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How To Dull A Gloss DB Finish?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by mchildree, May 26, 2002.

  1. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    If this has been addressed before, my apologies, but I couldn't find any past discussions that answered this question:

    What can be done to dull a shiny finish on a DB? I'm pretty happy with the sound and playability of the bass, but the high-gloss finish bugs me (why, I dunno). Ideally, I'd like to leave as much finish as possible, but just dull the shine a bit.
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Time, wear, and tear are working on mine. Varnish or laquer?
  3. jimclark68


    Dec 16, 2000
    Morganton, NC
    McC, I rubbed out the highly reflective nuclear gloss on my Engelhardt with a green scotchbrite pad. I just rubbed it as if I were polishing it, not too much elbow grease, and then wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove the dust. It did the trick very well, and I now have a nice satin finish. I was inspired by a thread late last year in which someone was refinishing an older bass, but I can't remember who it was off the top of my head. Now if I just had the nerve to sand out that orange-brown sunburst stain...
  4. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    I'm not real sure, but since I have an inexpensive Strunal plywood bass, wouldn't it be laquer?

    Now I remember the green Scotchbrite pad conversation...I'll go see if I can find that. Thanks guys!
  5. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    JimClark, we must have the same bass. I have an M-1. Have you removed the finish from the back of the neck? I think that I might like to do that. I spoke to a repair guy who said that I should just scrape the finish off. I was hope that there was an easier more contolled way of doing that.
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    If I'm not greatly mistaken, I seem to remember some of the Lex Luthier types around here advising against this...maybe they'll chime in again and remind us of why?

    With this hope in mind, I'm moving this to the "Ask Lex Luthier" forum.
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    DOH! I did it again! :rolleyes: #%@$#^%$!!!!! :mad:

    Can one of my BG moderator brethren please send this down to DB setup? Pretty please???
  8. Oooo - A DB post up here in BG!!!

    Get a rope!
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Thanks dude - this just hasn't been my week for moderation.

    (Ahem) We now return to our regularly scheduled program...
  10. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    To get the gloss thing down you need a good working knowledge of abrasion and its relation to grit size. Much polishing in industry is really abrasion with smaller and smaller grit. JC is on the right path with the Scotch pads but I think the green may be a little too course. I believe the ranking is green-purple-grey-white with white being the finest pad in their line. These can be used for this purpose but I think their finest is still too rough. if you rub down all the way to white it will not be glossy but you may still see scratch marks in the finish. I would recommend a product called Micro-mesh. It is a cloth backed abrasive pad with grits that ascend from 800[equivalent of grey scotch] to 12,000 grit[this will polish glass]. Any grit from 2-6000 will dull a glossy finish without leaving obvious scratches. I get this product from Stewart-Macdonald, but a search will no doubt yield other sources.
  11. jimclark68


    Dec 16, 2000
    Morganton, NC
    JJ, I do indeed have a dynamically-colored M-1. I did sand out the finish on the back of the neck with sort of a medium-fine grit sandpaper to get the finish off, then sanded the wood with a fine grit paper once I got there. It has made a noticeable difference.
  12. rablack


    Mar 9, 2000
    Houston, Texas
    I too have a super shiny, day-glo orange, sprayed on thick lacquer finish Strunal. I've been meaning to try to de-gloss it but there's still the horrid color. I'm a tinkerer and a decent woodworker but have been put off by the amount of time the bass would be out of commission if I were to sand it to the wood and refinish.

    So Lex Luthier (and other esteemed luthiers) what finish do you use on your new basses and what is the drying time?
  13. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    A coat of shellac will bond any finish to any other. First remove all wax and polish with 0000 steel wool and mineral spirits or naptha (work outdoors or use a respirator--that stuff kills brain cells cells cells cells). To kill orange, add blue.
  14. PB+J


    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    I refinished my engle--it lives in the living room, and that orange color was just too ugly.

    NOTE: These steps were done by a beginner and are offered just as experience to learn from, not as a guide to doing it right

    Stripped it with a commercial stripper. The finish came off very easily--I belive it was nitro laquer. Sanded it, then stained it with a reddish brown. Finished it first with Behlen's Rockhard varnish, because I assumed I wanted durability above all with this workingman's instrument. The behlens is very hard to get an even finish with--it had a nice gloss, but like most polys it has a cold, bluish look. I let the varnish cure for nearly a year, then wet sanded it with 800-1500 sandpaper, to rub out uneven spots, drips and witness lines. Then I put a coat of qualasole over the rubbed out varnish.

    Qualasole is very cool stuff--somewhat like french polishing, in that you are applying shellac, but simpler. It gives a very satisfactory but not glass like gloss finsih, warms up the poly undercoat some, and feels very nice

    I made a mistake in the course of the staining which messed me up. But there's no reason why you can't get a better finish than the engle comes with, which is heinous. It looks great in the living room now, and i frequently get favorable comments on it at gigs

    You could dull the gloss by putting a thin coat of shellac over it. One advantage of qualasole is that like all shellacs, it can be tinted, to maybe modify the color if you don't want to strip it. You control the gloss by the extent of rubbing you do as you apply it.
  15. cadillac


    Dec 18, 2001
    St. Louis
    ive been trying to degloss my bass now for about a month, and have tried scotch brite pads, sand paper, and recently micro-mesh. Anything i use leaves a white residue instead of deglossing. Is there something i can do to remove the gloss and residue without going all the way past the finish to the wood?
  16. pea


    Aug 10, 2002
    south west england
    The gloss finish bugs me too!! Im just finishing a custom double bass for myself, and i personally think that pumice powder does the job in the proper way. Buffing your instrument with pumice powder dulls it beautifully, without danger of scrathing the surface. The low lustre finish you will be left with is way more smooth and stylish!!
  17. cadillac


    Dec 18, 2001
    St. Louis
    Thanks for your reply. Where can i get pumice powder?
  18. I'm afraid I have to disagree with Pea's statement that "Buffing your instrument with pumice powder dulls it beautifully, without danger of scrathing the surface". Pumice is an abrasive and just like any abrasive, it will (and does) scratch if you don't know what you are doing with it. Pumice comes in grades from "F" to "4F" and most finishers consider it to be something you rough it out with. For a fine smooth finish, you need to follow up with Rottenstone powder and Tropoli powder. I all cases, you MUST use a lubricant such as parafin Oil. Done properly, pumice stone powder and the other finer grades of powder will give a nice matt finish. I personally would not recommend using it untill you have some practice on something you can afford to mess up.
  19. b0nes83


    Dec 14, 2000
    This might not be the spot for this question but i ill give it a go. My fingerboard on my engelhardt "EC1" is ebonized, wich means its painted black and is really ugly and not to smooth. What can i do to get rid of the "Ebonized" look and feel?
    p.s. I got the bass for free and am getting a new bass soon so I dont mind if i mess it up just a little.
  20. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Put a real ebony fingerboard and sell at higher price or leave it to the next owner to decide...

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