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Shiny basses

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by ole Jason, Nov 26, 2003.

  1. What's with cheap basses being so bright and shiny. Since they're always looking for corners to cut wouldn't it be cheaper to forego the clear coat or whatever it is that makes them shiny? I say this having never met someone who prefers the look of a shiny bass.
  2. Although they are probably quite proud of their high tech dust free spraying and drying rooms, the new cheap BSO are not shiney because they added something extra to get them that way. They look that way because of what they don't put in - the time and effort required to rub down the finish.
  3. What would someone who was willing to put that time and effort in do? In other words what's the best way to rub the finish down?
  4. I don't know if there is a "best" way to do it. Normally, when you rub down a finish, it is a finish that you have applied and you know what it is. So the first problem is you need to know what is the composition of the finish. Once you know that, you use the finest (least) abrasive that will get the job done without scratching the finish in the process. Many oldtimers still use powdered abrasives like Pumice, Tropoli, and Rotten stone lubricated with some lubricant that does not disolve or is not a solvent for the finish (usually parafin oil, olive oil, etc.) applied with a felt pad or rag. Others use commercial products designed for rubbing down automotive finishes. Woodworking stores carry speciality products for rubbing. You can do an internet search. Most varnish manufacturers will tell you what they recommend for rubbing down their particular product weather it is lacquer, poly, natural gum or whatever. If you can't find it, go to a woodworking store and ask them for a recommendaton.
  5. LoJoe


    Sep 5, 2002
    Concord, NC USA.
    My old MIA Fender P. Dull and scratched to heck when I bought it. Treated with 3M mild abrasive automotive cleaner wax, followed by Zaino 3 step show car polish. Yowsa!

  6. That's a great example of what you don't want it to look like when you're finished.
  7. Holy **** I love it!!!!!!

    Happy Thanksgiving! It's gonna be nice outside today, think i'm gonna go out and wax the Bohmann!!!
  8. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I have to jump in 'cuz I have a problem with SHINEY = CHEAP BSO. My Christopher Hybrid is goddamned shiney, and it's not a cheap BSO IMHO, ST (ST = so there.)

    I have dealt with too many Crapatinos in my life, and they are actually not particularly shiney. That would involve the expenditure of a little more money in their production, and the key to understanding Crapatinos is to get that an absolute minimum of dollars is put into their construction. Maybe one day they'll figure out they can sell them "in the blonde" and knock $50 off the price. Then newbies can finish 'em, paint 'em, whatever, and enjoy a custom finish while they wait for the neck to fall off one night (soon.)

    When it comes to finishing wooden things, there is quite a lot to know and quite a lot of misinformation out there. Lots of things have multiple names, further complicating the matter. I recommend a book called "Understanding Wood Finishing" by Bob Flexner. He's got piles of experience, a practical attitude combined with scientific interest, and a great tendency toward myth-busting. It's general, not bass- or music-specific. But if you want to understand everything about oils, varnish, solvents, rubbing-down, etc., it's all there. Then you can make up your own mind.

    I'm not saying anyone in this thread has promulgated any myths; far from it. It just never hurts to do a little research and experimentation on your own.
  9. LoJoe


    Sep 5, 2002
    Concord, NC USA.
    LOL! To each his own I guess. It is exactly the look I was going for. No offense to your conservative luthiership intended.

    Thanks! That's the overwhelming response I get from just about everyone. As a former car detailer, I applied the same techniques to finish restoration as we used on show cars. The finish is not so much just shiney as it is deep. You feel like you could just reach right into it. Many people drool over it and recently a professional gigging/recording guitarist asked me to do the same for his Strats. He was very pleased. The finish is clear, deep and fingerprint/smudge resistant.

    Anyway, shiney or dull, choose your own style and be proud of it. I'm off to Grandmas. Happy Thanksgiving!
  10. Sorry LoJoe if I offended you or your work. For the instrument you were working on, that was the way to do it. However, on a DoubleBass, IMO that is not the way to go. I was referring to the fact that Ole Jason is looking for a way to get rid of the shine not to make it shine better.
  11. LoJoe


    Sep 5, 2002
    Concord, NC USA.
    No!! My apologies to you! I just now realized that this thread is in the Double Bass forum! Duh! I always do a "new since last login" and never pay much attention to the forum a message is in. I am sorry for coming over here like a bull in a china shop. As a violinist also, I know exactly what you are talking about. My best violin has no shine at all. I will head back to the Electric bass forums where I belong! Sorry guys! :)
  12. Wow Damon. You certainly read something into my first response that wasn't intended. Why you would even think of Cheap BSO and your Christopher Hybrid in the same thought is beyond me. However, with that said, almost All factory produced intruments strive for a dust free smooth shiny finish for one reason - it is cheaper to invest in a bunch of machinery (once) than it is to pay for the human labor required for a really good rubbed finish. Today, even the better grade factory instruments have a very small investment in human labor. CNC machines carve the parts, they assemple the parts and then spray "paint" it like you are running an automobile production line.

    The idea that the Crapatino factory could save $50.00 by eliminating an ounce or so of pigment from the finish strikes me as funny. First, the pigments don't cost that much, and Second if they eliminated the pigments in the finish you would be able to see what the wood actually looks like under all that gook and they would really have a hard time finding unsuspecting buyers. In many ways, producing a good blond finish is more difficult since everything you do is "naked" to the world. The old Kay and the current Englehardt blond basses aren't made that way because they are cheaper. On the contrary, they only put this finish on the best looking bodies they had. You can cover up knot holes with the pigmented gook they put on the ultra cheap BSOs, but not with a blond finish.
  13. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Oops, now we've got another level of miscommunication! This e-mail thing gets clumsy sometimes. Good thing we're all such gentlemen around here, always saying sorry...

    Bob, I wasn't thinking of you when I put out my little defensive shiny Christopher comment. And I wasn't at all offended, even though as I read it now I see how it can be read that way. I just jumped in because I have mentioned the shiny bit a few times before with regard to the Christopher, and I guess I just reacted to "BSO" being in the same sentence with "shiny."

    The blonde/$50 thing was just an attempt at further disparaging, throwing dirt on, and trash-talking Crapatinos. Obviously not too well thought out...

    As great as TalkBass is, it sure would be better to be having some of these discussions sitting around with some cold ones. It's too much work to compose something that's hard to misinterpret. The tendency for me is to read and jump in with a thought if I have one.
  14. Maybe one of these days I can head up I-29 and have a cold one with you.
  15. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    What's half-way? Fargo? Someplace flat, that much I know...

    Looking forward to it, Bob!

    edit: Aargh! Another oops. For some reason I was thinking Iowa, not K.C. Half-way would be a little different from Fargo!
  16. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    My local guy tells me to use 000 steel wool...

    I haven't had the cayunes to try it yet myself.