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Hondo Precision Bass Renno


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I am going to do a bit of renovation on my old Hondo bass, it only gets used for home recordings and sounds good, but there are a couple of things I want to change. It has this hawks beak point on the headstock that puts dings in the wall when it's left leaning in the corner and its orange/red colour is not very rock. I have pulled it to bits so far and sanded it down.

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First snag, those machine head flanges are in real tight and I do not want to lift divots off the front of the headstock when I take them out. I am going to try tapping them out gently from behind with a screwdriver and hammer. The orangey red finish has to come off. I will see how paint stripper goes on it, it looks like two pack and so it is likely to be stubborn. The hawk's beak is going to be shaped off with a bastard file and then smoothed with a router. I used to wonder why bastard files were given that name until I took some bark off my knuckles with one. :D

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Put a dowel in from behind that fits loosely and tap it lightly, you'll be able to knock them all out in a few minutes this way. It seems all bass tuners I've come across have fit in extremely tight, just take your time!

I've nicked my thumb a couple times with a micro-plane, now I make sure to wear gloves when working with those kinds of hand tools. It is quite painful for such a small scratch.

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Thanks Jon, that sounds good, I'll go with the dowel technique and let you know how it works out.

I started spraying black on the body this morning and mid shoot my paint stick snapped in half :D I managed to catch it before it hit the grass and bolted on a support and kept spraying. Got a bit of a sag on the back, so I will leave it hanging up in the cupboard, go to the Ritz Cinema and watch a movie about surfing penguins and sand the sag and knock out the flanges when I get back.

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Well my car conked out on the way to the movies, I'll have to get the tow truck on Tuesday, so I had some extra time to have a go on the neck. The dowel trick worked great, the flanges were recessed in with very little protruding edge in the hole, so I had to wrap some aluminium tape around the end of the dowel to get some grip. Then gently tapped them out, no wood accompanied them :D.

I left paint stripper on the headstock for two hours, there was no visable effect on the paint at all, but it had softened up. I shaved it off with a sharp chisel.

Shaving the headstock

and then sanded it smooth.

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Next job is a little bit of reshaping on the headstock with a router, I am just wondering how wobbly the router is going to be on that little bit of wood as a base.

Edited by Muzz
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I might be tempted to rig yourself up a table real quick for that thing. I've had a couple wobbles in attempting to route on super skinny things and a table would have solved everything, I'm sure you could come up with a table design without too much problems. The other idea is to take a nice sized piece of 1/2 or 3/4 inch MDF for a template and just cut a channel around the headstock design so the router still have wood on both sides. Hmm, I can't explain this well. Maybe I'll make a crummy picture.

The headstock came out nice and clean. I've seen endless restorations on this and on other sites and all of a sudden while reading this thread I realised how fun it would be to do one, and this restore had only just begun. I have no idea why now or why your thread triggered the idea in me, but I would now be happy to run across some beat up axe to play with, weird, well thanks I guess, lol. Best of luck. J

EDIT:Here is another masterpiece from my 1st grade painting skills. Anyhow, you basically just cut a channel around the shape instead of cutting the template all the way out. It would take a few more minutes to make and as long as your router can reach the otherside you are fine, though the tighter the better as it could bend, but with 3/4 MDF it should be fine and prevent any wobble. I really don't like any freehand routing. I always prefer a template. I still think a router table would be best though.

Headstockrouting.jpg

Edited by jmrentis
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Hi jmrentis, Yep I think you are right, it's going to be too wobbly without a level guide on the other side of that router bit , I am going with your advice, I do not want to be posting a pic of the chunk that got chewed out when my router slipped off 90. I managed to shape up a template, it's just the region marked with crosses that is coming off for this project.

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I will give the tiny routing project a shot in the next couple of days, I'll keep you posted.

I like your channeled router template/table for full heastock shaping. You could even put bolts through the edges that could be turned to level and stabilize the table.

I would say if you are feeling like doing a renno go for it, it is lots of fun, I like the Mr. Potato Head approach to guitars, you can change the stick on bits when ever you like. :D

Edited by Muzz
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I went with the non-wobble bar for the route

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the wood is sitting on pieces of MDF to bring it level with the template. I got the right thickness by splicing small triangles of MDF with a Stanley knife and placing them in between the big pieces of MDF and the wood.

I buzzed the beak until I just heard the whine of the router change pitch and got closer each pass untill I felt the roller follow the template,

it did the job

and changed the profile of the headstock

Now I just need to find an image of the Hondo logo to make a decal, I Googled and this was the closest I got :D

'Hondo' logo

I need to keep looking. I saw this website where they put a Fender decal on a Saga tele, why would someone do this?

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Cool stuff Muzz and it looks nice. Once you showed a pic of the small section you wanted to route a similar idea came to me(like yours). No need to make a system for the whole headstock. It may seem at the time so pointless to take the time to setup that jig as you did, but once that router tips real bad and leaves a big dip and you have to take a bunch off the headstock, you tend to feel different and wish you'd spent the 5 extra minutes. Good stuff and best of luck on the rest. J

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Next snag, my new pickguard arrived today and the neck cutout is a few mm too small, you can see it overhanging the neck pocket in the photo. What is the best way to route out the the pickguard?

With a router? :D

I'd get a bottom bearing bit and screw the pickguard in place, taking the router and running it around the neck pocket. Slooooowly.

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I used a dremel and a grinder bit to get mine close to the body, then I finished it off with sanding. I wouldn't go slow against the material either, if I'm not mistaken it is extremely flammable. But a flush trim bit should work well.

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Yep it's a victory dance and in my case amazed celebration that something worked :D

Some of my fave accompanying tracks for guitars with air strings and paint stick necks are Enter Sandman, Shotdown; Riot on Sunset, Fat Bottomed Girls, Thanks for the Memories and Choir Boy by an :D band, Grinspoon.

I got a bit heavy handed with the clear enamel and got a few runs, I pressed greaseproof paper against them to flatten them out and hung up the body in the cupboard overnight. By this morning they had formed 'warts'. I sanded them off with 400 grit over a paddle pop stick.

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I kept the lumps wet with water during sanding down as they didn't seem quite hard but the water seems to set them as you file, is this a chemical reaction or is it just my imagination?

It all smoothed out OK, it's like sanding a surfboard at this stage with

lots of white residue.

Edited by Muzz
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It was a real win some/lose some day today. I clamped my bass body to the stand and grabbed what looked to be the can of clear automotive enamel, I put my mask on and I was just about to spray when something did not look right with the can. It was the wrong can, just normal paint and it said the colour was "Fuschia" and I nearly sprayed it on my bass :D . After swapping to the right can, it was smooth sailing it all flowed on easy, no runs, in a few days it will be ready to sand with 800, 1200, 2000 grit then buff up with cut and polish.

Then I tried the decal, it went on OK

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but after I sprayed clear on it you could see the difference between the plastic covered wood and the rest of the headstock. I am not an nth degree perfectionist but I did not want to keep it, I took it off, sprayed clear into the wound and I will sand it back after it dries.

I am also going to have to get new covers for the pickups, my original plan was to use the

old pick ups

but they don't go with the new tortoiseshell pickguard. I have taken off Gibbo style pickup covers by melting the solder that keeps them on, but how are P Bass pup covers held on? and how do you take them off? run a Stanley knife around the edge?

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I bought the pick up covers today the old fashioned way, I walked into the shop. I went to to a suburb in Sydney :D called Annandale, there is a stretch of road there that is guitarists' heaven, so many guitar shops within cooee of each other. Even with all those guitar shops I couldn't find any genuine Hondo parts, I had to go for an aftermarket product.

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:D

With a project like this the screw holes are never going to line up exactly,

I lined up the fingerboard

and I have to bring those pups forward a bit, thank goodness for hardwood toothpicks.

See you round like a rissole B)

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Managed to get the old pup covers off today, I ended up putting the edges on the table and hitting the poles with a screwdriver and a hammer. A bit of the innards stayed with the cover, I don't know if it will make any difference to the sound.

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I put the new covers on with a bit of glue on the edge and clamped them down

Second go at the decal worked fine, I have built up the clear enamel over it.

With any luck I can buff up the body and start putting everything together tomorrow.

Edited by Muzz
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Nearly finished, tested the electronics with the iPod, great for two pickups. If you want to determine which pup is which, play early Van Halen, Eddie's guitar always comes out of the left earpiece :D

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Edited by Muzz
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Thanks guys, it didn't come out looking too fugly I think :D I like the old but cared for look in guitars.

I found a packet of new DiMarzio pickguard screws (unsuitable and unused from a previous project) in my box of spare parts that I had forgotten about that were perfect for this job, don't you just love that when it happens. Little bits of shiny chrome always gives things a lift.

I tried a new technique (for me) to repair a couple of varnish delaminations on the neck, the finish there is nearly a mm thick and there were two sections that had peeled to the wood. The thought of masking and spraying in about 15 layers of clear coat into the craters didn't appeal to me so I tried spirit based two pack. Has anyone else tried this stuff? it worked great, it went into the wound like thick treacle and overfilled it, even on a curved section. Next day I sanded it down and buffed it and it was perfect to the touch and really neat to the eye. I am wondering if you could even use it as a finish on necks and bodies.

:D

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