Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

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Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by Alanko on Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:55 am

Hello all! I just picked up a Thunder 1 bass yesterday. I've been walking past it in a shop window here in Edinburgh for several months and finally took the plunge! All I can say is it is a really nice bass and one of the easiest or 'fastest' basses I've ever played.

However it is 2nd hand, and as such needs a good clean! The original knobs are long gone, replaced with black Strat knobs...

However I want to focus my cleaning on two areas; metal and wood.

The woodwork is ok, but a little dirty as if sweat and filth from the previous owner is down in the pores of the wood. Would lighter fluid lift that out, and would I need to use some sort of wax or oil afterwards to compensate for the drying effects of the lighter fluid?

Would brasso clean up the bridge? It is quite dirty but I've seen brasso bring all sorts of metalwork back from the brink. Also, would it work on the frets? They are almost greeny/grey with dirt but in otherwise good condition!

Thanks in advance
Alanko

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Cleaning job

Post by westcoaster on Sun Oct 16, 2011 1:08 pm

You could try duraglit on the frets, it worked a treat on my frets, just make sure you mask the fretboard first. I would go over the frets with some fine wire wool after (just be sure to cover the pickup to stop any wire wool getting into it. Don't know about lighter fuel for cleaning. No reason why it shouldn't work but I suppose it might dry out the neck, I'm sure somebody here knows.
Good luck with the bass. Just remember to post some pics (before and after would be nice)

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by Barry on Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:28 pm

Hello Alanko, and congrats on the acquisition!
I normally recommend the least damaging or invasive procedure possible for each circumstance--you don't want to go all Rambo on the poor thing!

First of all strip the instrument completely; get all the hardware off the instrument, and disconnect but do not remove the pickups from the body...just let 'em hang so you can clean the body. Believe it or not the most effective way to get the crap off is good 'ole soap and warm water. A small drop or two of a good quality dish washing liquid will do wonders to cut the greasy dirt. Just be sure to use it sparingly and don't let the water stay in contact for too long, especially if there is bare wood showing. Dry it thoroughly.

Depending on the condition of the finish, you can gently apply a good (fine) quality rubbing compound to cut any oxidation, followed by a wax/polish and a buffing. More serious restoration is a whole 'nuther topic and beyond this post. Search these forums or internet for info on drop filling.

The fretboard can be cleaned the same way using an old toothbrush to loosen the dirt. If it is really filthy you'll need to scrape off the crud with a steel blade paying particular attention to the fret edges. Once you have it bare and clean, then buff everything with #0000 steel wool (rosewood boards only!) and finish with a nice application of a good quality "lemon oil" or better, almond oil. DO NOT use Brasso on the frets!! You'll screw up the wood and never get the white out of the grain!

Most of the metal parts can be soaked in that same soapy solution and be brushed with the toothbrush, that will remove the dirt. Brasso is OK to remove oxidation on brass parts and restore a shine but you will find that unless it is "sealed" afterwards with lacquer it will eventually dis-colour again.

Good luck with the resto. Oh, and we need pictures!!

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by hoax on Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:32 am


I would do it exactly as Barry describes. The only point I would add is that the brass parts may have some lacquer remaining and some bare patches. I would use a solvent to remove all of the old lacquer, then polish and thereafter decide whether or not to reseal with lacquer. The choice is yours.

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by corsair on Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:00 am

yep; all of the above sounds "the deal"; there is really no substitute for elbow grease and a rag, eh!! Laughing Actually as I recall, our long lost - and much beloved - Polly had put together a wee booklet on how to do just this sort of thing, but I'm buggered if I can find it either onsite or on my pooter... guys??

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by Westbone on Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:17 pm

Dip the bridge in thinners for a while, cleans all the lacquer off.
Good rub with fine steel wool, polish up with a good metal polish.
Place it back in clean thinners to remove any of the 'paste'. It's ok then to respray with lacquer to keep the shine.

The barrel saddles can be cleaned with a brass wire brush or very fine wet/dry paper, polish up with metal polish.

Works a treat.

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by Alanko on Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:58 pm

Thanks for the advice!

I took the initiative and got Brasso and Silvo. Brasso cleaned up most of the bridge, though some heavy tarnish remains. I have a spare Wilkinson bridge kicking around back home so I might do a substitution at some point. The Wilkinson has brass saddles so all would not be lost.

The frets cleaned up with the silvo, and no polishing compound wound up in the wood grain. I cleaned up the fingerboard with lighter fluid and it briefly looked parched, but I had some linseed oil on hand and it now looks sterling.

I don't know how these basses were originally finished but mine is quite a satin finish, and the linseed oil seemed also to be taken up by the body as it looks a little bit more golden and warm after cleaning and oiling.

Electronics were ok. Tone control is a bit crackly though I like Westone's choice of capacitor and potentiometer value as it really is quite a versatile control (and not just a shrill highs attenuator like on some P copies of a more recent vintage). I replaced the jack as the original was messed up with wood filler thanks to the previous owner having filled around the whole jack socket area and used a wee washer to hide the handy work... if this all completely fails I can get a surface-mounting metal jack plate thing....


Next thing would be the frets are a little bit pitted from heavy use of the D string so I might work on these....


However I must say what a nice bass it is! Consistent and strong P-bass tone right across the board and a neck that is really comfortable. Loving the slight Deadhead/hippie sandwich vibe from the brass and sandwiched wood combo as well. Cracking wood grain on the back, and unlike photo-flame this one follows you round the room! cyclops

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by Barry on Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:29 am

Alanko wrote:Thanks for the advice!
Thanks for pretty much ignoring everything we said! Good luck with your new instrument.

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by hoax on Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:08 pm

What Barry said.

If the pots are crackly, I would probably use a Power Washer.

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by westcoaster on Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:34 pm

No right or wrong way as long as no damage is done and you're happy with the results. Sometimes a bit of lateral thinking works just fine.

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by hoax on Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:43 pm

westcoaster wrote:No right or wrong way as long as no damage is done and you're happy with the results. Sometimes a bit of lateral thinking works just fine.

Westcoaster

You are absolutely right, but if Barry (a busy man, with the vestiges of young family) takes the time to write a six paragraph reply, when others of us either couldn't find the time or couldn't be bothered, then I can fully appreciate why the man might be a little peaved.

Anyway, Alanko, I apologize to you for my flippancy and can assure you it is not typical of me or any of the members of this forum.

Hoax


Last edited by hoax on Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:43 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by corsair on Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:01 pm

Steady, lads... steady!! Laughing It's true; we are all a little guilty of being a touch blasé about this sort of thing - and me just as much as anyone - and the excuse that we all lead busy lives just doesn't wash; we were all in the position of being beginners at some stage and needed a little advise at times - once again, me as well, and I have to say that Thorn was exceptionally helpful to me early on, way before this forum! - so I extend an olive branch to Alanko for any perceived flippancy on my part!

However, I've got to say, asking for advice and then not heeding any of it doesn't make extending the helpful hand later on any easier, eh.... recognising, of course that the advice proffered may have come after Alanko started his cleanup. And we've all been there, too: I hated waiting for anything and would often tear into a project utterly blind.... normally with the obvious result!! Rolling Eyes Laughing

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by hoax on Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:14 pm

corsair wrote:Steady, lads... steady!! Laughing It's true; we are all a little guilty of being a touch blasé about this sort of thing - and me just as much as anyone - and the excuse that we all lead busy lives just doesn't wash; we were all in the position of being beginners at some stage and needed a little advise at times - once again, me as well, and I have to say that Thorn was exceptionally helpful to me early on, way before this forum! - so I extend an olive branch to Alanko for any perceived flippancy on my part!

However, I've got to say, asking for advice and then not heeding any of it doesn't make extending the helpful hand later on any easier, eh.... recognising, of course that the advice proffered may have come after Alanko started his cleanup. And we've all been there, too: I hated waiting for anything and would often tear into a project utterly blind.... normally with the obvious result!! Rolling Eyes Laughing

Bloody Hell - It didn't take long for Henry Kissinger to leap into action 'Twisted Evil

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by corsair on Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:25 pm

Nope - I am ever vigilant....

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by hoax on Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:27 pm

corsair wrote:Nope - I am ever vigilant....

John

You are a nice man!!

Hoax

Very Happy:

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by Barry on Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:57 pm

hoax wrote:John
You are a nice man!!
Isn't he though? But then...he ain't as close to death as some of us. He still has time to make friends. clown

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by hoax on Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:07 pm

Barry wrote:
hoax wrote:John
You are a nice man!!
Isn't he though? But then...he ain't as close to death as some of us. He still has time to make friends. clown

Yeah - Barry

But it ain't his age that is the influencing factor. It just this moderator nonsense. Christ - He's grumpier, than you me ,and your seventies underwear put together, but he has an overwhelming sense of duty. So sometimes it's nice to say good things to him, so that he can kid himself that the call of duty has rid him of the imperfections that plague his minions.

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by Barry on Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:41 pm

Razz lol!

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by corsair on Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:19 am

Laughing Laughing


Shut up!! Cool

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by Alanko on Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:06 pm

Barry wrote:
Alanko wrote:Thanks for the advice!
Thanks for pretty much ignoring everything we said! Good luck with your new instrument.

The big post about cleaning was posted when I was already out the door buying products to clean the bass. Its a natural finish instrument with ailments common to a lot of older and/or neglected basses. Nothing especially specific about it because it is a Westone, except the rather naff brass bridge which I will probably replace with a Wilkinson model..... I took advice from other places on the internet because I only saw a couple of posts here.

I did go for the 'no Brasso on frets' rule, fear not.


Always good to see these tiny niche forums polarise between the 'giving eachother virtual reach-arounds' to 'flame war' in as many posts. Keep it up!!!

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

Post by hoax on Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:11 pm


Hey Alanko

If you have made up your mind to change the bridge, I would clean up and keep the old bridge, as these vintage Westones can only go up in value, and as you know, originality is king when it comes to selling.

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Re: Cleaning up a Thunder 1 bass.

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