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Bleaching Fingerboard Advice?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Omnipharious, Sep 30, 2010.


  1. I, nor my father have any experience in bleaching wood, and we need some help, and advice on it.

    I have a Silvertone P Bass knockoff, and I've been wanting to spiff it up a bit. I was going to try and make it look as much like a Relic 60's P Bass as possible.

    This is her now:

    http://s151.photobucket.com/albums/s134/hellatot/?action=view&current=DSC03768.jpg

    This is somewhere near what I'm aiming:

    http://s151.photobucket.com/albums/s134/hellatot/?action=view&current=DSC03768relic-1.jpg

    Planning on sanding off the current finish on the body, and headstock, and staining the body black, putting a white stripe on the side of the pickguard, buying Vintage '62 P Bass pickups, and bleaching the rosewood fingerboard to match the maple neck.

    We have never bleached anything, and don't know much about it. How light will the A/B bleach will take the rosewood? Will it be close to the maple neck? Darker? Lighter?
     
  2. throbgod13

    throbgod13

    Mar 26, 2005
    Texas
    bleaching will not make the rosewood light like maple.. it will make it a lighter shade of rosewood.. ;)

    think about just replacing the neck with a maple neck.. Mighty Mite necks are around 100.00..
     
  3. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    Did you search?
     
  4. Are you sure? I mean, I don't have enough to go and buy another neck. I was told that it would go pretty light.

    Yeah, I looked around a bit, and I now I have instructions on how to do it, but I don't really know how light/dark it will be, or how it will look, and I'd like advice from someone who's actually done it before.
     
  5. Exploiter8

    Exploiter8 Demons run when a good man goes to war

    Jan 18, 2010
    Midwest
    Commercial FREE!
    OP...What did you do to your hand? I went through some of your 250 pics...OUCH!

    X8
     
  6. Rocky McD

    Rocky McD

    Jun 28, 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    Builder,mcdcustomguitars
    I doubt if anyone will tell you how it will look because I don't think anyone has attempted to bleach Rosewood to look like Maple. You will need to replace the fretboard, or the complete neck.
     
  7. SBassman

    SBassman

    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    You don't want to do that.
     
  8. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
  9. Well, the bass, altogether is probably only worth about $100, if not less, so I don't care to pay the price of the bass just to upgrade the neck. I'm pretty much stuck in bleaching it.

    So, without trying to sound rude, suggestions of replacing the neck aren't what I'm looking for.

    Has anyone here bleached wood before? If it screws up the look of the neck, and it's just a slightly lighter shade, or it's actually lighter than the maple (which I doubt will happen), I'll just find a way to make it look better.

    I do have a few questions for anyone here who actually has some experience on bleaching wood, if there are any.
     
  10. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    There is no way you can chemically remove enough tannin to make Rosewood look like Maple.
     
  11. jedimind.gif
    These aren't the Droids you're looking for.
     
  12. Okay, I figured as much, but how close will it be able to come to at least the maple shade, never mind the colour.
     
  13. Eublet

    Eublet

    Jul 28, 2006
    It won't work. Not even close to maple.
     
  14. Okay, well, that's fine I guess.

    Referring to the picture I posted of the neck now, is there any way you could show me how light it might be able to go?
     
  15. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    ...what?!
     
  16. What's confusing about that? It sounded like you guys thought I was asking if I could bleach the wood and that would make it look like maple. I wanted to clarify that I was asking how light it would be able to go, not if it would look like maple, or something.
     
  17. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    ...you thought that bleaching would change the grain structure of species of wood to resemble a completely different species?
     
  18. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I will be very surprised if you are able to get the the FB to bleach consistently. I am all but certain it will be blotchy and look very unnatural. Depending any oils (both natural and applied), conditioners or glues that have been used on the FB, the bleaching agent is going to absorb very differently in different places on the FB.

    Further, if you are aggressive enough with a bleaching agent to get it as light as you seem to want it, you are going to seriously dry it out. You are significantly increasing the likelihood of it splitting.

    You should also consider that Fender used very tight-grained quarter sawn maple for those fretless maple FBs. The RW is going to look more opened grain. Even if you get it lighter, you aren't going to get that look.
     
  19. Hmm, I see. I was looking around more on Google, to see if I could find some reference as to what bleached rosewood would look like, and I see what you're talking about; the grain does look very different, and a bit splotchy.

    Do you think I could bleach the FB to a fair shade (something not light enough to damage the wood), and just stain the rest of the neck to somewhat match the colour? Because, with a black body, pickguard, and either a black, or natural headstock, I can't see that looking too good; even if it's still pretty dark, I think I would prefer the former reference.
     
  20. The answer that you want will not be found because it does not exist.
     

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