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White tolex can be painted?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Achille, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. hi guys!
    I have a Mesa Boogie standard Powerhouse in white tolex (or vinyl I do not know) and I would like to have it in black, is there a specific paint for it? Do you think it is possible to achieve a professional result? Of course stripping it of all hardware first....Thanks for your answers!
  2. BadExample


    Jan 21, 2016
    You need to strip and replace the tolex. There is some very cool plastic happy paint, but on something that's flexable, it's going to chip and show white.
  3. BogeyBass


    Sep 14, 2010
    I've seen alot of painted cabs
    ( And they never look pretty)
  4. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Yes you can paint vinyl. Car vinyl interiors for example are painted. My Gibson instrument cases are painted vinyl. It works because the vinyl is thin. I’ve used a product called Dupli-Color High Performance Vinyl Paint.

    The problem is, because the color is not formulated into the material a good bump can remove it.

    Better to reskin the amp. That can be a lot of work to do well.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
    MattZilla, Ross W. Lovell and Achille like this.
  5. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Not a good idea, the Tolex base is too soft and the paint will scratch and chip due to the movement of the base material.

    Re-covering is the proper way to do this, it's a LOT more difficult to do (well) than it might appear.
  6. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    I had an Ampeg SVT-1510HE and a Fender Bassman 25 combo amp that I dyed burgundy using automotive vinyl dye from an autoparts store. My results were amazing; it looked factory-custom. They were both used heavily for years and I never ran into any durability issues.

    This is the make/model that I used: Vinyl & Fabric Coating - Aerosol | Dupli-Color

    Here's an old picture of the Ampeg. I don't have a picture of the Fender. Both started out as black tolex.


    It took three coats (two rattle cans) to do the job on the Ampeg. The prep work consisted of removing every component from the cab (ie. Drivers, grille, crossover, handles, corners, casters, etc.). Then, I gave the tolex a good cleaning and drying. A tack cloth was used before applying each dye coat to make sure everything stayed dust-free.

    After about five years of using the cab, I ended up selling it in favor of a larger cab. However, I can tell you that the dyed tolex did very well against abuse, including resisting scuffing/scratching and being completely non-reactive to water (rain, snow, etc.).
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  7. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    If recovering the amp, a good technique is to use a clothes iron over a damp towel to apply heat and release the adhesive. This technique allows the removal of the vinyl with minimal damage to the wood. Any damage has to be fixed before reapplying the vinyl, you need a good flat surface.

    How well this technique will work in your case depends on the adhesive that Mesa used. They make it look easy in this video.

    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
    Element Zero and Achille like this.
  8. You can strip it off, sand it down, prime and paint it. If you do that, I'd put a solid clear coat on it as well. Something tough.
    Achille likes this.
  9. Coolhandjjl


    Oct 13, 2010
    I tolex cabs all the time. I even do Fender tweed with shellac. It's a skill that has to be developed to make the results look professional, but there is a plethora of tutorials on youtube available. There's certainly a degree of patience and skill involved, plus enough room to spread out and work cleanly.

    Getting the old stuff off and creating a smooth surface to bond onto is usually the toughest part. Sometimes you get lucky and it peels right off. Sometimes not. Good thing it's not rat fur. Attempting to remove that stuff is an exercise in futility.
    Achille likes this.
  10. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey

    Mar 8, 2015
    Why not just sell the white cab and get a black one?
    chadds, MattZilla, Ric Vice and 2 others like this.
  11. BadExample


    Jan 21, 2016
    MattZilla and DrewinHouston like this.
  12. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Rod Stewart has a long tradition of getting all his band’s amps covered in white.

    LowActionHero and Achille like this.
  13. thanks for all the reactions guys!! I still do not know what to do but all your words will help me to decide!! :)
    beans-on-toast likes this.
  14. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Lake Havasu City, AZ
    Wow! That cab looks fantastic! :thumbsup:
  15. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    Since it is white - I agree that the DYE is the way to go. As a dye, it should soak into the vinyl and be much more resistant to damage. Warpeg's cab looked great!
  16. funkinbottom

    funkinbottom Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    Northern CA.
    Yes indeed, warpegs cab looked very nice. Why not give it a try. Worst that could happen is it comes out not to your liking and you can strip & retolex at that point.
    kentiki likes this.
  17. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Well, eventually it will look like hell.

    My beloved Boogie rig was white tolex, and back in 1994 I used the aerosol vinyl "dye" black, which just seemed to go like spray paint. I can't remember now if it was SEM or Duplicolor brand.
    Anyway, over the first decade it looked pretty beat up, but the rock people love it when I took it out. the r&b people hate it when I take it out.

  18. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    That's the results that I would expect.
    pbassjbass and MattZilla like this.
  19. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    Krylon makes a paint for vinyl and plastic but it will chip. I used to have 2 GK cabs with "rat fur". I stripped them and refinished them with Duplicolor Truck Bed Liner. I bought the kit at Walmart. They came out great and never chipped.
    FunkyD likes this.
  20. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I was 21 and in my first apartment. Wasn't gonna to get fancy with it. :D
    agedhorse likes this.

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