Saturday, April 5, 2014

Aria Pro II SB-1000 Transformation into Cliff Burton Tribute

Several months ago I picked up an '83 padauk red SB-1000 in desperate condition. It had been routed to accommodate P/J pickups and had a warped neck. Of course it had been gutted of its original pickup and electronics as well. It was unplayable and pretty much a lost cause. But after a while I thought maybe it could be restored to its former glory. It would be a waste to let an SB-1000 rot away like that. I wouldn't be able to pull it off alone, though, and after contacting several people I finally settled on my old standby at MD Custom Shop in Seoul to do the work. Because of the horrible routing, a black finish was the only way to go. I decided to make this into another Cliff Burton tribute bass. I think it came out great! Besides the refinish, it also needed a re-fret, new pickup, and new electronics installed. The electronics are Aria re-issue but the pickup is from another '80s era SB-1000.

Here are the before, during, and after pics! The Cliff Burton fans out there should know what the custom serial number on the back of the headstock means!

To see how this tribute bass looks compared to the original, click here!

Special thanks to Deathblade Eric and Prostheta from Talkbass for their help on this project! 


  1. Good job! ;)
    Where find the decals?

  2. What a great way to restore an SB. I have an SB600 from 1981, set neck with bat ear headstock, and the laquer is pretty bad, with lots of dents, chips and scratches. I am thinking of having it redone in black, but wondered how to get the headstock transfers done - any ideas where I can get hold of them? Maybe I could use the later style, like you have done.

    1. Hi Ed, go to There's a user named Bloodaxe who made a terrific PDF with the old style logo/patent text.

      Here's a direct link to the logos for the bat ear headstock model.

    2. Thanks alot for all the detailed pictures, best part was the decal link. Does anyone know if the original SB-1000 that Cliff played, was a "batear" or the new model?

    3. Kenneth, Cliff played basses with the newer model headstock.

  3. Awesome job! Inspiring! I'm working on my 83'SB-Elite I, but I'm missing a lot , still... Do you still have the decals file? The link is unavailable.