Chip Touch-Up

Setup, repair and restoration of Rickenbacker Instruments

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Chip Touch-Up

Postby (strummersteve) » Fri Feb 26, 2016 2:43 pm

What would be the best way to touch up a chip in my Fireglo 660 without doing a complete refinish?

RIC 660 ChipB.jpg
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Re: Chip Touch-Up

Postby (Dom) » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:27 pm

Ouch! Where is that on the guitar? From my monitor it looks like the only way that will go away completely is a refin. I'm no expert on finishes but I have a DIY suggestion that would be better than no options at all. Can't tell how deep that is but crazy glue can fill in low spots if done right, also clear nail polish may work just as well. I've used crazy glue to made a headstock crack disappear on a Harmony V with a clear finish. I'd try to match the paint with a water based acrylic by painting the wood a light coat bit over time & letting it dry & so on till it matches when completely dry. Then I'd fill in the missing clear with crazy glue, again layer by layer over time & keep an eye on it to avoid bubbles. Buff, gently when it is level and has had a chance to cure.
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Re: Chip Touch-Up

Postby (strummersteve) » Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:48 am

The chip is on the body as seen in the picture below. As you can see, it is quite noticeable. The wood does not appear to be damaged in any way, but it does go through the clear-coat and finish. For what it's worth, I purchased the guitar with the chip and the price was drastically lower because of it, Any and all suggestions are appreciated as this is a real eyesore.
RIC 660 Chip.JPG
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Re: Chip Touch-Up

Postby (jdogric12) » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:16 pm

If you're planning on keeping and playing the guitar for a good long while... nail polish might be the best combo of easy and effective.
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Re: Chip Touch-Up

Postby (Grey) » Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:43 pm

That's tricky for sure. Usually i'd just say "leave it alone" because an unsightly repair can look worse than a chip, but it definitely sticks out against the otherwise unblemished top. I mean, looking at an obvious repair is just as distracting as an obvious chip, imo. Unless you can blend the color and drop-fill it with nail polish or something so that it's completely invisible, i'm not sure i'd try.
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Re: Chip Touch-Up

Postby (Clint) » Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:51 pm

I think I'd just let it be a character mark.
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Re: Chip Touch-Up

Postby (DriftSpace) » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:10 pm

This might be more trouble than it's worth, and I'd be inclined to agree that it should be chalked-up to "character." I tried to repair a chip on the headstock of a candy-apple-red Jazzmaster a friend knocked over a few years ago; it did not turn-out as well as I had hoped, but it prevented further paint loss.

Because your instrument is a Fireglo: there's likely some subtle gradient of color (even if it's towards the edge) that will be hard to replicate. Even an excellent repair will still visible to you, and it's likely next to impossible to make that completely invisible without refinishing the face of the instrument.

My only concern -- and the reason I tried to repair the Jazzmaster -- is if the chip starts to get bigger because paint around the chipped area has lifted from the wood.

If you really can't stand to look at it: be sure that whomever does the repair is experienced in chip repair, and that they have a catalog of chip repairs for you to peruse. They need to know that they are not only matching the color, but they need to match depth of the clear-coat above the color layer. If money is no object: send it to someone like Dan Erlewine. If you're confident in your ability to level and polish-out a repaired spot: give it a shot yourself, and (if you just want to protect the wood, not caring about the color match) you can even use superglue.

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Re: Chip Touch-Up

Postby (Ric5150) » Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:03 pm

I'll add my 2 cents.

If your going for stage appearance, you could probably do a decent "10-foot" touch up blending markers or touch-up paint but even at that, it's tough to nail a Fireglo gradient.

If you're doing it for yourself at "2-foot" viewing, the touch up not being right may very well annoy you just as much as the chip. (It would me.)

Looks like you did well on the quality of figuring in the wood, so maybe it's worth a refin. You could get an Amber Fireglo or other light burst in another color (blue, purple, green, brown) which might add value. I also like the slightly browner Fireglo on the original Petty version. If you're open to a refin, I don't think it would hurt to try a touch-up first.

With the quality of wood you appear to have, I can definitely see wanting it fixed, but there probably isn't an easy fix.

Funny how some guitars can bear chips, scratches, and checking just fine (I even have a '57 Duo-Sonic which a previous owner rattle-can painted flat black - over the chips and gouges, no less, and it works), but Rickenbackers never seem to work that way.
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Re: Chip Touch-Up

Postby (Grey) » Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:32 pm

My 480 is banged up, checking on the body and headstock, chips etc. but it's an old guitar with a long history. It's not the same as one unslightly chip on an otherwise perfect body, imo. In general though you see a lot less "road worn" Rickenbackers, I agree. The old CV is a pretty tough finish and I think that has a lot to do with it.
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Re: Chip Touch-Up

Postby (strummersteve) » Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:55 pm

I want to thank everyone for the assistance. I decided at this time not to do anything with the chip. If and when the time comes I will have it done by a pro who is intimate with the Rickenbacker Fireglo finish. Any suggestions on who that would be and what the approximate cost may be?
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Re: Chip Touch-Up

Postby (jps) » Fri Mar 04, 2016 7:52 pm

Grey wrote:My 480 is banged up, checking on the body and headstock, chips etc. but it's an old guitar with a long history.

This one, Chip?
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Re: Chip Touch-Up

Postby (Grey) » Fri Mar 04, 2016 8:06 pm

I see what you did there. :wink:
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Re: Chip Touch-Up

Postby (DriftSpace) » Sat Mar 05, 2016 2:53 pm

strummersteve wrote:Any suggestions on who that would be and what the approximate cost may be?
Steve


Larry Davis, Paul Wilczynski, or Dale Fortune (if you can get in-touch with him) are all quite familiar with RIC finishes. Someone like Dan Erlewine -- though not specifically affiliated with RIC instruments -- would probably do an excellent job drop-filling as well due to his many years of experience, and he has very high standards for his work.

However, when I had spoken with Paul about doing chip repairs: he said that -- in most cases -- the only way to make a chip completely invisible on a compound finish (involving multiple colors, fading, etc.) is to completely refinish the surface. If it were JetGlo, or another solid, non-metallic color: it would be pretty easy to make it almost vanish, but FireGlo is a different story.

When I had my Candy-Apple-Red (compound, layered finish) Jazzmaster chip repaired: it ran me about $80, but such cost can vary quite a bit depending on the experience level of the luthier, and how much effort they'll put into it. It also was not invisible, and was noticeable from a few feet away. Drop-filling a finish like this is essentially an art form.

You could have the entire face refinished, and the aforementioned Larry, Paul, or Dale would probably be able to match it pretty close to the rest of the instrument; if the color match isn't perfect: it will be harder to notice because the whole face will be consistent with itself. Someone might do this for around $500, but that too could vary a lot, and is only guess because your quote will be based upon the amount of work the individual feels is necessary. Some might even refuse to just do the face, as they know the difficulty of matching a hand-blended, hand-sprayed finish like FireGlo to the rest of the body.

A complete refinish could cost you anywhere from $750-$1,000 and up; it will probably on the higher side since it's a RIC, and you'll want to go with someone who is familiar; there's binding to scrape, the board will be lacquered, frets will need addressing afterwards, etc. You can't properly refinish a RIC without pulling the frets, and most people charge more than $250 for a complete refret ... on an instrument without neck binding. (My local guitar shop charges $400 for a complete refret on "boards that require finish work," and that doesn't include refinishing the rest of the instrument.)

When all is said-and-done: to make this chip "invisible" will run you at least half the cost of the whole instrument when it was new, and easily more than half.

I'd learn to live with it, or do (as Dan said) a repair for "2-foot" viewing.
If you can't live with that: it might be more economical to sell it and buy another one.
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Re: Chip Touch-Up

Postby (strummersteve) » Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:14 pm

Grey wrote:My 480 is banged up, checking on the body and headstock, chips etc. but it's an old guitar with a long history.

My jetglo 480 was a project guitar with many chips and worn spots as well. It plays great and IMHO it has character. As for the 660, the chip is the only blemish. That said, it sounds great and to me that is what it is all about. I just think about how I would feel if I had a complete refinish done and then added another chip.
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Re: Chip Touch-Up

Postby (DriftSpace) » Sun Mar 06, 2016 5:23 pm

strummersteve wrote:As for the 660, the chip is the only blemish. That said, it sounds great and to me that is what it is all about. I just think about how I would feel if I had a complete refinish done and then added another chip.

Right on, Steve. :D
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