removing headstock logo with lighter fluid

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by hitmanhbk1992, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. hitmanhbk1992


    Nov 30, 2007
    i read somewhere that you can remove the headstock logo on fender/squier basses using lighter fluid or nail polish remover. is this true? if so, how is this done?

  2. Japanoak


    Aug 26, 2007
    Phoenix, Az
    I wouldn't do it. I think both those would be really hard on the finish. Why do you want to remove it?
  3. I'll bite...

    Solvent might work - try a dab on the decal & see if it does anything. It probably won't, as I suspect the decal is overcoated with clear lacquer. If it does, go very carefully with a cotton bud & you should get it off without making an unholy smeary mess of it.


    I think I'm right in believing that Squiers have a poly finish (as opposed to nitrocellulose). If so, you'll find that the only things that'll touch it are either chemical paint stripper or mechanical abrasion.

    For such a small area like a headstock decal, chemical stripping is likely to cause more harm than good, so that leaves abrasives.

    Go to your local hardware store/car spares shop or similar & buy or blag a sheet of 1200 grit wet & dry (if you can get 1500 grit go for it). Next take the strings off, along with the string tree & the machine heads & tape a plastic bag around the neck at the nut.

    Arm yourself with a pot of warm water with a little detergent in it & an old towel.

    Tear off a smallish piece of wet & dry, dip it into the water & very gently start sanding over the decal. You should see a white slurry start to form - wipe this off with the towel & repeat.

    Go slowly & gently - small circular motions & use the water. If the paper clogs up, tear off a new bit & continue. You'll soon see when you're through the top coat of lacquer & into the decal (there will be black & gold bits in the slurry). Go even slower & more carefully and you should be able to cut off the logo whilst leaving the lacquer underneath it untouched.

    Towel off, allow to dry & apply the new decal. Allow to harden overnight before you even begin to think about considering the possibility of maybe putting it all back together again.

    Might be worth giving the front face of the headstock some clear coats of lacquer to protect the new decal - "dust" the first few coats on otherwise the decal may shrivel up. Again, allow plenty of time for this to harden before reassembly.

    Still won't make it a proper Fender though.

  4. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Naphtha or lighter fluid will remove some adhesive residue left from "stickers" that have been used to decorate a guitar. It will not remove the finish. Nail polish remover, lacquer thinner, or acetone will remove nitrocellulose lacquer lickety split. But they do not have an affect on modern poly finishes. Chemical strippers will not budge a poly finish. The two methods used to remove these finishes are heat and the aforementioned mechanical abrasion. Neither are much fun. Both are time consuming. If anyone knows of one that will remove polyesters, urethanes, or catalyzed acrylics it would be a boon to refinishers and restoration techs the world over.

    Why would someone wish to remove a factory applied logo?
  5. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I've been saying this for years, yet people keep posting that using Citrus Strip or some other stripper works. I don't think they have actually tried it. On out of the can, home handyman polyurethane, such as Minwax brush on, maybe, but it sure will be slow. But on the catalyzed factory finishes, I don't believe it.
  6. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006

    Annoying, isn't it?
  7. EddieN


    Mar 21, 2007
    If it's a very thin finish like on Squier Affinity series, neck finish comes right off with Citristrip. In seconds, as I've done it**. It'll do nothing to the body.

    **Soez I could refinish a maple fretboard with Tru-Oil. Not for decal shenanigans. :bag:
  8. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    i've used nail polish remover but it all depends on the finish as stated by the above posters.