Hey guys, my mate wants to fit a new pickup in his bass. it's a yamaha bass with a single pickup and iirc it's a glossy solid color finish.

He asked me if I could do that, since i do a lot of customization on guitars, but usually it's not of such cosmetic character.

Now I wanted to ask what's gonna be needed to put the new pickup, route the body (if needed, I still have to see his bass) and also mask the new routing with a black paint at least close to the finish?
The first thing I'd ask is if the bass is using a pickguard
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depending on the pickup you use you could probably get away without the paint (assuming it has a mounting ring of some sort, but not many bass pickups do thinking about it...) perhaps you could either make or buy a pick guard for it if he's into that, or make some sort of small surround for the pickup if the edges of the route need to be covered.

i'm just throwing out ideas here.

actually, thinking about it, i just routed for two pickups in a guitar i'm building, and if you're careful, it will probably look fine. maybe paint over the inside edge of the cavity if it's visible
Find a way to protect the finish of the guitar, like covering it in a few layers of newspaper or something. You don't want to scratch it up while moving it around on a table or workbench or whatever.

Masking around the area to be routed (or better, using a piece of sacrificial wood between the router base/template and guitar body) will keep the paint on the edges of the route from chipping out.