Thoughts on cleaning the surface of Favino or other vintage Selmer style guitars


I was wondering if people have thoughts about how best to safely clean surface smudges or buildup of dust or grease from a vintage Favino guitar.

I don't want to undertake anything too ambitious or disrupt the integrity of the finish, just a typical routine cleanup as general maintenance. Thanks! DT


  • Posts: 7

    I know that nobody responded publicly, but I want to thank all of the enthusiastic backchannel messages. As a relative newcomer here, I'm glad this small corner of the community of the community is welcoming and inclusive! I'll take the suggestion from Nemo from Nulle Part, Wisconsin and use a belt sander and some Turtle Wax on this 72' Favino. It should also give it a harder protective layer if I want to leave it out in the rain! Thanks, dudes!

  • edited April 2022 Posts: 4,732

    Haha, I think it's a general lack of vintage Favino owners. There was a similar topic relating to vintage finishes in general, I'll dig it out if I can think of some key words, I just tried but I'm not seeing what I remembered.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Posts: 7

    Lol. I get it. Couldn’t help but have some fun with it! 🙏

  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira M & JWC D hole
    Posts: 921

    I suppose it depends on how the Favino has been finished, i.e. is it a varnish, a polyurethene, French polish or nitrocellulose. I think I read somewhere that if Favino received a guitar back for servicing he would often respray it - so that suggests it's not a French polish finish. Mind you I could be thinking of someone else. I tend to use some methylated spirits to clean off dirt and grunge from the fingerboard and then use lemon oil to reinvigorate the fingerboard. As for cleaning up the body that depends on the finish. If it's a hard poly finish I use either lighter fluid or meths and then some non silicone wax spray to polish it up. Obviously I never use meths or lighter fluid on a French polished guitar rather I just use the non silicon spray or sometimes beeswax. As for nitrocellulose finishes there's this video which might be of some help

    You might get away with just using the spray wax - as long as it's non silicone - as this tend to be very wet and seems to have a cleansing effect into the bargain, just watch though as it can take a while to dry off so be sure to wipe it after spraying in on. Let us know how you get on. Or you could go down the belt sander and turtle wax route or just paint it with some gloss paint.

    always learning
  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,306

    Hey, don't be bashing on Wisconsin now! :-)

  • ChrisMartinChrisMartin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Di Mauro x2, Petrarca, Genovesi, Burns, Kremona Zornitsa & Paul Beuscher resonator.
    Posts: 959

    He does not say what age the Favino is but I guess the very early ones would fit in with the fact that I read somewhere both Castelluccia and Di Mauro switched from French polish (Shellac) to spraying Nitro-cellulose in the mid to late fifties. If that is the case, I would guess Jacques Favino would have stuck with it through until he retired in the '70s, I can't see why he would have changed over to poly. If it is a later J-P Favino why not ask him direct at his workshop, I had a question once and he replied within a day or two (best to write in French though).

  • JSantaJSanta NY✭✭✭ Dupont, Gaffiero, AJL
    Posts: 262

    Nice to see you here Dennis!

    As others mentioned, it's down the finish type. The Bumgarner I had was French polished, and Craig advised just a very very lightly dampened cloth. For my nitro finished Gaffiero, I just use the Music Nomad nitro-safe stuff and that seems to be fine.

    For fretboards, I use the Dunlop cleaning kit and that gets the gunk off pretty well.

  • Posts: 7

    I am hugely appreciative of these suggestions! Thanks for making room for my snarky humor, too!

    As a relatively solo flying GJ player, it is great to connect with community, even around how to clean a guitar.

    There are a couple in question, one from 75 and a JP from the early 80s so all of this is helpful.

    Nice to see you here, too, Jim! I've been lurking for some time and it's been a helpful way to ride out the pandemic from time to time.

    Sending good wishes! DT

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