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Polishing scratches off a semi vintage bass

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Ampig, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. Ampig

    Ampig Supporting Member

    My recently purchased early 70's Jazz has scratches where a previous owner, for some reason, had started sanding on the outer edges of the headstock face. Luckily he stopped before he got all the way through the finish. My question is, should I just leave as is (which is bugging the crap out of me) or use some polishing compound to rub out the scratches? In a nutshell, will buffing out the scratches devalue the bass further?
  2. It all depends on how coarse and deep the scratches are. Unless they're very fine, it's likely that compounding will make it look "better" by smoothing the edges of the scratches without actually removing them. Ultra fine sandpaper (like 1200 or finer) would work better for removing the scratches, and then you can buff it to make it look perfect, but that removes more finish, and you might go through to the wood.

    Again, it all depends on just how deep and coarse the scratches are.
  3. P Town

    P Town

    Dec 7, 2011
    What type of finish? Nitro-cellulose lacquer can be repaired fairly easily. Polyurethane is not as easy. If you want to polish it out, look into a set of abrasive pads, sold online by Rockler, called Micro-Mesh. Work through the grits, and use water to rince the pads, as you use them. I removed deep scratches from a guitar with these: http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=30924&site=ROCKLER

    Stew Mac sells this product as well.
  4. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Do you have any pictures?
  5. Ampig

    Ampig Supporting Member

    It's hard to get a picture that really shows it.
  6. LOL. I had just come back to post that, while pics would be nice, finish scratches are notoriously hard to show in a photo. :p
  7. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Either way, you need to sand the scratches out with a hard sanding block, starting with 400 grit working your way through the grits until you get to 2000 grit. then polish. Hopefully you can get all the scratches out without getting to bare wood, if you get to bare wood you will have to refinish it.
  8. Ampig

    Ampig Supporting Member

    I really want to avoid that refin thing on a 1972 bass.
  9. JaminTravis


    Oct 6, 2012
    Technical Advisor, Zymol Music
    Like pretty much everyone else has said, pictures would be helpful in finding a solution, but the scratches are hard to capture.

    I try to avoid blatantly promoting the company I work for on forums because nobody likes spam, but you can check out Zymol Music's product "GBC#." It's an all natural polish for painted and gloss finishes. It isn't guaranteed to remove scratches, but depending on how deep they are, it might do the trick for you. We have tested it and also seen from a few customers that sometimes it is able to repair minor scratches and swirls.

    I personally would avoid sanding or doing anything crazy unless you have experience doing these kinds of things. Try to polish it out, and if it doesn't work, let a pro do it! At least that's what I recommend. I wouldn't want to see anyone risk doing further damage to an instrument.
  10. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    This - using 400 grit sandpaper is going to go thru that finish very quickly, I wouldn't recommend that at all... I would use a polishing compound and buff it with some clean cotton rags - if that won't take it out, either leave it alone, or go to a pro...

    - georgestrings
  11. JLS


    Sep 12, 2008
    Emeryville, Ca
    I setup & repair guitars & basses
    Trying to make a 40 year old bass look new & unplayed?
  12. Ampig

    Ampig Supporting Member

    Trying to minimize the damage done by a foolish previous owner who was apparently "Trying to make a 40 year old bass look new & unplayed"

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