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Basses VS Incense, Oil Diffusers and Candles

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Chicory Blue, Jan 23, 2018.

  1. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue

    Oct 9, 2016
    A scant few years ago, I lived with a pair of heavy cannabis smokers. When I began to smell it on my clothes at work, I picked up the habit of sealing my room and burning rose petal incense, essentially pressure-cooking my clothes and possessions in rose stank. In addition to keeping my job, I smelled amazing, like, all the time.

    That living arrangement was short-lived, but I maintained the habit a good deal longer. Burning incense became an integral part of my practice regimen, tracking my progress in number of sticks burned, but within a year my bass had yellowed from a lively bright blue to a sedate and contemplative teal.


    (Extensive playing in the sun may have also contributed, but Occam’s razor suggests the weirdest thing you did with your gear is probably the thing that broke it.)

    I don’t mind the color change (much), but as my dwelling now houses a pretty white piccolo bass, I plainly need a new system for aromatherapy, lest I end up with a classy “Spoiled Milk” finish.

    I know scented candles are too rough on air filters to make a habit of, so I’m turning my attention to essential oils.

    Anyone have any experience here? Will regular-to-moderately-excessive use of an oil diffuser/warmer in my room discolor or otherwise negatively impact my basses?

    Edit: attaching front and back view from page 3.

    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  2. Trouztrouz


    Feb 6, 2013
    That seems like a bit of a stretch for Occam's razor. I believe it's commonly paraphrased as "the simplest answer is usually the correct one," although the original language is more along the lines of the answer relying on the fewest assumptions is the best.

    Anyway, seems like fewer assumption involved in the sunlight theory than the oil diffusion theory. The "tan line" look is a clue IMHO.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
    MEKer, ROGI, Vinnie Boombatz and 4 others like this.
  3. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    I'm thinking light exposure with that clean line seems like the simpler solution. Smoke, if it is penetrating into the wood, would leave an irregular staining pattern along the grains of the wood. Like if you try to use wood stain...It doesn't matter if you tape off the edge, it is leaching into the wood.
    ROGI, Waltsdog and Chicory Blue like this.
  4. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue

    Oct 9, 2016
    Huh. Didn’t know that about smoke! That’s certainly enlightening...

    And yet, the back is much the same color as the front... I’d’ve thought if sunlight was wholly to blame, it would be bluer on the side that rests on my tum, wouldn’t it?

  5. Trouztrouz


    Feb 6, 2013
    I don't think it's a matter of smoke penetrating the wood, I expect the issue would be partially combusted or vaporized oils penetrating the polyurethane coating. The discoloration would then be due to either the color of these oils themselves, or a reaction between the oil and the polyurethane. The tan-like looks makes me think it would be the latter, if either, of these scenarios. It also makes me think that neither is very likely.
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  6. Trouztrouz


    Feb 6, 2013
    That is an interesting point. How confident are you that the front and back are the same color? The brain can play tricks on your eyes.

    Did you notice an oil or sooty residue on anything else in your room?
  7. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue

    Oct 9, 2016
    Confident enough to assume, but I suppose not so much so not to look again. I’ll snap a picture when next I’m home.

    I wouldn’t say I’ve noticed much in the way of a visual residue elsewhere. My favorite burning spots are next to white walls which have yet to show any discoloration.

    I’d’ve really assumed it was just the finish changing with age, but the onset seems pretty sudden, and the bass itself is only about four or five years old. Hardly a high-end beast though. Plus it wouldn’t explain the tan line.

    Is there anything else the finish might react with? Air or heat or something?

  8. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Many finished are photo-reactive, meaning they react and yellow to UV. Even if it's not direct light, there is still UV bouncing around, that's why the rear is also yellowed.

    The new polyester based CV finishes most guitar manufacturers are using now-a-days are more resistant to yellowing. Great for painted bodies, but a bummer if you have a maple guitar. Those will stay pale looking forever.
    ICM and Chicory Blue like this.
  9. Trouztrouz


    Feb 6, 2013
    I agree that the tan line rules out an inherent discoloration of the finish with age. I still think sunlight is the most likely culprit but you're right to note the discoloration on the back. Perhaps the indirect sunlight was sufficient to cause some discoloration on the back, and it's simply difficult to see the difference in the mild discoloration on the back compared to the more extensive discoloration on the front. You did characterize the sun exposure as "extensive," so it wouldn't be a huge stretch to believe that the back got a fair share of exposure as well.

    I think the path forward if for you to buy three more basses identical to that one. Leave one out in the sun, a second next to your diffuser, and the last in its case. Take pictures every few months. Report back in four to five years.
  10. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue

    Oct 9, 2016
    Yes, plainly this is what must be done, because science.

    I’ve gotten many a sunburn while playing this bass, so it’s hardly far-fetched that UV light could be to blame...

    Does this mean the incense isn’t going to yellow my white bass? I can continue abusing my senses and those of the people around me by baking my life in burnt roses without having to switch media?

    Morrighan, Oddly and Trouztrouz like this.
  11. Trouztrouz


    Feb 6, 2013
    You should really use sunscreen.

    Anyway, I'm not going to rule out the possibility that excessive incense/diffused oil could be harmful to your bass. It just seems like UV exposure is the most likely explanation for your bass's discoloration (also your own). However plenty of people have blamed cigarette smoke for guitar/bass discoloration. I'm skeptical of that too, but what do I know.
    Dieboy and Chicory Blue like this.
  12. Member8675309

    Member8675309 Banned

    Aug 19, 2017
    Nashville, TN
    Chicory Blue, zon6c-f and Coolhandjjl like this.
  13. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    This ^^^
    Dieboy likes this.
  14. Callused Finger

    Callused Finger

    Feb 22, 2007
    New York
    That'll buff out..
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  15. We burn incense Every day

    I keep my basses in hard shell cases except when playing except one has a gig bag

    No staining from incense ,cooking or anything else
    bassfran likes this.
  16. Try using a good automotive polish on it. Might just be surface contamination.
  17. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    The "how many sticks of incense" timer mechanism is used by some meditation practices as well. Never thought of it for bass. Couldn't use it myself (we do parrot rescue so our home has to be smoke free) but it's interesting.
  18. tekhedd

    tekhedd Tone chaser Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    Colorado, USA
    Owner/operator of BYTE HEAVEN
    Another thing to possibly be aware of (not necessarily concerned) is that incense in large regular quantities is probably carcinogenic. Great, now you've made me want to burn some.

    (We're talking "churches that burn huge honking quantities of it on a daily basis" sort of levels here, but it is something to be aware of.)
    Chicory Blue likes this.
  19. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue

    Oct 9, 2016
    Is that a thing people do? I wouldn’t mind trying but it seems drastic and scary. But mainly that’s because I don’t know jack about polishing cars.

    Music and meditation are pretty similar things in my world. The incense helps me feel like I’m leaving the world behind when I play, but it’s also handy for keeping confidence up- Putting a large number of sticks in a jar and burning them one by one while I practice until it’s empty reminds me how far I’ve come, and how far I’ve yet to go.

    Everything I love causes cancer. At least I’ll pass on smelling incredible.

    kesslari and Oddly like this.
  20. superheavyfunk


    Mar 11, 2013
    I use one of those oil diffusers that atomizes the oil or whatever. I'm not exactly sure how it works, but you add water and essential oil and it vaporizes it, sending a stream of cool fragrant air into the room.

    The way I see it, not only does my room smell great but I'm also keeping the humidity up, saving me from fret sprouts and the like.
    alaskaleftybass likes this.

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