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Moldy Bass


(@u2bono269)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1188
Topic starter  

Ok, I need some help folks.

We've had an extremely wet time of it around here, between record rainfall, Hurricane Irene and then the Halloween blizzard. As such we've been struggling with moisture in the house. Yesterday, I found a rather large mold colony living in the corner of a bedroom, and it just happened to be the corner where I stack my guitars. I haven't had time to take them out recently, instead just playing the epiphone I keep in the living room. The cases of my Martin and Fender Tele were covered in mold, but I got it off and the guitars themselves are fine because the mold was kept out. But my Fender bass, which was in a gig bag, didn't fare so well. The guitar itself was moldy. I cleaned it with alcohol and guitar polish but the finish is cloudy, and the guitar smells like mold and mildew. It's a significant smell too. If I scratch a little with my finger nails, it comes off, but I don't want to scrub my guitar. I tried some mold-mildew cleaner (after inconspicuous spot tests) but that didn't fully work. I'm going to disassemble the bass and see what I an do. The bag has turned out ok. I soaked it in Lysol, let it dry then ran it through the washing machine. Looks brand new. But the guitar looks bad.

How do I get the mold off?

For those interested, after a few long hours of cleaning, the bedroom is mold free. We have taken steps to better control the moisture in there, but it's going to be tough. The ground is still so soggy and there's nowhere for the rain to go. And it's too cold to open the window and air out.

I just want my bass to be ok.

http://www.brianbetteridge.com


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(@blue-jay)
Noble Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 1638
 

I don't think I can help or offer much, just a little. Maybe someone will think of something, if we bump the post to the top?

The exact same thing has not happened to me, and I have plenty of guitars and exerience over the years, like 40 years and 200 plus instruments. They have seen various trials, and I had a wet one more than once, also a finish that soaked up too much carnauba wax and became soft (for some time). I have had so many lacquered necks that had the finish become sticky or break down partially from hand oils and sweat? The beginning of a solution was to dry them thoroughly sometimes with a regular fan, not a heating fan. BTW, I think that this is what Rory Gallagher's guitar tech had to do for 3 to 5 days on his spongy, damp fingerboard after most gigs? Also, don't get UV light damage on the guitar from letting it sit out - it's rare but has happened to me a little bit, too.

Anyway, I believe that anything that will neutralize the mold, would harm the guitar. It's not looking good, but that's my experience and opinion.

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.


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(@s1120)
Prominent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 849
 

Molds tough!!! ALmost anything that gets it will damange the finish... But realy at this point a damanged finish is better then tossing the thing... Soap and water realy does wonders, as does letting it air out. Frankly, I would ditch the gig bag... Mold is TOUGH to kill, and the soft bags are a haven for it!!! I would pitch it myself

Paul B


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 Crow
(@crow)
Honorable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 554
 

The only thing I know of that will kill mold is chlorine bleach. I have no idea what that will do to a guitar's finish. The gig bag, pitch it. Bleach would only weaken it to a point of non-functionality.

For what it's worth: My violin case got polluted some years back with a bug of some kind that eats violin bow hair. I hosed it down with Lysol & let it dry in the sun for a few days, & it's been fine ever since.

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa


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(@u2bono269)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1188
Topic starter  

Looks like I got most of it off with alcohol and elbow grease. The pickguard might have to be replaced but that's no big deal. I got the smell out so that's good. The bag seems ok, but I will get a new one. There's some minor finish damage around the bridge pickup.

I wouldn't mind it if I'd gotten the damage for good old fashioned playing, but the fact that mold grew on it because I hadn't played it in a couple of weeks makes me feel like a failure.

http://www.brianbetteridge.com


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(@s1120)
Prominent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 849
 

Looks like I got most of it off with alcohol and elbow grease. The pickguard might have to be replaced but that's no big deal. I got the smell out so that's good. The bag seems ok, but I will get a new one. There's some minor finish damage around the bridge pickup.

I wouldn't mind it if I'd gotten the damage for good old fashioned playing, but the fact that mold grew on it because I hadn't played it in a couple of weeks makes me feel like a failure.
Well after a clean up, give her a good going through, and spend some time getting some playing wear in on it. :D You popping the pick guard off anyway... might be a good time to spruce it up a little. Get a nice guard, dress it up a little... heck.... get that new pickup youve been thinking about.. :D

Paul B


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(@blue-jay)
Noble Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 1638
 

Brian, I looked at your website, boy is your photography ever nice!

I'm glad to hear that your bass is okay - if you feel the need to return it to original condition, and still need to take it apart to change pickguard etc., you could get a new body for about $250 or less off the online auction, from sellers who part out guitars and basses.

I guess there are different schools of thought, & what you are willing to accept from this incident and with your instrument, is up to you. I have guitars that I have accepted damage from accidents upon, and others that I have felt like restoring. :?

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.


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