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"Vintage"ing a bass?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by gr8estbassist, Feb 5, 2005.

  1. gr8estbassist

    gr8estbassist Guest

    Oct 9, 2004
    South East
    I have a sx jazz sunburst that I would like to make look like an old 60’s jazz. With paint chipped of and wear through paint spots above the pups and on the top where your arm would rub against it. I was thinking sand paper or pant remover. Has anyone tried this or have any suggestions on how to go about this?
  2. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Well you could vintage it naturally (i.e. play it for many years :D ) but the tone of the post doesn't suggest that is what you want to do.

    The relic-ing process on the Fender relic models is done by beating them with a belt buckle for through-finish indentations. I would imagine they use light sand paper for the arm area.
  3. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Play it. A LOT!!!

    That is the best way to do it. But if you must, you can use a few different things. Some higher grit sanpaper, like 600 would do well. Get yourself some boiled linseed oil to seal any wood you may expose. One thing a custom builder from fender uses a bundle of old belt buckles to tap on the corners and such to give that authentic vintage look. Just put your wear marks in the proper areas.
  4. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    You're talking about "distressing" the finish. To do it correctly, or where it looks most authentic....is very time consuming. Most luthiers take a while and a good bit of money to do this correctly.

    My advice is check out lots of older basses and make notes. Basspalace.com usually has lots of pretty good resolution pics if you wanna start there.
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I did this with a MIM Jazz body. I took everything off it, and proceeded to beat the crap out of it. A friend and I took it to the garage of the store I teach and basically kicked it around the floor. We stood on it and twisted, we banged the "usual" wear areas, used various objects to put "belt buckle" marks on the back, and sanded down places like where your arm would rub, etc. It was really fun and the end product looked pretty good. I had another friend put the "cigarette burn" on the E string side of the head stock. It was a cool looking bass and great stress relief.
  6. Superdave


    Apr 20, 2003
    St. Louis, MO
    Sorry to dig this up, but any ideas on how to "yellow" parts of the bass (headstock, neck dots, etc)?
  7. Here's what you get for me thinking... :rollno:

    Why don't you take a decently flexible right hand(?) rubber glove and wrap it with narrow strips of emory cloth until you've got an "emory glove". Then take out the electronics and plates put a pair of crap strings on the beast and play the hell out of it for a few weeks. I'd take the glove off before shakin' the dew off my lilly but other than that keep at it. The next step I would take is to minimize the scratched sandpaper look but do it while adding a few years of fake gunk to the surface. Take some shellac and it's going to sound weird but if you've got some old shellac it will work better but I would experiment with very, lightly using a rag to streak and work some into the finish and let dry. Then come back and buff with a brown paper bag. This should blend things up a little. The shellac is amber to brown and will build up on the surface just like dirt. Be creative. The next step would be to play a few days like Bootsy with a handful of finger rings to beat the body pieces in the right places. I'm sure there's more but that should get you started ;)
  8. and if you've got any spare.... could you send me some of your PANT remover... sounds like my kinda product :p

    sorry could help myself... :bag: