1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Milky areas in JG 4001 finish?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by rob4001va, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. rob4001va


    Apr 1, 2007
    Northern VA
    Hopefully, this is the best/correct place to post this. Otherwise, I'm sure the mods will fix it...

    So, I have a '76 4001 in JG. Original owner.
    It was my daily player for the first 10 years of it's life through my late HS, college years, and beyond. Kept clean with regular aerosol guitar polish (Gibson, Fender, etc.) and wipe downs after playing, etc. I love this guitar. My all time fav. But then, kids came along, and it went into hibernation in the case for years.

    I started back playing in the past 5-10 years, but only recently has this bass come back into regular playing rotation. In fact, for my brand new band, it's the best fit (even over my 06 AFG 4003). Other than the aforementioned regular polishes, the only other thing I've used on it is occasional Zymol (per the RRF guys) or carnuba.

    The bass itself is in very good shape for a 76...partly becaue it hibernated for a number of years, partly cuz I always took care of it. It has some dings and even a chip or two, but no buckle rash...just worm tracks from jean rivets here and there.

    The problem:the last couple of times I've played it, there has been a large area of milky or cloudy stuff on the back right where the bass rests against my body, and where I sweat against the guitar (I'm an active guy when playing, and it's hot in the practice room, and hey...I perspire!).

    The first time this happened, last week, it freaked me out. Polished it when I got home after rehearsal, waxed it...everything I could think of. No real impact. Left it in the stand over night...it was gone in the morning. Wierd. Never done that before and yes, I've sweated before!

    I'm assuming it's some sort of moisture effect on the finish/paint, as if the clear coat is no longer protecting the varnish RIC uses.

    So, I put about 4-5 coats of Zymol on it, took it to rehearsal last night...by the end of the night, same thing had happened, though it "dried" out much faster, especially after a good wipe down, and appeared to be gone by the time I got home (and fine this morning).

    So...questions for the experts here:
    • is this something I should be concerned about for the long term?
    • is there a way to stop this?
    • does it sound like moisture to you? (my drummer said he has the same kind of thing happen to his dining room table with water rings from glasses...goes away on its own).
    • is there someting else I should be using to protect the finish? Frankly, at this point, I'm getting a bit paranoid about playing the guitar. It's my baby after all.
    And could anyone really recommend those scratch guard static cling pads on a Rick? They say they are safe except for nitro, but... well, I don't know.

    I just know when I see this milkiness come up again, it screws with my head and takes the fun out of playing the bass, which I love.

    Thanks for any help or advice.
  2. frankieC

    frankieC A swell guy from Warren Harding High

    Jul 21, 2012
    The white area is from your body's heat and perspiration. It exactly the same effect that happens when you set a hot or warm supper plate on a darkly stained table. The good news it it's easily removed.
    A small amount of Denatured Alcohol on a balled up paper towel, or old cloth towel, will do the trick.

    Simply apply the moistened paper towel to the stained area and rub in a circular motion. keep repeating until the milky stain is gone, and don't over do it. It's better to use a dampened towel or paper towel, repeatedly as needed than a wet towel or paper towel, just once.

    Also, always check that your finish is not affected by the cleaner, by testing in an inconspicuous area of the bass. I checker out mine (a 72 Fireglow Ric) on the bottom of the body where it would rest on my knee with sitting. Denatured alcohol did not affect the finish on my bass.

    When you're done, remember to reapply your favorite wax or polish finish to the area.

    Hope this helps, and good luck.
  3. rob4001va


    Apr 1, 2007
    Northern VA
    Thanks for the comments. I'll have to give the denatured alcohol a try.

    It seems odd to me that it's now a problem, when for years it didn't happen. I mean, I've always perspired!

    Other than heavy doses of wax, any idea how to prevent it in the first place?
  4. frankieC

    frankieC A swell guy from Warren Harding High

    Jul 21, 2012
    Stop sweating and heating up. lol

    I don't know what your physical stature is, or your typical stance and methods of playing, but it seems to be a problem as we age. I suppose the basses endure more body contact as we get older, due either to increasing girth, change in stance or locations of the bass (for example: wearing it higher), or as we exert our selves a little easier. In any case, heat and moisture seem to be the culprits.

    Remember to test it the denatured alcohol for reaction with your finish first, but, as I said, I've used it on my 72 FG Ric without a problem. Good luck.
  5. Coolhandjjl


    Oct 13, 2010
    It's possible the finish has developed micro fizzures along the seams of the neck and body wings. May be invisible to the eye, but the moisture is still getting in.

    Did you seek out Paul W on the RRF forums for suggestions yet?
  6. rob4001va


    Apr 1, 2007
    Northern VA
    Thanks for the thoughts.

    I did make pretty much this same post in the RRF area that Paul moderates, but no replies yet. May just hit him with a PM over there.

    The issue is pretty much restricted to the front (neck-ward direction) and top (upper horn) area where it rests against the body. But, the area is fairly large when it appears (something like 8" x 4" roughly). As to the seam between the neck wood and body wings, it is more correctly described as happening at the top section, or just on the upper wing. If there were a seam allowing moisture in, it would be at the binding area (seam), I'd think. But, the affected area is pretty broad and centered more around the contact point with me, rather than radially spread from the seam. Or at least, it seems that way.

    I've got a gig tomorrow night where I really want to take this bass (and my mates would too), but I'm a tad nervous and thinking the '06 4003 would be a safer choice.
  7. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I'm assuming that in 76 Ric was using Nitro. It sounds to me like the heat from you body is causing the finish to soften, and your sweat is introducing moisture into it causing it to blush.

    It wont cause harm to it, and it will go away after the moisture evaporates. I live in a humid environment, and when I spray new lacquer, I usually get a little blushing. lightly spraying lacquer retarder will get rid of it instantly but it will make the finish wet again.
  8. rob4001va


    Apr 1, 2007
    Northern VA
    Thanks for the feedback. Comforting that the situation appears temporary, and not permanently damaging.

    Though I'm no expert, I think RIC has always (or mostly always) used conversion varnish, or so I think I have read. And, that it's a very thick painted finish.

    That being said, your description sounds spot on, especially since it does appear to "dry up and go away" on its own.

    It sure is strange that it's only just started to happen.
    I've since added a few more coats of carnuba (some Planet Waves stuff lying around). I'd love to prevent it from happening in the first place. Freaks me out.

    I also PM'd Paul at the RRF with this, so maybe he also has some ideas.
  9. rob4001va


    Apr 1, 2007
    Northern VA
    So, I heard from the expert at RRF, Paul. His reply to my post there said:

    "Your CV finish is exhibiting some porosity which is allowing moisture to cloud it. This is certainly not a good thing, and is probably due to oxidation and finish decomposition over the decades. It won't get better, wont "heal" itself, and it doesn't matter whether you choose to refinish it now or later... if you want it to NOT do this, you're looking at a refinish. Eventually you'll probably see some delamination of the clear coat from the black color coat, but I can't predict when this will begin to happen.

    So, plan on a refinish sometime if it bugs you. A new CV refinish will put things right."

    So, I guess I play it and plan on a refin. After all, basses need to get played, right?
  10. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Or let the finish do what it does, and be a 36 year old finish. I wouldn't be inclined to cover up the basses history.
  11. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
  12. rob4001va


    Apr 1, 2007
    Northern VA
    Zymol. Been there done that, as noted in OP.
    Unfortunately, not solving it.
  13. rob4001va


    Apr 1, 2007
    Northern VA
    Yes, I hear you. I am already going back on forth on this, though no decision has to be made anytime soon.

    While a road worn, filled with mojo look is great on Fender, IMO, it's not preferred on a Rick ( again, only IMO)

    I can keep an eye on it and see what evolves.

    I'm not terribly concerned about value of the bass, as I don't expect to ever sell it. I'd sell my other 5 guitars first...including my 4003!
  14. frankieC

    frankieC A swell guy from Warren Harding High

    Jul 21, 2012
    I agree, and have done just that. I had a 4003 for about 3 or 4 years, ended up selling it, and keeping the 40 year old 4001. lol

    To be fair, the 4003 was "gently used" when I got, but still, the 4001 just felt better in every aspect.

Share This Page