Here is an epic repair work. It’s a very simple story: its owner has had the bass stored somewhere and decided to give it as a gift to his niece. Nothing fancy at all…
… except it was EXTREMELY RUSTY!!
Every single screw was so corroded I couldn’t get them out without breaking their heads. I tried all my extraction techniques unsuccessfully.
Since all the pickguard screws were broken, I opted to reinstall the pickguard 4mm closer to the bridge so I could use new ones without messing with the corroded remnants of the originals. Yes, the correct procedure would have been to extract the original, set in a dowel, level and refinish the body. But that would have cost more than the entire bass, so I chose to do a less expensive work.
Since the pickguard screws were so corroded, I inspected the entire bass. Well, EVERY SINGLE SCREW was completely busted. The ones that hold the neck, the bridge, and even the the strap button screws: all were rusted beyond repair. All this stuff was really dangerous, I was afraid to use the strap fearing the strap button screw could break their heads off! Even the upper horn strap button collapsed when I tried to unscrew it carefully by hand: go figure!
So, I decided to repeat the procedure described above and install new screws beside the old ones everywhere. Eventually this led to a repositioned pickguard AND bridge.
Yes, even the bridge screws lost their heads due to corrosion. The picture shows how I drilled new pilot holes right beside the remnants of the old screws.
To file off the “stump” of the old screws I used a Dremel 431 sanding drum with a 60-grit value. Why not a cutting wheel? Because the screw was so rusted the wheel just threw fragments everywhere! By using a sanding drum I was able to slowly grind the screw remnants out of my way.
As you can see, what was a simple setup work ended up being a much expensive one just because I needed more time to cope with all that rust… just because he left the instrument unattended during years. The moral of the story? KEEP YOUR STUFF CLEAN!
And there are even more corrosive stories about this bass… right here!