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Get the funk(smell) out

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Hiking Viking, May 28, 2018.

  1. Hiking Viking

    Hiking Viking

    May 28, 2018
    As I am new to playing bass at the tender age of 53, I'm going to probably be asking this group a lot of really stupid questions so..
    I bought a bass from Craigslist, the the guy had two old German Shepherds so the house smelled like dog. didn't think much of it . But when I got home it smelled like the dog had been living in the guitar case with the bass I mean it was really strong. any suggestions on how to remove this smell from the guitar and the case?
    Thank you
    spaz21387 likes this.
  2. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    NW Mass/SW VT
    Best one - take the case outside, burn / dump in trash, get new case.

    Remove strings (I'd suggest new ones as the funk will be trapped deep in the windings, and being me, I'd suggest tapewounds) and completely clean the bass, leaving it outside in the sunshine whenever possible. Do not associate it with a case until it and the case are both dog-stench free. Take some lemon oil to the fretboard, you'll be amazed at how much crud comes off most basses - it's much easier to do a good job with the strings off. What you clean the rest of the bass with depends a lot on what the bass is finished with - typical polyurethane finish is tough, so most household cleaners are fine, nitrocellulose is fussier and someone other than me could better advise about that.

    Down several notches - place open case outside in the sunshine. Vacuum the heck out of it, dump in a pound of cheap ground coffee, close it, shake the case all around, leave it for several days, vacuum the heck out of it, leave it in the sun some more. Bring in, put a large amount of of baking soda in a shallow open box or on a sheet of newspaper (you want maximum exposure, not just ripping the top off the box it comes in) close and leave for a few days, open and dump the baking soda, case back in the sunshine. Baking soda is more prone (than coffee grounds) to get stuck and be hard to vacuum out if in direct contact with the "case fur."

    Try some "pet odor eliminator" spray from a pet store or the pet aisle of a box store.

    Still bad, move to cedar shavings, or rent a steam cleaner with a hose/small head intended for doing furniture (rather than just being set up for floors) and do that early in the morning on a day when you can set it out to dry.
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i have no advice for you, sorry! ...i just dropped in to be nosy: sounds like T_Bone_TL has had some experience with your issue and also has some helpful solutions! good luck with the offending odor! :thumbsup:
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Welcome to TalkBass!!!!

    Nothing..... and I mean NOTHING has ever worked better than sunlight and fresh air for getting smells out of bass gear, in my view. I did a zillion gigs back in the days of smoky bars. I tried everything to get smoke smells out of my cases and basses. Then someone told me to set them outside. It took a few days, but it did the trick.

    Over the years I figured out some tips.

    When it comes to the case, set that sucker out in the high noon sun. That UV light will kill the smell in a matter of two or three times of setting it out. In my experience, it actually makes the smell WORSE the first time. It somehow stirs the smell up. But the second and third times it goes away. I have a screened in back porch. So I'll usually set mine out in the sun during the heat of the day, and then put it on that porch (open) overnight.

    When it comes to the bass, I would pop a wall hanger in the side of a tree trunk in your yard if you have any. I do mine facing the setting sun. That way the bass isn't getting high noon sun and possibly messing with the finish. I will set the bass outside in the shade even in the middle of the day. But then I'll hang it on that hanger closer to sunset. I have even turned the bass with the back facing the sun a couple of times. Again, after a few times setting it out, the smell should be completely gone.

    No tricks. No chemicals. Just good ole' sunlight.... and a little bit of time.
    Swerve, FingerDub, Spidey2112 and 3 others like this.
  5. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    The German Shepards peed in it to mark their territory. As the new owner, you simply have to do the same. :thumbsup:
  6. I bought a used P Bass that must have sat in someone’s musky basement for years because it stunk of mildew.

    At the time, I didn’t have the luxury of trying the outdoors (without the likelyhood of never seeing the bass again), but did try a few things - I think I tried Dunlop’s fretboard cleaner on the rosewood board and that orange wood cleaner on the finished wood; also tried letting it sit near grinded coffee beans, vinegar, baking soda, bounce dryer sheets and other tips I ran across but none of that worked (for me and my stench anyway, but it seems that different scents need different solutions).

    After a few months of never putting it back in the case, it got a bit better, but it was still there.

    I hope you have better luck than I did. This instance, unfortunately, made it harder for me to buy used basses comfortably.
  7. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    NW Mass/SW VT
    The problem with mildew and not being able to put it in the sun (take it to a park and sit there and watch it, if need be) is that mildew is more than a smell, and you need to kill the mildew (which sunlight will do - it's rather more difficult to get a UV lamp with the ability, since they are also dangerous to people.)
    design and Matthew_84 like this.
  8. Appreciate the feedback. I wasn’t smart enough to sit with it the whole time. Perhaps I should have tried that. Thanks.
  9. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    No case is worth salvaging if it contains a pervasive stench.
    nice_hat likes this.
  10. Giffro


    Apr 29, 2017
    South Australia
    Place a drop or 2 on a piece of cloth and leave in your case a day or so...hope you can find some where you live. its great stuff. Use sparingly though...1 or 2 drops. It really works and quite inexpensive.
  11. Hiking Viking

    Hiking Viking

    May 28, 2018
    Thank you everyone for your advice. I can't wait to try some of these. I'll update on this thread so I can possibly help out someone else who might have this issue also.
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  12. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    Try some "Nature's Miracle" from a pet store. It is designed to kill the odor of dog pee and other organic odors so they don't pee there again, and it does it with enzymes, not by masking the odor. I'd spray the inside of the case well and close it up for a couple of days, then air out. Good Luck.
    Pendulous, spaz21387 and Gabbs like this.
  13. @two fingers is correct sunshine & fresh air bath is the best solution, a fan can also help for added air flow -- may take a few days.
  14. IPA


    May 5, 2010
    As far as pet smells go, I'm not sure how safe enzymatic cleaners are for finishes, but they work very well. There's one I have used called Kids and Pets that works well.
  15. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Just buy a new case and stuff this one into the closet for the time being.

    Eventually you will upgrade your bass and you can sell off your current bass along with the dog funk at no extra charge.
  16. Mister Boh

    Mister Boh

    Oct 23, 2016
    Annapolis, MD
    Try Zep odor remover. It's a spray designed to remove cigarette smoke but they list pet odor as one use. You can get it at a hardware store.

    I used it to remove cigarrette smoke odor from an amp and it worked very well but I literally had to rub it in with a cloth on almost every surface inside and out.

    I don't know if it's finish safe so I wouldn't put the instrument back in until it dries completely.

    People must think I'm nuts but when I buy used gear I always smell it now because it was a big pain to deal with. However, for a case I would probably just throw it out and buy a new one if you can't get the smell out 100%. It will hit you in the face every time you open it up.
  17. StatesideRambler


    Jul 1, 2015
    I agree with the several hours of sunshine and air suggestion and add this: get some activated charcoal (aquarium supplies is often the source that's easiest to find), put a few ounces of it in a couple cloth bags and leave them in the case for a few days. Activated charcoal absorbs odor and has no odor of its own.

    My wife is a fan of Febreeze but I haven't tried it on anything like a case. Nature's Miracle, mentioned above, is a good candidate as well. Dog smells are much easier to treat than cat.
  18. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    I bought 4 cases from a "buddy" 3 of the 4 were fine, the fourth had a stench that I couldn't describe. I left in in the sun for more than a week, tried professional odor eliminators, closed it up with dryer sheets, eventually got fed up and stripped out the whole case thinking I'd use the shell of the case for something. The innards I removed reaked, and after everything was out of the case and all there was was bare plastic.... it still stunk. 1 year later it's still sitting in my garage. I'm afraid to open it again thinking that I'll find a portal to Hell.

    Buy another case, and get that one exorcised.
    Deak, T_Bone_TL and Mister Boh like this.
  19. Leave a shallow pan of ammonia in the closed case for a few days. If there is a living organism causing the smell it will kill it. Then air it out for a few days until the ammonia smell is gone.
  20. Salmon1


    Jul 28, 2017
    One word: Patchouli, even covers up spilled bongwater.
    the slug likes this.

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