Gibson's faded finish

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by merkaba22, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. merkaba22

    merkaba22 Member

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    I wonder if there are any other players/luthiers out there that find that the Gibson faded finish (on SG's, LP Jt's, etc.) seems to make the resonance, and, therefore, the tone, a bit brittle compared to the mahogany bodies finished in a normal shinny finish?

    Further, has anyone tried to remove this limiting finish with good results; ie. by leaving the wood bare or giving it new clear finish that a greater tonality can be restored -- does this "faded" finish process the wood in some permanent and undesirable way?
     
  2. buffbiff21

    buffbiff21 Member

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    I haven't experienced this to prove it 100% one way or the other. I've played some killer Fadeds and some brittle/trebly ones. Same story with the regular nitro finish Gibsons.

    It's just a light satin finish that most people think plays more quickly than lacquer. I wouldn't try removing it, as it seeps through the wood grain and you'd have to sand pretty deeply in to the woods to get it all off.
     
  3. alltone

    alltone Member

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    If your are talking strictly about a solid body , then the finish coat should make no difference to the tone. If you want to make the satin finish a bit more like a high gloss , you can use "NU FINISH" ( car polish) in the liquid form.I have used this stuff on various types of clear coats with NO damage to the finish as long as it has fully cured.Be careful though...once you have rubbed down the body with this stuff(and it will take some rubbing) the guitar will be very slippery.It's great for cleaning the back of the neck as well. Do not apply to wood that is not coated.
     
  4. Goldstrat

    Goldstrat Supporting Member

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    Does the Nu-Finish work on the Faded Mahogany LP's?
     
  5. alltone

    alltone Member

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    Howdy..Nu Finish car polish will work on any clear coat (or paint for that matter) that is lacquer or oil based as long as it has been on there for a while..I restored the (skeptical) mother-in law's cherished mahogany dining room table years ago.It took a few hours and a garbage bag full of rags to get YEARS of Pledge off and back down to the original clear coat. I was getting nervous that with all the rubbing and Nu Finish I was using , it would soften the original finish. I am happy to report that her table shines like new and I get apple pie whenever I want!!:munch
    I have also rubbed down some old Martin and Gibson guitars that had probably NEVER been cleaned since day one.They looked great and I think they sounded better..They were happy as were their owners.:RoCkIn
     
  6. merkaba22

    merkaba22 Member

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    That's pretty interesting - the guitar is question is a new Les Paul Jr Nashville -- its white (supposed to be satin but its not since the grain is very evident and I think a satin finish would be smooth but not hi-gloss) with an ebony board.

    It plays very well and for long necked guitar (or any other for that matter) and its response it very even up and down the neck, with no dead spots, great sustain and clarity with chords, especially open chords -- I just think the finish might be deadening it.

    So as far as the nu coat goes, I wonder how well it will fill in the open grain that is prevalent in this finish, if at all, and what options there are for a normal finish (I do get that if refinished it could not be a natural see-through finish), if that would improve the instrument at all?
     
  7. alltone

    alltone Member

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    As mentioned, if the wood is not completely sealed by the top(finish) coat I would recommend not using it.Doug
     
  8. merkaba22

    merkaba22 Member

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    I think the guitar in question is sealed by the paint -- it just not smooth in view of the type of finish ...
     
  9. merkaba22

    merkaba22 Member

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    I still think the finish is rough (its a white faded) and keep wanting to steel wool it down in general and where there are irregularities in the body, particularly where the edge is radiused unevenly, use some sand paper to complete the job left "rough" by Gibson.

    The outcome with generate a far more worn look since there might be areas where the wood shows through -- could a coat of "tung oil" (which is not an oil at all) be safely used with the Gibson quick drying finish to generate a nice "true" satin finish?
     
  10. RadackGuitars

    RadackGuitars Supporting Member

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    The Satin finish is in no way "deadening" the guitar any more than a regular high gloss nitro finish would, if anything, just the opposite.
     
  11. merkaba22

    merkaba22 Member

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    I think, IMHO, this type of finish changes the tone of the instrument in a different way than "regular high gloss nitro finish" would if applied to an otherwise similar instrument.

    There are many things I like about this guitar but it seems like the finish in question has its own tone and, while not "deadening" per se, it seems to lack of some of that intangible quality of "life" or "light" in it -- its an intuitive thing and I suppose I am vulnerable here but I keep wanting to reduce its influence.

    I like bodies and necks finished with tung oil and I find its easy to use. What I would consider doing would be to take a lot of the finish down so that the surface of the body is smooth and no longer grainy (perhaps leave traces of the old finish to fill in the grain where ever necessary -- and see it as an effect) which, I understand from post above, will probably be white or mostly white. If I clean up the radiusing on the body, the sanding will definitely give that "worn" look ... ha, ha.

    If I take it down that far, I would want to put a real semi-gloss tung oil steel wooled finish on it -- does anyone know if these two finishes work well together?
     
  12. SGNick

    SGNick Member

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    I'd say it's quite the opposite... Nitro first fills the grain and adds a certain thickness of the finish.

    the faded series has just a microscopic flim of finish... I don't consider the effects worse than tung oil.

    If there's a brittle sound coming from the guitar, it's most likey the wood, or terribly set up pickups.
     

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