Next: dying the bass. I ended up going with a black dye. (I can’t remember why I decided against the white?) it’s still going to be finished with a light (urethane gel) matte finish though. I think it’ll look great when it’s done! (Seeing how soft this body wood really is, I think I’m going to have to apply two coats of the finish to it. I originally only wanted to do one coat, but I don’t think it’s a good idea with the softness of this body. We’ll see…)
I used an ebony black analine water stain from Lee Valley and it was very easy to apply. You only need twelve hours between each coat, and after each coat, I rubbed it very lightly with #000 steel wool. The directions for the dye say you need to let the final coat dry for 24-48 hours before applying the finish, but after letting some intermediary coats dry for 24 hours, I think letting the final coat dry for at least 48 hours will be the way to go though. 24 hours for sure won’t be enough.
Here are some photos after 3 or 4 coats (I can’t remember how many) of the black analine dye. This isn’t final though – after these photographs were taken, I applied one last, final coat of dye and I’m going to let it dry for at least 48 hours before I start applying the urethane gel finish.
(Oh yeah, I also dyed the maple neck black – it actually looks great!)
While letting the last coat dry overnight, I was starting to question whether I would need one more coat of the dye, but after looking at the bass this morning, I think it’s perfect now as it is. 24 hours more drying time, and it should be ready for the finish.
Now that the whole bass (headstock, neck, fingerboard, body) is all black, it made sense to also change the hardware to black. I’ve decided I won’t be keeping this bass, instead I’ll be selling it (for a profit) as soon as it’s done. It really is a great bass though, and I know I’ll have a hard time parting with it once it’s done, but I intend on using that money to make a new five string fretless bass from scratch (well, sort of). Hm. Naturally, I didn’t buy the hardware I would have bought if I was going to keep the bass (which would have totaled $350USD) but I was able to find really good black hardware for the bass for just a little over $100USD.
Mind you, the bridge I ordered from AllParts is out of stock, so I’m still waiting to hear back from them on other bridges. They seem to be taking their time getting back to me though. Terrible.
I also still have to figure out what I’m going to do about the electronics and about shielding/grounding the bass better. Since I’m not going to be keeping the bass, I’m definitely not going to spend another $400USD to put Bartolini pickups and/or electronics in it either. But at the same time, I’m not convinced it’s necessary. The bass sounds great with the current pickups and electronics (just a tad bit noisier than I’m used to, and it does record really really well too… (When I finally sell the bass, I’m going to put up recordings of it for sure.)
My next article on this bass won’t be so soon, but I’ll update as soon as I get a chance – likely after the finish is applied and just before the new hardware is installed…