G&L L-2000 Tribute Bass, in Fender Style Antigua! Does anybody remember the 70s ...??

  • Posted by Krishna
  • at 10/22/2008 04:08:00 PM -
My bass buddy Steve (actually I have a few bass buddies named Steve ..) approached me with the idea of refinishing his recent G&L L-2000 bass in something more interesting than the factory sunburst with walnut back finish it had. This bass is one of the Tribute series, which is the "more affordable" series of G&L's produced overseas.

We batted around some ideas - including Fiesta Red .. and then Steve asked me if I could do something along the lines of the fairly uncommon "antigua" finish that Fender applied to some instruments during the late 60s and then again in the mid 70s. The finish was basically a two-tone grey burst - though often these instruments have a heavily yellowed top-coat which gives them more of a brown and butter burst look.

I did some research - mostly looking for pictures online - and found that it appeared that there were really two versions of the antigua finish - the one from the 60s had a narrower and darker grey edge that looked more like an outline of the guitar body and pickguard (and appeared mostly on Fender's Coronado line) , whereas the 70s version had a wider, softer edge and a lighter grey color. The picture below has a very yellow tint to it - so its not a good reference for the actual colors, but it does illustrate the difference between the 60s version and the more common 70s version.

I found some pictures of a Precision Bass in antigua, with a relatively unyellowed finish, and a Strat, and I decided to use these two instruments as my model for Steve's L-2000.

The L-2000 was actually in perfect condition - just needed a make-over. I decided not to completely strip the instrument, especially since I figured there was a reason the back of the body was finished in a dark dark walnut - something like the body was made of fairly cheap wood with a nice figured top laminated on.

But I did sand down the entire body - and probably removed about 2/3rds of the finish in the process. Once the body surface was prepped and sanded with 220 grit - I primed it with flat white nitro primer.

For the color coats - I knew I'd have to blend both greys and test spray them. For the light grey, I ended up using a base of gloss white lacquer, with black lacquer added - and then a small amount of dark walnut dye as well, to give a slightly brownish tint to the color. It was hard to tell how dark to make the color - if I'd had a real antigua instrument in my hands I could have better judges that, but I went by the picture of the P-bass that is posted above.

I also painted the back control panel - since I was planning on shading that as well. I sealed the base grey color with a clear gloss coat - which came in handy later on.

Then came the mixing of the dark grey edging. I decided to use the light grey as my base, so that the colors would be more likely to match/compliment each other. I added a substantial amount of black and more dark walnut - until I got the color I wanted. I brushed some on a panel I had sprayed to light grey base color to judge how it would look.

So then came the task of doing the edging. I wanted to get a fairly narrow band with a soft overspray, but not too wide an overspray. I used my smaller spray gun with the narrowest spray pattern and gave it a shot - outlining the front and back, and then doing the edges of the body afterwards.

Unfortunately, even though I was using fairly low air pressure, there was too much overspray, especially on the rear scoop. The colors looked good, but I wasn't happy with the overspray. So I ended up wet sanding off the dark grey edging on the front and rear faces of the body, as well as any overspray on the center of the body. The clearcoating over the base color allowed me to do this without damaging the base coat.

For the second try, I used even lower pressure and aimed away from the center of the body - and opted for a slightly wider edging overall. It wasn't really the same as on the Fender examples, but it still looked very cool I thought and resulted in a cleaner edge. I think I'd maybe have to go to using an airbrush to get the proper Fender-style edging - the small spray gun simply didn't have the finesse.

And of course I put the matching edging on the back panel.

After sending a few pictures to Steve and getting the thumbs up, I clear coated the body and back panel - after a wet sanding and buffing the bass will be re-assembled and ready to rock!


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  1. I loved reading your chronicle of painting the Antigua finish. Nice job! Thirty years later, we're guessing at the original colors, right? Every Antigua picture on the internet looks like it has degraded to a totally different color.

    I painted an inexpensive kit-strat in Antigua. At the time, all I knew about Antigua was from the Warmoth website; I didn't know then that it was a factory finish. I mixed black with yellow to try to hit the color. For shading, more black was added to the main cream color. Here's a link to my Antigua story: http://www.guitarattack.com/saga/antigua/antigua.htm


  2. Hi Bob - thanks for the link.

    To me it seems like there were two versions of the Antigua finish - both being two-tone grey, but the sometimes the darker grey being very dark. The yellowish - brownish tint I'm pretty sure is from a thick clear coat that yellowed over time - kind of how every Olympic White P-bass is actually a cream color.

    I do have a few project late 70s P-basses around - been contemplating doing one of them in Antigua and aging it to see if I can get the right color combo.

  3. Oh and Bob - very nice job on the Strat - your color combo looks excellent!!

  4. I am 99.9% sure I just bought this bass used at a Guitar Center in Southern MA!!!! Was searching the internet to find out what year L-2000's came in a gray fade and found this!!!!!!!