How To Clean Vintage Guitar with Nitro Finish???

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How To Clean Vintage Guitar with Nitro Finish???

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:18 am

I need some tips on cleaning a vintage nitro finish.

The guitar is a 1964/5 Gibson ES 355.
The finish is checked and has fine cracks in it, so I want to be careful that anything I use to clean it will not remain in the cracks.
It has been sitting in someone's closet for the last 30 years, and the grime was never wiped off, so there is some pretty crusty stuff under and around the knobs too.

I have some pretty good chrome cleaner for the pickup covers, but that grime on the guitar top is pretty tough, and I don't want to start scraping.

Does anyone have some good ideas about cleaning this thing?
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
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Re: How To Clean Vintage Guitar with Nitro Finish???

Postby Mark Fogleman » Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:40 pm

Naptha will get most of the crud off the finish and not leave any residue. Use an old toothbrush and Qtips to get into tight spaces.
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Re: How To Clean Vintage Guitar with Nitro Finish???

Postby David King » Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:49 pm

Often the crud and old finger grease will eat into the nitrocellulose surface so you may not like what you see when you start removing it. At that point you have to decide what your next step is but letting the owner know what to expect so that they don't blame you for making a mess is helpful. In my view you want to avoid a guitar finish that looks like it has been "messed with" if at all possible.
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Re: How To Clean Vintage Guitar with Nitro Finish???

Postby Freeman Keller » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:28 pm

I had one guy specifically tell me that he DID NOT want his guitar cleaned. All that muck on the fretboard was part of "his sound"
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Re: How To Clean Vintage Guitar with Nitro Finish???

Postby Mark Fogleman » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:56 pm

Mojo workin'
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Re: How To Clean Vintage Guitar with Nitro Finish???

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Sun Apr 08, 2018 10:25 am

Deionized water is often suggested as a cleaner to - remove - dirt from cracks, so maybe it would also clean without pushing dirt into cracks. That is what I would try first.
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Re: How To Clean Vintage Guitar with Nitro Finish???

Postby Barry Daniels » Sun Apr 08, 2018 10:36 am

It often takes some solvent to dissolve crud. I use a lot of odorless mineral spirits for general cleaning including old finishes.
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Re: How To Clean Vintage Guitar with Nitro Finish???

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:23 am

Thanks for the replies guys!
I ended up using naptha. The tougher crusty stuff mostly came off without damaging the finish.
I didn't rub too hard.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
Gordon Bellerose
 
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 11:47 pm
Location: Edmonton AB. Canada


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