Varnish cracking Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Alembic Club » Owning an Alembic » Troubleshooting » Varnish cracking « Previous Next »

Author Message
krystoof
Intermediate Member
Username: krystoof

Post Number: 117
Registered: 1-2009
Posted on Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 5:45 am:   Edit Post

Hello, everybody at Alembic and forum fellows!

First of all, I'm not anglophone and I hope you will forgive my crappy english, ayayay! ;-)
I just wanted to submit this problem I have on my MK 5 string : the varnish is cracking on the a part of the back. The bass has been built in 2003, I 'm not the first owner and I have been playing about 250 gigs for the last 3 years.
If you have any informations, please, let me know.
Regards from France


Here is a picture of the problem
[URL=http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/152/p1060211.jpg/][IMG]http://imageshack.us/a/img152/1996/p1060211.th.jpg[/IMG][/URL]
cozmik_cowboy
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1330
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 8:23 am:   Edit Post

In my experience, cracking like that is usually caused by sudden, extreme temperature changes; for example, bringing it in from an unheated equipment truck in winter and opening it immediately, rather than giving it a couple hours in the (closed) case to warm gradually. Other than that, I don't know.

Peter
hammer
Advanced Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 275
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 1:23 pm:   Edit Post

My experience has been the same as that of Peter. Happened to my first bass because I got lazy after a Friday night gig and left my instrument out in the van in 20 degree (f) weather rather than bringing it in to the hotel.
krystoof
Intermediate Member
Username: krystoof

Post Number: 118
Registered: 1-2009
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 4:08 am:   Edit Post

Hi, guys!
Thank you so much for your experience report! I would have liked someone from Alembic to answer the question, but that's a good start for finding out what may be the cause of this problem...
Have a good day! :-)
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 7874
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 1:17 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Christophe,

Sorry it took a couple of days to respond to you (I try hard to not work on Sunday if it's possible).

What Peter and Brian is correct. While the instruments are quite durable, they are not indestructible. I've only seen this a few times, most notably on Jimmy Johnson's main touring bass (which he recently had us refinish).
jimmyj
Senior Member
Username: jimmyj

Post Number: 416
Registered: 8-2008
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 2:42 pm:   Edit Post

Yes, below is a "before" picture of what happened to my bass.

Because the checking was so localized we're not sure if the cause was thermal shock or related to body heat drawing moisture from inside the cavity. This bass has been exposed to every possible atmospheric condition so I'm surprised it didn't fall apart years ago!

And after a visit to HQ it looks like new again. Yay!
Jimmy J
krystoof
Intermediate Member
Username: krystoof

Post Number: 119
Registered: 1-2009
Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 4:37 am:   Edit Post

Thanks, Mica and Jimmy (man ,I'm answering to Mica AND Jimmy Johnson! Woohoooooo!!!!!!!)
Well, the point is that I put the bass on the market, and I have no idea of the cost for repairing this. I guess it takes to remove and put a new varnish on the whole body.
Anyway, I didn't notice any change in the sound of the bass...
It's funny because it is exactly the same cracking spot on my bass and on Jimmy's.
Have a good day! :-)
Xtof
hammer
Advanced Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 278
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 10:52 am:   Edit Post

WOW! You guys must generate a LOT of body heat when you play. Jimmy, from the photo your bass looks more like it blistered from heat as opposed to the cracks that appeared on mine.
krystoof
Intermediate Member
Username: krystoof

Post Number: 120
Registered: 1-2009
Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 5:12 am:   Edit Post

Do you think sweat can be the origin of this problem?
cozmik_cowboy
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1334
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 6:40 am:   Edit Post

No.

Peter
jimmyj
Senior Member
Username: jimmyj

Post Number: 417
Registered: 8-2008
Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 9:28 am:   Edit Post

Ha! Well, I let this go for quite a while and didn't pursue repairs until it started to snag my shirts...

The finish is really impervious to moisture from the outside - it's like boat finish. I don't think even the most acidic sweat would bother it. This is why Mica was thinking my checking related to moisture rising from inside the bass.

The cavities are not hermetically sealed so dampness can work it's way in. And I've been caught in a few weather events over the years after which the bass went back into its trunk and onto the truck. So it's taken some abuse. (Hmmm, maybe some 18v internal heaters to dry things out in those instances...?)

Considering the relatively complicated nature of Alembic gear the build quality is simply outstanding! From the beginning they've always made road-worthy gear and I've had very little trouble over the past ... 35+ years (good Lord).

Jimmy J. (old guy)
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 2019
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 4:25 pm:   Edit Post

Nothing wrong with being an old guy
With age comes wisdom, poor eyesight and cheap car insurance!
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 3289
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Friday, November 16, 2012 - 6:51 am:   Edit Post

I've seen Jimmy's car - Not sure it needs insurance . HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Just kidding :-)

Graeme
krystoof
Intermediate Member
Username: krystoof

Post Number: 121
Registered: 1-2009
Posted on Friday, November 16, 2012 - 2:27 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks for your comments, everybody, that's really nice!!
I would just want to know what kind of varnish is on the Alembic.
Thanks again!
Xtof
krystoof
Intermediate Member
Username: krystoof

Post Number: 122
Registered: 1-2009
Posted on Friday, November 16, 2012 - 2:27 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks for your comments, everybody, that's really nice!!
I would just want to know what kind of varnish is on the Alembic.
Thanks again!
Xtof
mica
Moderator
Username: mica

Post Number: 7875
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Friday, November 16, 2012 - 3:58 pm:   Edit Post

The finish is polyester.
gtrguy
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 542
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Monday, November 19, 2012 - 11:03 am:   Edit Post

Isn't that the same material Leisure Suit Larry wears!!!
cozmik_cowboy
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1338
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Monday, November 19, 2012 - 2:54 pm:   Edit Post

Yes, the mighty Polyester can use its powers for good or evil!

Peter

(Message edited by cozmik_cowboy on November 19, 2012)
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5283
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 7:42 am:   Edit Post

Polly Ester - I think I dated her in college.

Bill, tgo
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 3292
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 7:44 am:   Edit Post

You're a bad man Bill panzer :-)

Graeme
cozmik_cowboy
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1339
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 6:23 pm:   Edit Post

I think that was the same time I dated her roommate, Rosemary Focaccia.

Peter
afrobeat_fool
Senior Member
Username: afrobeat_fool

Post Number: 480
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 7:08 pm:   Edit Post

And there I was, stuck in my room with Rosie D'Palma.

I must be a bass player


Anonymous-
gtrguy
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 547
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 12:26 pm:   Edit Post

I used to make out with Polly in my car on the back seat covered in naga hide.
manticore
New
Username: manticore

Post Number: 1
Registered: 12-2012
Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2012 - 11:30 am:   Edit Post

Body heat is definately the cause. This '92 Elan has a heavily checked finish on the back where it rests against my body and on the top lower bout where my right arm rests while playing, with no checking anywhere else.Checked Finish '92 Elan
funkyjazzjunky
Senior Member
Username: funkyjazzjunky

Post Number: 844
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 8:49 am:   Edit Post

Is this a 'do it your self' task?
hammer
Advanced Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 301
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 10:37 am:   Edit Post

I'd suspect that would all depend on: (a) how much of a perfectionist you are,(b) whether you have the necessary equipment including a respirator, spray booth etc.; (c) your skill at using a spray gun; and (d) if you have the time and patience to do the many, many coats (with sanding in between)that would be applied by the folks at Alembic.
manticore
New
Username: manticore

Post Number: 3
Registered: 12-2012
Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 - 8:55 pm:   Edit Post

Just removing the damaged portion of the finish and preparing the edges for refinishing takes much longer than most folks are willing to spend. Then as Hammer says, spray, sand, repeat...repeatedly. I'd leave it to professionals if you want to have it redone.
gtrguy
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 560
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 1:21 pm:   Edit Post

AND, you need to spray it when it is warm out, which pretty much is a problem in winter!

However, it can be done. Strip or sand, wood prep and level, spray, sand, spray, repeat, let cure, rub out, play, wax after 6 months! Let it hang rather than sit in a case, for a couple of months after doing the work so it can cure more.

You can actually use a rattle can if you want to, since you are going to be sanding it and rubbing it out anyway. Make sure to use the same brand of paint at all times and even then it might lift on you if you use 2 or more colors (test it first). Warm up the can in a pan of warm water before using and then shake it up. Get lots of grades of wet sanding paper and a good rubbing compound.

In a paint shop you could speed up the whole process. It takes a patient mind more than skill to refinish a guitar.

It is not expensive to do yourself and you feel a real sense of achievement afterwards.
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 2052
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2013 - 12:59 pm:   Edit Post

To reinforce grtguy's quote " It takes a patient mind..."
This is a table I restored using traditional french polishing methods, it took a long time..

Before restoration..


table before
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 2053
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, January 21, 2013 - 1:01 pm:   Edit Post

And after the process

Table after
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 3317
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 3:44 am:   Edit Post

very nice Terry. With skills like that you can come up here and help me finish polishing my car :-)

Graeme
terryc
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 2054
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 7:48 am:   Edit Post

Sounds good to me..could have a few beers and talk basses!!

Add Your Message Here
Post:
Username: Posting Information:
This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.
Password:
Options: Enable HTML code in message
Automatically activate URLs in message
Action:

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration