Microphone Choices: Your Kandy Kolor Questions & More!
by Fritz Hasenpusch
We’ve been looking at the world of mic ‘protection’, of preserving LORD MICROPHONE from the outside in, and of keeping him healthy so he may serve us in good form and function as intended: The surface coatings that keep the hostile elements at bay and help to add personal identity to our chosen sonic tools of the trade.
I’m clearing some space on the workbench here within the paint booth down in the MICROPHONE DUNGEON, prepping to respond to questions that have arrived pertaining to the primer-plain and Kandy Kolor Koatings we’ve looked at…
“Hey Fritz! I’ve got one of those old Turner Challengers with a brushed chrome finish that’s really scratched and ratty and I’d like to refinish it. I’ve tried to sand it and the chrome’s really tough, just like you said. Can I paint right over the chrome? – Signed RAINBOW WILLY
DEAR WILLY: You could simply paint over the damaged brushed chrome, but if you want results any better than a temporary fix I’d advise that you take some time to prep the mic’s surface before attempting to apply any new coatings. Most people don’t know that an article that’s been chrome-plated can be DE-CHROMED (in simple terms they reverse the plating process)! That’s what I would recommend in this case. Disassemble your Turner, locate a shop that does plating (Yellow Pages, search on-line, ask a local auto repair shop). Take the front and back halves of the shell to them and ask them to remove the current plating so you can more effectively even-out the surface blemishes and wear on your mic. At that point you’ll have a fresh surface to work with and a much better chance of the new coating remaining on the mic. You could even choose to have the mic re-plated.
PLEASE NOTE: The plating process can only apply the new metallic coating to conductive surfaces. The Zinc alloys found in most microphone bodies are prime examples and candidates. If you’ve done repairs to your mic that have required plastic body fillers (such as BONDO) know that the plating won’t cover these surfaces. Better stick with paint in these instances.
At this point, with the metal surface prepped and cleaned with alcohol (denatured, isopropyl, Stoli), the PRIMER is applied. PRIMER serves as the intermediate step between the raw metal of the microphone and the visible color coats and protective top coats. PRIMER can be found in general paint supply stores and shops that specialize in auto body supplies (1st choice). For small jobs, you’ll find it in aerosol cans. Look for “Self Etching” PRIMERS designed for applications on metal surfaces. For bigger jobs—or if you’re really serious about your work—look for PRIMERS packaged for application by paint sprayer. I’ve had very good luck with a DuPont product called VARIPRIME, a non-catalytic coating into which an etching agent is mixed before application. PPG, U-TECH, LESONAL and others produce primers and epoxy undercoatings that may prove useful. Once you’ve prepped the PRIMER’S surface to your liking you’re ready to embark on the sea of possible pigments…
YOUR KANDY KOLOR QUESTIONS CONTINUE! NEXT TIME WE VISIT…
THE MIC BENCH
For pictures and descriptions of most of the microphones listed visit http://www.harmonicamasterclass.com/vintage_collection.htm