#1
I've just started buying parts to build a couple of Basses - one P-Bass, and one Musicman clone, and am considering building a Telecaster afterwards if the Basses come out Ok. I was only planning to build one at a time but they and the Musicman neck were all selling for a good price so I grabbed them. The P-Bass looks good and I've decided to keep the finish that it already has. The Musicman body is currently quite a bright shade of Sunburst but it's pretty scuffed and scratched and I'd like to refinish it.

The body is made from poplar which looks (through the current finish at least) like it has quite a nice grain to it. The neck and fretboard are both lightly-stained and finished maple. I'm debating currently between translucent red, amber, yellow, dodger blue and purple, maybe with a bit of a burst around the edge. I also considered all-black, but I think that would look better with a darker fretboard and refinishing necks is meant to be awkward.

I'm still trying to decide which color(s) to use, but I'd like to stain the wood and then clear-coat it. I've been doing some research and have seen conflicting information on how to go about it. Is it best to stain first and then lacquer, or stain over a couple of layers of lacquer with a few more coats of lacquer over the top of that? And is oil-based or water-based stain better? I know water-based raises the grain, but that can be sanded down. I know I can bring out the grain by using a black stain first and then sanding it back down, but I have no idea if it's meant to raise it in a water-based way or if it just tints it.

Thanks in advance.
Quote by FatalGear41
Bassists don't hover on the forum day and night like guitarists. We've got lives to lead, music to play and whiskey to drink.

Quote by Ziphoblat
I'd rather go at my hands with a hacksaw than play lead guitar, and I'm only slightly exaggerating.
Last edited by GAPendragon at Sep 15, 2011,
#2
I'd stain first. Sand down all of the finish thats on there and then go for it. The factory would have sealed the wood beforehand.
#3
Wouldn't the sealing layer come off with the finish? It'd save time and money if it didn't but if I'm sanding it down wouldn't it sand off everything?
Quote by FatalGear41
Bassists don't hover on the forum day and night like guitarists. We've got lives to lead, music to play and whiskey to drink.

Quote by Ziphoblat
I'd rather go at my hands with a hacksaw than play lead guitar, and I'm only slightly exaggerating.
#4
the sealing layer will be under the finish. its not like the finish is going to just lift off, youll have to sand it and it will be like sanding through layers (thats what youre doing, after all!)

youll know the sealer because it will probably have a yellowish clearish tint to it on top of the wood.
if you dont get it all off, your stain will look like butt and wont soak in. you want to stain or dye the wood while its bare, then clear over it.
if youre going natural, then stain will do. if you want a color, you can use leather dye (brand i used is Fiebings), its on ebay and is cheap. one bottle will last a longggg time too.
you should be able to tell if theres sealer still on the wood though. basically youll sand through black or whatever color, and instead of seeing bare wood, it will look like someone spilled yogurt on it or something.. =p
#5
So I need to remove and reapply it then? Or do I not need it? A load of sites I've seen have said use sanding sealer and some kind of conditioner first, others have just said just use conditioner or the stain will be blotchy and haven't mentioned sanding sealer, and others have said just stick the stain straight on. Does anybody know if Poplar is open or close grained, btw?
Quote by FatalGear41
Bassists don't hover on the forum day and night like guitarists. We've got lives to lead, music to play and whiskey to drink.

Quote by Ziphoblat
I'd rather go at my hands with a hacksaw than play lead guitar, and I'm only slightly exaggerating.
#6
Quote by GAPendragon
So I need to remove and reapply it then? Or do I not need it? A load of sites I've seen have said use sanding sealer and some kind of conditioner first, others have just said just use conditioner or the stain will be blotchy and haven't mentioned sanding sealer, and others have said just stick the stain straight on. Does anybody know if Poplar is open or close grained, btw?
Poplar is closed grain and due to its green/gray color, is usually finished with a solid/opaque color.

Chances are, it has sanding sealer, which means, you'll have to sand down to bare wood, if you plan to do some kind of transparent finish. I haven't used the conditioner most sites mention, but only because I've had success with the water-based aniline dyes - check out LMII.