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Gear Discussion Forums => Bill's Shop: Projects, Mods & Repairs => Topic started by: Alanko on August 20, 2017, 02:14:53 PM

Title: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on August 20, 2017, 02:14:53 PM
So I've finally bartered, haggled and brokered myself a black Jack Casady bass!

I got it for a good price, in part because it has a couple of issues:

1) The transformer is loose within the instrument and rattling around.

2) The 3-way switch spins in perpetuity as it is somehow missing the keeper. It still has the three positions, but you can cycle through them endlessly.

In short, where does the transformer sit within the bass? I thought it might be attached to the switch originally, but from having had a look at Casady harnesses for sale it appears to be separate from the switch.

Also, can I get away with a generic four pole/three way switch or is there a space consideration? How bit a component can be fished inside a Casady bass?

Also, is there any advantage to upgrading the potentiometers, and do they use different values given the low impedance of the pickup?
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Basvarken on August 20, 2017, 02:36:07 PM
So I've finally bartered, haggled and brokered myself a black Jack Casady bass!
congrats
Quote
I got it for a good price, in part because it has a couple of issues:

1) The transformer is loose within the instrument and rattling around.
No  problem. It was screwed to the middle piece with the length grooves. Just take a small screw and fixate it to the top at any point you wish.
Quote
2) The 3-way switch spins in perpetuity as it is somehow missing the keeper. It still has the three positions, but you can cycle through them endlessly.

In short, where does the transformer sit within the bass? I thought it might be attached to the switch originally, but from having had a look at Casady harnesses for sale it appears to be separate from the switch.

No problem. I have the same issue with my JCS. Just choose the setting you desire and leave it alone. If you accidentally dial too far just keep on dialing until you got the right  setting. I won't affect the true function of the rotary switch. It's just that the stop isn't there anymore.

Quote
Also, can I get away with a generic four pole/three way switch or is there a space consideration? How bit a component can be fished inside a Casady bass?
There is plenty of space. But I don't understand what you'd need the four pole three way switch for??
Quote
Also, is there any advantage to upgrading the potentiometers, and do they use different values given the low impedance of the pickup?
No. You need special (low impedance) potentiometers for this bass. No need to change them. They're fine.
Potentiometers are over rated anyway in my opinion. If they work good from 0 to 10 they're alright. They do nothing for your "tone". Although some people like to cultivate myths about CTS or Bourne that sound soooooo much better  :popcorn:

Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: amptech on August 20, 2017, 10:30:39 PM
Although some people like to cultivate myths about CTS or Bourne that sound soooooo much better  :popcorn:

Just as well as there is cultivated myths about the quality of far east pots being equal to cts in quality...

Does anyone claim cts sound better, really?

My personal experience, repairing amps and replacing lots of pots.. cts lasts longer, period. They function better (not speaking of sound). I have only replaced a few couple of cts pots that could not be cleaned to function. One of the 5 amps I'm having for service today is a new amp 'assembled in the USA' with a chinese print, under warranty, needing two new pots. I think I have said this many times before, but I built some amps many years ago - similar but with a few 'key' components being different (like pots - one amp alpha, one cts etc..) and chinese/frar east pots really do not hold up. The Alpha amp now has one pot working properly (out of five) The same goes for guitars.

As for bourns, not sure how they are supposed to be different from other chinese stuff. I did order a batch of different bourns pots to put in an amp to test, but upon arrival the package said clearly made in china. They had the very same factory tool marks as another unbranded pot type a had a few of (that were made in the far east).

Sorry, just couldn't leave this alone - life is too short not to use cts pots! Actually, if life was even shorter one might get away with cheap pots, but..
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Basvarken on August 20, 2017, 11:14:22 PM
As far as I know CTS pots are being made in China or Taiwan for quite some time. A couple of years back I replaced the pickup in my JCS. And I needed two new pots.
I nice chap from CTS sent me two of these for free as a sample. The package came from Taiwan.

And yes there rally are people who claim they sound better. "really opens up the tone" and that sort of nonsense.
As for longevity, I think you may have a point there.
But on a bass guitar the pots are not being used very intensively, so it won't be a huge issue for most bass players.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on August 21, 2017, 02:04:59 AM
The four pole/three way rotary switch is simply to replace the defective switch in the bass at the moment. Four pole is overkill, but this configuration of rotary switch is far more commonly available than the two pole/three way switch the circuit requires.

Thanks for the answers! It looks like the Casady basses uses 2.5 k ohm pots, which aren't as commonly available as 250 k or 500 k pots.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Basvarken on August 21, 2017, 03:10:14 AM
Maybe this one?

https://www.allelectronics.com/item/rsw-50/rotary-switch-2-pole-3-position/1.html
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on August 21, 2017, 06:21:53 AM
Well the seller was wrong! The 3-way still works perfectly. The transformer is loose inside the base however. That switch would be a good replacement, but I might not need it... yet.

One thing I've noticed is that one of the tuners has bent. The peg, aft of the end of the mounting arm/axle, has bent. I might try heating it and gently returning it to the correct shape. If that doesn't work then I'm on the hunt for a replacement.

The frets are tarnished and a wee bit worn, so they will be getting leveled.

There are a few chips in the paint, so I will drop-fill these. there is a sort of scuzzily scratched up area on the side of the body, through to the wood. Lots of narrow-width but deep scratches. Not sure yet how I will tackle them.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Basvarken on August 21, 2017, 06:53:12 AM
One thing I've noticed is that one of the tuners has bent. The peg, aft of the end of the mounting arm/axle, has bent. I might try heating it and gently returning it to the correct shape. If that doesn't work then I'm on the hunt for a replacement.

Replacing the tuners might be a good idea anyway. It is a chance to cure the neck dive, if you use light weight tuners!
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: bassilisk on August 21, 2017, 10:56:17 AM
I put a set of Hipshot HB6C - 1/2" Ultralite tuners on mine and they are excellent.

Rather than fill the existing holes I just put the original screws back in.

(http://i.imgur.com/EMrDULK.jpg)
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Basvarken on August 22, 2017, 05:06:29 AM
Here's mine with Gotoh res-o-lites.

(http://www.enkoo.nl/uploads/1/3/3/7/13376708/8460684_orig.jpg)
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on August 22, 2017, 05:36:24 AM
A tuner upgrade is in the works. Those Gotohs look really good.  :mrgreen:

I straightened out the tuner last night. I simply disassembled the tuner, took the paddle-axle-worm gear mechanism, straightened it in my vice slowly, heated it up with my hot air gun, let it cool and reassembled the tuner. It looks ok, but I would rather be using new tuners in the long run.

The transformer was a bit tricky to screw down. I've mounted it to the center block beyond the pickup, towards the bridge. I couldn't get two screws into the bass, as the transformer would foul with the underside of the pickup in any location anywhere I could locate the transformer and get a screwdriver in place, so had to make do with one screw. The body material (mahogany?) is quite soft, so I had to impregnate it with superglue in a small spot first. I will keep an eye on this one, but the transformer is quite tightly wedged in.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Pilgrim on August 22, 2017, 10:50:27 AM
Much cleverness!!  Nicely done.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on August 23, 2017, 06:04:46 AM
Semi-clever. Superglue fumes seeped out the f-hole overnight and clouded up the finish. When I removed the clouding with acetone the numbers came off the poker chip under the impedance switch... but...

The poker chip didn't match the pickguard and pickup and was bothering me anyway. I removed it, and the bass looks better as a result. Just a black chicken head knob sitting in a sea of black.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Basvarken on August 23, 2017, 08:40:24 AM
How about some pics?  :popcorn:
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on August 23, 2017, 01:42:46 PM
Pics for all!

The bass, thirty seconds after I opened the case at my desk at work:

(http://i.imgur.com/gwOt48c.jpg)

More Bent Tuner than Hot Tuna:

(http://i.imgur.com/wU4Y8zw.jpg)


The bit that annoys me. This weird scuzzy damage does through to the wood. I've been going over this section with black nail polish, and will flatten it back and buff it out. Not sure how this will turn out.

(http://i.imgur.com/mRPclmxh.jpg)

Green frets, yow!

(http://i.imgur.com/jQhcAVF.jpg)
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Psycho Bass Guy on August 24, 2017, 05:55:23 AM
The scuzzy area is an impact. That's how poly finish shatters.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on August 24, 2017, 07:33:15 AM
Maybe. The pattern continues over the binding. It is like it impacted something with that texture, such as un-tinned copper wire. None of the finish is loose in the area.

I've overpainted the area with a few coats of black nail polish now. I will level this and then use a UV-cure clear coat (nail polish again!) with a UV lamp. Way more trustworthy finish from this system than using an air-cure nail polish, especially in a clammy apartment/flat in central Scotland.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on September 03, 2017, 01:57:32 PM
Just to throw endless fuel onto the fire, I've stripped the finish around this damage, right back to the clear undercoat. The black finish is stupidly thin around the sides in this area for some reason. 1500 grit wet 'n' dry, in wet mode, cut straight through it for some reason. There is a small spot of damage down to the bare wood where the damage I posted here occurred. I will drop fill this with superglue. But....

Hnnnng! The contrast of the black top of the bass with the natural wood of the sides is really making me think. I think it looks good, and is more 'Gibson' than having an all over black finish. I'm going to keep the sides natural on this bass, as no amount of repair work is working out for me. Do I take the back to natural as well, and leave the neck black?
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Basvarken on September 03, 2017, 02:17:28 PM
Hey it's your bass. You can do whatever you want!
I've seen pics of a stripped JCS on a Dutch forum. It looked pretty good! Nice grain.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: amptech on September 03, 2017, 10:11:50 PM
Just to throw endless fuel onto the fire, I've stripped the finish around this damage, right back to the clear undercoat. The black finish is stupidly thin around the sides in this area for some reason. 1500 grit wet 'n' dry, in wet mode, cut straight through it for some reason. There is a small spot of damage down to the bare wood where the damage I posted here occurred. I will drop fill this with superglue. But....

Hnnnng! The contrast of the black top of the bass with the natural wood of the sides is really making me think. I think it looks good, and is more 'Gibson' than having an all over black finish. I'm going to keep the sides natural on this bass, as no amount of repair work is working out for me. Do I take the back to natural as well, and leave the neck black?

Ditto, It's your bass.

If you are knowledgeable about finish, or want to step into a process of learning how to apply a finish, go for it.

You never know what to find under there though, they seldom use very pretty wood under a solid finish. You either end up with a bad looking top or an instrument that needs a new finish. Or you might be lucky, but still need some clearcoat.

I'd rather just  touch up this thing, but touching up is not always easy either. Some touch up's are very tough and as you mess with them.

Applying finish is fun to learn, though - but I doubt if this kind of instrument is the right 'first' spray project.
they seem to draw more and more attention, visually
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Basvarken on September 04, 2017, 04:16:18 AM
Here's the bass I mentioned above
http://s16.photobucket.com/user/valensi/media/006.jpg.html (http://s16.photobucket.com/user/valensi/media/006.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Pilgrim on September 04, 2017, 08:27:42 AM
Here's the bass I mentioned above
(http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b35/valensi/006.jpg) (http://s16.photobucket.com/user/valensi/media/006.jpg.html)

To coin a phrase, you've been 'Photobucketed".....
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Basvarken on September 04, 2017, 08:31:08 AM
Hey that is strange; I could see it when I googled it
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Pilgrim on September 04, 2017, 10:20:29 AM
Hey that is strange; I could see it when I googled it

It's posting in other forums that's verboten. 

Now you just need to bend over and chant, "Thank you sir, may I have another?"

Maybe you can post a link?  I'll try it.....

http://s83.photobucket.com/user/apowell1/media/Electric%20Basses/Gretsch%20G5123B/P1010109-1.jpg.html
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Basvarken on September 04, 2017, 10:21:15 AM
Here's another pic (same bass) that's from Facebook

(https://scontent-ams3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/10500413_1437340329884457_7863735598289468601_n.jpg?oh=3bc3b1d5a00edcf63daf07600d2bcc27&oe=5A5B0F3B)
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Pilgrim on September 04, 2017, 10:23:11 AM
Nice!  I see it has a Darkstar or equivalent as well.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on September 04, 2017, 02:34:03 PM
Hey hey that looks cool! That is the sort of wood that is slowly appearing from under the black.

I'm leaving the top black, but stripping the back and sides, with good success so far.

Any idea how the controls are mapped out? Presumably the transformer isn't needed any more as the Bisonic will be high-Z.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Basvarken on September 05, 2017, 04:41:41 AM
Volume, Tone. The third pot is a dummy
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Granny Gremlin on September 05, 2017, 03:00:27 PM
Hey hey that looks cool! That is the sort of wood that is slowly appearing from under the black.

I'm leaving the top black, but stripping the back and sides, with good success so far.


A bud had a Jazzmaster (or Mustang - can't remember now - Fender offset style anyway) where the (formerly all black... with tort guard) finish was stripped on onlym the front/back, but left intact on the sides (or was that vice versa; can't remember now) .  It looked really cool.  I was a little miffed when I found out he sold it cause he never gacve me a chance to buy it from him.

The point is, that can look cool, and it's not a particularly valuable or out of production bass so go for it, if you're into it.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on September 06, 2017, 03:04:06 AM
It is starting to look really good. I will post up some photos when I get it done.

I've sped up my workflow slightly. I hit the black finish on the back of the bass with a heat gun, until I see the black start to bubble. I then get a safety razor blade under the finish, and scrape it off in sections. This leaves a brown, caramelized-looking finish under the black. The brown quickly sands off, revealing the wood below the sanding sealer. This sanding sealer can then be buffed up. I'm not going for a plastic shine on the back and sides, just a sort of satin glow that lets the wood pop without looking too synthetic. Scraping inside the cutaways has been a pain as the finish seems thicker in them, and it is a tight area to work in without damaging the finish I want to preserve on the top of the bass or sides of the neck. Lots of taping and re-taping.

I've had to drop-fill a few spots where that damage was, that I posted earlier on. In doing so, and leveling it out, the sanding sealer is getting perilously thin and I'm worried I will end up back down at the wood. I might wipe some lacquer onto this section or go for a wider superglue fill.

The only other issue is where and how do I stop scraping?! I've scored the finish at the end of each cutaway, where the binding ends as it meets the neck. It makes sense to stop the natural finish on the sides of the bass at the same point the binding finishes. While I've scored the finish to give me a line to work up to, I'm not yet entirely sure about how to 1) remove the black right up to this line and 2) alleviate the subtle stair-step transition from scraped natural finish back to the factory black finish. I'm wondering

Lastly, in scraping the treble-side cutaway I've discovered that Peerless used a darker wood inside the cutaway, starting just shy of the point of the cutaway. On the original Gibsons this area was built up from what appears to be binding material, but Peerless/Epiphone simply used a walnut-coloured wood that is presumably more flexible.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Highlander on September 07, 2017, 02:12:39 PM
 :popcorn:
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on September 08, 2017, 01:14:50 AM
Alright, rushed these photos on my phone this morning:

The good:

(http://i.imgur.com/s38uh43.jpg)

The not so good:

(http://i.imgur.com/Hh6ULdn.jpg)

So, still a wee bit of work to do. The issues at the moment are:

1) That dark bit on the back! As a result of using a heat gun I had a wee bit of the back de-laminate, and a bubble formed accordingly. The standard procedure here is to cut a line in the bubble and press glue into the void, then clamp and let it dry. I've done this but I had to put down a few small holes to get the glue in. I've lost a couple of bits of finish here, so I've filled with a contrasting rosewood dust/glue filler. It will leave an obvious mark (all of an inch long), but I want it to be visible as it has a story behind it. Stupid as it is.

2) The back of the treble horn. Argh! There was no sanding sealer here for some reason. The black finish was in the pores of the wood. They deftly sanded through the sealer coat in the factory then sprayed the finish anyway. I'm building up the area here with superglue as a new sealer, and will have to level it out.

3) The treble horn is a bugger to work in, and the finish is thickest in here for some reason.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: clankenstein on September 08, 2017, 03:03:14 AM
I think i like the look with the natural sides.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Basvarken on September 08, 2017, 03:21:23 AM
I can understand why they used that block for the lower horn. Bending the sides in such a sharp corner is  quite tricky. Chances are the wood will break if you don't take enough time.
Using the block saves a lot of time and lowers the risk.
The thick finish build up and lack of sanding sealer maybe has to do with their goal to hide the difference between the block and the rest of the sides.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Rob on September 08, 2017, 07:05:05 PM
I think i like the look with the natural sides.

Me 2
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: 66Atlas on September 09, 2017, 09:43:50 AM
The lower horn is the same as the early Gibson design.  Its actually an extension of the mahogany block that the neck is set in to.

(http://i.imgur.com/Uh6CfaE.jpg) (https://imgur.com/Uh6CfaE)
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on September 09, 2017, 01:11:56 PM
It is nice of them to preserve a period feature like that!

I'm not getting anywhere with working with the sanding sealer, so I'm going to have to do a full strip to get down to the actual wood. The sanding sealer is annoying to try and work with, as it is thick, hard but sort of oddly brittle quality as well. I've stripped a few solid bodies, and this Fullerplast-style filler is a pig to work with.

I wish acetone would simply wash this stuff away, but it looks like I'm going to need a wee sander and lot of patience.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on November 10, 2017, 05:18:55 AM
Two months later....

I'm getting the Casady bass refinished by an auto body shop. I'm looking at RAL 9001 as the colour, which is a pleasantly vintage shade of cream. I saw a cream EB-2 online and took a shine to it. No binding, just acres of 2K lacquer. I'm glad somebody else is dealing with the 2K lacquer.

I will cut either a black or a red tortoishell pickguard for the bass and clean up the wiring loom harness. I'm going to put a shout out for a black Casady pickup and mounting ring set, as mine are cream and might clash with the body.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Rob on November 10, 2017, 03:34:12 PM
Using an experienced painter makes sense to me
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on November 10, 2017, 04:05:10 PM
Using an experienced painter makes sense to me

It was quite a funny phone call. The painter felt he was letting me in for some bad news, as it might cost me £120 or so to get the bass painted.

Guitar refinishers are quite rare in the UK, and they would charge £300 - £400 for the work. Hollow bass (tick), set neck (tick), body and neck refinish (tick).
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Dave W on November 10, 2017, 05:09:23 PM
That price is more than reasonable.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: amptech on November 11, 2017, 01:43:42 AM
That price is more than reasonable.

That's a good price indeed. The local atuto paint shop charges £1000 for a guitar paint. I think that price reflect their interest in painting instruments. I know a guitar player that paid that price, but the paintjob was awful.

On the other hand, you have to be very good at what you do to be able to do  good instument finishing at a good price and actually make money doing it.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Highlander on November 11, 2017, 06:03:14 AM
My rattle-cans are resting at present... :vader:
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Dave W on November 11, 2017, 07:34:16 PM
I've never priced refinishing an instrument through an auto body shop here. No idea what they would charge. But £120 is a bargain compared to what a guitar refinisher would charge here, even for a bolt-on.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Basvarken on November 12, 2017, 04:23:42 AM
I hope it'll work out good for you Alan.

I've had a lesser experience with a car painter doing a refin on a bass guitar.
The result was a decent paint job. But the entire finish had an orange peel wobbly surface.
Apparently car painters don't bother to sand properly nor polish it to a mirror like flat surface...

My advice would be to emphasize on a good sanding and thorough polishing job (which can be extremely time consuming)
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: gearHed289 on November 12, 2017, 11:09:05 AM
But the entire finish had an orange peel wobbly surface.
Apparently car painters don't bother to sand properly nor polish it to a mirror like flat surface...

They'll do that on purpose on a concourse restoration. You'll actually lose points at a show for no orange peel on parts of the body. Not something you want on a guitar though! Years ago, a friend had a Warmoth body painted plum crazy purple by an auto finisher. Looked great, but very quickly developed major checking in the clear coat. Not sure if that had anything to do with who did the work.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on November 12, 2017, 02:05:41 PM
I spoke a bit with the guy who would do the work. It sounds like a familiar workflow: filler/primer, colour coat then 2K clear lacquer. I think he mentioned 'flattening', but he definitely mentioned buffing the finish if necessary.

The work may well cost more than £120; I have to take the bass along for the guy to evaluate. He has done non-car stuff before, including furniture and record decks.

Nobody got a black JC pickup?  :o

I'm looking at a vinyl dye product to turn my cream Casady pickup black. Apparently it gets down into the plastic, rather than sit on the surface. It might be nonsense....
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Basvarken on November 12, 2017, 02:48:41 PM
Maybe you can wrap it with black shrink foil. Perhaps your car painter knows where to get this stuff. It is often used in the automotive industry these days.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Pilgrim on November 12, 2017, 08:06:21 PM
The downside is that auto body guys have no idea how to prep wood.  No grain filler, no pre-sanding with grit down to 2000, and probably not a clean enough painting environment.  Hope it turns out OK. If you're re-painting over existing finish, that gets rid of some potential problems.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Psycho Bass Guy on November 12, 2017, 09:45:10 PM
My homemade JPJ bass started out as an ESP looking like this:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4558/24508395498_2c2291ab4b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/DkHW85)

and ended up looking like this:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4537/38348848302_effdc9b651_k.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/21qKSxG)

An autobody shop did the paint job and honestly the back looks even better than the front. A small section ( half thumbnail-sized) of top coat on the front has chipped away, but I'm pretty sure it got hit with screwdriver installing the pickups. It cost $300 ten years ago.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Highlander on November 13, 2017, 01:10:41 PM
Very nice... :mrgreen:
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on November 13, 2017, 01:38:54 PM
The downside is that auto body guys have no idea how to prep wood.  No grain filler, no pre-sanding with grit down to 2000, and probably not a clean enough painting environment.  Hope it turns out OK. If you're re-painting over existing finish, that gets rid of some potential problems.

I'm going to do a bunch of prep myself, including a fair bit of filler work (there is wood missing on the back, and dents in the front). I was advised not to prime it myself as they would be removing the stuff I applied before applying their own.

I'm cautiously optimistic, but I know it won't be the same as getting a dedicated instrument refinisher to have at it. As long as it looks better than whatever I could do for ~£120 then I will be happy.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Dave W on November 13, 2017, 09:49:13 PM
My homemade JPJ bass started out as an ESP looking like this:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4558/24508395498_2c2291ab4b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/DkHW85)

and ended up looking like this:

(https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4537/38348848302_effdc9b651_k.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/21qKSxG)

An autobody shop did the paint job and honestly the back looks even better than the front. A small section ( half thumbnail-sized) of top coat on the front has chipped away, but I'm pretty sure it got hit with screwdriver installing the pickups. It cost $300 ten years ago.

Wow! I don't remember you posting that before. Very nice!

Reminds me of some of the 90s G&L finishes.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Psycho Bass Guy on November 15, 2017, 10:38:40 AM
They didn't have grain filler so they used auto body filler and as a result, the bass is pretty heavy and extremely bright. I didn't remember the body wood being so dark (just found that pic on my computer the other day). I guess it's basswood, but it may be whatever "fauxhagony" Epi uses.  I've posted it here before but it was linked to Photobucket. When I get some money, the Mexi-P pickup is going to be replaced. I just told the shop I wanted it hunter green and bowling ball after seeing a set of Fender Custom Shop basses in black bowling ball. The back has a lot more silver. If I get time today, I'll take a picture of it and post it.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on November 15, 2017, 01:24:14 PM
Hunter Green you say?

(http://www.warbirdsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/Hawker-Hunter-G-red-SE-DXM.jpg)
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Pilgrim on November 15, 2017, 04:28:35 PM
They didn't have grain filler so they used auto body filler and as a result, the bass is pretty heavy and extremely bright.

That may be roughly akin to a transparent Lucite body now.   :o
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Highlander on November 16, 2017, 05:07:46 AM
That may be roughly akin to a transparent Lucite body now.   :o

(https://geekandsundry.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/scotty_computer_star_trek_google_0-970x545.jpg)

As a curious aside, it now exists... :mrgreen:
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on November 21, 2017, 12:33:05 PM
My Casady project has taken an interesting turn...

(https://shop.guildguitars.com/wp-content/uploads/009-9107-049_BS1_bisonic_bass_pickup.jpg)
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Rob on November 21, 2017, 05:10:53 PM
Gonna need a sound clip.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on November 22, 2017, 02:24:28 AM
I might be able to provide one in February or March.  :mrgreen:

I've just bought the pickup, and it isn't here yet. It is a Guild BS-1, rather than a Dark Star or Curtis Novak number. I played an M-85 reissue last month that sounded pretty tasty, and since I'm refinishing my JC I might as well go whole hog. And in theory it gets me closer to that Crown of Creation tone...

While I'm routing the top of the bass for this pickup I might as well fit a Stratocaster jack, eh?
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Basvarken on November 22, 2017, 04:07:43 AM
Stratocaster jack

 :popcorn:
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Dave W on November 22, 2017, 07:39:15 AM
The Guild reissue pickup is certainly truer to the original than the Dark Star.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: gearHed289 on November 22, 2017, 08:44:18 AM
While I'm routing the top of the bass for this pickup I might as well fit a Stratocaster jack, eh?

(http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/48/483ef0911f5e27073a015b45aee7a288b9c8d3bfa104f8bfe6625572f97cfa52.jpg)

Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on November 22, 2017, 09:19:06 AM
The Guild reissue pickup is certainly truer to the original than the Dark Star.

Impossible! I thought those things were the pinnacle of passive bass guitar pickups, leaving a trail of knackered up basses with weird square routes in their wake? Honestly I remember a time on Talkbass where any bass that sat still long enough got the Dark Star treatment... glad to hear that you consider my £90 BS-1 pickup to be closer to the original Bisonic than the Dark Star.

The Strat jack comment was a joke-ish. I saw a picture on my Instagram feed of a '60s ES-355 with a freshly compressed/angled output jack with splintered wood etc. It have me the fear! Plus the Strat jack route gives you another angle to get to the pots from. Plus the Bisonic is a big chrome hunk, so why not have one more?
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Pilgrim on November 22, 2017, 02:25:44 PM

While I'm routing the top of the bass for this pickup I might as well fit a Stratocaster jack, eh?


:sad:

Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Dave W on November 22, 2017, 09:21:55 PM
Impossible! I thought those things were the pinnacle of passive bass guitar pickups, leaving a trail of knackered up basses with weird square routes in their wake? Honestly I remember a time on Talkbass where any bass that sat still long enough got the Dark Star treatment... glad to hear that you consider my £90 BS-1 pickup to be closer to the original Bisonic than the Dark Star.
...

A longtime local friend bought one of the Chris Hillman Signature Guilds and has been gigging with it this year. Sounds like an original to me.

Same thing happened at the Dudepit as must have happened on Talkbass. Any old beat up 80s plywood import would get posted as "Dark Star candidate?" What really floored me, though, were the guys buying new expensive basses and routing them for Dark Stars, then they'd get tired of them and try to sell them for more than they had invested. That only works for a while, then you run out of customers.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on November 23, 2017, 01:57:53 PM
I guess a lot of gear has that sort of 'mania' period. I just Googled "Dark Star pickup" and saw a lot of basses with those pickups fitted.

Thinking ahead, how noisy is one of these pickups? Will a dummy coil be a sound addition, or will it kill the delicate tone of the pickup?


Also....




(http://www.guitarrepairbench.com/parts/images/guitar-replacement-hardware/6.jpg)
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Highlander on November 23, 2017, 04:05:18 PM
Go XLR... ;)
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on November 27, 2017, 01:36:59 PM
The Guild Bisonic showed up! I will need to match the underside of the trim ring to the radius of the top of the body, which will be good fun. Presumably lots of sandpaper and double-sided tape will appear in my future.

The pickup itself is nicely made, and I will have to remove some wood from the factory pickup route in the body to make it all fit. Quite an unusual and inspired design, where the pickup is its own mounting frame to some degree. And of course, once you get in amongst it, it is a fat single coil pickup with a fiddly over-engineered pole height adjuster setup. The emperor is naked!

Dummy coil, yay or nay? How noisy are these pickups?
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Dave W on November 27, 2017, 09:28:15 PM
My friend's Guild hasn't been noisy on stage. OTOH I haven't heard it in isolation and I have no idea how well the bass is shielded.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on November 30, 2017, 12:02:22 PM
I think a dummy coil might rob too much of the magic from the Bisonic. I have a dummy coil in my PJ bass, and it has robbed that bass of some of its magic.

Anyway, now I'm here:

(https://scontent-lht6-1.cdninstagram.com/t51.2885-15/e35/24273954_168788290382468_5768025470893293568_n.jpg)
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: bassilisk on November 30, 2017, 12:26:17 PM
That looks sharp! All this talk of Bi-Sonics made me dig out my 60's Coronado IV sporting 2 of them.

I forget how good these pickups sound.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on November 30, 2017, 12:34:55 PM
The pickup looks sharp, but the bass has a long way to come yet!

I'm planning to get it sprayed in the colour called 'RAL 9001', which is a bit like this:

(https://www.vespafarben.de/wp-content/uploads/Vespa_Farben_rAL_9001_Cremeweiss.jpg)


My project last night was to radius the pickup's black under-ring to match the top of the bass. I also used fine, heavily worn-out sanding blocks to knock the shine and sharpness off the black ring. It looked a bit cheap and chintzy.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Dave W on November 30, 2017, 04:13:48 PM
I like that color!
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Rob on November 30, 2017, 04:32:18 PM
I like the color too.
This seems a great project.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on December 02, 2017, 12:20:36 PM
The air is thick with the smell of Isopon P38 body filler. Every last dink, dent and abrasion is being lovingly filled with car body filler.

I'm going to pick up Fender Coronado II reissue to fulfill my hollow bass needs for the next little while.  I know the Coronado is a very different (and heavy) instrument, but they look like a lot of fun.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: steveonbass on December 02, 2017, 01:07:09 PM
The Guild reissue pickup is certainly truer to the original than the Dark Star.

Have you tried them both?  I thought Fred Hammon really nailed the Hagstrom Bisonic pickup with his Dark Star design..  If i remember correctly, It's a hand assembled copy made to spec.  If so, what did you find the difference to be.

I've played originals and the DS and found them to be an excellent representation.  I have a set in my 70's Starfire and i love them - you can really get the wide dynamic of input based upon right hand attack - just like the original.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on December 02, 2017, 01:28:13 PM
From what I gather the DarkStar was hotter than the original BiSonics.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: copacetic on December 02, 2017, 01:34:11 PM
The Dark Stars were hotter than the original Hagstroms. That Crown of Creation’ sound tone will require you to get a Versatone amp. No way around it.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on December 02, 2017, 01:55:14 PM
I have a Line6 *thingy* (Live X3, or something like that) which apparently has a Versatone Pan-o-Flex modeled in it. I just can't work out which model it is. They've not modeled the actual Pan-o-Flex function of the original amp as far as I can tell.

The tone on the track 'Crown of Creation' is something to behold. The way Jack clings onto those notes at the end, right to the point of feedback, is brilliant.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Dave W on December 02, 2017, 01:58:56 PM
Have you tried them both?  I thought Fred Hammon really nailed the Hagstrom Bisonic pickup with his Dark Star design..  If i remember correctly, It's a hand assembled copy made to spec.  If so, what did you find the difference to be.

I've played originals and the DS and found them to be an excellent representation.  I have a set in my 70's Starfire and i love them - you can really get the wide dynamic of input based upon right hand attack - just like the original.

Yes, I've tried them  both.

To add to copacetic's post: Fred's stated goal was to reproduce the Bisonics that were hot-rodded by Rick Turner -- not the stock originals. That's exactly why he consulted Rick Turner during the time he was developing them. I'll leave it to others whether or not he succeeded, but his pickups were not the same as the originals and weren't intended to be.

Dark Star fans always talk about the wide dynamic range of the pickups. That's fine but it means nothing unless you like the tone. EMGs are remarkably wide range too, and I don't like them at all.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: steveonbass on December 02, 2017, 02:18:24 PM
Yes, I've tried them  both.

To add to copacetic's post: Fred's stated goal was to reproduce the Bisonics that were hot-rodded by Rick Turner -- not the stock originals. That's exactly why he consulted Rick Turner during the time he was developing them. I'll leave it to others whether or not he succeeded, but his pickups were not the same as the originals and weren't intended to be.

Dark Star fans always talk about the wide dynamic range of the pickups. That's fine but it means nothing unless you like the tone. EMGs are remarkably wide range too, and I don't like them at all.

Cool.  I love the Dark Stars but different strokes...  They are the only pickups I've tried that i can really overdrive with my right hand.  Definitely worlds better than the Guild mudbuckers that followed the Hagstroms in the Starfire (but what isn't?).
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on December 02, 2017, 04:09:52 PM
How do you overdrive pickups themselves? Surely that is impossible.

Jack Casady used to add a second magnet to the Bisonics back in the day. Some came from Hagstrom with two magnets on the back, and some came with only one. Jack had an extra magnet added to one half of his signature Epiphone's pickup as well. Jack definitely seems to think that magnet strength alone is enough to change a pickup favourably.

For reference my repro Guild BS-1 (I wonder who made these? Artec? G&B? There is a Far-East OEM feel to this pickup), has two magnets, and is a 'bridge' pickup.

(https://images.talkbass.com/attachments/bisonicback-jpg.678076/)

And that quick connect thing can get in the bin.

I thought the Bisonics in Jack and Phil's basses were stock, and it was all the downwind primitive active stuff that was the unique bit. Phil, Jack and the proto-Alembic crew favoured the Bisonic because it had quite a flat, even response and wide bandwidth. It made a good pickup platform to start shaping tone with active systems, because it provided such a 'blank canvas', tonally. That is why I can't quite drink the Dark Star/Bisonic KoolAid. The Crown of Creation/Live Dead tone is the product of uniquely modified basses with other stuff going on in them, rather than the tone of hotrodded Bisonics. Live Dead was an EB-3 anyway, with some unusual looking pickups going on that might have been rebuilt Bisonics and might have been something else.

Phil started off with a bone-stock Starfire II bass:

(https://photos.smugmug.com/GratefulDead-1/Grateful-Dead-Photos/i-dK28bBk/1/3a96dedd/M/68.D5.Columbia.PL.BW-M.jpg)

But by the time the Alembic guys were done with it it had turned into this:

(https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0332/7621/files/PhilLeshBigBrown_large.JPG?v=1478289629)

The Bisonics are gone!
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Dave W on December 03, 2017, 12:08:30 AM
I didn't say overdrive the pickup itself, I said hot-rodded. That's how Fred described it (and Rick probably did too, I can't remember). It could be using more iron or steel, stronger or different magnets, hotter windings or a combination of these things. Fred explained what he did, unfortunately his website is long gone.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on December 03, 2017, 06:13:28 AM
I didn't say overdrive the pickup itself....

True, but steveonbass did!

Cool.  I love the Dark Stars but different strokes...  They are the only pickups I've tried that i can really overdrive with my right hand.

 8)
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Dave W on December 03, 2017, 11:44:38 AM
True, but steveonbass did!

 8)

Pretty sure he's just talking about the pickup being more responsive than usual to plucking/picking hand touch. At least that's its reputation.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: steveonbass on December 04, 2017, 10:57:41 PM
Pretty sure he's just talking about the pickup being more responsive than usual to plucking/picking hand touch. At least that's its reputation.

That's exactly what i meant.  The output is very dynamically responsive to right (in my case) hand touch.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Alanko on December 05, 2017, 01:08:31 PM
That's exactly what i meant.  The output is very dynamically responsive to right (in my case) hand touch.

That sounds good! I liked the stock Casady pickup but it wasn't the most dynamically responsive.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: BeeTL on December 05, 2017, 07:12:17 PM
I think a dummy coil might rob too much of the magic from the Bisonic. I have a dummy coil in my PJ bass, and it has robbed that bass of some of its magic.

Anyway, now I'm here:

(https://scontent-lht6-1.cdninstagram.com/t51.2885-15/e35/24273954_168788290382468_5768025470893293568_n.jpg)
This is going to be a really cool instrument when completed.

I know that two of the guys who own Primaluxes fitted with the Guild BS-1 absolutely love them.

They are local to each other and had the opportunity to A/B them together with the Fralin Big Single (my favorite), Lollar Thunderbird, and TV Jones Thunder'blade.

One is the company rep for the Class D power unit that most of the big bass amp builders are using, and can own and play nearly anything you could imagine.

He has scaled his gear back significantly, and yet he's keeping the BS-1 equipped Primaluxe.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: the mojo hobo on December 06, 2017, 04:56:46 PM
The air is thick with the smell of Isopon P38 body filler. Every last dink, dent and abrasion is being lovingly filled with car body filler.


JB Weld has a product that acts like car body filler but is made for wood. Can be found at any home improvement store. I used it on a crack in the front porch, I think it is stronger than the car filler.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Dave W on December 06, 2017, 08:21:45 PM
JB Weld has a product that acts like car body filler but is made for wood. Can be found at any home improvement store. I used it on a crack in the front porch, I think it is stronger than the car filler.

Good to know. They have several products for wood. Is this the one you're talking about? https://www.jbweld.com/collections/wood-1/products/wood-restore-repair-putty
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: the mojo hobo on December 07, 2017, 06:28:39 AM
Yep, that's it, except the can I have is about half that size.
Title: Re: Couple of Jack Casady questions!
Post by: Dave W on December 07, 2017, 01:38:22 PM
Thanks, John. I see it comes in 12 oz and 32 oz sizes.