BAS (aka "Kavkaz") bass guitar

This thing was produced in USSR during the 70's at Rostov Na Donu. "Kavkaz" is not the real model name of this instrument. According to the manual, the model name is "BAS". The official name of the company that made the bass was -

Rostov-on-Don factory of keyboard instruments Rostov-Don MPO [Municipal (or Local) Industrial Company] "Kavkaz"

So the nickname "Kavkaz" originates from the name of the subdivision of the Rostov-Don factory - the original name of the model ("Bas") lacked individuality and couldn't be used. Later Rostov-Don issued a new bass model and called it "BAS-2".
Bas 2
Aelita - Bas' sister
Aelita 2
Rostov manual - featuring Bas.

The beginning: a bolt-through Kavkaz bass neck, complete with inlayed machine nuts and mounting bolts. What was the guy thinking when he did this? Oy, oy and oy again.

The retrofitted neck attachment system is one of the worst cases of guitar abuse (well, bass, but hey) I've ever seen. Some idiot drilled all the way through the neck and drilled holes to "inlay" three nuts into the fingerboard. "Bolt-on" is one thing, but this "bolt-through" design is totally nuts.

It wasn't too hard t fix though. I just peeled off the original veneer between the frets, and glued in another piece.

I also used some original Soviet fretwire to replace the missing frets.

Once I clean up the rest of the fingerboard, and restain it carefully, the new wood will blend right in.

The end: a bolt-on Kavkaz bass neck. Obviously not perfect (nothing on this bass is), but it looks much much better. Once I buff it out with some 0000 steel wool and polish it, the patch job will blend right in. Only one question remains: what to do with those nuts and bolts?

Here's the peghead of my Kavkaz bass neck. Typically, the nitrocellulose plastic overlay has been shrinking gradually over the years, to the point where there is now a significant (2mm deep) "cup" down the centerline of the peghead.

It is also interesting to note how the piece of the plastic overlay that was under the truss rod cover -- and therefore shielded from any exposure to UV light -- is still a nice dark red color, whereas the rest of the peghead has turned a muddy brownish-gray. At least it's interesting to me ... but I'm easily entertained.

The contraction of the shrinking plastic also caused the finish on the back of the peghead to crack along the lines of the neck laminations, which are beginning to separate: not good.

So, that shrinking peghead overlay simply has to go ... original or not. It's done enough damage. Applying some heat with a hair dryer softens the glue between the overlay and the peghead, and allows me to work a thin-bladed knife in there to remove the offending overlay.

These overlays come off very cleanly this way, without any damage to the wood..

Just taking that 1mm thick piece of shrinking plastic off the peghead allowed the "cupping" to flatten out all by itself by about 75% within a few minutes, to only about .5mm. Much better.

At this point I scraped off all the old glue, slightly dampened the exposed wood, and clamped the peghead totally flat to dry, in preparation for its new (non-shrinking) overlay ...

Here's the cheesy material that I'm going to use to replace the original plastic peghead overlay and pickguard on the Kavkaz bass. It comes from the custominlay.com folks I recommended in the forum.

The dark amber material needs to be back-sprayed with gold paint before using it for a pickguard, as it's semi-translucent. That won't be a problem for the peghead overlay though, since it'll be glued onto light-colored wood. It's about as close to the original Soviet material as I've ever found.

Not much to say about the (pine laminated with beech veneers top and back) body, since it was almost totally intact and only needed some basic cleaning up.

The original pickguard was also mostly intact, but had the typical serious shrinking problem commonly seen with older nitrocellulose plastic pickguards. It was also faded, cracked and chipped. All the original components worked pretty well though: a minor miracle. So, I decided to simply save it for posterity, and make a reproduction 'guard out of the same amber-colored pearloid material I used for the new peghead overlay.

Ain't guitar repair/restoration a laugh?

This wonderfull article is written by Jamie Chivers -

Guitartech Jamie Chivers,
Over 30 years of quality repair experience
Kettle Falls, WA
Monday - Friday
10am - 6pm
Set Up * Wiring * Refrets * Customizing

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