Smelly P Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by -=DanAtkinson=-, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. My boss has an 80's Precision Elite, just like the one pictured below. Unfortunately it's been sitting in a case for the past 10 years that must have had beer or something spilled in it. It absolutely reeks. Like funky mildew or something. The poor bass smells almost as bad as the case.

    He asked me for advice on how to get rid of the smell. I have no clue.

  2. meatwad


    Apr 9, 2008
    Smallville, USA
    Sunlight seems to help with a mildew smell, but I dunno if the bass is permeated, it may take some disassembling and soaking in sunlight and Lysol. Seriously, that's too cool a bass to be stinky!
  3. Time out of the case seems like it'd do the trick unless the bass itself is mildewy. Think about how many basses we all had that were positively saturated in cigarette smoke - mine reeked for years but smell just fine now.
  4. nagarjuna


    Dec 10, 2006
    The Gunks, NY
    Dan, place 10 drops of Tea Tree oil with an eyedropper in warm water. Then with a towel, scrub it everywhere. Obviously you don't want water dripping down the towel. The stuff is miraculous! Give it a day or 2. Then put some lemon essential oil on a rag and put a little on. Good luck.
  5. JSK5String


    May 19, 2008
    Littleton, CO
    That Febreeze stuff works pretty well. I used to use it on my old carpet covered cabinets before they banned smoking in the clubs in Colorado. Worked really well. He can also sprinkle a bunch of baking soda into the case and close it for a few days, then vaccuum the stuff out. That will help alot.
  6. Hmmmm. Thanks, I'll give that a try.
  7. He tried Febreeze in the case. Didn't work, unfortunately. I think the case needs to be disposed of by a HazMat team.
  8. Dust the bass and the inside of the case with baking soda and let sit for a few days allowing both to air out. Then vacuum up the baking soda.
  9. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Allentown, PA!
    Put a Bay Leaf in the case, close tightly, and let sit in a well-heated room for a week. ;)
  10. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Leave it..thats pure Mojo right there! The bass God's will not be happy with you Dan.

    FWIW I was trying out a guy's acoustic guitar once a nice old Gibson, when I was overcome with a smell from the guitar I can only discribe as an Alabama Asphalt workers armpit in August :spit:
  11. CTC564

    CTC564 Supporting Member

    Mar 7, 2011
    Toms River,NJ

    That's GOTTA be bad!!!!
  12. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    I think the first step should be to burn the case. Regardless of how much you clean it, if you stick the instrument back into the case you will be back to square one. Given the length of time that bass has been in that case, I think you may be looking at a strip down, clean, let sit, clean again, reassemble situation.

    At the very least, get a good gig bag to keep the bass in and mothball the original case in case he sells later. Cleaning the case will probably be more problematic given the carpet.
  13. If nastiness got into the neck pocket and control cavity, your only choice is to completely dissemble the bass and clean it out.

    As for the case, which may be part or all of the problem, I have had mixed results with sprays, sunlight, etc. If the smell gets under the fabric into the wood and foam, it's there to stay.
  14. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    Baking soda in the case and then vacuumed out will help with the case - I bought a bass that came in a case that smelled like cat spray, and baking soda took care of it. As for the bass... No idea but the suggestions here sound workable.
  15. Leave it. Mildew lends a very warm tone to the wood. ;)
  16. One of my bass's stunk like cat piss & smoke when I got it. Just clean it really good, get all the gunk off it, and let it air out for a couple days.

    As far as the case, I guess you need to put something in it like sandelwood or cedar and seal it up for a few days and the wood might absorb the stink.
  17. I've tried that and didn't have much success. I guess it may have helped some, but the smell persisted.

    Many days open in the heat and direct sunlight should help quite a bit.
  18. Raymeous


    Jul 2, 2010
    San Diego
    JSK5 has some good ones ideas.

    Cleaning the case will definitely help, and I would treat these as two seperate issues. Stand up the case, while open and let it air out as well. JSK5's Arm & Hammer idea does work. That should help you tackle the case's funk.

    Meanwhile let the bass sit on a stand for a month. Do a full cleaning on the bass with a lemon oil polish. Do this once a week or so. Hopefully this will help mellow out the funkyness. After a couple of weeks of airing out both the case and the bass, sticking the freshly cleaned bass into the case will let some of that lemony goodness permeate the case.

    I'm just making this up but it seems like it would work.
  19. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    East Bay, CA
    I had a Guild guitar/case that got soaked and grew mildew.
    Tea tree did the trick in eliminating the odor beautifully.
  20. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    That's an awfully precise amount of Tea Tree oil to not also specify the quantity of water to put it in....