Sunday, January 16, 2011

1994 - Ibanez SR800LE

Way back when I was 16, I figured I needed a bass.
There wasn't much available under $1000 in my local store, so I ended up buying the cheapest bass I could get my hands on.

It was ugly, still is. But it was all I could afford, so I bought the Ibanez Soundgear SR800LE.
Also known as The Metal Head's Bass.

The bass was black, four string, with active pickups.
I totally messed this bass up.
It had active pickups, but I went through a "phase" of ripping out the wires on all my guitars and just wiring the pickup to the output. You know, for a more "pure" tone. I also painted the entire body with glow in the dark rubbish which was a nightmare to get off. The things you do as a teenager!

Yeah, it was a silly thing to do, I've since lost the original wiring harness and pickups.
Hey it's been 15 years or so. I ended up ripping out the neck pickups and just went with the bridge, which I think was a Dimarzio Jazz bass pickup, but I can't see any label now.

A couple of years ago I began the "restoration" project.
I added a cheap Seymour Duncan P Bass pickup to the neck.
Unfortunately this instrument doesn't seem to be blessed with a great sound.
The pickups are fine and the output is normal, but the volume this bass generates is low.
I installed a home made bass booster, but it really didn't have enough gain.
The volume and tone controls were pointless in this state so I removed them, and have gone back to that punk rock simplicity that got me into this pickle in the first place.

I'm currently about 1/4 the way through the mod/restoration project.
Over the years the bass has accumulated various dings and chips, as well as that horrible glow in the dark paint still hanging about the place. What I've done is get some Plasti-Bond and filled in the control holes and spent what seems an age, sanding with 400 grit wet & dry to get the body even. After spending a day on the body and neck, I applied the first coat of paint. Consider this coat as an error finder.
I used a simple white undercoat to highlight any uneven patches with thefiller, and it looks like I have my work cut out!

I have used the original paint as an undercoat, simply because I live in a flat and can't use a power sander and don't have the spare time to do the sanding by hand. That's one road I've been down and frankly not interested in doing again.

My goal in this semi restoration is to have a super simple bass with a basic finish.
Also I have a few other guitars needing attention and I figure this project is a good bit of practice.
So far it's going well, but the weather has slowed progress a lot as we've got lots of rain coming this month and it all has to be done under the stairs outside the building.

The paint is cheapo $4 a can, but I've been doing my research and I should be able to get a decent finish by sanding between coats and adding a few coats of clear laquer at the end, then buffing with my Dremel.


  1. Hi. What do you know about guitars called Marina? I have one Marina M-S7 or M-57 stratocaster. Its god damn good guitar with wonderful voice. Its old and red with black pickup guard. I have long time to try anything about it but never found anything. Do you know anything about it?? And i have played guitar long time and I can say its best stratocaster what i have EVER played. Its even better that Fender Stratocaster 57.

    Feel free to contact:


  2. Hi Omnica,

    I've never seen on in person, or even heard of the brand for that matter. From what I can tell on the net, they were a company based in Korea or Taiwan which made inexpensive copies of guitars like the stratocaster, and other common shapes. Some of their instruments may have been branded with other names too (I had a "la grange" strat copy in 92").

    Does yours look like a lump of solid wood or laminate, inside the spring cavity?

  3. Hello ! I own a Marina m-s7 stratocaster guitar and i think it sounds really good. I love mid and low notes. Maybe what i like is the tone of the old wood. I think it's a four piece swamp ash body but i'm not sure.
    I also own a couple of fender american deluxe and i really like Marina guitar.