This time it’s the Thunderbirds that need rescuing.
I bought this bass guitar case for £20. The seller insisted that the guitar came free, because it was “a load of s**t”. Who was I to argue.
The case alone is worth twice what I paid. That yellow package in the middle is a new set of strings, £20. I’m already quids in before I look at the guitar.
While it looks a bit of a mess, most of the issues are cosmetic. All of that horrible gaffe tape needs to go. That revealed a lose strap button that was soon fixed by plugging the screw hole with matchstick and PVA and re drilling. I’ll fit strap locks to this. Those stickers will have to go as well.
The missing bridge was found in the case. Unfortunately it is missing one saddle. Apparently this is a common problem with these 3 point Gibson bass bridges. The saddles are only held in place by pressure from the string. If the string breaks the saddle can, and often does, fall out to be lost forever in the mosh pit.
Buying saddles for most guitar bridges is a painless exercise. Not so with this. Gibson bass guitars are a rare beast, the market being dominated by Fender and their clones. This means that spares availability isn’t great. Black saddles were not be found. A whole bridge in black wouldn’t give much change from £100. I found a chrome bridge from China for £20. I retained the original bridge but transferred the chrome saddles, hoping that they would not look out of place behind the shiny strings.
A the other end of the neck the nut was broken. I fitted and fettled a replacement. That nice new string set mentioned earlier holds everything together. I spent some time tuning up and setting the action and intonation. Plays well now.
Now the electrics. The pickups were sitting rather low in the body. They stayed that way when I loosened their screws. It turned out that the foam rubber underneath had perished. Fortunately I have some foam of the right type in my spares, so this was quickly sorted.
Controls were ok, except the tone pot. Crackly pots can often be sorted by a squirt of switch cleaner spray and a good wiggle. On this occasion this chemotherapy didn’t do the trick. Transplant surgery was required. Here we see the new part being soldered in. Note the use of a beer mat to hold the part still and protect the body from damage.
So an outlay of £20 for a case with a free guitar, plus £20 for the bridge and another tenner for nut and electrics. Call it £50 for a very nice bass guitar. The case came free!