Normally I’m rather a minimalist and avoid mere decoration.
But on seeing this encrusted Ibanez GSR 200 4-string bass at Denio’s big flea market I was intrigued.
The Steampunk ornamentation was quite artfully done. And I know from previously owning and playing two old Ibanez basses that they are frequently very nice instruments despite their generally low selling prices.
So I bargained and bought it for $70USD. Maybe I should have haggled more though.
Buying old used basses, you know you’ll usually at least need to clean it up, tighten it down, change strings and set it up.
And I could see from this extremely bad restring job and the sour sound that the aftermarket modder, bless his or her heart, possessed far more artistic skills than bass guitar tech chops.
Friends, this is not how it’s done. Note reversed winding on the treble strings with consequent bad string angles.
Worse, trying to fasten strings to pegs the wrong way-the guitar way-led to scarring of all pegs and outright destruction of the D string machine head.
Because it could not stay tuned, the novice bass luthier torqued the D string tuner to the bending and then breaking point. And it still wouldn’t tune. I’m replacing all four heads.
Most old bass strap hanging screws will need the toothpick/glue treatment to fill in hogged out screw holes. Just drip in some white glue, jam in broken off toothpicks, cut off when dry and reinstall screws and strap buttons.
But no BFD, they’re totally modular, these children of Leo Fender, easily fixed and tweaked at low cost. Cheap tuner sets are about $15.
I’ll switch to black tuners and maybe paint the bridge black too. Maybe replace the missing truss rod cover with some weird thing or other, swap or paint the control knobs.
So this old beauty remains a project until my new machine heads arrive. Sure, it sounds sour now, but fixed up and set up right it should soar. And it looks pretty cool to me.
Buying and fixing old axes is always a gamble and a challenge. This one more than most I’ve tried because of the failed DIY work. But I love a cheap project and have two other basses to play.
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