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Thread: Hb-4s

  1. #1


    So I've found myself with another bass kit haha. The last kit I purchased took nearly 6 weeks between shipping and clearing customs, so I thought I'd have awhile before this one reached me. It only took a week this time, so I wasn't ready whatsoever, but I'm very excited for this kit.

    The first instrument I learned was the viola, so I've always been drawn to the violin style basses. I went with the spalted maple top for a more unique look. The plan is to go with a clear coat for the front, and black for the sides, back, and neck, but possibly use the same clear coat on the front of the headstock as the body.

    I have a couple of potential issues to overcome, and I wanted to get feedback on best approach, or if I should look at possible replacements. It's several pictures so I'll split them into two posts. Thanks in advance for any help!

    I love how the body looks, it's like a flamed spalted maple at the bottom. But there is a crack between the pickups the seems pretty significant. It's mostly smooth to the touch, what worries me is having to fill it and needing to sand it down the filler with such a thin veneer.
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    I'm also concerned about the side of the neck pocket, it may be able to be sanded down, but it's cut pretty rough
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    Last one for the body is on the sides. Some of them are not extremely visible, and some are more so, but here is a picture of these dark patches in the corners of the sides. The sides will be black, so if it's not a sound or structural issue I'm sure the black stain will cover it up.
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    Last edited by c0ffinspire89; 30-07-2020 at 06:34 AM.

  2. #2
    For the last set of questions/issues, there are a few spots on the neck:

    The fretboard has this strange mark at the 16th fret. It doesn't show up from every angle, but it almost looks like the eraser of a pencil was dragged through it.
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    Then near the 3rd fret there are some white lines along the fretboard. I think I've read that it can just be touched up with a pen, but just double checking.
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    Finally, the nut looks pretty rough, and has veneer behind it on the bass side. I'm thinking about just replacing it anyway, so maybe it can be cleaned up when it's removed, but it also seems to have a veneer or something else behind it to move it further forward.
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    I apologize for so many posts/pictures right off the bat, I just noticed several things right off the bat, and am unsure on how best to proceed. Thanks again everyone!

  3. #3
    Member ThatCluelessGerman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Hamburg, Germany
    The veneer is 0.6mm, which sounds very little, but if you sand carefully with a fine grade, you should be good. With fine grades, it takes a lot of time or pressure to sand through. I would fill it with a filler that matches well, color wise. Then sand with maybe 320 or 400 grid. You’re not gonna stain the top so no worries wether or not the filler takes any stain. Don‘t slam on a centimeter of filler and go at it with 80 grid, this would be a path to disaster with the veneer
    I don't know what I'm doing but I hope I will end up with a guitar

  4. #4
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Reading, UK
    I'd mainly scrape the filler level rather than sand, and only sand the very last bit. Use a small wooden block and a small piece of sandpaper to localise the sanding as much as possible.

    If you are doing the sides black, why not paint rather than sand? Then that gets rid of all the covering worries, and you can fill any gaps around the neck join and paint over that quite happily.

    The white stuff in the fretboard may simply come out if you clean it with lemon oil or white spirit/turps. I have a cheap toothbrush set aside for fretboard cleaning duties.

    Those cheap hollow plastic nuts are always best replaced and you can tidy up the area underneath to suit once you have a replacement nut.

    If you are thinking about adding a decorative headstock veneer (maybe some more spalted maple), than that should hide the end of the dark veneer underneath, especially if you fit a bone nut. The veneer underneath is probably there as the black nut is mainly hollow, so a solid nut won't need the veneer and it can be removed if you want to, though any replacement nut will have to be that bit taller to compensate.

  5. #5
    Thank you both for the very helpful answers. My main concern on the crack in the front veneer was just how difficult it would be to fill vs if it should be replaced. I'm absolutely in love with the spalting in the maple, so I didn't want to replace it if unnecessary. I will work on finding the right color of filler to match that section, luckily I've got plenty of time as I'm not ready to truly start on this project yet.

    That's good to know about the fretboard, I will work on cleaning that up and see how it looks after that!

    Simon, on your question about painting, it's kind of a long answer but unfortunately I have no space or room to spray a guitar. I could be very mistaken on the concept of painting a guitar, but I've always taken that to mean spraying a guitar with either a rattle can or spray gun. I'm working on a project in which I'm hand painting a guitar, but it's slow work that I'm not sure will pan out in the end. My plan was to use Wudtone's Black Magic Woman stain on the back and sides to have a transparent black coat and show the grain in the maple. If there's another way to paint that I've completely overlooked I'm definitely open to the idea, I just have more experience with the Wudtone type stain. I was concerned about how roughly cut that neck joint was, and those dark lines on the corners of the sides, but if they aren't a big issue I can find a way to work around them.

    I appreciate the feedback on the nut too. I found an interesting looking one on, I just need to figure out if the measurements match up first:
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  6. #6
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Oct 2016
    Reading, UK
    You can paint with a brush and then sand back, just like spraying. It's a bit more work, but I've done headstock faces with nitro before with a brush when I didn't have a can and I couldn't be bothered to get the compressor and spray gun out. You just need to find the paint equivalent or what you'd have sprayed from a can e.g. poly or acrylic that's designed to be sprayed from a gun, as opposed to household gloss.

    Spalted veneers tend to have flaws, the very nature of the spalting i.e. a fungal infection in the wood that caused the patterns, tends to mean that the wood isn't always in the best condition to start with, normally coming from dead trees. I'd fill the crack with CA, as that will be invisible with clear coat on top.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Northumberland UK
    I agree with Simon.
    Use the same paint that you would for spraying. Thin it with the correct thinner. A bit more thinner in the first and last coat. Take your time and start to cut back after 3 or 4 coats (when you think there is enough build-up).

    For the cyano, use the medium viscosity and do dot try to get it done with one application - it looks like it may take 3 applications to get a 'domed' fill in the split. I would not use activator unless you have used it before. Too much and the CA will foam and turn white, destroying what you are trying to achieve.
    I would not use filler. It will always look like filler no matter how close the match. The split looks like character!

    Good luck and take your time - it is a beautiful piece of wood that will look fantastic with the right treatment.


  8. #8
    Thank you all for the helpful answers. This build has been on hold for awhile while working on the DPZ-4 project. It'll probably still sit for awhile as I haven't decided exactly how I want to finish it. In the meantime though I've ordered some vintage Hofner parts to fit it with. The vintage control panel is a little smaller than the one that came with the kit, which I wasn't sure about at first but I've come to like it better. It also has a vintage amber look to the pearloid, along with the cream and gold tuners.

    The question I have is on the tuners. I like the pearloid on the vintage tuners, but they are way smaller than the ones that came with the kit, the tuner post measures around .25in/6.1mm vs the kit tuners at .5in/13.4mm at the base and the post is .32in/8.3mm. I'm a little worried about the posts holding up against the string tension, but assuming they will work, I was hoping for advice if my plan sounds like a correct approach:

    My plan has been to use a dowel rod to fill in the original tuner holes then re-drill for the smaller tuners. To hide the dowels on the front of the headstock, I would do like Simon mentioned above and use a veneer as a cover, ideally more spalted maple but I haven't had much luck finding any yet. The tuners should cover any mismatch on the backside.

    Thanks again in advance for any advice!

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  9. #9
    Member JimC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    SE England
    Post diameter shouldn't be an issue for strength, they are well supported. My early sixties Burns bass has guitar tuners like that. Your plan for filling the holes should work, but you need to be wary about clearance, that you have enough room to turn them. You may need to drill new holes closer to edge of the headstock, in which case you won't have them covering the back. But a bigger issue with small radius guitar tuners is they tend to chew larger wound strings. My Burns got through a good number of strings when the winding broke up. OK if the winding tapers, as some do, and the length is right though.
    Last edited by JimC; 09-09-2020 at 03:16 PM.
    Build #1, failed solid body 6 string using neck from a scrapped acoustic (45+ odd years ago as a teenager!)
    Build #2, ugly parlour semi with scratch built body and ex Peavey neck
    Build #3, Appalachian Dulcimer from EMS kit
    Build #4, pre-owned PB ESB-4
    Build #5, Lockdown Mandolin
    Build #6, Sixty six body for Squier

  10. #10
    Put the neck on hold for now and started a little work on the body. I decided to try another Wudtone stain for the front veneer, I really liked the way it highlighted the figuring in my guitar build, and it's easy to apply with in a small work area. I went with their honey stain because it looked like a light amber color and had their gold highlight mixed in.

    Only one coat has been applied so far, and the gold highlight is great. It doesn't really show up in pictures, but up close it has a cool effect. I'm not totally satisfied on the color though, it's a little darker than I was hoping for. Still looks really nice, but I would love to lighten in back a little before adding anymore coats. I also have a few glue spots to deal with that I didn't catch before. I have both goof off and mineral spirits available, but unfortunately very little experience with either. Could I use the goof off at this point to remove the glue spots without damaging the stain? And could I use the mineral spirits to lighten the color? I would think the stain would also need another coat or two before applying any finish, so I would imagine I may need to lighten, then stain, and re-lighten again. Thanks in advance!

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