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Thread: Guitar sticker removal

  1. #1
    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Guitar sticker removal

    My grandson saved up and purchased a late 90s non-reverse Custom Shop Gibson Firebird.
    It is a navy blue model and looks like this one.
    https://images.reverb.com/image/uplo...bs1pi88l5d.jpg
    It has the Remains of a large Rolling Stones Glitter Tongue Sticker on lower body.
    What would be the safest way to remove the sticker.
    I don't have the guitar.
    I'm relaying the info to my Son and GS.
    Thanks in advance!
    T

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    Terry

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    I've used WD-40 in the past and it's worked well.

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    Naptha is what I'd try first. I believe that's what they use at Gibson to remove tape residue. Ronsonol lighter fluid is a good substitute if you can't find Naptha. I don't believe it damages lacquer, but always test in a hidden area such as the back plate countersink to be extra safe.

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Edit: the following was true before 2010 but no longer. See post #9.

    Not just a substitute, Ronsonol IS naptha. Easy to find at many groceries, tobacconists, maybe even some hardware stores. Thanks for reminding me, I should stock up.

    The odor will remind you of Grandpa's Zippo cigarette lighter. Ah the good ol' days.

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    Last edited by Leo_Gnardo; 05-03-2018 at 03:40 PM.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    The ultimate adhesive remover is ethyl acetate. Not very easy to find, the hardware stores don't stock it, but even a hardware store like Menards or HD or Lowes will have naptha in quart and gallon cans.

    It would really help to know what kind of finish that guitar has. Naptha is 100% safe on most finishes, including nitro lacquer. EtOAc might be more risky. test to be sure.

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    Old Timer Tom Phillips's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    ...but even a hardware store like Menards or HD or Lowes will have naptha in quart and gallon cans...
    But apparently not in California. Last time I looked I could buy something called "Napthalene" but upon reading the label it had many non naptha ingredients.

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Napthalene isn't close to being Naptha, even though the names sound kind of the same. Napthalene is a solid aromatic compound, the active ingredient in mothballs. Naptha is an aliphatic/non-aromatic liquid that's composed of low molecular weight hydrocarbons. It's a generic term that can include things like Kerosene, white gas, or Coleman fuel, etc.

    Did Prop 65 make it impossible to buy everything that's ever been known to cause cancer?

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    Did Prop 65 make it impossible to buy everything that's ever been known to cause cancer?
    Like bottled water and oxygen?

    Justin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    Not just a substitute, Ronsonol IS naptha.
    Sadly, no longer.

    https://umgf.com/ronsonol-lighter-fl...e-t136591.html
    ...Ronson was acquired by Zippo in 2010, and apparently the Ronsonol bottles are now filled with the original Zippo formula; in other words it's Zippo Lighter Fluid in disguise. And although I can't find a pre-2010 Ronsonol MSDS for comparison, I did discover that the new Ronsonol and Zippo lighter fluids are indeed the same, only the name is different. When I queried Zippo, this is the response I just received: Thank you for your email. The Ronsonol fluid no longer contains naphtha. In response to the usage of this fluid for cleaning your guitars, I apologize that I am not able to offer direction to you on this matter. This product is manufactured for the use in liquid-fueled lighters. The attached MSDS sheet should be of help to you.

    Drats,
    -rb

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    Old Timer tedmich's Avatar
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    Goo gone (limonene 1-5%) softens most adhesives, pure limonene works better and is used to de-grease silicone wafers (available on Amazon).
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SRTBMVC...ding=UTF8&th=1

    It will solubilize most adhesives, but test on finish first (as always!)

    Non-acetone nail polish remover is mostly ethyl acetate and ethanol.

    Subtle heating (like with heating pad on LOW) can soften many old stickers enough to remove, taking care not to lift finish!

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    On instruments where I'm not sure about the finish I remove the scratchplate or one of the control covers and do a test. A warm guitar makes a big difference and I leave the instrument overnight in a heated room. Artificially heating needs caution as the finish is likely to expand at a different rate to the body so this needs to be controlled to prevent cracking. I've not found any damage to finishes with the new formulations of lighter fluid - even the budget stuff. Patience and fingernails usually pays off. The most annoying thing is if the paint has discoloured over time, leaving the original protected colour underneath the sticker.

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjb View Post
    The Ronsonol fluid no longer contains naphtha.
    AKKK! Drat indeed, once again one of our trusted products has been subverted. It's been a long long time since I bought a tin of Ronsonol, likely in the last millenium. If there's any left in there, it must be naptha. Thanks for the headsup! I'll have to find another source, maybe Home Despot, for the "real thing." Problem is, even the smallest can will be 100X more than I would need for a lifetime supply.

    I expect the current Ronson/Zippo fluid would still be a terrific solvent though. Just don't expect it to have the qualities of naptha we expect. As far as removing sticker goop it might be a good solution. Same cautions hold: try it first in on the finish in a hidden area. And of course use with caution, don't have any open flames or sources of ignition close by.

    Hmm, now what about kerosene?

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  13. #13
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Mick gives smart advice about thermal stress being bad for guitar finishes. Finish checking is a real problem. There are lots of expensive guitars that ended up looking like this when they were warmed too quickly:



    The best way to avoid finish checking is to not expose the guitar to abrupt temperature changes. It's the reason that most people will leave a guitar unopened in it's case or shipping box overnight when it's brought inside from the cold. A finish is least likely to check when it's subjected to a gradual temperature change.

    I don't like the idea of a heat pad. Even if you're careful, thermal stress is dangerous. My personal approach would be to use a polar organic solvent. After confirming that it will not react with the finish, I'd manually lift a corner of the sticker. Then I'd use a Q-tip to apply small amounts of solvent along the lifted edge to assist in de-adhesion.

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    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Bailey View Post
    The most annoying thing is if the paint has discoloured over time, leaving the original protected colour underneath the sticker.
    Simple solution: Cover the unfaded area with a new sticker!

    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    Finish checking is a real problem. There are lots of expensive guitars that ended up looking like this when they were warmed too quickly:
    Bad example. IMHO, that particular guitar looks really cool!

    -rb

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    The sticker got removed yesterday.
    WD40, and lots of rubbing.
    Lots of glitter residue.
    I was told, that if you look real close, you can tell the sticker was there.
    Thanks for all the suggestions.
    T

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    Last edited by big_teee; 05-04-2018 at 05:51 AM.
    “When you find yourself in a hole, quit digging.” WILL ROGERS

    Keep Rockin! B_T
    Terry

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