El Toro Refinish Project - Advice Sought

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El Toro Refinish Project - Advice Sought

Postby joezing » Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:00 am

For those who prefer it, I'll get right to the point: How can I replace G&L logo, etc. when refinishing the headstock of a 1984 'El Toro' bass?

I have owned my 'El Toro' for many years and it now bears numerous scars from its journey. I purchased the bass used around 1986 and it has been in and out of my possession throughout most of its life. As far as dating the guitar is concerned, the heel of the neck bears the stamp, 'Apr 10 1984' so I assume it is a 1984 model. The original finish of the guitar is a transparent blue, the maple neck clear-coated, the headstock painted matching blue and the G&L logo in metallic gold.

Functionally, this bass is in excellent condition. The neck is gorgeous and all controls function - even if the pots have become a bit 'scratchy.' Aesthetically, it's a beater, with many dings in the body and other disastrous blemishes in the blue finish. Most unfortunately the headstock looks as if it's been gnawed.

And so I have undertaken to refinish this bass.

My preference is to create a final product that is shows the natural beauty of the wood, but due to the condition of the headstock and body, I believe the finished product will have to be painted. By the time I repair the gouges, etc. all over this guitar I don't see how I could go with a natural finish. If someone has a strategy to repair significant gouges and still allow for a natural finish, I'd like to hear it.

I don't see how I can properly repair the damage to the headstock without obliterating the original logo. Once done, is it possible to obtain a replacement logo? I don't plan on selling this guitar or misrepresenting it in any way but the guitar is what it is and I believe it deserves to bear the original manufacturer's mark regardless of being refinished.

Agree or disagree, any helpful suggestions on how to proceed would be appreciated.

I see that knobs are available and that some of the electronic parts are available (directly from G&L) as well - with the exception of the 'reverse taper' potentiometer. At approximately 26 years old, should I replace the electronics as part of this project?

Thanks,
jz
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Re: El Toro Refinish Project - Advice Sought

Postby Ken Baker » Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:36 am

Welcome to BassesByLeo!

joezing wrote:For those who prefer it, I'll get right to the point: How can I replace G&L logo, etc. when refinishing the headstock of a 1984 'El Toro' bass?


G&L doesn't have them for sale. Scratch around eBay and the like to see what you can find. Waterslide decals do appear from time to time. If you have a luthier in your area, he/she might be able to help you source them.

Functionally, this bass is in excellent condition. The neck is gorgeous and all controls function - even if the pots have become a bit 'scratchy.' Aesthetically, it's a beater, with many dings in the body and other disastrous blemishes in the blue finish. Most unfortunately the headstock looks as if it's been gnawed.

And so I have undertaken to refinish this bass.

My preference is to create a final product that is shows the natural beauty of the wood, but due to the condition of the headstock and body, I believe the finished product will have to be painted. By the time I repair the gouges, etc. all over this guitar I don't see how I could go with a natural finish. If someone has a strategy to repair significant gouges and still allow for a natural finish, I'd like to hear it.


Find yourself some woodworking professionals, and I don't necessarily mean luthiers here. I'm talking folks who build furniture, or even better, restore furniture. Really pick their brains. You can also check here and here. We have an old upright grand piano in the living room that we bought years ago from a restorer that is beautiful. He showed us the instrument before his restoration and the woodwork was a disaster. So, it can be done.

I don't see how I can properly repair the damage to the headstock without obliterating the original logo. Once done, is it possible to obtain a replacement logo? I don't plan on selling this guitar or misrepresenting it in any way but the guitar is what it is and I believe it deserves to bear the original manufacturer's mark regardless of being refinished.


Again, look around eBay and look for folks that might use such things. You can also buy waterslide decal sheets and print you own. Perhaps start with a clear high resolution photo of your current decal.

I see that knobs are available and that some of the electronic parts are available (directly from G&L) as well - with the exception of the 'reverse taper' potentiometer. At approximately 26 years old, should I replace the electronics as part of this project?


If your electronics are currently working, why change? A blast of Deoxit might well clear out the scratchiness in the pots, or you can replace them. The 1M bass pot on the G&L online store is reverse audio taper, even though it doesn't tell you that. The knobs are the current style, which is a little bigger than the factory El Toro knobs.

Sounds like a great project. It's nice to know you want to keep the old beast alive & working. As far as agree or disagree goes: it's your bass, you do what you want. I might cringe if it had some special historical thing going or was particularly rare, but I doubt that such is the case.

Good luck, and please keep us up to speed on your progress.

Don't forget... Pics of your El Toro give us something to drool over, even in its current state. I'll give you a little seed:

Image

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Re: El Toro Refinish Project - Advice Sought

Postby joezing » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:02 am

Thank you for your thoughtful reply, Ken.

I appreciate your advice, particularly that of seeking the help of someone in the furniture refinishing trade as well as the links you posted.

I'm sorry but I won't post pictures of my poor, dismembered bull; I think it might be bad karma! Once he has his dignity again I'll post some shots of how the work is progressing.

Regarding the decal, I've done some research and if I can't find source for one, I will probably attempt to make one myself. I noticed that some of the G&L logos are done in white and since I can't reproduce the
metalic gold, I was thinking of going white. On the white logos, do you know if the letters are outlined in black?

The pic you posted has us (this is a joint project between my son and me) drooling. We both admired the photo and started scheming about how we might obtain a finish like THAT!

Best regards in the New Year,
Joe
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Re: El Toro Refinish Project - Advice Sought

Postby Ken Baker » Sat Jan 01, 2011 1:43 pm

joezing wrote:I appreciate your advice, particularly that of seeking the help of someone in the furniture refinishing trade as well as the links you posted.


No problem. Where I'd really focus with these guys is the wood restoration. Refinishing is a whole 'nother aspect. For that, we go to Guitar Re-Ranch.

I'm sorry but I won't post pictures of my poor, dismembered bull; I think it might be bad karma! Once he has his dignity again I'll post some shots of how the work is progressing.


Okay - understood. I would recommend keeping a photo diary of the process for historical purposes, not to mention as a remembrance of all the work you're about to dive into.

Regarding the decal, I've done some research and if I can't find source for one, I will probably attempt to make one myself. I noticed that some of the G&L logos are done in white and since I can't reproduce the metalic gold, I was thinking of going white. On the white logos, do you know if the letters are outlined in black?


There is precedence for white with black outline. There's this Centennial Edition at Buffalo Bros. It's a limited edition, but they're out there. You might also consider a clear logo with only the outline.

The pic you posted has us (this is a joint project between my son and me) drooling. We both admired the photo and started scheming about how we might obtain a finish like THAT!


Thank you. I'm rather proud of that Bull. The color might best be called vintage white, at least after 27 years. It's kind of an eggshell color, but glossy. You can see the age discoloration in some of the pics.

Here are some links to more images.

http://www.bassesbyleo.com/images/el_toro/body_1.jpg
http://www.bassesbyleo.com/images/el_toro/body_2.jpg
http://www.bassesbyleo.com/images/el_toro/body_3.jpg
http://www.bassesbyleo.com/images/el_toro/body_in_the_weeds_1.jpg
http://www.bassesbyleo.com/images/el_toro/body_in_the_weeds_2.jpg
http://www.bassesbyleo.com/images/el_toro/body_in_the_weeds_3.jpg
http://www.bassesbyleo.com/images/el_toro/headstock_in_the_weeds_3.jpg

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