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Cleaning nitrocellulose finish (Subject probably done to death, but please help)

#1 User is offline   GibsonExplorer 

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 02:54 AM

I have a Gibson Explorer in ebony (regretting ebony now, fingerprints show so easy) that has been building up gunk on the body for years. It basically looks like a giant fingerprint. There's a buildup on the area above the strings and pickguard, and on the back.

I've tried putting some elbow grease to it and I've tried dampening my cloth with a tiny bit of water. I also tried some Meguiars product of some kind that someone recommended. Nothing has worked so far. I've searched this up on multiple forum sites, but I havent gotten any straight answers. I've read about lighter fluid as well as some other home remedies, but it's usually for guitars with a different finish, so I'm afraid to try it on my Explorer.

Is there something I can use to power through this gunk? And how can I keep it from accumulating again?
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#2 User is offline   Riffster 

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 05:40 AM

A lot of folks claim Virtuoso is the best for the job.

http://www.virtuosopolish.com/
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#3 User is offline   GibsonExplorer 

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 01:01 PM

That sounds perfect, it's expensive, but it sounds like they know what they're doing. I'm sure it's worth it. Thanks for the link and the help
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Gibson Explorer
Orange Rocker 30
Orange PPC412

Fulltone Octafuzz
Way Huge Aqua-Puss
Budda Budwah

#4 User is offline   e/2 Explorer 

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 01:14 PM

If you have access to a buffer, use it with 10000 grit micropolishing paste. The Virtuoso stuff is only $10 a bottle, that's cheap, you would spend a grand for a guitar but a $10 bottle of polish is expensive?
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#5 User is offline   GibsonExplorer 

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 01:41 PM

Thanks for the tip! By the way, your Explorers look amazing dude

And I mean expensive compared to other polishes I've seen. Just because I spent a grand on my guitar years ago doesn't mean I even have money now. I'm 16 and work as a civil draftsman, getting paid by the job (and jobs are never in a steady flow) and I'm saving for a car. Everything is expensive for me right now ahahaha. I also blew all my saved cash on an Orange PPC412 and Gibson 57 Classics so i'm flat BROKE. [biggrin]
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Gibson Explorer
Orange Rocker 30
Orange PPC412

Fulltone Octafuzz
Way Huge Aqua-Puss
Budda Budwah

#6 User is offline   e/2 Explorer 

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 09:07 PM

Cool, let us know how you make out
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6505 -> Framus 4x12 25w greenbacks

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#7 User is offline   mildperv 

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 12:19 AM

Naptha and a toothbrush. Use Virtuoso after that to shine it up.

#8 User is offline   BentonC 

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:13 PM

You're right on the money with the naptha- though you might want to stay away from the toothbrush. The bristles in the brush might cause some unwanted scratches/scuffs. Try some naptha on a clean cotton cloth, and rub the affected areas. You might have a little hazy appearance, but a little Gibson polish and cotton cloth should take care of that.

#9 User is offline   e/2 Explorer 

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 10:25 AM

[quote name='BentonC]You're right on the money with the naptha- though you might want to stay away from the toothbrush. The bristles in the brush might cause some unwanted scratches/scuffs. Try some naptha on a clean cotton cloth' date=' and rub the affected areas. You might have a little hazy appearance, but a little Gibson polish and cotton cloth should take care of that.[/quote']

Naptha won't react with the nitro? It does not take much to make it soften. I think that's the hazing you mentioned. I agree about the toothbrush, a buffing wheel is really the way to go. 10000 grit paste and a few minutes, you can literally do the whole guitar
'81 Les Paul Standard WR FOR SALE/TRADE
'01 Les Paul Standard TB
6505 -> Framus 4x12 25w greenbacks

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#10 User is offline   mildperv 

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 11:30 AM

Quote

Naptha won't react with the nitro? It does not take much to make it soften. I think that's the hazing you mentioned. I agree about the toothbrush, a buffing wheel is really the way to go. 10000 grit paste and a few minutes, you can literally do the whole guitar




Good lord, what the hell do you people brush your teeth with? A regular generic tooth brush won't hurt a damn thing as long as you use the same pressure you use when you brush your teeth.

Naptha will not harm the nitro unless it's very very fresh - I'm talking hours... I use naptha next day after shooting all the time.

#11 User is offline   Dr. Rock 

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 10:56 PM

Stewart Macdonald always use naphta...
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#12 User is offline   Riffster 

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 11:07 PM

Well I am looking an ad for Virtuoso on Vintage Guitar Magazine and it says it is now available at Guitar Center.
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#13 User is offline   Kimbabig 

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:23 AM

I saw some Virtuoso at a Guitar Center the other day.
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#14 User is offline   Tman 

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:34 AM

How about a satin finish? - not to hijack this thread but on a related note......
My bird has Zebrawood wings and the body and neck are satin which is nitrocellulose barely applied (please correct me if I'm wrong). Would the same advice hold true?

#15 User is offline   Dr. Rock 

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:52 AM

Quote

How about a satin finish? - not to hijack this thread but on a related note......
My bird has Zebrawood wings and the body and neck are satin which is nitrocellulose barely applied (please correct me if I'm wrong). Would the same advice hold true?


Don't use polish on satin finish or you will make it gloss!
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#16 User is offline   jmg257 

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:58 AM

From Gibsoin re: a satin 335...

Quote

Hi,



Thanks for the email and congrats on your new guitar!! The normal lacquered finish is about 8 mils thick while this finish is probably 1 to 2 mils thick. It will not age like the normal lacquer however any polish that is compatible with our lacquer should be fine. I would not recommend too much polishing as it will shine the satin finish and not have the desired look and feel. I would use 0000 steel wool going with the grain to even the satin look if it becomes shiny. Other than that there are no special instructions for the care of the finish. Thanks again for the email and have a great week!!



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#17 User is offline   mildperv 

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 02:09 AM

Quote

Don't use polish on satin finish or you will make it gloss!


That depends. If the nitro was "satin finish" (Deft makes some) to begin with, you can't polish to gloss because it has a natural "haze" to it. You can make it shiney-er, but you won't have the depth of a true gloss finish.

Gloss nitro, on the other hand, can be made to look like satin by 0000 steel wool. But, again, you won't have any real depth.

#18 User is offline   Explorer 

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 12:43 AM

Do not buy any expensive cleaners, polishers, etc. Not worth the money. Take yourself down to Ace Hardware (any hardware store works but it doesn't hurt to shop local) and ask for Fromby's Lemon Oil Treatment (really any lemon oil furniture treatment will do but Fromby's conveniently squirts), its only a few bucks. Find yourself a fine rag squirt the oil on said rag you don't need a ton and then wipe down your guitar and buff out any gunk spots. Follow up by wiping the guitar down with a clean rag or the other side of the rag that has no oil whatever works. Neck should feel like butter. Best bang for your buck.

Do not use Naptha as it is a paint thinner and can react to nitrocellulose. High levels of Naptha is how they relic guitar finishes. Virtuoso is another great product but its a tad pricey if you ask me. You will get the same results with Fromby's Lemon Oil.

This works with all guitars regardless of satin or gloss finishes. And did I mention this is healthy for the wood!

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