Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Discussion of vintage Jazzmasters, Jaguars, Bass VIs, Electric XIIs and any other offset-waist instruments.
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lemming
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Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Post by lemming » Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:54 am

I recently took possession of a fairly beat up 1965 Jazzmaster. This thing was rode hard and put away filthy -- definitely no case queen. The top and sides felt really grimy, and I could see and feel a buildup of what appeared to simply be filth that had accumulated over the years, thicker in some areas than in others. So I wiped the entire surface with a damp rag. I was pretty gentle for the most part, but I went at it harder in the areas that seemed to have thicker buildup, and it loosened up and came off. Now I wish I had thought that through a little longer -- I think the guitar still looks great, but I'm inclined to think I should have left that thicker buildup alone on the grounds that it's patina rather than dirt.

Unfortunately, I didn't take any before pics, but here is one of the guitar post-cleaning:

Image

The lighter area is legitimate arm wear, not a result of my cleaning efforts. But you can see the difference in the finish there where it was continuously worn down (through the sunburst) vs. the rest of the top, which has a very thin layer of what could be mistaken for dirt. I pretty much left this layer alone -- I just wiped it gently with a damp rag. The thicker areas of buildup that I did approach more <ahem> vigorously were mostly on the edges and looked and felt to me like that buildup of sweat and oil that you get on the fingerboard after a while, but it did have a kind of checked texture to it like aged nitro. But it was also kinda nasty.

Any thoughts about where the line is between patina and dirt?

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Dubmeup
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Re: Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Post by Dubmeup » Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:52 am

I'd have cleaned off that grot too. Am all for natural wear and ageing but not up for other folks' dead skin, sweat, snot, fecal matter etc.... :k

What a beautiful guitar!

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Jazzmastervsjaguar
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Re: Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Post by Jazzmastervsjaguar » Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:56 am

Whenever I get a vintage guitar I break it all the way down and clean everything. To me the wear usually shows better when the guitar is clean if that makes sense. I think you did a great job with this Jazzmaster!

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Re: Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Post by gringopig » Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:14 pm

Yes. Good job. Patina is usually just grot. Blood and someone else's nasty DNA. UGHHHHHH.

I would do exactly the same as you. Patina that comes off is just filth.

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lemming
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Re: Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Post by lemming » Fri Mar 06, 2020 2:20 pm

Jazzmastervsjaguar wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:56 am
Whenever I get a vintage guitar I break it all the way down and clean everything. To me the wear usually shows better when the guitar is clean if that makes sense.
It does make sense, thanks for the input. I will do that.
Dubmeup wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:52 am
not up for other folks' dead skin, sweat, snot, fecal matter etc.... :k
gringopig wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:14 pm
Blood and someone else's nasty DNA. UGHHHHHH.
:-X I'll never look at patina the same way again.

Anyhow, I feel a lot better about my cleaning job after everyone's feedback. At least I don't feel like I cleaned it too much. Thanks, all.

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Re: Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Post by Blomberg » Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:36 am

Jazzmastervsjaguar wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:56 am
To me the wear usually shows better when the guitar is clean if that makes sense.
Seconded.

Also, some patina may have been dirt once, but if it comes off with cleaning, it's not patina, just dirt. Get rid of that shit :)

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Re: Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Post by Singlebladepickup » Tue Mar 10, 2020 9:39 am

gringopig wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:14 pm
Patina that comes off is just filth.
Agreed. If it is real mojo and not just grime, you can wipe it down and it will still look something like what OP has there. Relic your guitars or furniture or whatever you want, but let's not fetishize people-dirt.

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Re: Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Post by SignoftheDragon » Tue Mar 10, 2020 3:02 pm

ew.

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whitewatersky
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Re: Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Post by whitewatersky » Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:23 am

Whatcha use to clean it with eventually?

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Mechanical Birds
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Re: Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Post by Mechanical Birds » Mon Aug 10, 2020 10:20 am

Dubmeup wrote:
Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:52 am
I'd have cleaned off that grot too. Am all for natural wear and ageing but not up for other folks' dead skin, sweat, snot, fecal matter etc.... :k

What a beautiful guitar!
Yeah I feel like it it wipes off with a damp rag it shouldn’t be there in the first place. As far as I’ve always understood, patina is a thing with the metal anyway. I wouldn’t want whatever that effect is on the finish anyway/didn’t know that was a thing

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whitewatersky
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Re: Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Post by whitewatersky » Mon Aug 10, 2020 1:39 pm

dead skin, sweat, snot, fecal matter etc.... :k = “a thing” - love the thought of THAT !

I Have an old 1970 Challenger. happy to get dirt outta the seats, dash, armrests etc. for the same reasons .

I’ve repainted the car since it had been repainted before I got it.

left the old decals on the spoiler, old bumpers as-is for originality

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Re: Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Post by HNB » Mon Aug 10, 2020 1:54 pm

Clean is mo better.
Washington Chapter Member of the DiMarzio Fan Club
Guitar Building Addict

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Mechanical Birds
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Re: Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Post by Mechanical Birds » Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:53 pm

I meant I didn’t know that patina happened on the physical/wood/finished body of the guitar and always understood it to be a thing with the metal parts exclusively

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whitewatersky
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Re: Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Post by whitewatersky » Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:39 am

Yeah me too with the idea/meaning of patina

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Super Reverb Swell
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Re: Crossing the Line between Patina and Dirt

Post by Super Reverb Swell » Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:32 am

What did you use to clean it with? I am always afraid with old finishes

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