Using Scratch remover on a Gibson Custom Shop guitar

Today this beautiful CS 356  arrived.

It was a little grubby, but after cleaning with Gerlitz Smudge Off – it soon became apparent that there were a few light “scratches” in the surface.

  • I define a Scratch as being a mark in the surface of the lacquer that cannot be removed by the “Hot breath and a Hanky” approach.  The mark may not necessarily be able to be felt with a fingernail, but does not clean off under normal  cleaning/wiping down.  Such a mark could be caused by – say – plectrums (the most common), a stray high E string during a string change, a piece of wire embedded in a polishing cloth, the marks caused by not using a “lint free” cloth for polishing etc.  

Using the Eternashine #2 (Blue) treatment, I cleaned over the full body surface for about for what seemed like 2 or 3 minutes, but was probably much less.  This removed things like pick marks and previous marks from cleaning.

I then noticed a couple of more troublesome dinks or dents….

  • I define dinks/dents as indentations in the lacquer that can be felt with a fingernail, but have not broken or chipped the lacquer, typically these marks are made due to bumps with sharp objects like jack plug tips and screwdrivers.

I applied a generous pea sized blob of Eternashine #2 compound directly onto an Eternashine Microfiber towel, with the towel pulled taught over index and middle finger I applied pressure as I rubbed vigorously in a circular manner, about 2-3 inches in diameter, over the “dink” for about 1-2 minutes.

  • Please note – the product is a “tool” not a “lotion.”  It doesn’t chemically alter the lacquer, and therefore does require some physical effort to work.  Those complaints that I do get (and they are few) are usually by people who “Wipe on – Wipe off” expecting something magic to happen!

Turn the towel and buff – then examine.

After the first application the edges of the dink had begun to soften.  After another application the dink was much less noticeable, and a third application had almost fully removed the dink.

At this point I felt that the marks was sufficiently reduced and stopped.  I then cleaned off any remaining product with Gerlitz Smudge Off, and protected the surface with Nº1 Carnauba Wax.

Please remember:

  • Scratch remover will NOT replace missing material – so if the “dink” is deep the best you can hope for is that you can minimise it.
  • Scratch remover will NOT repair chips in lacquer.
    • I define a “chip” as a dink/dent that has gone deep, where the lacquer has been removed and the bare wood is exposed. caused by dropping sharp items onto a guitar, dropping the guitar, banging the guitar into your amp, using the guitar to “pole-axe” a drunken punter at the gig at the local.
  • If the lacquer is thin – you might wear right through – so some element of common sense and judgement is needed.
  • If you rub in too localised a manner you WILL remove the surface unless you’re very careful.
  • If you try and use a polishing tool or a Dremel hobby tool to polish, you WILL damage the surface whether you use the scratch remover or not!
  • If you try and use a the product and rub for more than a few minutes, you WILL damage the surface whether you use the scratch remover or not!

Good judgement and common sense are paramount.  If you’re in any doubt of your ability to judge when to stop, let someone else (a luthier) do the job.

The visit to the luthier – whilst expensive – will cost you much less than repairing/replacing a badly damaged guitar caused by the misuse of the product!


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