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Aging Gloss Urethane Finish

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by leothebit, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. leothebit


    Sep 27, 2013
    Recently bought a Japanese Fender P/J Jazz Bass, sounds lovely, but looks like a toy... the urethane finish is way too glossy.

    Is there any way to "age" it, or at least remove the gloss?

    Thank you!
  2. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    So you want a matte finish? Take the bass completely apart, and get some #0000 steel wool and a whole lot of elbow grease. Make sure the pickups are a mile away from the bass at the time or they will be sporting a steel wool afro that is almost impossible to get off.
  3. vstring3


    Oct 30, 2009
    You can shave that afro with masking tape.
  4. leothebit


    Sep 27, 2013
    Not really matte! Just less glossy, you know? This thing looks like it could take a bullet and it'd not reach the wood.
  5. jason the fox

    jason the fox Often rocks and rarely rolls.

    Jul 2, 2013
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Modern polyurethane finishes can be ridiculously durable. And compared to nitrocellulose (or "nitro" as they say) it doesn't age as gracefully.

    In general, nitro tends to wear and check, where the poly tends to crack and chip (not always, but from mainly from my experience). And where nitro fades or mellows in color (and sometimes absorbs color from your clothing, etc), poly doesn't tend to change with age nearly as drastically.

    I'm interested in reading the replies in this thread. I'm not necessarily a fan of unnatural "relicing" but I understand why people like the worn-in look and feel. It seems a lot easier to achieve that aged look with nitrocellulose than polyurethane.
  6. leothebit


    Sep 27, 2013
    Yes, I heard that too... I hope someone could give us some light! It'd be a beautiful bass if it didn't shine so much.
  7. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    So you want some finish swirls, and some minor imperfections to give it that played look?

    I have never done it, but I have seen people use heavy, coarse paper towels to put some very fine swirl marks into their finish. It doesn't really scratch it but you can see the swirl marks when held up to a light.
  8. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    Fine scotchbrite pads will do the same thing as fine steel wool, only without the steel.
  9. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars

    They will also completely take the gloss off
  10. 48thStreetCustom


    Nov 30, 2005
  11. Crg2


    Feb 9, 2012
    Please, don't mess with a Japanese Fender bass or its finish. They're amazing insturments, and, if taken care of, hold their resale value.

    It's too bad Axsak is defunct. Axsaks looked horribly cheezy, but you could slip the Axsak on, and it would hide the shiny part of the bass from you. Axsaks made playing a contoured Fender instrument very non-slip and comfortable.

    I hated looking at my Strat with its Axsak on, but I sure loved playing it that way!

    Maybe, in the alternative, give the Japanese bass a good, loving home, and use the sales proceeds to buy a MIM Road Worn. They are extremely playable, and can still be found in stock at quite a few retailers.

    Part of the ethos of Fender Japan is a very shiny finish. They are quite a visually-conscious, perfectionist bunch.
  12. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    My guitarist used to work at a plastics custom manufacturing company and gave me a stack of very-very fine polishing fabrics, much finer than scotch brite pads or 0000 steel wool. I can turn a gloss into semi-gloss or matte, or I can turn it very glossy.
    Look up your local plastics company to try and buy some sheets.

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