literally) next to nothing.
3) Sand down the body and refinish it all. This is where I need to make my first decision, and I'm having trouble with it. I'm thinking automotive paint, because I have access to a sprayer and it opens up the finish options a lot. At the moment I am leaning towards a darker 'plum crazy' finish, then have the pickguard black and polish the crap out of the bridge and tuners.
4) Rework the tuners and bridge. The bridge is fairly rusted. It will need new springs and lots of TLC elsewhere to make it look good. If I can keep the original one and make it look good I will, otherwise I will probably keep the saddles and have my girlfriend and her friend make a new bridge. They are fairly confident it would be quick and easy.
The tuners are in bad shape as well. I'm not sure if this is due to 30 some years of neglect, having paint in them, or because they are just cheap tuners. Like the bridge, I really want to keep the original ones if I can, but if they just suck I'll replace them.
5) Track down or make a new headstock logo. I want to track down a good one if I can, then I'll just have to make one for the serial, but if I had to make a fresh one myself then I would.
And I think that's about it!
I'd appreciate any thoughts on the finish specifically.