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Thread: What would you do? Bassman painted black...

  1. #1
    Stray Cap DrGonz78's Avatar
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    What would you do? Bassman painted black...

    So I got this 1962 Fender Bassman on the bench to get it all up and running great. Taking a look at the inside of the amp the only components changed are two screen resistors and everything is all original. On the outside cab it's another story altogether. Apparently people thought it was a good idea to spray paint the blonde tolex to black. So I have a few ideas on which way to go but none of them involve re-tolexing the head cab. So I could do nothing and leave it alone. I could get the cab to be a better black again and make it look like it is really black tolex. Or I could consider options on how to remove the black paint and bring back the original blonde look. Has anyone here successfully removed black spray paint on a blonde tolex cabinet before? The option to remove the paint seems like the least likely option honestly, but I would love to hear everyone's opinion on the matter.

    I attached some pics of the outside of the amp. Of course the knobs have been replaced and I will put some of the cream one's back in place.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails img_0608.jpg   img_0591.jpg  
    When the going gets weird... The weird turn pro!

  2. #2
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    Sell to colourblind guitarist.
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  3. #3
    Old Timer
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    I would clean it, but not necessarily scrub it, until I had the time & money to get it professionally done. Which likely means never...

    Otherwise, I'd hope Chuck H sees this post...

    Justin
    "Are you practicing in the lobby of the municipal library? It's still a guitar amp and it SHOULD make some noise (!!!)" - Chuck H. -
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

  4. #4
    Old Timer Tom Phillips's Avatar
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    I have been successful removing paint from tolex using Goof Off heavy duty spot remover and degreaser. However, it depends on the type of paint that was used so the first thing I would do is a test spot on the bottom of the cabinet.
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  5. #5
    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    You can´t, even less on such old and degraded Tolex which will hold fine if unmolested, but Plastics in general and WAY more ultraflexible vinyl became so by generously doping it with plasticizers, oily substances added to the plastic mix when molten which allow molecules to "slide" against each other, enhancing flexibility.

    But such plasticizers evaporate/oxidate/get cracked by UV (all 3 effects at the same time ) , which is easily visible on old car cracking and crumbling seat Tolex/Vynil.

    Amp/cabinets do not *show* it to such a degree simply because Tolex is glued to a rigid backing so no flexing, but degrading still happens.

    If anything, this amp might be in better "chemical" condition because black paint on it might have both kept some oxygen away and stopped UV, go figure.

    Even if you happened to remove 95% of black paint, same solvents used to soften and wipe it away will cause at least some to migrate into blonde tolex plastic layer and colour it, you´ll probably end with ugly splotches here and there.
    If it were the opposite way, trying go get black back (suppose earlier owner sprayed it bright pink fluo or whatever) is way easier , since "black is black" , hues hardly apply to it.

    Personally I see 2 options:

    1) leave as is, and if owner finds it very important, or his friends ask or he wants to sell it, he can be candid and frank about it and if/when asked he can plainly state: " this IS a Blonde Bassman,;some early Rocker, think around 1965, envied his friends´fancy new Black Fenders and he painted his to match, it has been unmolested since, I will definitely not touch that and in fact it´s the most f*ck*ng original ´62 amplifier I ever saw"

    2) if visuals are important (say owner plays in a Rockabilly or Country band or whatever and *all* other band members use period correct Blondes, his being the Black Sheep in that flock) then he may Retolex and *age* it.

    FWIW soaking fresh Blonde Tolex with acetone or paint thinner , letting it absorb a little and then wiping out with crumbled newspaper will in 4 or 5 applications remove some plasticizer and leave surface rough and less flexible, then 1 year touring without a case or cover will look like 20 or more years on the road.

    Just you don´t get involved in this unforgiving and failure prone job, only what you do best: the Electronics/sound side.
    Leo_Gnardo likes this.
    Juan Manuel Fahey

  6. #6
    Supporting Member Jazz P Bass's Avatar
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    Hah!

    My brother painted his '63 Bassman black.

    I ended up with the amp and had it retolexed.
    Installed new cream knobs & a Logo.
    Happily, the oxblood front grill was unmolested.

    There are two different textures used on the Blonde's.
    A very coarse & a smoother 'coarse.

    A friend has a '62 & his is the smoother one.
    The '63 is coarser & there is no way you would get the paint out of the nooks & crannies.

    Interestingly, the '63 had the holes drilled for the T-bone handle but it has the single strap two holer.

  7. #7
    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post
    1) leave as is, and if owner finds it very important, or his friends ask or he wants to sell it, he can be candid and frank about it and if/when asked he can plainly state: " this IS a Blonde Bassman,;some early Rocker, think around 1965, envied his friends´fancy new Black Fenders and he painted his to match, it has been unmolested since, I will definitely not touch that and in fact it´s the most f*ck*ng original ´62 amplifier I ever saw"
    Some 25 years or so back I was tasked with repairing a similarly treated Bassman. Its owner, Larry Hoppen (Orleans) explained in late 60's it was common for owners of early 60's Fender amps and even tweeds to paint them black to have a newer-looking back line. Yes it was folly but . . . isn't that what the music biz is made of?

    I don't have any special solutions. Just the usual 3 and a half choices, leave alone or repaint(!), try some paint remover or similar, or re-tolex. Great amp though, no matter what the box looks like!
    Justin Thomas and eschertron like this.

  8. #8
    Stray Cap DrGonz78's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great responses everyone!! This pretty much settles it for me on the idea to even attempt to remove the paint in any hope for a blonde recovery. At this point I will probably leave it as is and only focus on the circuit restoration. Might go the route to repaint it better so the blonde within is not so obvious.
    J M Fahey likes this.
    When the going gets weird... The weird turn pro!

  9. #9
    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Oh ye ruly Colonists.
    Can´t even make decent Scotch, your Beer must be drunk very cold to hide the taste, and have no clue about paint cleaning so fumble about all day long with no clue.

    Please step aside and let the British Masters teach you how:

    Justin Thomas and Leo_Gnardo like this.
    Juan Manuel Fahey

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