I’d say the only parts that had no rust were the tuners. I just cleaned them and applied TPF lube to make them turn smoothly. At last, an easy job!!
The frets, however, had only very superficial rust. I was able to polish away the corrosion. But the fretboard was horrible! It looked dull and white-ish. It turns out the wood wasn’t treated at the factory. Had the bass been stored in a dry place, the fretboard might have been cracked. Even worse, there were glue marks, probably leftovers from the inlay work. This wasn’t a cheap guitar, but a sloppy mess instead!!
I had to grind away the fretboard with steel wool to get rid of most of the dried glue. Afterwards I applied an oil finish with a dark tint mixed in it. What a difference! I took a picture to show the “before / after” look.
The nut was also a miss. It was smaller than the neck and it was loose. I decided to carve a new one out of real bone instead of plastic: when installing a better pickup is not an option, a bone (or brass) nut is the next best thing you can do to improve the tone of any guitar.
The screws of the bridge saddles were corroded as well (no surprise here). It was difficult to extract them, and one simply got broken in the process. I bought new screws and tapped the saddles to match the beefier size.
At last, it was time to build the circuitry. Again, corrosion destroyed all the screws. But the pickup was working, so I simply removed the surface rust on the poles and covered them with clear lacquer to help protect them from sweat. Afterwards I bought brand new pots and an output jack.
I decided to build a full shielding (Faraday Cage) for the electronics so the bass can be used anywhere with minimal noise. I prefer aluminum tape instead of copper because it’s cheaper, easier to work with, and much easier to find.
Once the shielding was complete, I assembled the whole instrument and got ready for the final battle: getting a low action!