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Vintage LG-2, Should I deal with a slight smell?

#1 User is offline   B Chas 

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 08:50 PM

I recently bought a 40s LG-2, an amazing guitar. Sounds so wonderful and plays so nice. After playing it for awhile I notice a slight kind of musty smell. Do you guys have any ideas how to safely deal with it or if I should?

#2 User is offline   jedzep 

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 03:44 AM

I've had my share of musty smelling acoustics, but just about all of them responded to the fact that I NEVER keep a guitar in it's case. I'm tearing down my 19th century barn, making guitar hangers from the nicer looking boards, so I have plenty to hang from (soon selling a few on Ebay and locally). Sadly, I'm down to just a few guitars, so it looks a little empty in my 'guitar room'. I know this sounds like a 'Hint From Heloise' column, but once I had a small cloth sack that I would fill with baking soda and hung it from the soundhole so it reached just below the bridgeplate. I believe that speeded up the process on the worst offender, an old Goya/Levin S18.
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#3 User is offline   retrorod 

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 05:26 AM

Just assuming that the guitar was/is case kept. Does the case have the musty smell also? You may want to deal with case smell also. I would do what jedzep suggests and see if that helps.
As far as musty cases, I have had success using Meguiars car odor eleminator on the interior of smelly cases, followed by long exposure to sun and fresh air. I would not recommend the Meguiars for the guitar interior though!
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#4 User is offline   tvguit 

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 08:38 AM

I can handle most old guitar smells but the smokey smells does get to me. I've put dryer sheets in the sound hole before but it didn't seem to do that much good.

The best way to get rid of the smell is to learn to love it!
The new home of True Vintage Guitar
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#5 User is offline   B Chas 

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 09:01 PM

Thanks for the replies. The guitar case has the same slight odor, so it may be the case. I've read good old fresh air, charcoal, coffee grounds etc. are all good. Not too worried, it's not much of a smell. I think I'll go the fresh air rout, leave it on the covered patio for a while. Thanks again.

#6 User is offline   kleinman 

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 12:10 AM

View PostB Chas, on 23 March 2013 - 09:01 PM, said:

Thanks for the replies. The guitar case has the same slight odor, so it may be the case. I've read good old fresh air, charcoal, coffee grounds etc. are all good. Not too worried, it's not much of a smell. I think I'll go the fresh air rout, leave it on the covered patio for a while. Thanks again.


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#7 User is offline   Mustache Guitar Repairs 

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 09:15 AM

Charcoal, fresh air, and small open containers of baking soda.

#8 User is offline   L5Larry 

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 10:16 AM

Quote

Should I deal with a slight smell?


That's what my wife says about me.

#9 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 08:27 AM

View Posttvguit, on 23 March 2013 - 08:38 AM, said:

I can handle most old guitar smells but the smokey smells does get to me. I've put dryer sheets in the sound hole before but it didn't seem to do that much good.

The best way to get rid of the smell is to learn to love it!



You would have to learn to live with a number of my guitars. Gigged with them in the 1960s and 1970s and all were coated with a couple of layers of nicotene. I guess it does not really bother me. Pretty much just the fate of any guitar that did not live its life being played in a bedroom.
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#10 User is offline   tvguit 

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 01:33 PM

Have you tried Virtuoso on those layers of nicotine? That stuff is serious.
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#11 User is offline   B Chas 

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 08:20 PM

Thanks for the help here guys. I let it air out a few days on the patio and that seems to have done the trick. TV Guit, I've used virtuoso on other guitars and it works great, used it on a low mileage 54 L-50 I have with great results. The 48 LG-2 has lots of miles on it, sounds great is structurally sound, but has lots of wear. Think it would be safe to use polish?

#12 User is offline   tvguit 

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 09:17 AM

View PostB Chas, on 30 March 2013 - 08:20 PM, said:

Thanks for the help here guys. I let it air out a few days on the patio and that seems to have done the trick. TV Guit, I've used virtuoso on other guitars and it works great, used it on a low mileage 54 L-50 I have with great results. The 48 LG-2 has lots of miles on it, sounds great is structurally sound, but has lots of wear. Think it would be safe to use polish?


I never use any polish on old guitars, especially if it has seen a lot of miles. Polish dries white in every crack and seems to draw attention to every flaw. It is great on new guitars without checking or dings.
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#13 User is offline   Jim__H 

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 11:11 AM

I just went through this with the vintage Standel guitar that I bought last summer. Musty smells are usually associated with mold and mildew which are very bad and hard to get rid of. I noticed that when the weather got cooler and wetter this winter (I live in Calif) a whitish film appeared on the guitar and there was a musty smell in the case. When I cleaned it off with Dunlop 65 the film would come back after a week or so. I went to the hardware store and bought two of those mold identification kits and sure enough, the guitar and case tested positive for cladosporium mold and yeast. I did some research on the net and decided on how to attack it. For the guitar I removed the strings and pickguard and cleaned it thoroughly with Murphy's oil soap, the premixed product. I then wiped the guitar down with a 50:50 solution of vinegar and distilled water. Vinegar is often used for cleaning hardwood floors and I figured it would not harm the nitrocellulose finish on the guitar. The only other alternative that came up was bleach and I wasn't about to use that. I wiped with a soft cloth section by section and tried to keep a contact time of about a minute. Dried it and then another wipedown with Murphy's and dry with a soft cloth. Boy, did the Standel look good after all of that, and it has been almost two months now with no sign of mold growth anywhere.

For the case I sprayed the inside thoroughly with Odor Eaters Foot and Sneaker spray, the green/orange/white aerosol can. This stuff is nice because it dries clear and is not powdery. I closed the case and let it sit for a week (guitar on a wall hanger) then vacuumed the heck out of it. The velvet liner looks fine (there was never any visual sign of mold in the case) and the musty smell is gone. I think this problem is licked but I will obviously keep an eye on it. I now slip a cotton pillowcase that I wash regularly over the guitar when I put it away in the case. I also now keep a fan going in my bedroom where the guitars are kept, moist, stagnant air contributes to mold growth.

Hope this helps,
Jim
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#14 User is offline   B Chas 

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 03:25 PM

I had a feeling waxing a well used guitar would be a bad idea. I like to clean up any guitar I get, kind of makes it mine. The guitar isn't sticky and doesn't seem dirty. Being 65 years old, I wonder if there's any residual grime or polish? I've read using naptha safely cleans guitars. Man, I love the little gem, I think I'll just leave it alone and just play it.

After a few days outside on the porch, that slight odor has gone away. When I was looking around for answers, I discovered lots of good suggestions, which I never did try, such as baking soda or coffee grounds to soak up an odor or a UV light to kill anything that would create a moldy smell. Never tried any of these, just passing it on.

#15 User is offline   Jim__H 

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 05:24 PM

The problem with molds is many of them produce spores, so while putting the affected article in the sun is a good idea and will improve the situation, it won't kill spores and they can come back under favorable conditions. The is why I will watch my guitar and case and see if anything develops. There is a product called Sporclenz that is used to sanitize clean rooms. It kills molds and spores but I have no idea what its availability is or if it can be used on a guitar.

Removing wax or cigarette residue should be doable, Murphy's might work for that, at the least it won't harm the finish. Naptha might work too but I would test a small area first. Maybe a trip to an automotive paint store is in order, I think they have wax and grease removers that won't harm paint.
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#16 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 07:52 PM

View Posttvguit, on 31 March 2013 - 09:17 AM, said:

I never use any polish on old guitars, especially if it has seen a lot of miles. Polish dries white in every crack and seems to draw attention to every flaw. It is great on new guitars without checking or dings.


John, I use naphtha on a Q-tip to remove dried polish from finish cracks. Picky work, but it does the job. Let it dry, then re-buff with a clean cloth (no polish).

#17 User is offline   tvguit 

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 07:31 AM

View Postj45nick, on 01 April 2013 - 07:52 PM, said:

John, I use naphtha on a Q-tip to remove dried polish from finish cracks. Picky work, but it does the job. Let it dry, then re-buff with a clean cloth (no polish).


Its just so d*mn tedious!
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