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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.