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a few pointers on undoing my bass of it's coat

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by x4x, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. x4x


    May 10, 2003
    Hi, i've been walking around with this idea for quite some time now. I have this flat silver painted Yamaha RBX 774 bass. I want it to give it a more natural look by undoing it of its paint and givin it a nice natural finish, so that the woods shows all its beauty. It's an adler body. But i have a few questions. Since i don't have the money do let it be done by a pro, i was considdering doing it myself. But i have no experience what so ever in doing so. So, are there any things i should keep in mind? what laquer should i use? Do i have to remove all the electronics? Is it an overal risky/hard thing to do when you have never done such a thing before?

    some pointers would be more then welcome!

    thank you
  2. you're going to have to totally disassemble the bass. so it's just the body and nothing else. to get the finish off, i've used a belt sander and then palm sanders and files to get all the finish off the edges and hard-to-get places. it's a somewhat delicate process.
    once you get it down to the wood, and do a LOT of fine sanding (i finish with 220 grit) i'd recommend a wax finish. not only will it look natural and beautiful, it'll feel smooth and natural, not like a sticky laquer finish. i use a butcher's wax, you can pick it up an any home depot. tung oil is nice too (home depot has that as well.)

    and be very careful when taking the bass apart, of course. especially with the electronics; it doesn't take much to mess them up when they're loose and on their own, as opposed to safely fit into place inside a guitar.
  3. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
  4. matt bass

    matt bass

    Apr 28, 2003
    Staffs, England
    I asked about doing this with my MIM Fender P not to long ago. The general response was not to do this, as it was likely that the alder will be of a sub standard and not very pretty to look at. because this bass was meant to have a coated finnish over the wood, the alder will probably be several pieces of lower quality alder glued together.

    It's your choice whether to do this or not, this is just a warning. However you could be lucky and find a very nice piece of wood under there, but if you don't, you'll be stuck will a very odd looking bass lol.

    If you do go ahead with this project, i'd like to see the end result.

    Good luck

  5. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Let's try this in the Luthier's forum...
  6. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    The main risk you run with alder is that the body is more than 2 pieces. No way of telling until you strip it.

    If the thought of removing the electronics is daunting, then you might want to reconsider. That's probably the least of your worries as first you've got to get that paint off, and then you've got several hours of hand sanding to take on. That's not to say that you can't do it, but it is certainly an investment of time.

    Three things I will add to the topic:

    1) airborne paint and finish particles are not good to breathe in. if you do this, USE A GOOD DUST MASK, and do it in a well venthillated area.

    2) I do not recommend paste wax alone, but I do recommend paste was over a polymerized tung oil finish. These finishes are easy to apply, and as FLOYD says, it will look and feel sweet and natural.

    3) If this is your only bass, be prepared to be without a bass for at least a week or two. Doing an oil finish right takes at least a week since the coats need to cure overnight. If you run into and difficulties, obviously, it could take longer.

    4) I would at least think about using some kind of paint stripping chemical instead of sanding off the paint. These vapors are also bad to breathe in, and many dust masks cannot filter fumes, so if you do use chemicals, do it in a well-venthillated area, and it won't hurt to wear the mask anyways. They do make high-grade masks that can protect you from some vapors, so if you can get your hands on one of those, all the better!
  7. Just a little addition to what FBB says here:

    "Cured" is not "dried". "Cured" is the final state of an oil finish. "Dried" is something in between. My rule of thumb to determine "cured" is if I can't smell ANY hint of the oil as I applied it. You can touch polymerized oils after just a few hours of drying but it's only after they've cured that you can do the waxing to the best effect.

    Good Luck