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Found 20 results

  1. Now that's a hell of a title. I think that's it's fairly well-known that I've somewhat of a fascination with Japanese instruments made from 1976-1986 in the Matsumoku factory under the Aria Pro II banner. For the last ten years or so I've been making replacement preamp modules for their classic SB-1000 basses, and doing a few complete restorations for clients. The SB-1000 was an active single-pickup four-string bass made in two versions '76-'80 and '80-'86. It was made beyond this time in various forms, and is still made by the current incarnation of Aria Pro II, however the classic period for this bass was when they were made at Matsumoku. The 80s version introduced a slight geometry change, new headstock shape, finishes, switchable passive mode but fundamentally it was the same instrument. 70s SB-1000 (thumb rest not original) 80s SB-1000 During the 80s, APII also made a dual pickup flagship version of the SB-1000 called the SB-R150 with better appointments and flashier wood laminations. Something I'd imagined a while back was to take the basis of the SB-1000, add in appointments from the SB-R150 and move it up into 5-string territory. In recent years, Aria Pro II have also made a 5-string SB-1000 however I have zero hands-on experience of those.
  2. EDIT: I see a lot of traffic coming into this thread because of the subject material, so it's best to qualify what this project was and wasn't for various reasons. Firstly, the headstock shape was out and has been revised for subsequent Aria Pro II SB type projects. Mostly this was from not working off a physical example, so I'd like to capture that thought. Secondly, this whole thing was massively screwed up by the painter not following instructions on what to do, pretty much writing the whole thing off. In general the process steps are valid, even though they've evolved greatly over the intervening years! ----- A friend of mine sent me an Aria Pro II RSB-600 bass a while back which he wanted retrofitting with hybridised SB-1000 electronics. Because of the extensive work that bass would require to do it proper justice (including a full refinish) we decided instead that I would trade the bass for work. That work being on a different bass acquired in Japan. The project remit is a new neck to replace the one that is missing, but in the style of the 2+2 SB Black n' Gold basses rather than the 4-in-line style of the original. Additional modifications include a brass nut, body end truss rod access, gold fretwire and neck profile specs identical to that of the '84 APII SB-R60. The body has all-original hardware and electronics so this is purely a neck retrofit. Despite the original neck being Maple (listed in the catalogues as "replaceable Maple"!) I am nudging my friend in the direction of a Maple/Wengé laminated neck. Reference photos of other RSB Deluxe-I's: Catalogue photo (centre model). The colour of the actual model is identical to that on the left. Original headstock detail. Body detail. Headstock transition. Actual photos of the bass: Six-piece Alder body! I might consider swapping that gold baseplate out for a black one to properly continue the Black n' Gold theme. The neck plate (not pictured, duh) dates the bass to 1984. One of the best time to be buying guitars from Japan!
  3. This thread will be a collection of information and stages of planning a build using parts found on eBay. Ultimately this will become a series of articles on specific techniques and procedures for the main Project Guitar site with one main article documenting the build with reference to these. For the moment this will serve as a public thread discussing everything as it happens.
  4. From the album: eBay body project

    First step was to use a bearing-guided template bit to copy the existing cavity shape to a sheet of 5mm plywood.
  5. From the album: eBay body project

    The decision was made to kill the paint and remove the underlying veneer.
  6. From the album: eBay body project

    For those of you into stereoscopy, check this one out! Look at the images from a comfortable distance and cross your eyes until both images overlap in the centre....
  7. From the album: eBay body project

    Another angle of the same issues under the finish.
  8. From the album: eBay body project

    The light patch on the veneer could either be a sandthrough or adhesive soaking through the veneer. I suspect that this is a sandthrough whilst the marks at the edges are adhesive.
  9. From the album: eBay body project

    Wow, look at the sanding marks left inside the lower horn! The translucent finish hides this until you reveal it in bright light. Also note the strange light marks which look like adhesive on the veneer.
  10. From the album: eBay body project

    Finish chips around the edges.
  11. From the album: eBay body project

    Wow, now that is some awfully rough routing.
  12. From the album: eBay body project

    The lack of a square heel does suggest the possibility of conversion through to a seven-string....
  13. From the album: eBay body project

    Cavities roughly routed and spattered with buffing compound!
  14. From the album: eBay body project

    Finish chips around the edges.
  15. From the album: eBay body project

    Finish chips around the edges.
  16. From the album: eBay body project

    Potential sandthrough or veneer adhesive soaking through at the left hand side?
  17. From the album: eBay body project

    Ding in the finish through to the veneer
  18. In exchange for some work I have taken onboard a 1981 bass which....has seen better days.... From 1977 to 1986, the Matsumoku factory (actually part of a larger complex, Singer I think) produced the best instruments Aria Pro II ever put out. The RSB-600 is a relative of the more commonly recognised SB-1000 bass played by John Taylor of Duran Duran, briefly by Cliff Burton (bigger backstory here), Trevor Horn and numerous other bassists of the era. Like the "big brother" SB-1000 this bass is a 7-piece laminated neck-through design with Oak wings. According to the catalogues, the neck consists of Maple and Mahogany although I highly suspect that it is actually Walnut. Cosmetically the RSB basses were identical to the SB basses but with a 4-in-line headstock as opposed to the 2+2 Batwing or "open book" shape. The bridge on the SB-1000 was brass whereas all other models used a cast Zinc alloy. Unlike the MB-1 16-pole ceramic pickup of the SB-1000, the RSB-600 has a single AlNiCo pole MB-II. Internally both of these pickups were identical in that they consisted of two interlocking plastic bobbins, wound, loaded with slug/mags or poles and then epoxy cast in a thermoformed case. Interestingly, despite using the same full-width bobbins as the MB-1, the MB-II was only loaded with four poles corresponding to two strings per bobbin. Essentially a P-Bass sensing pattern with full width Jazz-size winds! We join our hero as I received her from Japan. Yes. Covered in bright blue paint. Very very very bright blue paint that we will call "Tepco Blue".
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