Refinish a translucent bass?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by cschenk78, May 6, 2012.


  1. cschenk78

    cschenk78

    Mar 12, 2000
    Watertown, NY
    Searched the threads and have not come up with anything. Is it possible to go from a green translucent finish back to a natural finish?
     
  2. cschenk78

    cschenk78

    Mar 12, 2000
    Watertown, NY
    Can anybody chime in on this?
     
  3. Probably not without a crap ton of sanding. If its a trans green now, it was probably dyed, so you're gonna have to sand until you hit bare wood. It might change the dimensions of the bass if you sand too far.
     
  4. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    What he said, unless the trans green was achieved with a tinted lacquer on top of the body after it was sealed. Then you could just strip the finish off with either a chemical stripper or heat gun.
     
  5. cschenk78

    cschenk78

    Mar 12, 2000
    Watertown, NY
    That's kind of what I figured...thanks for the input.
     
  6. Hi Hopkins, is there anyway to determine if the translucent finish was achieved by a tinted lacquer or by staining the wood just by eyeballing it? Possibly with removing the control cavity plate and looking at where the finish meets the wood?

    I'm looking to buy a bass with a translucent finish that I'd want to remove, and would want to determine this before making the purchase.
     
  7. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I think you should assume that if you want a repaint, it will be a solid color. Most basses are stained before lacquer or other clear finish.
     
  8. Damn... It has a really nice grain, but I'd only want the bass if I could remove the tint/dye and refinish with a natural finish. Seems like I should forget about that idea. Thanks Pilgrim.
     
  9. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Yeah, it should be pretty easy. Look in the neck pocket or pickup cavities. If it were died, they would most likely have a few green runs where the green dye ran into them. If they are painted or look as though they were oversprayed with the green then the green is most likely a tinted clear.
     
  10. PDX Mathias

    PDX Mathias

    Nov 25, 2014
    Portland, OR
    Well, if you're up for the work, you can certainly sand it down past the dye. Dye doesn't penetrate all that deep, so a bunch of hours with a sander and hand sanding should do the job.
    But after that you'll still have to apply some kind of protective finish, which is probably the harder part of the job, depending on what finish you choose. And if the wood is something porous, like ash mahogany, you will probably also need to fill the pores.
     
    Dadagoboi likes this.
  11. Thanks Hopkins. You mentioned that if it looks as though it was oversprayed with the color then the color is most likely a tinted clear. Is there any tell-tale signs to determine if it was oversprayed with a tinted clear coat without removing the neck, pickups, etc? I don't mind doing it, but the seller may have an issue with it.

    Thanks, I'm hoping that I don't have to sand past the clear coat and the tint is in the overspray. The bass in question is an Ibanez SR which has a very thin body to begin with and I'd like to avoid sanding additional wood off of it.
     
  12. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    If it was dyed, you could sand lightly and then bleach it, then you'd have to at least stain it to get some color and definition back in the wood. Like I implied earlier, I think the chances of that coming out nice as a natural finish are not the greatest. A solid color would, of course, be safe....but not what you desire.
     
  13. Thanks
     
  14. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I don't know whether paint strippers would also remove much dye/stain. I suspect it would be blotchy at best.
     
  15. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    My educated guess is that it's in the clear coat. The word for that is "toner" It's a typical way to do transparent guitar finishes, especially production line instruments like an SR. It's cheap and fast. Even if the bass is dyed, dye penetrates less than 1/32 of an inch. It's an easy job either way, toner or dye.
     
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  16. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    It would be hard to tell without being somewhat invasive.
     
    Dadagoboi and Matthew_84 like this.
  17. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 15, 2021

Share This Page