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FINEFUZZ

Rickenbacker Restoration

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I have had this bass sitting around for over a year now waiting for me to pay it some attention. 

I still struggle on what direction to go with this thing.  The paint has been selectively stripped off parts of the guitar to give me inspiration for its potential.  Some joker added a p-bass pickup at some point and painted to poor thing with a paint that seems to have not had enough hardener ever added to it.

At the heal of the neck, there appears to be some old clear.  Because of this, would it be a safe bet to guess that this was a maple burst? 

If I were to paint it, the ugly pickup rout could be filled.  The dilemma is: were this intended to be a maple burst, I would feel a little bad about covering it.  The middle position does sound alright, and the damage has already been done- so maybe it should stay.

Any insight?

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Based on everything you just said, I would leave it. You could pull the pup and make a new pickguard to cover the route, which would give you the option to go back to the pup if you missed it.

SR

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I’m with Scott on this. I’d make a custom guard to hide the route. 

Looks like it could be a proper beauty too. 

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It looks a lovely bit of wood, and the chequered binding looks to be in decent condition too. If it were mine I'd take it back to bare wood, finish it in clear and make a new pickguard - and lose the P pickup in the process i.e. restore it to original(ish) mapleglo condition

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Can't believe that I missed this one.

New guard, definitely. Choose your own finish, however it isn't too difficult to learn scraping binding. Simply paint over it and scraped back by hand. The wood in the vague tummy cut looks interesting....a little bit like how Birch forms up in Visakoivu/Karelian Birch/Masur Birch.

My own personal choice would be to clear the lot once any remnants of original clear and that white paint were gone. Maple takes a LOT of sanding to become nice enough to receive a clear on its own (especially end grain) but it looks fantastic when it has had it. @ScottR's manic sanding through to high Micro Mesh polishing/burnishing grits would make the Maple shine even without a clear. Plenty of meat left on that heel to get rid of the original clear even if it requires minor invasive sanding.

Great project. Make her beautiful again.

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Thanks all for the feedback,  It seems like everybody is on the same page about clearing the maple.  I actually hadn't considered the extra attention that maple will require to get it prepared to receive clear.  I would imagine, however, one would't take it past 600 grit much like preparing base coat for clear coat.

What type of clear is preferred for maple- nitro? 

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I'd say that it depends on what you're most comfortable with. For my own part, I like linseed oil and shellac finishes which imparts depth to chatoyant woods and is very organic. In that instance, Maple or other dense hard woods show scratches very easily. At 600 grit you should be beyond that. Any scratches should be from previous grits that haven't been taken out in successively finer stages. I like the nice amber tint this finish adds to Maple and Birch.

Nitro would look great too, however it brings its own combination of requirements. Offgassing, buffing, checking as it ages, etc. Nitro isn't my thing as much as it is for some. Mostly because I don't have the facilities to spray it reliably or a good place to hang it without stinking the house up.

Poly is an option, as are 2k/catalysed clears. The speed of their curing is an advantage, however not everybody favours them.

What would you want from it?

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Out of those options nitro would be my preference for how it ages. Poly for ease if application (wipe on) but my favourite finish is oil and wax. Maybe not as protective but easy to apply and you can decide to stop whenever you’re happy, from a slight satin sheen to a high gloss.

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I have not tried a nitro finish before.  I love amber shellac, but not necessarily the way it ages. 

I may consider doing a suspended die on one of the layers of clear.

We are hoping to get a building where I can spray some of the stinkier stuff.  Right now, when I use lacquer thinner in the basement, you can smell it on the second floor of the house.

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Oil and wax are nice on woods that "age" gracefully. Maple gets dirty once a finish is worn through. Then again, that's its own character that has its own charm for some.

Here's to the stinky stuff though! haha

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If you go the nitro route, you don't want to be breathing it! It's not nice stuff. Read up and take necessary precautions :)

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