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Help A Beginner...


X-Ray
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Hi,

I'm new to this forum and have some questions that some of the experts here can hopefully answer. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I have a Fender MusicMaster Bass that I bought a few years back. I love how it sounds and plays, but its got some wear on the body (big chips, dings and scratches in the paint) that I've been contemplating on fixing.

My questions are as follows:

1. Will disassembling the guitar in order to fix it up affect how it plays when I put it back together? I don't want to jeopardize the sound...

2. The chips in the paint reveal a nice wood underneath. Ideally I would like to strip the original paint and just keep the natural wood finish. I saw on this website the tutorial on how to strip paint by sanding, which seems straight forward enough. But I couldn't find any information about how to coat or refinish that wood (to make it look similar to those vintage P-bass or Telecasters). Can anyone point me to a website or source that will show me how to do this?

3. Any tips on how to remove the rust from the bridge and tuners? I've used vinegar on my chrome bike, but I'm not sure that will work here...

Thanks a ton,

X-Ray

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My questions are as follows:

1.  Will disassembling the guitar in order to fix it up affect how it plays when I put it back together?  I don't want to jeopardize the sound...

2.  The chips in the paint reveal a nice wood underneath.  Ideally I would like to strip the original paint and just keep the natural wood finish.  I saw on this website the tutorial on how to strip paint by sanding, which seems straight forward enough.  But I couldn't find any information about how to coat or refinish that wood (to make it look similar to those vintage P-bass or Telecasters).  Can anyone point me to a website or source that will show me how to do this?

3.  Any tips on how to remove the rust from the bridge and tuners?  I've used vinegar on my chrome bike, but I'm not sure that will work here...

Thanks a ton,

X-Ray

1. No, provided you put it back together correctly, it should all still be the same.

2. Best way to do it is to sand off all the finish, then either coat it with oil (tru or tung), or clear lacquer (available in spray cans from StewMac)

As for removing the rust, I'm not too sure, vinegar or coke? Not sure if that'd go through the plating.

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3.  Any tips on how to remove the rust from the bridge and tuners?  I've used vinegar on my chrome bike, but I'm not sure that will work here...

How bad is the rust? Have you tried 'Brasso', it usually works on pin-prick type rust on chrome, just wipe it on leave for a few minutes then pollish off.

BTW how did you come up with your user-name? Are you a Radiographer or just called Ray?

I ask because I'm an N.D.T. Radiographer.

Regards,

Matt.

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Are you really certain you want to do this? Personally, I like the look of a well-worn guitar.

Fender usually paints their guitars because the wood they use is nothing special to look at. The natural finish Fenders tend to be made out of ash, because it has more figure to it.

So you really have no way of knowing what's underneath the paint.

You might get lucky though-- this guitar started out as a painted guitar. When I stripped it away, I found some rather nice-looking wood (alder, but still pretty).

I used a flat power sander to take off the finish --it took less than half an hour. (I had to sand the inside curves by hand of course).

I went down to about the sealer coat though --difficult to go deeper. But this guitar had no chips or other issues, so the the sealer coat was still in good shape.

If the sealer coat is in good shape, then just sand out all of the scratches and spray it with a few cans of clear.

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Thanks to all of you guys who responded, that's very helpful info.

To Idch,

That guitar looks awesome, that's exactly the look I want to achieve... Regarding the wood quality, all the Musicmaster Bass info i've gotten online states that they are made of Alder wood, which you said is the same in that picture. I'll try to sand only to the sealer, the only problem is that there are a couple pretty sizeable chips (1 inch) that are rather deep and penetrate beyond the sealer. I will see whether I can fill these in rather than sand all the way down to the wood. Is there a way to fill in/patch those chips that penetrated the sealer...

To the Supernova (and anyone else),

If I do end up sanding down to the wood, what are the pros/cons of oil vs. sprayed on laquer? I used Tung oil when I refinished my wooden kitchen countertop, and it worked great. But I did 4 coats, fine sanding after the first 3 coats. It looked great and works great to seal water, food, but its pretty sensitive to scratches. Do you think the same would happen with a sprayed laquer? Also, how many coats of oil/laquer do you think the guitar would require?

Thanks again for everyone who responds...

-X-Ray

BTW - To Neohet, I'm not a radiologist, may name is ray and my friends gave me the nickname in highschool and it stuck...

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Hold on a sec --I said I got lucky --not all alder looks the same. I have another alder guitar here, and when I stripped it down, I found not much to look at at all. But that one was going to be painted a solid color anyway.

Mine worked also because there were no chips --it was basically a new guitar. In your case it's going to be more difficult to pull this off. Unless you're willing to sand off a significant portion of the wood to get it perfectly smooth.

There's another option, as long as you found this forum :D --get ahold of a nice piece of wood and make your own body.

Since you have a body to work from, it'll be much easier --you'll be able to make your templates using your Musicmaster and it's cavities, you'll be able to take all of your measurements from the guitar, there's a lot less risk of screwing things up.

If you really want shiny new hardware, you can pick up new gear for it too.

And you can keep your Musicmaster body the way it is --I imagine there's some history behind all those dents n' bruises, I don't see any reason to erase that!

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Hold on a sec --I said I got lucky --not all alder looks the same.

Not only could it not look the same, but it could be made up of many pieces and not look very attractive.

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I stripped and refinished a strat copy as my first attempt at modding a guitar, and bearing in mind that put in a humbucker at the bridge, the overall sound hardly changed at all.

That being said, all the hardware was kept original which aparently contributes a bit to the 'sound' that you get. I haven't had the time (or the money :D ) to do a complete upgrade on the hardware yet, but when a guitar has cheap, and to some extent kinda nasty, hardware, any change seems like an improvement.

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I have a question; could stripping the paint and refinishing it notably change the sound?

It sure as hell CAN change the sound! I have stripped and refinished three 1982 Ibanez Artists JUST for the purpose of changing the sound! You see, it all depends on what type of finish is on the guitar originally and how thick it is. The Artists that I have refinished had that Polyester crap finish that they used in the early 80's, and it was literally 1/16th of an inch thick. YUCK!!! That is a beautiful look, but totally SUCKS for tone. I refinish them with nitro lacquer, and not too thick. Boy, what a difference. Much more open and crisp, faster attack, better high end, and more articulate all the way around. Even if a guitar is refinished with the original finish material and thickness, it can still change the sound(usually for the worse) because some finishes take a long time to "dry out" and get hard. I believe that the harder the finish the better the sound, all other things being equal. I think that is one of the reasons that plastic finishes just do not sound as good as lacquer or oil. BUT, this is just one guy's opinion!

Edited by Stolysmaster
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