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gettin the gunk off

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by tony moore, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. i have an old king moretone that i love dearly. but she's in desperate need of a bath. she hibernated in the basement of an old apartment building for who knows how long before a local luthier friend rescued her about 2 years ago. i've never bothered to clean her until my daughter decided she wanted to thump. and well, she's 7 and has to hug the queen to make her sing, and EEEEWWWWWW! she came away pretty dirty!

    so what do i clean it with? fwiw, it's a lighter finish that has gotten pretty thin. the wood looks like maple with some flame...


  2. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Take it outdoors and have at it with Xylene on a soft cotton cloth. Try it on an inconspicuous area first. If it's really filthy, the solvent will sort of drag the schmutz around for a while. Keep at it, turning and replacing the cloth as needed. Use minimal pressure, starting your rubbing in circles, then ending with the grain. It should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway: Make sure all seams are glued tight first! Okay, now that it's clean, it will be dull as heck. If you want to restore a little gloss, polish it up with a good furniture polish that contains no silicones or waxes. I like Guardsman for this porpoise.
  3. I'm not sure it is necessary to bring out the heavy guns like Xylene right off the bat. If your finish is intact and not peeling or badly checked, try using a detergent like Simple Green and water. Needless to say, you don't want to use a lot of water since that could desolve your glue joints if you get too much in there. A well wrung out wash cloth with the detergent followed quickly by a dry towel will usually get most of the gook off without harming the finish (If the finish is not already bad). If you've got a lot of rosin on the front - then get out the Xylene. I don't like to use that stuff any more than I have to and then only outside with rubber gloves on my hands.
  4. cool, i'll look for the simple green stuff. my wife uses murphy's oil soap on everything wood and the floors in the house, is that a bad idea on the bass? thanks for the water warning!

  5. Tony, I don't know anything about Murphy's, but the Simple Green was suggested to me by one of the top violin guys in the country. It should be available at most grocery stores.
  6. Heifetzbass

    Heifetzbass Commercial User

    Feb 6, 2004
    Upstate, SC
    Owner, Gencarelli Bass Works and Fine String Instruments, LLC.
    Hey guys,

    Arnold and Bob, I have used Xylol, (Xylene) to clean instruments before. It is nasty stuff... I was turned onto a "more friendly" solvent, Carbosol. Sometimes you have to look for it, but the fumes aren't nearly as bad. I still take it outside and use a respirator if possible. It cleans very well and I feel better after I have used it.

  7. I've had good luck using a waterless hand cleaner, applied sparingly with a cloth then wiped off with a second cloth. I was advised to use a hand cleaner with no lanolin, don't know what difference that would make.
  8. My concern with that would be the possibility of alcohol in the hand cleaner. I've never looked at the ingredients, but since it dries fast, I assume there had to be something like alcohol in the mix. Many bass varnishes use alcohol for the solvent and that could be a problem.
  9. Simple green is great stuff, but I should note that some people have a bad reaction to it, so if you've never used it before take care.
  10. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    what exactly is Xylene ?