Pickguard matted by nail polish remover

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by TraktorBass, May 31, 2020.

  1. TraktorBass


    Mar 9, 2017

    Not sure if this is the right sub forum, but it seems the closest match, so forgive me if I am in the wrong corner here.

    Made myself a new pickguard from some chinese 3-ply vinyl pickguard material. Used some sticky tape to hold the pickguard/new pickup in place for drilling screw holes etc., and there was some tape residue left over after I removed the tape.

    Tried cleaning this up using nail polish remover, which seems to have made it worse.

    Is this salvageable, or should I just go ahead and make a new one?

    Hard to capture the matte effect on camera, sorry. It is most prominent between the pickup and the neck.


    rwkeating likes this.
  2. Huw Phillips

    Huw Phillips Life is like TV if the channel sucks change it Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2019
    Nice bass I have the same pickup, nail polish remover is acetone it’s eaten the finish off the surface, you may be able to get it to a matt finish, I doubt that the shine will come back thou, I would use a green 3M and do it wet with a bit of dish soap, bummer the guard looks sweet
    jchrisk1 and TraktorBass like this.
  3. TraktorBass


    Mar 9, 2017
    Ouch. And thanks.
  4. Igor Porto

    Igor Porto

    Mar 6, 2013
    Make a new one. And lesson learned, never use acetone on plastics or lacquer finishes.
    Haroldo, kodiakblair and TraktorBass like this.
  5. TraktorBass


    Mar 9, 2017
    Lesson learned for sure.
  6. ddnidd1

    ddnidd1 Supporting Member

    It can be 'buffed out' by hand using relatively fine rubbing compound. Using successively finer grits will bring back the shine.

    I have used Meguiars products out of habit, but there are many others available.
    Rabidhamster, Beej and TraktorBass like this.
  7. TraktorBass


    Mar 9, 2017
    That is something to try, thank you.

    Any specific product you would recommend?
  8. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Yes, it is salvageable, but it's some work. Basically, you have to wet-sand it up to about 2500 grit level, and then buff it up to a gloss with a polishing compound. Similar to the final steps of doing a paint finish.

    The damaged surface is a bunch of tiny pits (holes). You have to wet level sand the surface to remove those pits, and keep the surface flat. Then, polish it up to a gloss.

    If you skip the level sanding and just buff it aggressively, the surface will end up wavy with little pin holes.
    Rabidhamster, Beej and TraktorBass like this.
  9. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Use Painter's tape... shouldn't be any residue.
    TraktorBass likes this.
  10. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    it's fixable but it might be less work to just make a new one.
  11. WestyBassBob


    Mar 2, 2020
    @Arie X beat me to it. It will be easier to make a new one. Bet you never make that mistake again.

    Plain rubbing alcohol should remove residue without etching if you have that problem. But just use painters tape next time or put a thin layer of mineral oil first to keep the tape from adhering too much.
    TraktorBass likes this.
  12. TraktorBass


    Mar 9, 2017
    Thank you, guys.

    I think I will matte out the pickguard, see how I like it. Then if I don't, I'll make a new one.
    Huw Phillips likes this.