Removing Cigarette Odor From A Guitar

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DrumBobDrumBob Frets: 58
edited November 25 in Guitar
I picked up an SG Standard yesterday for a great price from an old friend, but he's a cigarette smoker and of course, the guitar stinks. 

What method will remove the smoke smell? 
"I Dance To My Own Tune, F*****, I Won't Do The Corporate Waltz.," Diesel Park West
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  • danishbacondanishbacon Frets: 1938
    I had an old yamaha acoustic with similar predicament. Years on, case opened, case out in the sun etc, it still has a lingering smell. Not as bad as before but still there. Leaving it out of the case makes it a lot better. I think it sticks to the case for good in some ways so every time it goes back in it picks up a bit of scent again. I actually have a guitar that the case still has a bit of stink. I don’t mind it so much. 
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  • bertiebertie Frets: 2150
    edited November 25
    Ive started using bamboo charcoal  bags in my car to get the "winnie and wilf" smells out  - it apparently draws the odour on the same principles as air purifiers use it  without having to use "smelly trees"  (never found car freshener that wasnt as bad as the smell you're trying to mask)  -    seems to be working 

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  • WezVWezV Frets: 12629
    tumble dryer sheets like Bounce  in the case
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  • BloodEagleBloodEagle Frets: 5299
    I had this with a Flying V a few years ago - it absolutely reeked. My advice would be to just leave it out of the case in a well ventilated place for as long as poss - dont like I did try to mask it with anything like shake n vac or anything like that as it will just smell like fags mixed with shake n vac. I can still smell that guitar now
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  • boogiemanboogieman Frets: 8961
    Yeah just wipe it down with some polish and leave it in fresh air, the smell will go fairly quickly. 

    Cases are more difficult because of the cloth or foam soaking up the stink. Bicarb or charcoal works, Febreeze doesn’t… the thing just ends up smelling of fag smoke mixed with sickly perfume. 
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  • SassafrasSassafras Frets: 24569
    Take up smoking and the smell will become less noticeable.
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  • BluesLoverBluesLover Frets: 207
    I bought a turntable off a smoker, and cleaned it with wet wipes. Really helped getting rid of the smell.
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  • OffsetOffset Frets: 1123
    If you want to get rid of the smell in the case, use HG Aircare.  I've used it to get rid of dog odours on our sofas, puke on a car seat, and dog crap trodden into a carpet.  If it can eliminate that, it'll sort fag smoke.
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  • LoobsLoobs Frets: 2753
    Leave some weed in the case
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  • proggyproggy Frets: 4667
    A nicotine patch might help.
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  • RaymondLinRaymondLin Frets: 8203
    Sprinkle Bi carb all over it and rub it into the grain.










    (don't do that)
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  • CryptidCryptid Frets: 7
    Fresh air, sunlight and time. There's likely a build up of tar on the fretboard/frets - spend time cleaning thoroughly as possible and rub with lem oil. Polish guitar regularly with a micro fibre cloth using Dunlop polish or similar. 

    If it came with a stinky case, air that outside and keep the guitar out of it. Colloidal Silver is quite a good odour neutraliser for cases. 
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  • tomajohatomajoha Frets: 578
    I once owned a Les Paul Custom '54 prehistoric that was previously owned by James Last. That fella must have liked a fag or two, never did get rid of the smell so I sold it.
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  • BillDLBillDL Frets: 391
    I used to smoke in my house and I never realised how the smell and tar permeated even hard surfaces until I stopped and redecorated.  I had to throw out a lot of soft items that couldn't be washed and it was time for a new livingroom suite anyway, but even the paint on the walls had absorbed it.  I had to wash the walls and ceilings with sugar soap to remove the yellowed tar and then paint them to eventually get rid of the smell.  I have one hardcase that used to sit in a fitted wardrobe with sliding doors that I have never been able to totally eradicate or disguise the cigarette odour from, despite spraying them with all kinds of nice smelling stuff.

    Fortunately all of my acoustic and semi-acoustic guitars were in cases and the smell wasn't absorbed into the bare wood on them.  The solidbody guitars still stank despite wiping them with methylated spirits.  I am glad they were all of the hard glossy polyurethane / polyester finishes, because I was able to T-Cut and buff them and use naptha then lemon-scented oil on the fretboards to get rid of the smell.  Smoking obviously left a tarry film on the lacquer's surface, but I'm sure it "ate" into the top layer of lacquer as well. Obviously you couldn't T-Cut an aged guitar that has a natural aged patina or bare wood relic areas though.  T-Cut is a fairly fine abrasive, just like brasso and silvo are, but the abrasives are carried in a kind of turpentine solvent that could damage softer lacquers.
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  • SassafrasSassafras Frets: 24569
    Just clean the thing inside and out.
    It's lot easier to get the smell out of an electric than an acoustic.
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  • grungebobgrungebob Frets: 2382
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  • CloudNineCloudNine Frets: 3617
    I was reading about 3rd hand smoke when I was interested in buying a house that had a terrible cigarette smell. Definitely wasn't buying after what I read... Goes deep into materials, even wood, and then leaches out poisonous gasses for a very very long time...

    So you thought neck dive was the worst you could expect from that SG, but it might actually kill you with the toxic off-gassing.... Burn it I say.
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  • What about febreeze? It was invented by a scientist who wanted to conceal his smoking from his wife... that we know this probably indicates he wasn't successful - but anyway. 
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  • DrumBobDrumBob Frets: 58
    As far as the case is concerned, I bought one of those Citrus Magic circular things that looks like a smoke detector and it's been inside the case for a couple of days now, and has done wonders at removing the smoke smell. I think I'll put the case out in the shed tonight and let it air out for a few days.

    I wiped the guitar down quickly with furniture polish, but it didn't help too much. I decided to take it in to my guitar tech Monday for a setup and I'll have him take it all apart and clean everything. The seller gave me four 500K pots, and he'll install those too. I'm sure he's dealt with this smoke issue many times. Thanks for the suggestions. 
    "I Dance To My Own Tune, F*****, I Won't Do The Corporate Waltz.," Diesel Park West
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  • I once bought an EH POG from a smoker. There was a layer of yellow cigarette grime on it that you could scrape off with your finger. I don’t want to think what the room he played in (or the inside of his lungs) was like. 
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