Refinishing a bass body

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sanctum, Apr 10, 2002.

  1. First off, if this isnt the right forum, please move it - I couldnt decide between here and luthier.

    I have a chance to buy a used G&L 4 string at a good price. Only problem is the body - its plain black and the paint is scratched - but no gouges. Is refinishing as easy as stripping off the old and the applying something new? If its not too difficult I may make a small project out of this thing, as I'm not a fan of plain black (or scratches that I didnt apply, heh)

    Also the neck on this thing is cool - like knots in the wood. I'm not too familiar with G&L's, but I like it :)


  2. Yes, it is that simple, providing you get the appropriate stripping agent. Re colouring is not so simple. the preperation needs to be as good as it is possible to get. Before applying base coat, rub down with 00 guage wire wool and white spirit. Are you going to re-paint, or try for the natural look?.
  3. I was thinking of a translucent white, to let the wood show through the color - I've seen a couple of Fenders and PRS's with that finish that i really like. Of course I have no idea what the acutal grain looks like underneath it, so maybe natural will be great once I strip it.

    Can you recommend a good stripping agent?


  4. Kurt M.

    Kurt M.

    Dec 11, 2001
    Reading, PA

    Refinishing a bass is like painting a car only harder sometimes. Sometimes harder when you want to let the grain show through. A see through color approach is more difficult. First off your strip job has to be super. You'll have to completely evacuate all sources of paint/stain or whatever from the surface of the wood. I doubt whether you'd be able to do it without resorting to sanding as a final step. Many times see through finishes are sprayed on candy color or even dyes. This is tricky because the more you spray the more coverage of the grain you get. Getting it even and not spotty can be difficult. You have to build up coats evenly. Then you need to finish with a good quality catalyzed clear coat. Do, you have professional spray equipment? This is not a spray bomb type of project unless you want spray bomb results. There are lots of steps to do it right! You should also know how to wet sand and buff. Be ready for a project to do it right.

    Good luck.
  5. mmm yea, skills! thanks for the heads up, I didnt even think about the permeation of old paint into the grain. The upside is I have an entire month off from work during the summer, and I work at an art school, so i have plenty of talented contacts who can help me. Maybe I'll even get someone to do me a custom job. I'm looking forward to the possibilities.

  6. Kurt M.

    Kurt M.

    Dec 11, 2001
    Reading, PA

    Stripping is tougher and messy and a big pain and ... well you get the idea. With a solid color you can smoth out any imperfections with a primer surfacer. When preserving the grain there are sealer/fillers that you can use but it's a tougher job. Be carefull how much paint you load up at the neck joint. If you don't calculate how much you put it on it ends up your neck wont fit. You'll have to force it and then the paint job could crack or blister. I made that mistake the first time I did a guitar body. Really there is a lot to it. But, it will be a good learning experience for you. Just take your time.

  7. LizzardTom


    Mar 16, 2002
    Trying to get that old urethane finish off can be a real treat. I found that instead of sanding or trying chemicals a heat gun works well. basically you melt the finish off, but you must be careful when doing this because you could burn the wood. I have refinished several basses and this is how I removed the old finish. I always use clear finishes with no color, so I'm not much help with that. But , if you are thinking about a natural finish, I would recommend Belehns Master gel. This stuff will give you a pro finish and is very easy to work with. you can get it at . Stuart Spector recommended this stuff to me. It works great.
  8. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I wouldn't get your hopes up about the wood looking too nice under the finish. It could turn out to be pretty, but there is usually a reason why they decide to cover the grain with thick black paint. :D