Cleaning/Polishing a DB

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Chris Fitzgerald, Aug 22, 2001.

  1. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I feel like a real idiot admitting this in a public forum, but I've never really cleaned or polished either of my DB's before. When the pics of my American Standard get posted, you'll all understand why I never bothered in that case, but my carved bass - which I bought almost new to replace it - is getting a bit grubby and I'm not sure what to clean it with.

    I know, I know....BASS CLEANER and BASS POLISH, right? Okay, fine, I can order some if need be, but what is that stuff really? Is it really that special, or can the same approximate results be obtained with some substance or substances that may be obtained locally, or perhaps even around the house? I asked Sigi Busch the same question last April, and he said he just uses a slightly damp cloth to wipe his bass off with. That was fine then, but now theres some stuff "growing" on the bass that a damp cloth won't faze, and I'm afraid to use anything stronger for fear of hurting the finish.

    Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. On my good finishes, I use the cleaner that Kolstein sells. I know it contains camphor, among other things. It's what you need to melt and remove rosin flecks, which can really corrupt a finish. Spreading the cost over a couple of years, I'd rather not experiment. Then I use a lemon oil polish.

    My UGLY bass, which you will soon see, appears to have been rubbed with gasoline, pickled beets, and Turf Builder + 2.
  3. Your getting me excited.
  4. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I know I say this a lot, but Gruff, you are the only person who makes me laugh out loud every single time I read one of your posts.

    I love you man.
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Yeah, so does mine, except I think the guys who were taking care of mine tossed in some Guacamole for good measure...

    Well, since I don't have much occasion to be removing any rosin flecks (ahem..... :rolleyes: ), perhaps I could just jump to the polishing part. Do you mean just plain Lemon Oil, as in the Homer Formby liquid variety? Or something else?
  6. I don't know brands, but this is important: It must say that it includes no wax and no silicones.

    Ya know, this A.S.S. contest could become very awkward. How embarassing would it be if our ugly basses turn out to be nicer than JT's living room furniture? I mean, the guy's from Georgia, right? And you've seen the haircut...
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    In spite of the haircut, which I've seen pictures of, and the Georgia factor (and I've been to Georgia), I don't think we have to worry about our Standards being nicer than JT's furniture. I have it on good authority that john's living room furniture is handmade by Bill Conklin. While it does look a bit like a real life version of something out of a Doctor Suess book, I think it's a safe bet that it looks a damn sight more attractive than either of those basses.

    The only Lemon Oil I have doesn't say what's in it, but it's by Formby, and warns that it contains "a balanced blend of lemon oil and other highly penetrating oils". It also mentions that it contains "petroleum distillates" although it also contains "no linseed oil or beeswax". What is the brand that you use... Kolstien's?
  8. Chris:
    Please be careful. If you say "highly penetrating oils", gruffpuppy gets all antsy.

    I have Kolstein's, which might not be a lemon oil; it's been awhile, I'll check tonight. I'll also check on the lemon oil furniture polish. Whatever Kolstein charges, you have to add $5 shipping.
  9. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    FYI.... JT does indeed own living room furniture. Most of it has lots of knobs and lights. All the downstairs furniture is made by Conklin.
  10. bassgeek


    Oct 19, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    When I got my bass, Gage recommended a product called "Oz Polish". I don't have it with me so I don't know who makes it or if it is even still available. But it is effective, and I assume it's safe if Gage uses it. I'll find out who the manufacturer is when I get home from the day gig.
  11. I use Kolstein's cleaner and polish on my bass and bow but not as often as I should.

  12. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
    Same here. The Kolstien's kit works great.

    Chris, I know that you don't play arco, so rosin flecks are not a problem, but I bet you play in some pretty smoky joints (no pun intended). So go ahead and drop a few bills on the Kolstien.
  13. Ooo Wee, I am starting to fidgit.

    I use a moist cloth for were the rosin lands and a dry cloth to clean off the dust from the house. Then I just use Fender Guitar polish for a shine.

    Only been playing for about 3 months and the DB is a Asian junker so I have not worried about the finish to much. Once I save up for a nice DB this one will become a planter. After a few sunflower crops I shall ship it to Don.

  14. I'm using the Kolstein stuff too, but I also know that 3M green pads will clean up the bass safely and w/o residue.
  15. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Okay, it looks like I'll eventally have to order some Kolstein stuff, but for the moment, can you identify these pads more specifically? We use some sort of 3M green scrub pads on our pots and pans, but I'm very doubtful that we're talking about the same thing. Thanks.
  16. We might be talking about the same thing. As far as I know 3M only makes one green pad.
  17. Kolstein's polish is a suspension in a solution, which must be shaken. It may have lemon oil in it, but I don't smell it with the intensity of my lemon oil polish, which does not get shaken. The brand is Weiman Lemon Oil.
  18. Go careful with those green pot scrubbers,because if Chris is talking about the same thing i am thinking of ,they will surely take off any gloss you may have on your bass and before long will wear clean through the varnish,I use a similar product,also made by 3M in the motor body shop i manage,to prepare body panels for painting.I sure wouldn`t want you to spoil any 100+ year old finish.
    I have used everything from car polish to boot polish,but on a cheapo Korean plywood it can only improve the appearance.
  19. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I've had my double bass for 3 years and never wiped it off at all because someone told me to only use the proper product, which I never went out and bought. So yesterday I got brave and wiped it off with a slightly dampened rag. My god! It was a tad dirty! The rag turned black...
  20. You are right. They do make other abrasive pads but they are gray and white. The gray is equalivant to #0000 steel wool and the white is a much less agressive pad. I would not use the green one on any bss unless it is labled "American Standard". In that case, you could use a high speed portable grinder, as are found in most auto body shops and capable of removing great amounts of material in a short time.

    In other words, do not use any abrasive material or cleaner on a bass that has any material value.

    The last time I was in the Kolstein shop, I saw an associate polishing a Testorie (sp) for two days using only the Kolstein cleaner.