Ibanez GIO Electric Bass Fix-up and Re-string

ibby_baby-blue-pool2Talked a local CL lister down $10 to nab this Ibanez GIO 4-string electric bass guitar for $65 USD, warming my tight-wad heart.

I thought it was a short scale but it measures 33 1/2 inches (845 mm) so a long scale it is. Fairly compact and lightweight though.
Here’s the string set I bought for $19.99 USD plus tax at our local ukulele/guitar/banjo/bass/violin shop, Strum Shop.

At $65 of course it ‘needed work’, i.e. cleanup, re-string, tighten screws, adjust neck bow and intonation and string height (set-up), and final tuning.
I unwound and saved the strings to cut the new ones to proper length, but if you cut yours off be sure to release tension first.

Music stores will sell you a neat combo cutter/winder tool that speeds things up if you change a lot of strings.

But I used a Dremel Moto Tool and my arthritic fingers. Note original dirt stretching back to the 1990s.
Having lost the cap, this dry machine head needed cleaning and lubing.
I started by removing the tiny wood screw that stops the tuner from twisting under torque, then removed nut with 15mm socket.

Took all of them off for cleaning/inspection.

Since the neck is essentially dead straight without the required slight bow, I removed the truss rod cover in order to adjust the concealed Allen nut attached to the truss rod.
Frets were a bit corroded so I masked the fretboard with scotch tape-but if you’re not cheap like me go buy some safer masking tape.
The frets I sanded crosswise with Scotch Brite pad and rubber sanding block.
I tightened all screws and found two matching ones for the jack plate.

The oversize screw was installed  because the screw hole was hogged out so I used the old trick of stuffing the hole with wood glue and then breaking off toothpicks inside.
Hammer and jam them in tightly, break or cut off flush, then reinstall screws when glue dries.

Cleaned body and neck with damp and then dry teeshirt cloth, finishing with Ernie Ball Instrument Polish and microfiber cloth.


Before installing strings rub some pencil graphite in nut grooves for lubrication.

Installing the strings was surprisingly easy considering it was only my second attempt, but then it wasn’t that hard the first time either.

Nevertheless, I recently had the Strum Shop string up my ‘good’ Fender basses out of nerves. They only charge $10.
Out of curiosity I opened the electronics cavity. Friends, it doesn’t get any simpler than one pickup, one tone and one volume control. Very minimalist.

Normally I clean the volume and tone potentiometers (pots) and switches but since I heard no static and they operate smoothly I left these alone.
I noticed the old D and G strings were short of a wrap so when I measured the new ones I cut them both a bit longer. Measure twice (or thrice); cut once.

I eyeballed the neck bow to the approximate curve by turning the truss rod Allen wrench counterclockwise until it looked right.

Then I tuned it with this Korg chromatic tuner. Fairly low string height makes it easily playable.
Strings will  stretch resulting in frequent tuning at first. It helps the process to tug them gently upward at the 12th fret while tuning the first few times.
The final step is called ‘set up’ where string height and intonation are adjusted. I can’t set the exact string height because I lack the required gauges and skill to set them. But they feel pretty good already.
A salvaged Fender brand strap I found and jury-rigged real good.

Rubber plumbing gasket subs for $5 Fender Strap Keeper. Because yes, I have dropped a bass out of a strap.
I also lack the ear and talent to set the intonation exactly but, again, I played various notes open and also up the neck and the notes sound similar to my ‘tin’ (tinnitus) ear.

And its not like I play up the neck much at my baby stage of bass learning anyway.


Scotch tape covers the cleaned, greased (bike), adjusted machine head.

So, my tertiary bass ax, or else just more GAS (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome). Anyway I love me a blue electric bass guitar, especially one I had to give some love…that means it’ll love me back with sweet tones.
I plan to compare it to my MIM active Jazz Bass and Fender active acoustic/electric BG-29. But I already love the ergonomics, the looks and the sound. And my thrifty soul loves the final cost, $87 Ameros.

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One thought on “Ibanez GIO Electric Bass Fix-up and Re-string

  1. Pingback: Epiphone Accu Bass Find/Refurb | todgermanica.com

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