"cleaning materials" on a vintage finish. Help?!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Bhazulle, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. Bhazulle


    Dec 3, 2013
    Ferron, Utah
    "cleaning materials" on a vintage finish help.

    I have a 63 Fender Jazz bass. Honestly? I am scared to wipe it down with anything heavier then a damp cloth. The thing is beautiful, fully stock, no mods or anything but the previous owner, who purchaced the bass brand new had put a plastic body protector on it. It had strips around the edge and after 50 years this has turned into a gummy paste. How do I get this stuff off without destroying that 50 year old finish?

    Truely, I am just a hobbiest when it comes to Bass guitars and I am way out of my comfort zone on this one.
  2. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Naphtha will clean the residue but will not harm the nitro finish. But just to be safe, try it on an inconspicuous area first.
  3. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Naphtha. Also available as Ronsonol lighter fluid.

    I removed a pickguard from a D28 with Ronsonol. Finish was nitro lacquer and the adhesive
    was very strong. The finish was not old though. No checking or anything that might cause
    the finish to pull off.

    First, see if the naphtha will soften the adhesive holding on the protector. If you can lift
    the end of the protector a little, let some naphth wick under it. If it begins releasing, then
    slowly and gradually pull off the protector while adding naphtha to the newly exposed
    adhesive point.

    There will likely be some adhesive left on the surface. So you will also want check that
    this remaining adhesive can be removed easily, before proceeding with the rest of the
    removal. You can test that as soon as you get an end lifted. At this point, also check that
    the adhesive has not attacked the finish and fused with it. Removal will pretty much be
    impossible in that case.

    The real problem will be in avoiding pulling off pieces of finish if the adhesive is not
    dissolving enough to release easily. Assuming that naphtha will dissolve the adhesive,
    the protector should almost fall loose, given enough time to work. Patience will be very
    important here.

    You have to watch the runoff. The naphtha will contain dissolved adhesive and leave it
    behind on any surface it evaporates from. So you have to protect any areas that might
    not be easily cleaned.

    If naphtha does not dissolve the adhesive, there are other solvents that might. I would
    wait for some recommendations for other solvents in that case. I have found that some
    solvents will attack a finish on contact while others will only affect it if prolonged contact
    occurs or pressure like rubbing is applied.

  4. Bhazulle


    Dec 3, 2013
    Ferron, Utah
    Thankie Sai Gents. Will try this out on a small spot and let you know the results. :)
  5. David Hayes

    David Hayes Guest

    I also recommend Naptha.

    For the record, lighter fluid CONTAINS Naptha. Not that it has any other ingredients that are inherently harmful to your finish, but it does contain other ingredients. Petroleum distillates, etc..
  6. Bhazulle


    Dec 3, 2013
    Ferron, Utah
    Ok, with very little coaxing the plastic? (I think it's plastic, it's freaking cool though) protector came off. The smegs still there. Pretty late so I'll get to that tomorrow when I have more time and light. Here is the back;
    ain't that just the prettiest thing? Ha!

    About the abrading, any thoughts? leave it alone? Just get the sticky stuff off and leave the scratches for history to sort out? I mean, there are not even any belt buckle dings back here. The checkering I expected is not even there.

    Thanks for the help fellas! This question was the reason I joined talk bass in the first place! :) Course, now I am hooked and will probably stick around a while. Learned more about an instrument I have played for 20 years in 3 days the the 20 years preceeding from a technical standpoint.
  7. bassdude51

    bassdude51 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Naptha. When I bought a 1966 candy apple red nitro P Bass several years back, I used Naptha on the body and neck. Works great.

    Ya got an awesome J there!
  8. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Just clean it, get all the sticky gunk off and leave it alone. Don't try to repair any finish flaws. The backside of that bass sure doesn't look like 50 year old nitro, that thing is in amazing shape.
  9. WOW! What an awesome score! Mind if I ask what it set you back?