Darkening a Gibson Sunburst

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Tootone, May 28, 2020.

  1. Ejphotos

    Ejphotos Supporting Member

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    I don't think that looks like a clownburst. Looks great as is.
     
  2. guitarbilly74

    guitarbilly74 Supporting Member

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    There's not. Pretty much any change in color requires a new finish, except for maybe UV fading but that would make the finish lighter, not darker.
     
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  3. Sneaks

    Sneaks Member

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    Not usually a fan of tomato soup or clown burst but that guitar is perfect as is!
    Pure class....
     
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  4. EtaCarinae

    EtaCarinae Member

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    It's not really a clown burst. I think it looks pretty good. Note that the color on yours fades into the edge. Clown bursts are much more abrupt. These pictures below are more typical of "clown bursts", and they're not great.




    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Bolt VanderHuge

    Bolt VanderHuge Member

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    I'd trust the sunking on this. Sounds like it's in his wheelhouse. :dunno
     
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  6. David Garner

    David Garner Gold Supporting Member

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    I'd rather fade it. I generally prefer other bursts to cherry bursts, but I keep getting True Fire ads on social media with Andy Aledort holding this guitar:

    [​IMG]

    Based on how that beauty looks, I'd argue to fade instead of darken.
     
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  7. scott

    scott Supporting Member

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    God I hate clowns.

    The guitar doesn't really need to be stripped and refinished. You could just sand the top coat flat and spray a darker color right over the red that's already there. Follow it with some clear, wait a couple weeks then wet sand it and buff it out. You wouldn't even need to touch the back, tape it off and just do the top. It could all be done over the course of a few days(the spraying anyway, have to wait a few weeks to buff it).
    Not really that hard for a pro.
     
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  8. stonem

    stonem Supporting Member

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    Wins thread.
     
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  9. hotslaw

    hotslaw High Maintenance Fuss budget Silver Supporting Member

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    Historically tobacco smoke seems to do the trick. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have someone else do the smoking.

    I wonder if weed smoke is as effective.
     
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  10. CassetteTape

    CassetteTape Member

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    Either give it UV and risk damage, have a pro refinish it in any color you like, or live with it.

    Gibson has done far worse than yours:

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Scary Uncle G.

    Scary Uncle G. Member

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    the sun or UV will fade the red, but it might turn pink.
     
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  12. Rossi163

    Rossi163 Supporting Member

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    This may have already been said, but by this era Gibson had switched to finishes that resist fading. I doubt that UV light will do much to change the color you have.

    If it's any consolation yours isn't that bad, I kinda dig that 'burst color. I've certainly seen a lot worse.
     
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  13. saltydogg

    saltydogg Rock & Roll Enthusiast Gold Supporting Member

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    I’d leave it alone and embrace the clownburst :)
     
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  14. dougb415

    dougb415 Silver Supporting Member

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    Replace the gold hardware with nickel and get gold tophat knobs. That’ll fix it for you.
     
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  15. Lester Alvarez

    Lester Alvarez Member

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    If you do decide to hit it with a UV light bath go ahead and make a little cardboard or construction paper shield to cover the fretboard so it doesn't dry/fade out.
     
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  16. RRfireblade

    RRfireblade Member

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    If it was me, I shoot some dark tinted Nitro over the red. Color sand and buff and no one would ever know.
     
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  17. namenotalreadybeingused

    namenotalreadybeingused Member

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    My thoughts exactly. Too much risk in attempting something non-factory unless you pay lots of $$$ for a competent luthier. Instead of that, just sell it and get the finish you love. One thing, and not to bash your LP, Gibson in recent history has not always been very good at "book-matching" and just use the available pieces for left and right. I have a cherry sunburst LP I just got, sight unseen online. Not quite as "bright" as yours. I told my "gear advisor" that I will send the guitar back as many times as necessary if the wood grain (striped like yours) did not match side to side. So he had a guy at the warehouse unbox it before shipping (so he said, but I believe him as he has had me return before and knew I would) to look so they could avoid picky me from returns. First thing I did was open the case, and breathed a sigh of relief. They matched well.
    I think since the new CEO, Gibson has made efforts to shore up QC, and I think my 50's (no weight relief or stupid pcbs I don't need) is a good example of that. Too many on CL look dramatically different side to side, and sellers wonder why they keep lowering the price or it just sits. While yours is not egregious in ANY WAY, I do think the left side grain is noticeably darker than the right. Also there is much more pronounced vertical striations on the right than the left. The previous poster who mentioned adding a pickguard, would make some of that mismatching be reduced (less visible). Those pieces were NOT book-matched. Again, please don't think I am bashing. I like your guitar, and the side-to-side difference are subtle, so I am being picky. But, that aspect might be what I would not prefer, over the color itself, which to me, looks reasonable. My main point here, is look out for that if you do decide to replace it with a color you prefer more. To ME, that makes as much a difference as the actual stain applied, and maybe more.
    BTW, and for the record, my new 50's LP is NOT book-matched either. The left/right differences, however, are extremely subtle and almost unnoticeable. That was what I wanted.
    In the world of exotic woods anymore, it is getting more and more difficult to get pieces large enough and usable as the supplies are becoming more and more strained.
    These are just some things that matter to ME.
    Peace and Best.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
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  18. sunking101

    sunking101 Member

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    I faded the red on a 2019 cherry sunburst in 3 weeks. The paints they use are certainly much less prone to fading than the historic finishes but red will always fade.
     
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  19. Tootone

    Tootone Member

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    Thanks for all the replies.

    It was/is a whimsical desire, so the fact "its not possible" is not a life changing disappointment.

    Feedback on some of the suggestions...

    1) I would not want to sell this guitar to fund another with a darker burst. This is one of those rare exceptional players. First and foremost in my criteria for a guitar is it has to function well, regardless of looks. I made this mistake once with a Ricky 12 String and never found another that played as well (I am now Ricky-less).

    2) Tone. As per #1. How a guitar ultimately sounds plugged in is a real lottery. So replacement is not worth the risk.

    3) UV/Sunlight... the aim would be to darken, not lighten it. Thanks for all the suggestions, and I will keep this in mind for future.

    4) Professional refinish. This guitar will stay with me till I die, barring unforseen catastrophe. It will become an heirloom, but the intention would be the new owner plays it, not sell it to buy video gaming equipment. Offspring, nephews and nieces may be in for a shock. So, refinish is an option I will give some serious consideration to. It would be heavily dependent on the contractor (luthier) having an excellent portfolio and record. As part of a refinish I would also want some pretty heavy dings and scrapes repaired... the whole hog.

    4) The last option is of course, do nothing. Thanks for your supportive compliments. This may ultimately be the most likely, wise and correct path.
     
  20. Tootone

    Tootone Member

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    One last note...

    If you refer back the first post, you will also see a 1997 Candy Apple Red Strat. This has darkened considerably in the last 23 years. But is also a Poly finish, not nitro. This is part of the reasoning behind this thread. I was wondering if the LP could be pursuaded/helped to darken in a similar fashion.
     

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