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What do you use to clean a bass?


justinbass

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What do you use to buff up a swirled finish? To moisturize an older fretboard? to clean the gunk off of a bridge?

 

I have an older bass I am looking to clean up, but I don't want to go about it and accidentally ruin a finish or mess up the neck wood.

 

Thanks!

:thu:

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What do you use to buff up a swirled finish? To moisturize an older fretboard? to clean the gunk off of a bridge?


I have an older bass I am looking to clean up, but I don't want to go about it and accidentally ruin a finish or mess up the neck wood.


Thanks!

:thu:

 

 

 

what kind of bass is it?

what finish did it have?

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For poly finished basses, any of the good guitar polishes will do fine. These finishes are essentially the same things they shoot cars with, so any of the good automotive wax makers products work fine (Meguiar's, Mother's, Turtle, Zymol, etc.). In auto waxes, polishes contain some very fine grit for those very light scratches, you'll see some 'swirl remover' polishes, etc. The products labeled as wax (Meguiar's Gold Class, for example) are wax only for when you're finished and ready for that final shine. Meguiar's is making a line of these things for Fender you can now find in most guitar stores, sold as a Fender kit.

 

For chrome or gold finish hardware, the wax also removes a lot of those fingerprints that are sort of worn in that nothing else seems to remove. Especially on gold parts, use the WAX not the polish, or you'll just add more swirls. NEVER us Brasso, etc., on plated parts ! ! ! Only on satin finish brass parts!

 

NEVER get close to a guitar with ArmorAll or any polish with silicone. I'd steer clear of Pledge, Liquid Gold, etc. with any guitars or basses.

 

Denatured alcohol works fine on maple fingerboards, and REAL lemon oil is the best thing for unfinished rosewood, pau ferro, or ebony. But you need real lemon oil (make sure there's no petroleum distallates in the ingredient list), usually from some sort of 'organic' or 'whole Earth' kinda store. Apply a standing coat of the lemon oil to the naked (NO strings, OK?) neck, let it sit for about 10 minutes and wipe off what wasn't absorbed. Any of the dark wood fingerboards can crack over time if they dry out enough . . . the lemon oil restores a lot of elasticity to the wood and keeps it moist enough to last forever.

 

While the lemon oil is standing, run a toothpick the length of the fret on each side to get that crud out from under the edges where they meet the fingerboard.

 

I tape off the fingerboard first with that blue 3M 'lo tack' making tape to where all I see is the frets sticking up between the blue tape. You can use fine grade sandpaper or steelwool to shine up the frets to a mirror finish. Then pull the tape and do the lemon oil if required.

 

For lubing those tiny bridge saddle screws and other hardware that might 'sweat tight', I use BreakFree CLP. It's one of these wonderlubes that's mil-spec. Harmless to electronics and finishes, a little goes a long way, and you'll wait a long time before you need it again. Great stuff.

 

A good way to keep that shine on the hardware? Alberto VO5, the old-school hairdressing in a tube like toothpaste. Just rub a tiny amount between to fingers and wipe all the shiny bits down with it. All organic and harmless and keeps you from having to wipe them down nearly as often.

 

These are all things I've found over the years. I've never owned a lacquer-finished axe, so I can NOT vouch for how good/safe these things would be for something with that finish.

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I don't use lemon oil because it contains drying agents. Lemon oil is regular mineral oil plus alcohol plus something to make it smell like lemon.


To polish a bass I use Meguiar's car polish, I use Windex on maple fingerboards and boiled linseed oil on unsealed wood.

 

the OP asked about what to clean a guitar with which is perfectly safe to use Lemon oil in fact it is the best thing you can use to clean with because the drying agents as you call them break down the finger grease and wax buildup that are left behind by polishes.

 

you may want to explain how to apply boiled linseed oil since it is a finish and not a cleaning agent.

 

I would hate to see some nOOb ruin the finish on their guitar by rubbing linseed oil all over it thinking this is going to clean it.

:wave:

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For poly finished basses, any of the good guitar polishes will do fine. These finishes are essentially the same things they shoot cars with, so any of the good automotive wax makers products work fine (Meguiar's, Mother's, Turtle, Zymol, etc.). In auto waxes, polishes contain some very fine grit for those very light scratches, you'll see some 'swirl remover' polishes, etc. The products labeled as wax (Meguiar's Gold Class, for example) are wax only for when you're finished and ready for that final shine. Meguiar's is making a line of these things for Fender you can now find in most guitar stores, sold as a Fender kit.

 

 

Don't you have to worry about the petroleum distillates in the auto detailing products you listed above? If they leave that white residue in nooks & crannies that's due to the petroleum distillates in the product. Zymol may be the only product you mentioned that doesn't contain these additives.

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WillPlay, I don't worry about the petroleum in the waxes as usually the poly finish is thick enough that it would take a LONG time for it to leech through to the wood, and that's with leaving it on for that length of time, never wiping it off. I also use thin coats of this, nowhere near how you'd do a car.

 

I'm very careful NOT to let it get into the various nooks and crannies and leave a those white spots.

 

You steer clear of the petroleum distallates in lesser lemon oil products as often times, ebony fingerboards are UNfinished, without the protection of finish. You want the 'organic' lubrication, if you will, of the lemon ingredients, and not the light weight petroleum they add to thin the same products and build up the net weight cheaply. The lighter petroleum products are solvent-like and add dryness, NOT what you want on unfinished wood.

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the OP asked about what to clean a guitar with which is perfectly safe to use Lemon oil in fact it is the best thing you can use to clean with because the drying agents as you call them break down the finger grease and wax buildup that are left behind by polishes.


you may want to explain how to apply boiled linseed oil since it is a finish and not a cleaning agent.


I would hate to see some nOOb ruin the finish on their guitar by rubbing linseed oil all over it thinking this is going to clean it.

:wave:

 

I think we'll let the expert speak for himself.

 

Ah, the old fingerboard oil discussion again! I should probably just save this posting as a file to reuse whenever necessary.

 

Here in the shop I clean fingerboards (except maple) with 0000 steel wool. I do not recommend you do this at home as you will contaminate your pickups with steel wool dust. Now don't laugh at this, but the best fingerboard cleaner I have found (especially for cleaning built up skin cell grunge) is the aerosol Windex (the spray can, not the pump). Cover the body and the headstock with an old rag or towel and spray the fingerboard with the aerosol Windex (it comes out as a white foam). Let it sit for a few seconds and then scrub the fingerboard with an old toothbrush until all the old grunge lifts. Then wipe down the entire fingerboard with paper towels until it is clean and dry. You can safely do this with rosewood, ebony and lacquered maple fingerboards.

 

Follow up the Windex with a coat of boiled linseed oil on the rosewood or ebony boards. Wipe it on to coat the entire board and then wipe all the excess right off. The lacquered maple boards could use a once over with Martin guitar polish after the Windex.

 

You might have better luck finding the aerosol Windex at hardware stores or office supply stores than at the supermarket.

 

Roger Sadowsky

 

Sadowsky Guitars Ltd.

 

And another quote from the man hisself -

 

"I have always found lemon oil (as in Old English) to make boards dry out faster than if left alone. After 24 years of this, I still like linseed oil the best. "

 

:D

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