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Darkening A Finish On 1994 Thumb

Discussion in 'Bass Guitars' started by Wordsalad, Apr 4, 2021.

  1. Wordsalad

    Wordsalad

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    Hey all,

    I just got the fretless 5thru Thumb I've looking for for ages - and I love it!

    Great condition, plays amazing and sounds the dogs pods (it even has LEDS on the board). The only thing.. if I was to be super picky [and I realise I am here.. sorry!] is the Bubinga body. It has no figuring, quite plain and the wood is a light orange.

    Now I have seen quite a few Bubinga body's on similar and later models that all seem to be much darker (I know this can be subjective and also effected by how a picture is taken/ light levels etc).

    My question is, save stripping and using a wood dye to darken, does anyone here have experience of naturally darkening or speeding up the darkening of Bubinga?

    Will it bleach or darken in natural sunlight?

    Will waxing over a period of years/ decades darken the finish?

    I'd be interested to know if there's anything I can do, so any tips would be ace.

    Skål!
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2021
  2. Hoggles

    Hoggles Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Congrats on finding the Thumb you’ve been looking for @Wordsalad :D

    As for darkening a piece of wood that presumably should have been regularly waxed over the last 27 years... I’m not sure there’s any way it’s going to noticeably change color even if you started waxing it more often than needed.

    If you can’t live with it, I don’t know of any way to darken it aside from doing what you mentioned with stain. That gets me thinking, that maybe even that might be problematic. Wood that’s had wax/oil seep into it for that long, might not sand down “fully” enough to accept stain the way it should normally. If that makes sense.

    Just my 2 bits :)
     
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  3. Hardy

    Hardy Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Where is the pic? ;)
     
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  4. Wordsalad

    Wordsalad

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    Thanks Hoggles,

    I appreciate your input. There is a lot of conflicting info online. I went to a couple of woodworking forms and they seemed to indicate that Bubinga actually darkened in sunlight. Crazy. But i'm sure this is dependant of finish and enviroment. The bass itself (I'm told by the previous owner) has pretty much sat in case unused, so maybe it being locked away from natural light for long periods can account for the freshness of the wood colour(?).

    I have a 90s Corvette with tobacco finish that started out a light mocha colour and I swear this bass' has just gotten darker over the years.. and I love it. The guitarist in the band would often chuckle when I use it live as it is just black on black (fretless ebony fretboard, wenge neck, black tapewounds all darkwood/ black hardware, nut covered by black fluffy). It can be hard to decern in dark environs and, at first, I did loose my bearing on the board a few times. Bonus being it has definatly forced me to train my ears and rely less on my eyes. That bass is like Disaster Areas ship, I swear!

    Regarding sanding, I see what your saying and I don't think I would want to cut anything back.

    I would be interested to hear though if Bubinga does darken in natural light or or by other less destructive means?
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2021
  5. Wordsalad

    Wordsalad

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    Yes Hardy!

    I will get some good pics together for show and tell

    I just ordered a set of La Bella black tapes for her, so she will soon be looking and sounding her best!
     
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  6. Nachobassman

    Nachobassman Bass, Tapas, and Rn´R!

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    You know the rules: No pics = Bass is only a figment of your imagination. :)
     
  7. BrusselsBass

    BrusselsBass Supporting Member

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    There are bubinga thumbs with more (pommele/swirl) and some with lesser figuring. As for the darkening, I don't think the wood changes much after 30-40 years. Mine has quite a bit of orange shining through.
    I wouldn't tinker with the wood, unless it's a massive beer or something else stain on a natural maple body.
    The wood will appreciate some waxing or treatment with teak oil !
     
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  8. BrusselsBass

    BrusselsBass Supporting Member

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    That's rules #1 here in the forum (after being polite, politically correct, inclusive .....): the more pics you upload, the more friends you'll make here ;)
     
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  9. Wordsalad

    Wordsalad

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    Yes, I think I may have one of the less figured examples, but lovley all the same.

    I probably will leave well alone and maybe rely more on playing her and less on looks, ha!

    I know what your saying about the bass forum rules too. .

    I will do photo line-up this week!
     
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  10. BrusselsBass

    BrusselsBass Supporting Member

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    I posted this already, but to show you that bubinga is not really dark and there's quite a bit of orange in the wood colouring
    20201208_122354.jpg
     
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  11. Hardy

    Hardy Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Here is mine. Ok, this one is really dark. It’s from 1990.

    7CCC675A-B96C-4804-8C2D-EA59E4DAEBF0.jpeg

    And this one is available at Reverb, it’s from 2002. It looks very different but it’s awesome the same way!

    A0C12481-B11B-4674-BB92-FEED164D388B.jpeg
     
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  12. Nachobassman

    Nachobassman Bass, Tapas, and Rn´R!

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    Sometimes people forget wood is not a perfect, synthetic, human-made material. Wood comes from living beings, it grows from ADN instructions inside trees' cells and, just like human beings, there are no two identical trees from the same species, they vary in colour tonalities and grain patterns. And I personally love that.

    Basses are trees that sing. :)
     
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  13. Wordsalad

    Wordsalad

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    Well if nothing else, the query has allowed me a good dose of the eyecandy. There are some beautiful examples here!!!

    Maybe mine, she is not so different after all.

    I love the figuring on yours too, Brusselsbass. Nice.
     

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  14. BrusselsBass

    BrusselsBass Supporting Member

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    Very nice. If you don't like the colour or the wood on yours - send her to Brussels (for further inspection) :D
     
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  15. Toepfer

    Toepfer Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Bubinga is a hard wood to dye. It is very dense and the colour doesn't really soak in. But it's possible.
    I did some tests with different dyes, when I redid the Frankenthumb. I will look in my woodstash, to see if I still got some of my sample peaces.
     
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  16. Toepfer

    Toepfer Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Found it
    Bubinga.jpg
    Natural

    Bubinga black.jpg
    Black (Crimson Guitars Stain)

    Black to blue fade.jpg
    Blue Ink (upper half) and then blck stain on top.
     
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  17. Toepfer

    Toepfer Good Vibe Sponsor

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    I have way more stains now (amber, brown, black, blues, greens, reds, yellow and so on) - if you want me to do another test, just say so.
    It is very easy to sand the stains out again.
     
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  18. Hoggles

    Hoggles Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    @Wordsalad That is a lovely Thumb. Doesn’t seem abnormally light on color at all. If me...would not touch. As mentioned, Bubinga naturally has a range of color...with orange being the dominant hue “almost” always. I don’t see anything out of the ordinary with yours. It’s an original factory beauty.

    These 3 are quite different... yet all the same :) If you were to take a survey of non Warwick freaks, you’d be hard pressed to find someone saying these are all the same wood.
    54FE8765-E26F-44B9-AE81-7E82C89F237A.jpeg
     
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  19. BrusselsBass

    BrusselsBass Supporting Member

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    NO GOLD HARDWARE ?? :D:rolleyes:
     
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  20. Hoggles

    Hoggles Supporting Member Good Vibe Sponsor

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    Out of respect for @Nachobassman

    :D
     
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