Repair Shop Spot: Boat Engine ‘bass’, leather clad 1960s ES-345

This month, like pretty much every other at Mass Street Music, brought some really unique instruments through our Repair Shop. Take for instance this one string bass that Andrew brought in to get strung up. Putting one string on, no problem. Sussing out what string works best for a 40s boat engine casing bass? That took a minute. Or two.

one string bass guitar made from motor boat engine casing

This boat engine casing bass was handmade, including the neck which Andrew procured from trimming a hedge on his own property.

Andrew intended to built a gas tank bass similar to the beast Jeff Eaton from Split Lip Rayfield created. When he visited his friend’s salvage yard though, he was fresh out of gas tanks – then Andrew spied this 40s motor boat engine housing. He added a neck and bridge from wood he trimmed from a hedge in his own yard. After talking a bit about it, Josh ended up recommending a Fender 72 gauge nylon tapewound string. Thank you Andrew for sharing your Sea King 5 bass with us.

motor boat engine casing bass

It does look a bit like a loo seat, but it is in fact a boat engine casing.


Sea King 5 decal logo boat engine

The Sea King 5 rides again!


A little more detailed, this 60s Gibson ES-345 came in dressed to the nines in a tooled leather covering so intricate we all stopped and gawked for a bit.

Mass St Music luthier Mike Runyon with 60s Gibson ES-345 with leather covering

Hey, it matches my shirt! Mike Runyon did the electronics clean up and TLC on this 60s Gibson ES-345


close up of 60s ES-345 with leather covering

Cool guitar with or without really and built for country twang.

Super clean, and really beautiful old-school tooling with amazing details. The ES-345 received some TLC and it’s back to playing like new now, thanks to Mass Street Music luthier Mike Runyon.

back of Gibson ES-345 with leather covering

The back is just as gorgeous and detailed as the front.

As for the purpose of the leather covering, it’s really just for decoration, and perhaps a bit of an homage to Elvis and others who were fond of the treatment in the 50s.

detail of leather covering on 60s Gibson ES-345 guitar

Now that’s detail…y’all.

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