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Cleaning Headstock Vintage Decal

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by Special Brew, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. Special Brew

    Special Brew Tele-Meister

    409
    May 1, 2014
    Gutter
    I have just acquired a dirty vintage neck and was wondering if anyone knew of a good way to remove filth without removing the headstock decal as well. As I understand it the decals were applied after finishing so in theory even water could lift it up. If that is correct, I am surprised there are still so many guitars with intact decals. There must be a way.
     

  2. johnboy99

    johnboy99 Tele-Meister

    177
    Jun 7, 2012
    florida
    Not sure of a safe cleaning method, but can you post some pics so we can see what you have?
     

  3. Bluebird

    Bluebird TDPRI Member

    58
    Jun 12, 2003
    Canada
    Use some good product made for lacquer finishes. Something like Virtuoso or Gibson restoration polish.

    It'll clean things up but go carefully especially if the decal is a little flakey.
     

  4. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Holic

    741
    Feb 10, 2010
    Low Lands
    Never try to clean pre cbs transition logo's. The gold wipes off very easily.
     

  5. fernieite

    fernieite Tele-Meister

    268
    Mar 24, 2003
    (Age 55) Toronto
    This!

    I wouldn't risk cleaning the decal personally.

    You could get close and precise using q-tips lightly dampened with lighter fluid.

    Naphha (lighter fluid) is safe on lacquer. But don't touch the decal!

    I like to use a cotton rag with naphtha to get gunk off guitars, and then finish with Virtuoso cleaner.

    I wouldn't use the Virtuoso polish imo - It looks too shiny.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018

  6. derekwarner

    derekwarner TDPRI Member

    Age:
    68
    12
    Dec 25, 2015
    Australia
    P1160162.JPG Naturally remove the strings........any natural liquid wood rejuvenating type cleaning product [without hydrocarbon spray carriers] ...will soften and lift any grime and by my experience, without damaging the Fender -Telecaster logo

    My '71 Tele headstock has been mechanically damaged by impact, however the headstock face is literally unmarked after 47 years ............. Derek
     

  7. fernieite

    fernieite Tele-Meister

    268
    Mar 24, 2003
    (Age 55) Toronto
    What year did Fender stop applying the decals over the finish - 1968?

    Any decal after 1968 (?) would be protected by the finish, correct? Should be safe to clean those decals, I'd imagine. :)
     
    t guitar floyd likes this.

  8. Special Brew

    Special Brew Tele-Meister

    409
    May 1, 2014
    Gutter
    It is a Mustang though . . . hopefully you are not too disappointed.

    That had already happened before I got it I am afraid.

    Thanks, that is exactly what I did. The above photo is after the cleaning. The dirt actually came off really easily, I was super careful around the decal and it went fine. The decal is half gone as it is, I really didn't want to rush in and wipe it off completely. Thanks for the advice.
     
    Twisted Kerle likes this.

  9. PJ55

    PJ55 Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 27, 2003
    Philadelphia, PA
    On the '70s era Teles, the decals were placed on a poly surface and over-sprayed with lacquer. They tend to bleed-up to the surface over time. I had mine resprayed with lacquer when it was refretted. Otherwise, they will begin to wear. So, I'd wipe it with some polish for a quick clean-up, but I wouldn't recommend using anything abrasive on it.
    Just my $.02.
     

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