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The Frankenthumb - And What To Do With It

Discussion in 'Bass Guitars' started by Toepfer, Jan 21, 2018.

  1. Toepfer

    Toepfer Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Yesterday the Frankenthumb arrived.

    I bought it because I realy love the early 5 string necks with 26 frets (thanks to Schlobodan I got two 5 string streamers from that period with that neck). And a Thumb NT 5 for 750€ sounded like a real bargain. It's a 86 Thumb NT 5 - Serial G 015

    2018-01-21 11.39.47.jpg

    The seller told me again, and again that the mod was done by that famous luthier and that this guy knows best how a bass should sound and so on.

    I already started a complete overhaul, because it needs a lot of tlc. (Sorry I started taking pictures today, because it was dark last night, when it arrived)

    If these routings habe been done by an experienced luthier - this luthier would not get a second chance to touch one of my beasses ever again! Two broken screws still in the wood, still pencil marks all over the bass, no sanding the routings and so on - you can see all that in the pictures below.

    2018-01-21 11.36.41.jpg 2018-01-21 11.37.03.jpg

    So now the big question:
    What to do with it?
    Is it worth saving - YES!
    Does it play nice - Hell Yes (it was set up realy bad - but thats an easy fix)
    Will it ever look realy nice again, without adding some color - No

    My plans at the moment is to talk to two of my friends (ona a carpenter, the other a boat builder) on what can be done to these routings and what chances there are to get it fixed up to paint it black or some crazy colour. So we will see.
    One more thing - They didn't just add the P-Pickup but changed both - so the J doesn't fit the old (original) Warwick routings. The EMG J from my old 4 String streamer (was an 86 4 String) fits perfect.

    So here are some pictures. Unfortunately no pictures when everything was still assembled - but you can see what I'm talking about.

    Any ideas?

    2018-01-21 11.32.05.jpg
    2018-01-21 11.32.18.jpg 2018-01-21 11.32.35.jpg
     

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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
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  2. Hardy

    Hardy Good Vibe Sponsor

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    It’s in the family! It will get a second life! We will see it happen! Great!

    Two years ago I would have started this project myself. But now I have no more time for such things.

    The most important information: it plays well. Imagine a twisted neck or something...

    Now you have all the possibilities for a pu config. The original? Or saving the P/J config? Or something completely different?

    I would paint it sparkling black.
     
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  3. Toepfer

    Toepfer Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Regarding the Pickups - it came only with the P/J. I habe an older EMG P/J from a Streamer (same electronics as in the Thumb now). Nothing else available at the moment.
    I'm thinking in the lines of - get it back to original more than makes it a $$. But thats would makes handling the routings a lot easier.

    We'll see.

    If sparkling paint, I have used a nice metallic blue on my Spector, that I like. But I havent reached a decision yet. I'm a big fan of natural finish (especially with a Bubinga body) but I'm not sure that will work this time.

    2017-06-17 17.15.00.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
  4. jester

    jester Moderator Moderator

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    The guy probably did it himself. Besides being a bad job, he ruined a perfectly good bass. Pickguard looks bad and also the P/J config is far from well placed (although I am so in favor of reverse P). Are these original Js angled a bit more than newer Thumbs? For the four string Thumb IIRC one of the pickups is not slanted any more.

    It's sad to see wood in this state need fixing, but if you refinish it you will have many options with pickup positioning indeed. I recommend keeping P/J but in a reasonable position, and of course reverse P. :)
     
  5. Toepfer

    Toepfer Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    What I forgot.
    It had a broken neck, but that was fixed nicely.
     
  6. Toepfer

    Toepfer Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    The original J routings are closer to the neck than my newer Thumb. The angle, I have to check.
     
  7. Toepfer

    Toepfer Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Yes - angle is completely different

    15165411772132097679060.jpg
     
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  8. Toepfer

    Toepfer Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Interesting, how different the body shape is
     
  9. schlobodan

    schlobodan Warwick Streamer Specialist Good Vibe Sponsor

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    the first 5ers had a steeper angle for the pus.
    One option would be to mill it so the routing has a more rectangular shape. Set in a block of bubinga and route proper pu cavities. Then refinish

    I like the old body shape better btw
     
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  10. Toepfer

    Toepfer Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Me too.

    Thats why I want to talk to the wood pro's. They might have ideas, that I dont even think about.
    The problem with inserting a piece of Bubinga is the grain. But that may be the perfect sollution, if it gets painted anyway.
    If there is any way to keep the natural finish - I'm all for it.
     
  11. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Kudos man. Resurrecting it to its former glory. Chapeau!
    I'm following this thread fo'sho'
     
  12. Toepfer

    Toepfer Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Thanks.
    Lets hope it will come close to it's former glory
     
  13. Toepfer

    Toepfer Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    So the wood cleaned up nicely.

    IMG_0888.JPG IMG_0889.JPG

    I ordered a piece of Bubinga, big enough to fill all the holes. My friends liked Saschas idea to fill everything with one block of Bubinga and then reroute the pus.

    Regarding the Pick Ups:
    Does someone have 2 J Pups you don't need any more? I'll open a thread in the "Want to buy" section. I think it's a good idea to buy the pus first, and then start routing :)
    I'm planing to use the old electronics - the bass came with the old EMG board, that I've seen in Streamers from the mid 80s as well.
    IMG_0887.JPG

    So now everything will take a lot more time, because this is something I'm not doing on my own and have to see when the others have time. I will try to nut rush the project and do it right.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
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  14. Stainless

    Stainless

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  15. Toepfer

    Toepfer Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    I know, but the thing is, I like Batolinis or EMGs more. Regarding the measurement - the problem are the mounting holes for the srews.
    They are different for different models (thats why I need the pubs before I start routing).
    I could use the one J pub that came with the bass and my old EMg out of the Streamer as a second (was a 4 String but the pubs say 5). That should work, but then I have to route two different holes. And they are both bridge pubs.

    But I also like the MECs in my newer Thumb - I also thought about two soapbars . I'm not shure yet, what to do. Thats why I asked if someone has a pair for sale - then I would have a starting point.
     
  16. Stainless

    Stainless

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    I prefer Seymour Duncan or Bassculture.
    This would be also an option to open the notches to one big one and to order a custom Bassculture pickup with a Bubinga cover (e.g. this Gruv-Gear Bass)
    I really love wodden caps for pickups :)
    Gruv_Gear_Bass.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  17. DiMarco

    DiMarco nutcase Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Stick with restoring it to its former glory tbh. Two sc in the original diagonal positioning. This is a rescue mission.
     
  18. Toepfer

    Toepfer Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Well - both options sound exciting.

    That is not a bad idea. But then the Thumb kind of stopps beeing a Thumb. I have no idea how these pickups sound. But it may be a chande chance to keep the natural finish. On the othe hand - how much are these? Custom pickups made in Germany doesn't sound cheep.

    That was the initial idea. The thing is, I am still not shure how the bass will look after the modification. I start to like the way the woodgrain looks. So if there is a chance to somehow keep the natural finish, I'm all for it. If not, I have to think about colors ...
     
  19. Stainless

    Stainless

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    Or another idea from my side. Put the JJs in the original position and build a Bubinga pickguard. That would also look really nice.

    I paid 256€ for both of my bassculture pickups with wenge covers for the Hoyer project.
    This depends on, what you put under the cover. Everything is possible.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
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  20. jester

    jester Moderator Moderator

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    I like Stainless' idea about one big pickup/ramp using the right wood.
     
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