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NBD - vintage Gibson Grabber... your best tips for removing musty odor?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by coreyfyfe, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Picked up a nice old Gibson Grabber on reverb for a great price... but it stinks. Great condition otherwise, completely stock including the bridge cover and case. The original hardware had a bit of corrosion and the pots were a bit scratchy, those were easy enough to clean up. I febreezed the heck out of the case, and it seems to have settled down for the most part. But the bass itself still smells like it's spent the last few decades in someone's musty basement.

    I've read about using ozone machines, and plenty of tips on various cleaners and naphtha or methanol, but anyone have any first hand experience with these products on a 70s era gibson finish? I'd hate to damage it with anything too strong.

    Here's the good stuff for those just checking in:






  2. Vinnie Boombatz

    Vinnie Boombatz

    May 26, 2010
    Give it a thorough cleaning and then wipe the bass down with white gas/naptha, febreeze the case and set the case out in the sun. Dryer sheets in the case also help. I had the same issue with an old 70s P bass that reeked of cigars and was musty smelling. Everything I just listed worked like a charm.
    coreyfyfe likes this.
  3. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    Round one on the naphtha took it down a notch. Wiped it down a few times to really clean it up but even then, this stank is dug in pretty deep. Might need to take up the pickguard and clean the cavity as well, it smelled pretty rank when I had it open to clean the pots. Waiting for some nicer weather around here to get back outside with the naphtha.
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Purdy bass. If the initial cleaning didn't get most of it, and it stinks where the pots are, my guess is it is in the cavities, under hardware, etc. I would think disassemble and clean everything - wood, wire, metal. Find the source.
    coreyfyfe likes this.
  5. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    good luck with the 'rejuvenation'! and congratulations on your new instrument! :thumbsup:
    coreyfyfe likes this.
  6. Axstar


    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    That grey fretboard must have some stank in it?
    quickfix and coreyfyfe like this.
  7. Not just the grey stuff, but the dark finger deposits too. Likes like the previous owner was picking at his arse and then playing the bass. I hope you've cleaned that up too.
  8. Axstar


    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    As Saint James of Jamerson taught his apostles, the funk is in the funk.
  9. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Had a bass that absolutely reeked of smoke. Clean it thoroughly neck, body, electronics cavity, under the pickups everything. I used a lemon based fret cleaner to clean the fretboard where most of the odor seemed to come from -makes scents (sorry couldn't help myself) as hands holding cigarettes or other ...er things.
    took a while but it now smells clean.
    Also you can put something like odor eaters in the case.
    coreyfyfe likes this.
  10. I get that. But...sometimes funk is someone else's filth.
    Axstar likes this.

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