Peavey Milestone II Ratrod/Extreme Relic Job

Hard bargaining at the Denio’s flea market got me this Peavey 4-string electric bass.

This is after some hours sanding off some of the paint layers. In hazmat suit.

Below are the ‘before’ pics prior to sanding and painting fresh from the flea market.

The neck and headstock were quite nice, slim C-profile like a Jazz bass or Ibanez.

Paint applied with a toothbrush?

This was a flea market $22 USD bargain that actually sounded pretty good! Frets were well used so somebody learned on it. From probably the late 1980s.

Localized combustion? Corrosive paint? Stood next to a space heater? And it still works fine! Say what you will about Peavey’s International Series of Korean and then Chinese Milestone II starter P-bass clones, Peavey don’t build delicate.

The melted split soap bar effect.

This thick silver paint hides a secret.

Attempted restring by a guitarist?
Ugly doesn’t quite cover it. This thing got abused and then hit with Roger Rabbit’s feared ‘Dip’. All pics below are ‘after’ ratrodding/extreme ‘relic’ job.

So lots of power sanding later this was revealed.

My homemade pickguard was donated by a Rogue donor uke.

Didn’t quite cover, hence the short horns.

Now I’m doing more setup and debugging, finding hums and dealing with them. Need to clean the pots and maybe remove the bridge and scrape the ground wire.

What a shock to find a Fire Marshall Bill Peavey still rocking after so much abuse and trauma, still kicking ass and taking names.

Don’t build them like that anymore. Sounds pretty sweet for a flea market plywood ratrod relic beater bass with super bright $10 flea market strings, just like a piano.

More pics. Chased down some hums but still some noise. Pot cleaning really helped. Partially lined electronic cavity with common heavy aluminium foil, might take it back down again and complete foiling it under pickups.


I did cover the bottom of the PG with foil. Used the rest of my scavenged high-temp engine block enamel/ceramic paint. Lovely shade. Chrysler? Ford? In case my playing gets too hot.


The neck is a joy, little neck dive, 8.5 lbs. No way I could hide the melted pups so I went with the industrial look. A musical forklift. I made the knobs from electric stove top dial adapters drilled to fit.

Sounds mighty twangy and piano-like with the newish super bright $10 Chinese flea market roundwounds. Counting bass, strings, and new strap my cost was $39 USD.


I’m not a relic fan, not on new instruments, certainly. But this radical relic surely earned its authenticity judging by the flattened frets and general decrepitude. I love it. Just gotta bust a few more hums now. Then play on.

[20 April, 2021.]

Here’s the fate of about 50% of my DIY construction/conversion projects, wall art. It sounds very nice indeed as Peaveys usually do, I’m impressed with the quality, tone and playability despite some kind of chemical or heat destruction.

Despite me not caring for bass ‘relic’ strip and distress jobs, you don’t get much more radical than this. This ax has earned every bit of its authenticity though, I’d say. Good as the tone is, its hanging because the previous owners wore out the frets, causing buzzes.

I think it really pulls the room together.

So when I learn defret techniques I’ll try them on the Peavey Milestone II relic.

Below is my next project, a 4-string cigar box guitar (bass?) tuned E A D G. Already shaped the neck and grafted on the fugitive amputated ukulele headstock. I’m calling it the Old Handsome Joe.

Unless noted, all pics and text by

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