So. Finished. More or less.
Replaced the pickups with Seymour Duncan 1/4 pounders. They're a high output passive pickup.
I shielded all the compartments with copper foil.
I ran a new ground to bridge with a slightly larger shielded line.
I put in a pre-fab dohicky that has the volume, tone, and jack rigged through a little block that lets me wire in the pickups without soldering.
The neck had a back bow that I got rid of once, but came back within two weeks. So I put on a new neck. It's a lot thicker than the original, but I kind of like it.
I replaced the tuning machines both for color (the new ones are black) but also because the original ones had some quirks I didn't like.
I replaced the bridge with a HIpshot Kickass 4, also black.
I replaced the pick cover because the original was ugly and thin.
And I put on black knobs.
I restrung it with some Dean Markley Cryogenic strings. I don't like them much, but they were $25, so I'll let them wear out a bit before I put on replacements. I have some GHS Boomers waiting. I do think this bass might sound better with half-rounds. But I have half-rounds on my Ovation, and I have flat-wounds on my Yamaha. So Frankenstein will have round wounds for the brighter tone when needed.
I've got the set up to the specs I could find. The nut is right. Using a test with a capo on the first fret and fretting where the body meets the neck, the 7th fret has .015" relief. Then with the capo off, the action at that fret is .125". That seems high to me, but it's the spec. So I'll play it like that for a while. With the nut, the bridge, and the relief all set where they're supposed to be, I then used a curve gauge thingy to set the bottoms of the A and D strings on the same curve as the fretboard. Then I did intonation using harmonics at the twelfth fret and that was a piece of cake with this bridge.
So all of it is set up where it belongs, but the action FEELS a little high. I'll play it a while with this action and the big baseball bat neck and I expect I'll get to like it. Though I may set the action a little lower so long as it doesn't mess up anything else.
I did have to put a very thin shim in the neck to make it all work. It came that way. I took it out when I cleaned up the finish on the body and had to clean out the neck pocket. I ordered some bell brass shims, but they didn't come in. So I used stainless steel washers. I forgot to use the micrometer to measure their thickness, but they're just perfect. When the right shims come in, I'll measure the washers when I take them out and replace with the same thickness proper shim.
I had to buy some new tools. I learned a GREAT DEAL.
Some things I learned:
Not soldering is MUCH nicer than soldering.
Shielding is important.
High output pickups are nice and cut way down on buzz because less "juice" has to be pushed in at the sound board.
Pick guards are a pain in the neck.
Don't drink whiskey when using an X-acto knife to cut copper foil.
Don't drink whiskey when soldering.
Buy extra little tiny screws.
For the most part, the less expensive gauges and tools on Amazon are the same as you can get from a high end outlet like StewMac. But StewMac cannot be beat for files.
Use correctly measured files from StewMac if you decide to replace a nut.
Back bow is a death knell.
High mass bridges do not add sustain. They all claim to.
A high quality bridge is a delight for adjusting action and intonation and stringing.
Wear reading glasses when trying to read a 1/64" scale.
The tool with a bunch of very finely measured and labeled thicknesses (gap tool?) eliminates a LOT of guesswork.
The little metal booger with a slot in it to slide around a fret and protect the fret board while you sand the fret is a gift from God.
While it's possible to find the occasional good quality off brand part, time is better spent trying to find good deals on parts from well known manufacturers.
Don't use a high torque power drill to install neck screws. The screw heads will strip long before they are tight.
Granted B chord amnesty by King of the Mutants (Long live the king).
If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome! - Mekidsmom
When in doubt ... hats. - B.G. Dude