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Why do basses and bass necks turn "vintage"?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by John K., Dec 15, 2002.

  1. Well, I was thinking about it, and I came to the realization that I didn't know why basses change to have that "vintage" tint. Like how maple necks begin to turn slightly orange or what have you. Any one have an answer?
  2. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    Father time;)
  3. ditto and dirt
  4. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    UV and O.

    Ultraviolet beams form sunlight, and oxygen form the air.
    I belive it's called photodeterioration (what happens to your skin, too) and oxidation.

    The wood deteriorates.:rolleyes:
  5. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    yeah that was what i was going to guess at :) Well the U.V part.

    Also, would smoke, as in ciggarette smoke from pubs etc have an effect, seeing as they 'yellow' your nails if youve ever noticed the colour of a smokers fingernails.
  6. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    So I guess what you'd have to do if you didn't want your bass to age is to play only in places without light or oxygen.....

  7. WildBill


    Jul 7, 2002
    Come to my house sometime;)
    most of my girlfriends are smokers, I guess that makes sense cause its normal for a girl to paint her fingernails, it hides the yellow.
  8. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    The majority of older instruments were also finished with nitrocellulose lacquer, which will yellow, checker, get brittle and fade over time due to humidity, sunlight (UV) smoke, etc., much more than the new polyurethane finishes. The new poly finishes are much harder and longer lasting.

    Also, as the wood itself ages, it will develop a "patina", which means that the top layer of the wood itself will change color. Take an old piece of wood that has been laying around and take a knife or chisel and cut into it, you'll notice that the wood underneath is lighter in color.

    The process of the wood itself developing a patina is also reduced with the new poly finishes.

    Happy Holidays,

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