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Finger Gunk

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Lumdingo, Jun 11, 2019.


  1. Lumdingo

    Lumdingo

    Dec 8, 2012
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Hire me to design your band's Merch.
    i just acquired a 1980 Lado Hawk H400, and I’m totally stoked on it. It’s pretty much my dream bass.

    However, when I got it, the guy who sold it to me had just bought it a few days earlier from a store. He decided to oil the shoot out of it. Well, when I felt the neck I knew something was up, so I ran my fingernail down the back of the neck.

    EWWWWWWWW! Yup, 39 years of dead skin and skin oil and sweat peeled up.

    So I have scrubbed it with a drop of dish detergent and water on a paper towel, but now, days later, I’m still encountering patches of sticky residue that I can rub off with my fingers. It comes off just like little tiny rolls of dead skin debris... very small like 1/2 mm grit.

    What can I do to clean this lacquered neck?

    775DA91E-986B-41CB-937C-A145B5EB7F05.

    0FE05264-5AD5-4091-8C63-C424571EC8DE.
    4BF40114-8416-4570-8077-E46AE20CC28F.
    2DD085FB-C6EF-448B-A220-61C5181F831D.
    52DEB4DA-CAE5-4C47-A85F-F395FC9B4E1F. 9104E637-D34C-4CA8-B6BB-AD0B7BBCB3A5.

    7B5AD62D-342F-446C-92E7-7A8FBA798AF4.
    2814054A-47BB-487C-BDDA-C5340A1E48F9.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    That seems odd to me. You sure it's not the finish coming off?

    I have and had several basses decades old and have not come across that problem.

    Maybe @johnk_10 or one of the other lutheriers might be able to help out.
     
    Lumdingo likes this.
  3. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Nice bass. Love me some Lado.

    How many stone does it weigh?

    Just keep hosing it down. It will clean up eventually.
     
    Loring and Lumdingo like this.
  4. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    There's a chance whatever he thickly slathered on had a chemical reaction to the clear-coat. What you are describing sounds like when lacquer isn't cured; it feels clammy/sticky and sheds thin soft fragments. Not sure what to suggest but isopropyl alcohol could be something to try. After sufficiently cleaning it it may need to re-cure in sunlight. This is all an educated guess - worst case scenario will be needing to remove the clear coat down to bare wood and re clear-coating it. Let us know what you end up doing.
     
  5. Lumdingo

    Lumdingo

    Dec 8, 2012
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Hire me to design your band's Merch.
    Wicked, thanks for the suggestions. The lacquer is still hard as glass on most of the neck. The guy used fretboard oil.

    I talked with a luthier and he said to use a razor blade. I don’t have one so I used my fingernails while watching a movie. I found lots of spots where I was able to scratch off note gunk that was shiny like the lacquer, and therefore invisible to my eye.

    I think it’s done, but I’ll let you know tomorrow. : )
     
    JIO likes this.
  6. Lumdingo

    Lumdingo

    Dec 8, 2012
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Hire me to design your band's Merch.
    I don’t have a scale, but I’d guess it’s about 11 or 12 pounds.
     
    Loring likes this.
  7. Lumdingo

    Lumdingo

    Dec 8, 2012
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Hire me to design your band's Merch.
    That’s my fear, that the lacquer is degrading. I just scraped the heck out of the neck my giving it a good back scratch with my fingernails. (I know. Ewwww!)

    But I found a bunch of soft spots and think I’ve gotten it all off. I’ll report back tomorrow.
     
    Stumbo likes this.
  8. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Sounds like you may need to sand it and leave it or refinish it.
     
    Lumdingo likes this.
  9. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    I'd probably try a soft plastic scraper, like an autobody putty spreader.

    Many years ago, I cleaned up a mid 70s grimy guitar neck with isopropyl alcohol, and it softened the finish slightly. I did some frantic wiping, scraping and rubbing to try to smooth things, but it did not settle until around a month layer. I've always chalked that up to "re-curing" but I have no idea. I did learn to avoid it on polyurethane finishes... :)
     
    BooDoggie, JIO and Lumdingo like this.
  10. Frederiek

    Frederiek

    Aug 8, 2016
    Netherlands
    :vomit: that is nasty. I always wonder why people treat instruments like outdoor furniture.

    On really disgusting basses I use window cleaner and a toothbrush. I cleaned a 50 year old bass once that was probably never cleaned before: it was sticky all over, had massive buildup of black gunk near the frets (and pretty much everywhere else) and had a horrible smell too. I take care not to use a cleaner that dissolves the lacquer but apart from that I'm merciless.
     
  11. Lumdingo

    Lumdingo

    Dec 8, 2012
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Hire me to design your band's Merch.
    Love it. Merciless.
     
  12. Lumdingo

    Lumdingo

    Dec 8, 2012
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Hire me to design your band's Merch.
    I might have to. I just discover there is no lacquer in two big spots.
     
  13. Lumdingo

    Lumdingo

    Dec 8, 2012
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Hire me to design your band's Merch.
    Alas it is. There are two patches where the finish is gone completely.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. primusfan1989

    primusfan1989

    Jan 17, 2005
    new jersey
    Simple green, plant based natural degreaser. Ive used it on vintage fenders and hofners with no adverse effects to lacquer
     
  15. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Well, if that's the worse of it then I'd say you are ok. Many players like a more 'natural' wood feel for the neck and refinishing it (just the handling part) is not that difficult. I'd sand all residual finish off the neck and finish it in whichever way you prefer. (lacquer, poly, oil) Each has it's own feel and can be any sheen you choose. I've done all three and like each, not having a absolute favorite. But I do like a more satin finish, which you can achieve with each. The difference is that with satin lacquer, the more it's played the shinier it will get, more so than with poly. A satin oil finish will maintain its satiny feel but will need to be maintained over time depending on how much it's played. When the neck finish gets too shiny for my liking, I'll use a soft fiber scotch-pad to mute the gloss back to satin.
     
  16. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    You should just take the finish down with a grey 3M scotch bright pad and put about 6 coats of Tru-Oil sanding lightly between the coats with the grey scotch bright pad, buff the last coat to a nice sheen, you will love how smooth and fast it feels!!
     
    BooDoggie likes this.
  17. alembicguy

    alembicguy I operate the worlds largest heavey equipment Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Minnesota
    Another vote for Simple Green.
     
    BooDoggie and primusfan1989 like this.
  18. Koog

    Koog Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2010
    Central Iowa USA
    Give Naphtha a try. It evaporates quickly when used as a wiping agent and should not harm your finish. Stew Mac has a cleaning and protecting silicone free product called, Preservation Polish that I've used on dirty basses following the Naphtha wipe. This combination has done well for me.

    Hope this helps.

    Koog
     
    Gilmourisgod and BooDoggie like this.
  19. Theflyfisherman

    Theflyfisherman

    Feb 21, 2019
     
  20. Theflyfisherman

    Theflyfisherman

    Feb 21, 2019
    I'm not an expert, but I've had success using Ronsonol (lighter fluid) to safely remove, greasy, gummy (adhesives) from delicate plastic without doing harm. Not sure about a wood surface. Perhaps try out in an inconspicuous spot. Beautiful bass btw.
     
    Nickweissmusic likes this.

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