Stick/gummy finish

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Stick/gummy finish

Postby (fenderslash) » Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:34 pm

Hi all, haven't visited here in ages, but I've discovered a finish problem that I'm hoping to get some answers to.

Back in 2006/07 my band was making plenty of money on weekends and I was totally obsessed with Rickenbackers, so I was spending my band earnings on new Rics. Some of these were almost never played in the intervening years. Today I got them all out one by one and to my horror I found that the finish on five of them has become sticky/tacky. What makes it more heartbreaking is that some are "colour of the year" guitars.

What I'm hoping for is that this has become some kind of known-issue in the meantime and I can get advice about how to avoid it on the as-yet unaffected guitars, and maybe even get some advice on how to reverse the damage on the others.

In case it helps, here is what I have with the years they were made:

330/6 Desert Gold (2001) - sticky.
360/6 Fireglo (2003) - unaffected.
330/6 Jetglo (2003) - unaffected.
340/6VP Jetglo (2004) - unaffected.
620/6 Blueburst (2006) - sticky
330/6 Blueburst (2006) - sticky
620/6 Blueburst (2007) - sticky
620/6 Midnight Blue (2007) - sticky

I discovered the problem with the Desert Gold 330 a few years back but at the time I thought it was a one-off problem.
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Re: Stick/gummy finish

Postby (jingle_jangle) » Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:28 am

Carl, these guys need to breathe! Since it seems that you don't play them all that often. I suggest removing the low E tuner on each one, and fashioning hooks to go through the tuner holes to hang them from. This will allow air to circulate around them. A nice cool dry place is best. Check them weekly and see how they are doing. If the finishes harden up again, wait awhile and then give them a nice cleaning and waxing. Avoid stands and wall hangers until they have hardened.

I would also airing out the cases while the guitars are healing.

Keep us in the loop and we will help as we can!
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Re: Stick/gummy finish

Postby (fenderslash) » Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:19 am

Thanks for the tips. I'm a bit distraught about it because it's literally $10000 worth of destruction there. One thing I've realized is that all of the "sticky" ones were also stored in their original Rickenbacker cardboard cartons as well as their cases, but the ones that are okay were not in cartons. It seems a bit far-fetched, but is there any way that could have an effect at all?
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Re: Stick/gummy finish

Postby (jps) » Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:48 am

fenderslash wrote:Thanks for the tips. I'm a bit distraught about it because it's literally $10000 worth of destruction there. One thing I've realized is that all of the "sticky" ones were also stored in their original Rickenbacker cardboard cartons as well as their cases, but the ones that are okay were not in cartons. It seems a bit far-fetched, but is there any way that could have an effect at all?

Cardboard boxes outgas, they are not good to have around for anything that may be affected by it longterm. We always shipped out photographs with cardboard stiffeners in the packaging but told clients to not keep their photos in those.
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Re: Stick/gummy finish

Postby (jingle_jangle) » Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:25 pm

Besides the outgassing issues that Jeff mentions, a cardboard box around the case, taped shut (I get the feeling that you are thorough in this respect) is one more layer of "protection" (actually isolation) from free air circulation. You've got the glue which holds the case lining outgassing, the varnish, color paint, and wood, which continue to outgas to some extent for years, and the cardboard all attacking the finish surface from within a closed atmosphere...
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Re: Stick/gummy finish

Postby (bdawson7) » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:50 pm

Carl, when I bought a closet queen 1996 350 Liverpool in 2011, I was told it had been stored in a garage in the RIC plastic case for the entire 15 years. I wanted it so bad, I didn't notice the sticky finish until I'd had it a few weeks. Being my first RIC I thought it was caused by the polish the shop had used. It wasn't soft, though — no marks from a finger nail — but it was pretty sticky on the neck to be annoying when playing it. It just didn't flow like the other MIK poly-finished guitars I had, or other nitros in the store.

After reading a bit about it here, I left it out on the Hercules brand hanging stand I had, which is supposed to be non-reactive foam, for a few weeks, then I put it in the case, closed but unlocked, out in the living room for a while. Then back out for a while. Nothing too regular, but the finish eventually hardened to normal, being stored in the case and played every week or so. I kept it dusted, and its still in pretty perfect shape. It took a solid two years from when I started actively managing the problem in this minor way until it seemed normal. It might even still be curing.

In contrast, I got a 2010 660/12 in 2013 that had been in its original box at the dealer since arrival, and the finish was perfect out of the box and has not changed since.

I guess the 2010 had the UV cured finish, the 1996 had the old conversion varnish. Switch over at the factory was around 2009?
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Re: Stick/gummy finish

Postby (fenderslash) » Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:42 am

Thanks for the tips. I'll take all five guitars out of their cases and store them in the open air in a spare room and see what happens as time goes by.
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Re: Stick/gummy finish

Postby (mp_me) » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:02 am

I realize this thread is sort of stale, but I seem to have the same problem.
My 2006 620\12 Blue Burst is gummy on the back of the neck, body and headstock. I thought there was some sort of coating on it,
and like an idiot, I scratched it with my fingernail. I put a couple of nice gouges in the finish. Since then I read this thread, and have left
the guitar out of its case for about a week and a half. No change. Is there anything else I can do?
VERY Silly question: This finish is cured with UV light, right? Would sunlight help harden it up?
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Re: Stick/gummy finish

Postby (fenderslash) » Sat Aug 13, 2016 5:40 am

I left mine out of their cases for a long time, and it didn't improve anything unfortunately. It must be something to do with the Rick finish, because I've got other guitars of different brands with different types of finish, all stored in exactly the same way, and it's only the Rickenbackers that failed
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Re: Stick/gummy finish

Postby (mp_me) » Sat Aug 13, 2016 7:58 pm

I have found a luthier who says he has seen this problem a few times before, and can fix the problem. I'll post again after he does the job. Should be next month.
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Re: Stick/gummy finish

Postby (Ric5150) » Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:46 pm

mp_me wrote:I realize this thread is sort of stale, but I seem to have the same problem.
My 2006 620\12 Blue Burst is gummy on the back of the neck, body and headstock. I thought there was some sort of coating on it,
and like an idiot, I scratched it with my fingernail. I put a couple of nice gouges in the finish. Since then I read this thread, and have left
the guitar out of its case for about a week and a half. No change. Is there anything else I can do?
VERY Silly question: This finish is cured with UV light, right? Would sunlight help harden it up?


A little late on the response, but a 2006 would be conversion varnish. The transition to the UV cured stuff was in 2010.

Good luck with the repair.
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Re: Stick/gummy finish

Postby (mp_me) » Sun Aug 14, 2016 3:30 am

Thanks. I'm putting her in the hands of an expert. I obviously am not an expert!
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Re: Stick/gummy finish

Postby (munronichols) » Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:29 am

I don't know about sticky... But I had 4 Ric's in storage for a couple of years and they seemed to get mildew blobs all over the finish. We have a warm and moist climate here in Brisbane Australia.They have 'sort' of polished out but if you tilt the body in the varying light you can still see the dull patches . They vary in size up to your 5c piece size. I am not sure anyone is knowledgeable enough here in Oz to totally fix them.
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