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The Comprehensive MTD USA Maintenance Thread

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Tony G, Aug 29, 2007.


  1. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    I know it has been talked about here and there on this forum, but it really isn't all in one place for easy access. So I ask you, owners of MTD USA basses, what kind of maintenance can we do to our basses to keep them looking their best?

    These topics can include the butcher wax treatment for bodies, what treaments are best for the neck and fretboard depending on the wood, how to keep the Bartolini Pickups from getting shiny spots on them from finger wear, etc.

    Specifically for me, the body of my 635 is starting to show some shiny spots, and it has been said to use butchers wax to bring back the natural satin look of these basses. Any particular brand I should look for? Also, the maple neck on my bass is starting to get pretty slick as well. Anything I can do to bring back that satin feel? And finally, the rosewood fretboard is starting to get a little dry looking. In the past I have use Formby's Lemon Oil Treatment with good success, but I just wanted to see if there was any better ways as described by Mike Tobias and the owners of his MTD USA line of basses.
     
  2. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    I've emailed Mr. Tobias on the subject and will post his response as soon as it comes.
     
  3. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    I played my wenga/ash MTD almost constantly for 8 years. The only thing I ever did was wipe clean the body and fretboard with lemon oil, maybe every two years are so. There's nothing much you need to do. MIke's finish will get a little shiny in spots that your hand rubs... like the 'slap area'. Nothing you can do about that in my experience.

    Rosewood board... a little lemon oil or mineral oil once a year is plenty. The body needs nothing, although wiping it down with lemon oil every couple of years makes it look nice!
     
  4. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    Thanks for commenting Ken! I'm sure there isn't much I can do, but I just got the itch to show my bass a little love. :D
     
  5. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    A little lemon oil cleaning goes a long way... just don't overdo it.

    Regarding the maple neck, a slightly damp cloth at the end of the night up and down the neck does wonders to get the grit and stickiness off.
     
  6. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    Yeah, I've never used much. I just give a little dab of the lemon oil on a microfiber cloth and give the bass a rub down. Then I go back over it again with dry microfiber cloth.
     
  7. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Butcher's wax is a brand name. Their Bowling Alley wax is most common for use on guitars. IIRC, it's approved and used by Mike Tobias and Sheldon Dingwall.


    http://www.bwccompany.com/
     
  8. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    Oh, thank you! I didn't realize. :)
     
  9. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    Melbourne, FL
    i thought that butcher's wax was a name brand...that's the stuff they use in bowling alleys...regarding the mtd 535 i had, i used warwick beeswax on the neck and dunlop fretboard 65 (lemon oil) on the fretboard...the body was painted, so i used dunlop guitar polish...
     
  10. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    Melbourne, FL
    aww, i got beat... :D
     
  11. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    I actually worked in a bowling alley while in college for about 3 years as a pin setter mechanic, where I would frequently refinish balls and the lanes themselves, and I've never once seen a can of Butcher's Bowling Alley Wax...
     
  12. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Careful with the microfiber cloth. The good ones are great. The cheap ones can actually scratch the heck out of a gloss finish... I found that out the hard way a while back. Better to use a nice soft cotton cloth.. never a problem there.

    It's kind of a moot point on Mike's finish, but on the glossy stuff, it can be a problem.
     
  13. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    Melbourne, FL
    that's pretty awesome...i asked about it at the bowling alley on base up in bangor washington, when i first heard about it reading about mtd's and the bowlers had never heard if it, either... :D
     
  14. Lockout

    Lockout

    Dec 24, 2002
    Illinois
    I'm interested in hearing Mr. Tobias' suggestions regarding this as well... Parts of my 535's body have become noticeably shinier than others (particularly the area under the B-string.)
     
  15. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    Interesting. I've never found this to be the case. I usually just buy the bulk packs of microfiber towels at my local wholesale club in the auto dept, and have found them to work very well for cleaning and polishing many things. I am kind of a car care addict and regularly research the best polishes and waxes for my cars. I've not use a microfiber towel yet that did any damage to my cars paint surface.
     
  16. neptoon

    neptoon Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2000
    Melbourne, FL
    i always use the microfiber cloths made by 3M for just about everything...they rule
     
  17. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    As soon as he replies I will happily post it. :)
     
  18. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    Mr. Tobias has responded:

     
  19. Bassflute

    Bassflute

    Jun 24, 2006
    Vancouver
    Endorsing Artist: MTD basses and strings; Bergantino Amps & Cabs
    From various emails I have received the master himself concerning my bass:

    >>>>>
    MTD initial set up

    Optimal set up is individual but generally but I generally use the low B as a straight edge, holding it down at the 1st and 16th fret and adjusting the truss rod until there is about .010- .015 space between the top of the 8th fret and the bottom of the string.

    Then I adjust the high string so that it is 1/16 (2/32, 1.5mm) from the top of the last fret. check for buzzing...if that is good then I adjust the rest of the strings following the curvature of the board and moving them up slightly until the low B which is a 3/32 or about 2.5 mm.

    The rest depends on your technique and attack

    Pick up heights are generally set by holding down the outside strings at the 24th fret and raising or lowering the bridge pick up to about 3/16 under the strings, top parallel to the strings when loose. Then I use the blend pot to raise or lower the neck pick up to match the output.

    BFTS instructions

    I use a Peterson VS-II or a regular strobe. The Korg DT7 has the* offsets burned into the chip for intonation. But if you have a tuner that will adjust 1 cent up or down you can do the following:
    *
    When I string a bass with new strings, I usually stretch them for a bit before doing BFTS intonation…..play for about ½ hour or put them on and leave them overnight. Make sure the neck is set like you want and that the action is also. Tune the bass to pitch using the tuner.
    *
    Match the
    F string open at pitch against the F at the 12th fret 1 cent flat
    C string open at pitch against the C at the 12th fret 1 cent flat
    G string open at pitch against the G at the 12th fret 1 cent flat
    D string open at pitch against the D at the 12th fret 1 cent flat
    A string open at pitch against the A at the 12th fret 1 cent sharp
    E string open at pitch against the B at the 7th fret 1 cent sharp
    B string open at pitch against the F# at the 7th fret 1 cent sharp
    *
    If the note is sharp, that means the saddle is too close to the 12th fret, if it is flat then it is too far away.
    <<<<<

    >>>>>
    On fretless fingerboard sanding:

    If it is making the notes buzz or interfering with playing it should be
    sanded lightly. You can probably handle it if you take some 600 grit
    sandpaper and if you have a small flat block that is at least 4" long.

    You take off the strings and loosen the rod until the neck is flat sanding
    very lightly in a circular motion down the board...clean it up with 0000
    steel wool and restring. If good then oil and play!
    <<<<<

    >>>>>
    On gloss spots on the finish:

    As for the gloss spots. That is a short coming in my finish but that finish cannot be buffed out completely. I don't put it on thickly enough to handle an electric buffer. That is part of what makes the bass breathe as it does. If you can live with it that is probably best. A light spot of 0000 steel wool may cover it again but you would have to be very careful not to get the fibers in under the pick ups.

    Peace,
    Mike Tobias

    <<<<<

    So there you go. I keep mine exactly like that because it was so freaking perfect right from him shop. And his strings are as amazing as his basses.

    My Marilyn 635 will be here this month...

    :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper: :hyper:

    Cheers,
    Cameron
     
  20. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    NY
    Thanks for posting Cameron!
     

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