Rusty pole pieces and body swirls

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by bassnyc1, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I just picked up a used bass. It has a lot of body swirls and a few scratches. Any polish that you can recommend? Would car polish or simonize products damage the finish?

    Also, the pole pieces on the pickups have some rust on them. Any tips on how to clean them?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can give
  2. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    For the poles, use sandpaper, around 320 grit. Avoid hitting the pickup cover though, as it will scuff it up.
    The sanding dust will be magnetic. If it's hard to remove from the poles, lift it off with a piece of masking
    tape, or duct tape, etc.

    You can coat the pole ends with clear lacquer or varnish to prevent rusting. Nail polish works.

    Auto polishes will work. The finer polishing compound (usually white) will remove the fine scratches
    and also remove swirls left from coarser compounds. A deeper scratch will need rubbing compound
    and possibly sanding. It is often best to leave the deeper scratches, and just use polishing compound
    to make then less apparent.

    Polishing, like sanding, removes finish, though not as fast. Rubbing compound will remove finish faster
    than polishing compound. There is usually enough finish to allow polishing, but it can be thin in spots,
    especially on corners and peaks. Compound cuts faster on corners and peaks (which is why they can be
    thinner to begin with), so you have to be careful on those areas.

    Scratches are best removed by polishing (or sanding) at right angles to the long direction of the scratch.
    To leave the scratch but minimize it, polish along the same direction as the scratch.

  3. I use meguiars 07 mirror glaze on scratches. make sure it's compatible with your finish. I use it on my poly (water and oil based) and it's the stuff.
  4. Thanks so much for the replies! The bass is a Geddy jazz bass so I believe it's just a standard Fender poly finish. Any brands to recommend for the polishes?
  5. ....and where to get them?
  6. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    bobdabilder's recommendation is good also. I think I would try that first, using a glaze or wax,
    if you don't mind having a wax type finish on the surface. It will fill in the scratches (as opposed to
    physically removing them) but effectively remove them nonetheless.
    You should be able to find various brands at any large dept store with an auto care section, or at
    auto supply stores like Autozone.

    I believe that body is spec'd at being polyester. Most anything should be safe.

    The more expensive synthetic waxes or glazes can last longer and produce a better finish, but
    you will have to decide if they are worth the extra money. A recommendation from personal use
    is also worth something, as in the Meguiars recommended by bobdabilder. They can have
    a different surface "feel" to them. Doesn't matter on a car, but we have constant contact with bass
    bodies. Also, you don't want something that "requires no buffing". A bass is too small for it to matter,
    and buffed finishes are typically better looking. Waxes and glazes are a type of finish. Look for
    products that are only waxes or glazes, not wax/polish or wax/cleaner. If you really need to polish,
    it is best done as a separate first step. A wax might be all you need. But no wax or glaze will remove
    a deep scratch.

    If you have to polish it -

    Polishing grits are pretty basic. You just want a polishing compound, not a wax/polish. Any brand
    will be fine.

    The coarsest is rubbing compound, and is primarily used for leveling a newly applied finish. It can
    also remove deeper scratches, but at the expense of removing a good amount of finish. That is why
    I recommend not trying to remove the deeper ones.

    Polishing compound is finer and will remove fine scratches (and oxidation on cars). Also good for dull
    finishes. It will leave swirl marks (or a haze if polishing along straight lines), but these are normally covered
    by a wax or glaze, if those are used.

    The finest is swirl remover and would be used as a final step if no wax or glaze is going to be used.

  7. And please remember that if you are New to using any kind of abrasive or polishing approach, its Absolutely necessary to employ a NEW and UNUSED applicator.

    Whether its a foam applicator pad or 100% cotton cloth or whatever, DO NOT make the mistake of using a contaminated item from some other project.

    Even though it seems to be Completely Washed and Clean, tiny particles get trapped in the fibers from previous uses and introduce 'swirls' into the finish as you rub the finish.

    This is precisely why many guitarists/bassists say 'polishing' adds swirls to their finish.

    Its not the polish, its the 'dirty' applicator scratching the finish.