Rickenbacker International Corporation - Forum

Sticky/gummy paint
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Author:  fenderslash [ Sat Jun 14, 2014 6:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Sticky/gummy paint

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.

Author:  ggoat!!! [ Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sticky/gummy paint

I had the exact same thing happen to me on a 1999 Curly Maple Fireglo 4003. I posted extensively about it on another forum, and was basically attacked...told I must be lying, it must be something I did, I must have wiped the bass with something, etc. The thread ended up getting locked, with no real help from anyone. I was quite surprised how I was attacked for being a traitor for bringing up the problem.

http://www.rickresource.com/forum/viewt ... 2&t=403183

In all honesty, the bass spent its life almost entirely in its case because of its beauty and rarity. I have 26 Ricks now, and some of them were never removed from their cases for years. I, like you, have several rare COY instruments but they were purchased years after the curly 1999 4003, so they didn't remain in their cases as long. Anyhoo, to make a long story short, the culprit seems to be the plastic cases. They gas over time, and if you NEVER open them for years like me, the gassing of the case itself softens the paint. Overall three of mine were affected to a significant degree. In addition to the 1999 curly fireglo a 1998 Jetflo was also sticky, but its original paintjob was applied so horribly that I never really cared for it or used it, so it stayed in its case not because of any amazing quality, but just because it was kinda "meh." But, I also left most of my instruments not only in their cases but also in their cardboard shipping boxes. So, not only could they not breathe (since I hadn't opened their cases in years), they were in effect SUPER sealed by being in their cardboard cases (although they weren't taped shut). It's a good thing I opened up the older ones from time to time, but that damn beautiful curly 1999 was opened maybe once or twice in several years.

I tried every different type of polish and/or compound I could to get rid of the stickiness, and nothing worked including Zymol. So, I left it out sitting in the living room for almost 2 years. It got dusty, but the finish DID harden back probably to about 80%, and it IS able to be polished now; at first while it was sticky it stayed kind of a splotchy matte finish. Although it is able to be polished now, it is super easy to put a fingernail in it...but it's not nearly sticky like it was. Sadly, I know of no other way to fix it perfectly except to have it refinished, which I plan to do one day. But, as it is now, it's much, much, much better than when I found it sticky in 2011.

The first thing I would do would be to get them out of the plastic cases. All of the Ricks that I have had in Fender-style wood/tolex cases have NEVER showed any signs of this phenomenon, including all of mine that originally came with the silver vintage wood case. NONE. Thankfully I never had many of those plastic SKB cases; the ones that the sticky basses were in had the blue plush lining, not that it makes any difference. If you keep them in the plastic cases, air them out OFTEN...this SHOULD help, but I'd stay safe and just keep them in old style cases.

Hope this helps!

Author:  JohnHall [ Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sticky/gummy paint

The cases have nothing to do with the problem described.

A plasticized finish come only from chemical exposure. Most often the culprit is chlorine, from use of improper cleaning compounds to storage in an area where pool acid or PVC articles are stored. The other common cause is the owners use of soaps or hand sanitizers containing triclosan (although this is now less of a factor as many areas have banned it). Sometimes it comes from extra foam padding placed in the case by the owner or a guitar strap with foam or vinyl components.

Only one area has to come in contact; eventually the plasticizing will spread far and wide. There is nothing that will stop or harden this reaction.

As the owner's manual states "Protect your purchase from various chemicals such as household cleaners, especially chlorine. Many compounds found in rubber padding or packaging materials, plastic bags, imported guitar stands, hand soaps, lotions, sanitizers, etc., cause the finish to melt, dissolve, appear tacky, or color bleed."

Author:  fenderslash [ Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sticky/gummy paint

Thanks to both of you for all the info.

John, I really hope this doesn't come across in the wrong way, but perhaps my experience will add to your database of potential issues. The facts from my end are:

The guitars were purchased brand new from two different sources;
The guitars (except for the Desert Gold example) have all had extremely minimal playing time - maybe half hour or so, and that was when I first received them;
My hands were clean when I tested them, and these guitars were cleaned immediately with a Rickenbacker polishing cloth;
The Desert Gold 330 was used as my main gigging guitar in my weekend band for a couple of years or so, so it had plenty of playing time and "breathing" time at that stage of its life.
This particular guitar was cleaned in this manner the day after each gig: Clean the sweat/grime off with a damp soft cloth (water only, no chemicals); dry off any dampness on the guitar with another dry soft cloth; final polish with a Ric polishing cloth;
The Dessert Gold guitar only developed the finish problem after I had "retired" it and it had then been in storage for a few years in its original Ric case and carton.

So in effect none had been in contact with any chemicals apart from whatever is in the Ric cloth, which I'm sure would be 100% safe. Also my other unaffected guitars have been cleaned in the same manner as the Desert Gold one each time they had been played.

I guess all I can really do at this stage is to take the affected ones out of their cases and leave them in the open air and hope that the finish starts to harden again as the months/years go by.

Author:  Clifton [ Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sticky/gummy paint

Just saw this post. I have a similar problem with my 2006 AFG 620. Interestingly, it too has a plastic SKB case. I personally don't think it's a problem of chemical exposure, as Mr. Hall has suggested. I have other Ricks; none of them have the sticky/cloudy finish. I treat all of my guitars very carefully, and I don't have a swimming pool! So exposure to chlorine is unlikely. Here's my recent thread, btw: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=15875

I think that I'll either have to sell the 620, or disassemble it and sell the parts, since Rickenbacker seems reluctant to admit that the problems with the finish could be on their end.

Author:  JohnHall [ Sun Sep 07, 2014 9:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sticky/gummy paint

Clifton wrote:
I personally don't think it's a problem of chemical exposure, as Mr. Hall has suggested. I have other Ricks; none of them have the sticky/cloudy finish. I treat all of my guitars very carefully, and I don't have a swimming pool!

Different years have different combinations of finish and possible levels of reactivity, making it difficult to make these comparisons in different eras.

You don't use any bleach or scouring powders in your house? No anti-bacterial soaps? Such a home is hard to find these days.

Any road up, duck; you might try some limited exposure to direct sunlight. Certain combinations of finish will harden with several days of UV exposure.

Author:  Clifton [ Sun Sep 07, 2014 7:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sticky/gummy paint

Thanks, Mr. Hall! It's certainly worth a try! I appreciate the reply.

Author:  jayt [ Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sticky/gummy paint

Another 'sticky' 2007 here (325C64). Not just the neck or contact areas - this is the whole finish. Anything that touches it leaves a mark and the entire finish is haze. Has been since 2008. It is not uncommon to find a lot of talk of bad finishes from that time period. I will try the 'direct sunlight' to see if that hardens it up.

Author:  SodBuster [ Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Sticky/gummy paint

same here 06 360 almost never played, pristine case queen never been waxed, polished or anything. discovered the paint had gone sticky and gummy. my other Rick basically treated the same way is still fine.. very upsetting bought both guitars brand new still in sealed factory shipping boxes..

Author:  SodBuster [ Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Sticky/gummy paint

Just noticed my other Rick an 09 620 is also getting sticky.. leads me to wonder (given the geographic locations of guitars with this problem) if warm humid conditions are affecting guitars left in cases for a long period of time.. I have also noticed that my 360 is getting much better since I hung it on the wall 3 months ago.

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