Note from GuitarAttack:  This is a great-looking bass.  Beware with Saga guitars -- a lot of those aftermarket parts do not fit without a lot of work..

From Marc Bruner

60's look P-Bass

I wanted to make my P-Bass have a 60's retro look.

I found a template for Fender Bass Headstocks online, and used it as the basis for marking one out.





Although it is not an exact duplicate of the Fender headstock, I believe it is true to the spirit of the P-Bass.


(Note from GuitarAttack:  We never advocate making exact copies of guitars unless they are for personal use, and, even then, we think you are better off with your own design.  Also, be careful what you buy on eBay!)

I chose Vintage Cream nitrocellulose lacquer from ReRanch as the body color.

The final finish was Deft matte lacquer on the back of the neck and headstock, and Deft gloss on the body and headstock front.  After 8-10 costs, the body was wet sanded with 800 through 2000 grit, then polished with a pneumatically operated polisher using Meguiars Fine Cut Cleaner (2), and Meguiars Swirl Remover 2.0 (9).


Modifications included Seymour Duncan Quarter-Pounder pickups, D'Addario Chrome flatwound strings, and a genuine Fender brown tortoiseshell pickguard. 

The biggest challenge in assembly was fitting the pickguard, at it is shaped differently from the Saga version.  Getting the pickups to align properly, while covering the routed body cavity was difficult.  The most obvious result of these adjustments is seen as the band of paint exposed at the point where the neck joins the body.  Again, it makes the look non-genuine, but I was going for an overall look, not an exact copy.


The sound is just what I wanted, with that fat, thumpy P-Bass tone.  I like the look too.  Coincidentally, I saw a vintage 1965 P-Bass with exactly the same color scheme at my local Guitar Center.  The price on the vintage original was $5400.00.  Mine cost a bit less than that.

We sent Marc the following questions after we got the submission: 

1. Did you assemble the bass before you painted it?
2. What gauge/brand of strings did you use?
3. Any setup problem when you put it together?
Any other lessons learned for the readers?

He answered back:

1. Yes, I put it together and played it for a few weeks prior to disassembling for finishing.
2. I used D'addario chrome flatwound strings (ECB81)
3. I lowered the action at the bridge on final setup. I may check the action height at the nut later, but I was too anxious to get started playing. After I lowered the action I checked intonation. Based on the tuner in my Tascam Bass Trainer, the intonation was spot on without any adjustment.
4. The biggest lesson learned was that changing pickguards on the P-Bass, where the pickguard also serves to position and align the pickups, requires some careful work.

Great job, Marc -- Looking forward to the next one!


Back to Top


Builder's Gallery Repair Techniques Our Original Music Guitar Forum
The "Saga Sagas" Links

Play Guitar

Opinion Page
  Guitar Collection

Listen on Reverbnation

Interesting Guitars


Contact GUITARATTACK GuitarAttack Store KGS Store   HOME