Getting rid of a smoke smell on a guitar...

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by guitarplayaman, Jan 15, 2008.


  1. guitarplayaman

    guitarplayaman Member

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    I'm not one of those cig-a-phobes. I don't mind smokey bars...not real picky about hotel rooms. But I bought a Les Paul off of Craigslist....and it reeks of cheap cigarettes...kinda like it was hangin on the wall in the guys smoke room. Not a barroom smell just a permeating stink...so much so it will make your hands stink and clothes if ya play it long.

    I've cleaned it polished etc...is there anything I can do to make it unstinky? :puh
     
  2. clothwiring

    clothwiring Supporting Member

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    Hang it on the wall or outside and just let it air out, Clean the insides too (without hurting the electronics) as smoke will collect in there as well.
     
  3. crosse79

    crosse79 Member

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    I would like to know how to do this too!
     
  4. clothwiring

    clothwiring Supporting Member

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    Also make sure the case is clean...let that air out as well.
     
  5. SW33THAND5

    SW33THAND5 Member

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  6. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    You'll have to be careful with whatever you clean with because a Les Paul is not only lacquer but possible soft and gummy in some places.
     
  7. ARch

    ARch Member

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    Yeah I agree - let it air out, and I also put a Bounce dryer sheet in the accessory compartment of the case for a little bit.
     
  8. DavidH

    DavidH Supporting Member

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    Let it air,seems all you can do.Put some coal or charcoal in the case(or something else that absorbs odour).

    Or just take up smoking,then you won't smell it.
     
  9. guitarplayaman

    guitarplayaman Member

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    Thanks for the help guys...I've aired it out...doesn't seem to help. I even took it down and played it in the club the other night in hopes that some sweat and beer....would help.

    I don't mind the smoke smell but it's like the guy was smoking cheap cigarettes...not a good smell.
     
  10. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    You could try rotten stone, then polish it out. Gurian Guitar cleaner has rotten stone in it. Other than that, warm soapy water and dry it off right away.

    Good Luck, that sucks. My ES-335 case still slightly smells like smoke from gigging in England .... in '89.

    Dana O.
     
  11. ecbluesman54

    ecbluesman54 Member

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    The only thing that worked on a guitar I bought used was regular cleanings with a specialized guitar cleaner (Dunlop, Fender, etc), as well as a new case. For amps I had some luck with a light mist of Windex and cleaning with paper towels. The ammonia helps clean it off.
    Good Luck!
     
  12. wgs1230

    wgs1230 Fully Intonatable Silver Supporting Member

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    1. If the odor is in the case, the suggestions of a "refrigerator" box of baking soda in the body cavity & a drier sheet in the pocket are good.

    2. During the next string change, hit the entire body with standard Dunlop or Martin polish.

    3. The fretboard is a 2-step process: first, apply lighter fluid (Ronsonol will do) with a clean paper towel to lift tar & detritus off the wood. Keep it away from the nitro, as it can cause clouding. Then, using cotton swabs, apply a trace amount of a true oil (no petroleum) of lemon or, if you can find it, rosewood as a lubricant.

    4. If there's evidence of tar on/around the bridge saddles, hit them with a few drops of 3-in-1 oil. Also, you can apply rubbing alcohol to removable metal parts, that usually lifts residue away without much elbow grease. Just make sure the alcohol has been removed before putting anything back in contact with the nitro.
     
  13. ojo1138

    ojo1138 Member

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    Not sure about a guitar, but a tech told me to put some lavender into a case and let it sit awhile. That would take out some of the cigarette smell. I never got around to it, but I opened the case last week and noticed that the smell has gone on its own. I haven't used the case in months, and have left it closed.
     
  14. PaddyBrumson

    PaddyBrumson Member

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    Bought a used Fender '72 Thinline RI online that had the same problem which was worse because of the unfinished wood in the cut-out area under the f-hole. Long story short, after taking it apart trying everything mentioned here including packing ALL spaces with baking soda, I gave up and traded it at a store for a loss. Just couldn't stand to play it.
     
  15. adamg

    adamg Member

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    Which can be rented from a number of places listed on the net.

    This is what hotels, etc. use.

    Regards,

    Adam
     
  16. jeffwith1f

    jeffwith1f Member

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    c'mon...is it really rock and roll without cheap cigarettes?
     
  17. Randaddy

    Randaddy Member

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    I just bought a used 2003 Les Paul Melody Maker with the "Faded Yellow" finish and it has the same problem. It's not too bad, but bad enough to get on my clothes and hands when I play it. Good luck to you... it really is a little annoying.
     
  18. rallygsc

    rallygsc Member

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    I had the same problem with a heritage les paul I purchased, it stunk of cheapo cigarrettes, so what I did was cleaned the entire guitar, including the cavities, then I put it in the case with 2 stick up air fresheners, it worked, it smelled like rain forest for a month, but after that, nadda.

    just a thought
     
  19. KCWM

    KCWM Member

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    I had that issue with a strat I bought. I have nothing against smokers, but as a non-smoker, it's a very, very clear smell...even if it's a weak smell.

    I put the guitar in the case with a dryer sheet ripped in half and placed in opposite ends of the case. I left the guitar in the case for 3 days and it was great after that. I eventually moved the guitar and kept the case and the case has no trace of the smoke smell. In fact, when I put other guitars in that case, they come out smelling dryer sheet fresh.
     
  20. steve_chiro

    steve_chiro Member

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    I bought a Jazzmaster that smells like petrol. Not sure why. This works well for smoke:

    After airing out everything as best as you can, try putting the guitar in a large plastic bag along with three or four opened boxes of sodium bicarbonate (Arm and Hammer or something similar) and close the bag. Leave the whole thing like that for a few days. The powder should have absorbed some of the odor at least.

    For the case, I put a few newspapers at the bottom of the empty case and put some sodium bicarbonate right on the newspaper. Closed the case and waited for a week. It really helped.

    Good luck
     

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