Care and Feeding of Late 50s F Models

Setup, repair and restoration of Rickenbacker Instruments

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Care and Feeding of Late 50s F Models

Postby (Houka) » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:20 pm

I just acquired my dream guitar: a 1959 335F in Fireglo.

I'm in love. Looks amazing and the sound is awesome! Now, my big question is - how to properly care for this instrument? I own several other Rics, but they are all early 90s or newer guitars. This is my first vintage Rickenbacker.

What should I use to clean and care for the finish? I have been using Brillianize on my newer Rics. Is that the best for the vintage finish, or should I use something else?

Also, I noticed the frets are very low. Neck is straight and no buzzing along the entire fret board, just much lower frets than I am used to. While the fretboard is not clear coated, it is noticeably more challenging to get good bends on the strings compared to my newer Rics. Is this common with older Rics, or a sign that there frets have been worked down alot over the years? I don't really want to refret if I don't have to.

What is the best way to clean the fingerboard? I have noticed it feels pretty grimy. Not exactly sticky, but the feel seems to slow me down. How can I clean it up without damaging the fretboard?
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Re: Care and Feeding of Late 50s F Models

Postby (jps) » Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:01 pm

Vintage frets are way smaller than the typical modern fret sizes used. You'll just have to get used to them, and I would not recommend doing much bending on those nice vintage (I assume, original) frets. Use your modern guitars for that.

Try naphtha, to start (not a fire), as it is a great general purpose cleaner that will not harm anything on the guitar. Use with a bunch of clean cotton rags to clean up the whole instrument.
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Re: Care and Feeding of Late 50s F Models

Postby (libratune) » Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:43 pm

I use Martin guitar polish to clean the fretboard of my late '50s F body guitars, even the ones with no (or little) clearcoat on the fretboard. This brand of polish is heavy on water, light on polish. Spray lightly and go over (rub) each spot between the frets with a clean cotton cloth. Then dry with a separate cotton cloth. Then repeat until clean.

If the finish on body/neck is not flaking, you can use Scratch-X for cleaning/pollshing and, if desired, a coat of Zymol for the ultimate finishing polish.

PS Congrats on scoring a F body Rick! Please post a photo or two when you get a chance. We'd all love to see it!
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Re: Care and Feeding of Late 50s F Models

Postby (sloop_john_b) » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:58 pm

jps wrote:Vintage frets are way smaller than the typical modern fret sizes used. You'll just have to get used to them, and I would not recommend doing much bending on those nice vintage (I assume, original) frets. Use your modern guitars for that.

Try naphtha, to start (not a fire), as it is a great general purpose cleaner that will not harm anything on the guitar. Use with a bunch of clean cotton rags to clean up the whole instrument.


Just curious as to why you don’t recommend bending?
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Re: Care and Feeding of Late 50s F Models

Postby (jps) » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:49 pm

sloop_john_b wrote:
jps wrote:Vintage frets are way smaller than the typical modern fret sizes used. You'll just have to get used to them, and I would not recommend doing much bending on those nice vintage (I assume, original) frets. Use your modern guitars for that.

Try naphtha, to start (not a fire), as it is a great general purpose cleaner that will not harm anything on the guitar. Use with a bunch of clean cotton rags to clean up the whole instrument.


Just curious as to why you don’t recommend bending?

Small frets make it harder to bend and will also probably wear down faster. If you want to bend perhaps install modern, harder, taller frets, but personally, I would not do that on a vintage instrument.

I would just select a guitar more suitable for playing bends on.

YMMV. 8)
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