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Scratch repair

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Ikkir, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Ikkir


    Jun 26, 2005
    Swansea, UK

    My fiancé has managed to put two quite deep scratches (don't ask!) in a brand new bass I bought.

    It's not an expensive bass, it's a Vintage V4 Tony Butler signature bass, but I don't really want to have to live with them.

    Is it going to need a complete refinish or is there a cheaper way to repair it?

    Thank you very much for any help and advice.

    Attached Files:

  2. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Those scratches can be repaired without a complete refinish, but it needs to be done by someone with a little experience at it. If that's nitro lacquer, the scratch is usually filled with what are called "burn in sticks". If it's polyester, it's done with dye and superglue. It's not real difficult (or expensive) to do, but it requires a little care in matching the color and sanding and buffing it back. A good repair person can fix that without any trace.
  3. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I cant tell from the pictures if the scratches are in the clear or if they go past the color coat.

    If its just in the clear its a pretty easy fix.
  4. Ikkir


    Jun 26, 2005
    Swansea, UK
    Thank you for your replies. :)

    Yeah the scratches go through the colour layer and through to a white layer, it doesn't go as far as wood though.

    Do you still think it's repairable without spending too much?

  5. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    hummm... :eyebrow: sort of like when Perry Mason would infer something provocative and the DA would say "objection" and the judge would say "objection sustained - strike that from the record" ...
  6. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    First take some extremely coarse sandpaper and take some bark off the torso.

    Then begin working on the bass. Get some very very fine wet sandpaper and begin to polish the scratches on your bass.
  7. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Just making sure,

    Are you absolutely sure that those scratches go all the way through the color coat? I'm guessing that bass has a pretty thick poly finish on it. The white may just be the jagged edges of the poly in the scratch, and it very well may not be down past the color coat. Its possible you could sand the scratches out completely, polish it back out and make it look like it never happened. The only difference is the finish will be thinner where you sanded the scratch out.

    Looking at the picture, especially the long scratch, doesn't look like its gotten into the color coat. I would try starting with 400 grit to get the scratch out, working your way up to 2000 and finish it off with a polishing compound.
  8. Ikkir


    Jun 26, 2005
    Swansea, UK
    Thank you for all your advice, guys!

    Someone had told me the bass would need a complete refinish so I had assumed the worst. I feel a bit better now! :)
  9. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I like the advice of having a professional do it unless you know what you are doing because once you start sanding there's no going back.
  10. Ikkir


    Jun 26, 2005
    Swansea, UK
    Yeah I'll get someone who knows what they're doing to do it!
    I don't trust myself nearly enough with it!
  11. I have a black Vintage V4 (not a Tony Butler and the older non Wilkinson, £20 car boot sale) that is my current project bass.

    Looking at the finish where there are chips (around the pick guard screw holes) I cannot see a white undercoat. It looks like one very thick poly coat. If there is a base coat it blends well with the top coat.

    If you remove the pick guard screws and have a look round the holes you will be able to see if yours has a white base coat. If there is not then you should be able to polish the scratches out, see previous posts for advice.

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