Restoring finishes

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Restoring finishes

Post by Racing on Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:12 am

Ive got a history of restoring,or refurbishing,topcoats on "our" guitars from time to time.
What im talking of here isnt refinishing(ie-i dont add anything) but coloursanding with the following polishing with a buffer.

Im however curious of how others regard that.

I for one...i happen to like my guitars to look the best they can.
If a guitar carries a ding or two,thats one thing and those should IMO stay as part of the instruments history.
What im getting at here is to polish the rest of it to what can be had.

I know that some think that vintage guitars should be left as is.
I dont.

That coupled with the fact that im a "tinkerer" at heart...yeah well..

Reason im asking is that next up i believe will be that Westone superheadless i just bought.
Photos are all there for everyone to see.
With the assistance of Thorn im getting a set of OEM spec knobs for it,and at that point the point with this particular instrument is that its all there so to say.
Totaly stock and complete.
My thinking goes that an instrument of that caliber should be allowed to be "revived" for lack of better words,and then mind you it isnt exactly in the worst of conditions to begin with.
No matter,cause the job entails completely stripping the bass at hand and pulling that coloursand and buffing out which normaly renders an instrument that looks if not new at least close to.

But..
Im still curious how other regard what i do there.
Is it detroying the history of the instrument or am i on the right track?

Racing
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Re: Restoring finishes

Post by grogg on Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:31 am

My opinion go for it especially with an instrument of that quality. Did the same to my prestige and Session II, for the latter I think the previous owner had all the metal re-plated as well.

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Re: Restoring finishes

Post by Barry on Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:41 am

Jesper, in most cases, I don't think that reviving the original finish is in any way destroying anything. As you say, you are not refinishing it in the sense that you are changing it. And from what you said we're not talking about a full-on restoration either, with the possible exception of new frets or a replacement for a busted bridge, bummed electrics, etc. Those are essential to ensure playability. No, I think you're on the right track.

The only time I'd be extra cautious would be in the case of say, a colour which has attained a patina, like an original white which has gone creme, or a light blue that has gone turquoise. That would be a shame to lose.

I feel that restoring a top end guitar to "perfection" is a worthy goal, but probably not necessary, particularly if has actually attained "player" status. To have some dings and bumps are badges of honour for the most part. But there are always some exceptions, and serious damage of course needs attention.

My own philosophy is to clean her up, and get her to presentable and playable status. I may continue to tinker and fiddle after wards, over time, and as my ability to do these things improves. But the main goal is always to be able to put her out on rotation in the music room, pick her up, and play her with confidence and pride! And just enjoy her.

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Re: Restoring finishes

Post by Racing on Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:56 am

Uhu.
I concour.

Point is that the Mat and what have you not crop of guitars are of age at this time,and as such-and being considered "lowly" jap guitars at one time-they often lack out in pure service in my experience.

If we dwell on this a little deeper stuff that you touch on like refretting asf kind of comes with the territory at one point-sooner or later.
That you of course level the fretboard as well while the frets our out.....of course you do,and then were IMO still within the limits of what kind of work is ok and whats not.
A refret and following leveling of the board itself brings a LOT from a player perspective,and then from many aspects.

Not all that long ago i pulled a refret on a friends -70 vintage paulie custom.
Some started to whine about orginality,but when the frets are worn to the point where the guitar becomes unplayable...i mean what is the option really?

I recall when i was to refret the Masterpiece Aria of mine.
I sure gave it a lot of thought before taking the plunge,but the truth of the matter is that the refret made it what it really is.
A masterpiece.

Likewise one of the other axes of mine up for a refret is my dragonstrat.
Nope..it IS playable,its just that the frets have gone under the 0.8mm height margin i normaly see necessary and as such..yep...it loses tone.
These days i KNOW that a refret will put the ability to create tone back into the guitar,hence i dont question whats needed for a second.
Further a refret seen from the perspective of performance vs cost,as long as you do it yourself,is one of the major bang for the buck jobs you can hand a given quality guitar.

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Re: Restoring finishes

Post by grogg on Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:07 pm

A refret is a must when necessary and doesnt detract from anything if done properly, which Im sure yours are. Just like replacing a clutch on a car, has to be done when worn out otherwise its not useable.

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Re: Restoring finishes

Post by Warrn on Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:40 pm

I didn't think that bass looked like it needed anything aside from its original knobs, but if you think it's necessary then go ahead. We know you won't hurt her.

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Re: Restoring finishes

Post by hoax on Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:27 pm

I can't really live with dings I'm afraid. A patina of fine scratches is OK, but I will still try to improve. If there are too many serious dings I will refinish using car aerosols and lacquer. For minor dings I will generally drop fill using either lacquer and a fine brush or super glue. I level repairs with a razor blade and fine wet and dry.

The first Westbury Standard I bought was a bit chewed up and I told the seller that my intention was to sympathetically restore. His response was that the damage was genuine gigging scars and by doing so I would, " Take all of the goodness away from the guitar" - I did it anyway as it is in my nature to attempt to improve for my own enjoyment.

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Re: Restoring finishes

Post by Barry on Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:32 pm

hoax wrote:I can't really live with dings I'm afraid. A patina of fine scratches is OK, but I will still try to improve...
I hear ya. I hate deep scratches and dings too. Especially when they're on the top of a flamed maple surface like my Vantage VE550! It hurts to see that.
I just try to not go ballistic over them, and concentrate on the playability and electrics first. If I can improve the blemishes I will. Otherwise I try and live with it.

_________________
"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown


GUITARS : http://legend.barryeames.com/guitars.html
MUSIC/PIX/VIDEOS: http://getback.barryeames.com (including Spectrum ST)

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