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First Restore Job

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I have come across a Jazz Bass body that is missing tuners, bridge and the electronics looks fairly shot. Apart from a few dings the body itself is fine and the neck is still fine (no bows etc).

I have been loitering here for a while and decided to restore a guitar before trying to build one and since I picked this body up for $20 AUD I figure if I make a mistake it wont matter that much.

I have a few questions about what I want to do with the guitar though.

  • What is the best way to strip the body? Heat, Chemicals or Sanding
  • I want a dark black gloss finish, What is the best thing to use? Keep in mind I have no painting experience.
  • I also want to paint the headstock, I would fix the neck up (it has a couple of dings in the back) but I dont want to have to take of the fingerboard etc. I assume I can mask off the neck and just paint the headstock.
  • While painting the headstock I was wondering if I could cut a little bit out of it, it is a fender style headstock and I want to remove the right hand side (the round bit at the top and the point off to the side, Can this be done
  • I have come accross some bridges at the local music store but im not sure how to line them up on the body

Any help is appreciated


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If you are doing a solid colour refinish you wont need to strip the body at all, just fill in any dings and sand the body with 240 grit (or close to that) sandpaper to knock the gloss off so the new paint can stick.

Black gloss isthe hardest thing to pull off with little equipment because its very unforgiving - every mistake will show and its very hard to get rid of swirl marks. You can use regular car paints which should be freely available, its best to use a compressor and spray gun rather than rattle cans but they will ok for one body, wou will just need a lot of them.

Like you said, mask of the fretboard and neck to spray the headstock. Dont sand the back of the neck too much to remove the dings, the last thing you want to see is the truss rod. instead put a small peice of wet cloth over the dings and heat it up with a soldering iron, this should create steam that will swell the wood fibres to their original size and hopefully fill most of the ding.

As long as you dont remove anything that is holding tuners or strin trees you can reshape the headstock as you like.

There is loads of info on the net about placing bridges in the right place, a quick search should tell you what you need to know!!

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