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Replacing a finish

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by yawnsie, Jul 10, 2002.


  1. yawnsie

    yawnsie

    Apr 11, 2000
    London
    Being the clumsy, graceless sod that I am, I've had the misfortune of seeing my beloved MIA p-bass accidentally collide with the amp, ceiling, drummer, etc on a few occasions. The problem is, some of the varnish has broken off, leaving wood exposed.

    There are three places where this has happened (don't ask...) - the back of the headstock, the very top of the fretboard, and on the bottom of the body, near the button for the strap. My question is, how can I replace this finish? Should i just varnish over these places? Is there any particular varnish I should use, or any that I should avoid? Any advice is appreciated.

    Thanks in advance for any replies.
     
  2. You can usually get one refinished in a guitar repair shop for about $75-150 (US, I haven't figured out the price difference for Euro yet, sorry). Usually they'll do any color you want or finish you want, some will even paint portraits, which really makes no sense to me.
     
  3. yawnsie

    yawnsie

    Apr 11, 2000
    London
    Thanks Bigfeet, but I don't really want to go through the hassle (and expense) of having the whole finish replaced - it's only a few little chips that need covering up. Is that possible?
     
  4. I'm assuming that the finish is one of the Fender Poly types that's fairly thick? If it is, and what I've done on my own favorite Jazz, is to use nail polish as a cover, blender, and protectant. Most nail polish is the same material as fine guitar finishes - Nitrocellulose Lacquer. It comes with a brush and dries fairly quickly. It will do a nice job of covering most dings and flakes but won't fill the depression. That's OK IMO since it's just to keep the raw wood from being exposed.

    Why would such a down & dirty solution be practical for a valuable working instrument like this? If the factory finish is a solid, there is little chance of finding nicely matched wood under it so you don't have to worry about possibly messing with a hidden treasure. Second, if the body were to be professionally refinished in the future, the nitro is easy to remove - if it stains, that's OK too since the wood wasn't much anyway. You've got a great selection of colors to match the factory finish and they will dry hard and glossy. If your finish is clear, just use clear (maybe with sparkles? Hmm?). And when you're done just toss the bottles in your gig bag for a quick touchup when the going gets rough.
     
  5. yawnsie

    yawnsie

    Apr 11, 2000
    London
    Thanks a lot, Hambone. My bass is a fairly new MIA Precision, so would that make it a Poly finish? I might try nail polish out. The only question is, I'm sure that would work fine on the neck and headstock, but would it be alright on the actual body of the bass, where the chip is fairly big and the finish is quite thick? Thanks again.
     
  6. Use the nail polish there too. You might want to put several coats of polish to buildup the finish. It might never "feel" totally smooth but at least the color will blend and it'll protect the wood. There isn't anything available to completely repair the poly finishes.
     
  7. yawnsie

    yawnsie

    Apr 11, 2000
    London
    Thanks, Hambone. I'll have to do that.