1973 Fender Jazz Bass

As '50s and '60s guitars are becoming more and more expensive unsurprisingly '70s stuff is gaining popularity, in my view they're far more affordable and can still be used as instruments and not so expensive that the only practical place for them is a museum! Here's such an instrument, a 1973 Fender Jazz Base that can be used without the fear of losing a fortune if it gets seriously damaged, lost or stolen. Many people turn their nose up at '70's Fender's quoting that the build quality and materials used were inferior, I agree in a lot of cases this is true but there are plenty out there that are nice or can be made nice.

Sometime in the past this bass had been converted to a fretless with a new ebony fretboard and had the finish stripped, to be honest the work had been done pretty well but the new owner wanted it returned to original. Fashions change I guess, while this was cool back in the day no one would dream of doing it now. Anyhow it's not something that can't be fixed.

Here's how it came to me, like I say the conversion to fretless had been done very well, although the "new" fretboard was really thick and the neck binding very deep.

I removed the ebony fretboard with some heat and some careful planning and this is what I ended up with..Fender guitars in the '70's had the thin veneer fretboards where the maple top of the neck was curved and a thin rosewood veneer capped the neck, as can be seen here the top of the neck had been planed flat leaving some of the original fretboard at both edges. This left me with a dilemma and really only one solution, I couldn't plane a curve back on the neck as it had already been planed flat, so my only option was to revert to the older slabboard construction with a flat bottomed fretboard.

Here was another small problem, the truss rod nut hole was far too deep, so I fitted a thick washer, well more precisely a cut-up old truss rod nut... Well it is a perfect fit!

The new Indian rosewood fretboard fitted with the edges bound and half the pearl block inlays fitted, to be honest this went really well and I had no problems at all and the nice thing is that because of the binding you can't tell that it's now a slabboard neck rather than curved veneer.

Nothing out of the ordinary here, the new cellulose vintage finish has been applied....Just a small detail, I haven't fitted the truss rod nut yet and still have to cut a crescent out of the binding on the end of the neck to allow it to fit.

All the parts trial fitted, the original guard was white but the owner wanted to go for tortoise shell which I think looks great with this Daphne blue.

Strung up and ready to go, the owner requested that I finish it off with some relicing to match the neck so the new pickup and bridge covers were dulled and the paint knocked about a bit.

It gives me a lot of satisfaction doing restorations especially seeing the instrument back in its original state and ready to be used for another 40 years. Even if you've got a guitar that you think is beyond restoration give me a call I like a challenge!

Gareth the owner of this guitar will be using it on tour with Martha Reeves and the Vandellas so hopefully I'll get some "in action" photos to put on here!