Making a Sunburst - Need some help

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by fjgaston, May 12, 2008.

  1. fjgaston

    fjgaston Member

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    Hello
    I'm about to refinish a guitar I made, it's a kind of Les Paul but with a maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, mahogany body and a OAK carved top I made from very old oak. The neck is a Gretsch neck I bought on Ebay.
    I finished it very quickly but I'm not satisfied with the finishing, as I'm going to change few things on this guitar body I will also refinish it.

    I then have few questions, I red on MCI MUSIC web site, Max Baranet wrote :
    Which Lacquer and paint should I use to don't have "plasticizers", as he said, or to don't affect badly the sound ????

    Which lacquer, stain, sealer, paint should I use ? I'm french and there are few words I don't understand and I don't really understand which thing I have to put after the other one. I understand, I have to first put grain filler (is it what they call sealer), especially on the mahogany body, then paint with the stain, after this I apply a thin coat. Am I alright ?

    How can I make the sunburst effect ? Should I buy a Spray gun ? May I use "Preval Spray Unit" as they sell at stewmac (they don't ship it outside the US :( ) ?

    Is there a way to do it (and have a great tone) without spending too much money ?

    So if you understand well, I want to find a easy and cheap way to have a great tone and beautiful sunburst :) I know that : easy + cheap + great tone + beautiful is not something really realistic but if you have some good tips and informations for me I'm ready to get it. I will inform you on the progress of my work on this guitar.
     
  2. 3dmac

    3dmac Senior Member

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    Nitro or poly work !
    Nitro is a long process than poly. Poly applied thin will give the same effect as a nitro finish and can be buffed within a day. Color needs to be of course a clear finish and finding any poly clear colors might be a task.
    You can get a great finish from a can ( here is mine with stew mac : http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/luthier-s-corner/7587-here-i-go.html#post114732
    Bursting is done from the center- out. My post shows each step. Don't sand any of the color coats since this will make it spotty. Light clear coats over color first to seal before fine sanding starts (400 grit ) then level sand every 3 coats with 600. Final coats level sand with 800 to 1500 grit before buffing out. I used a pro polishing auto finish compound water thinned and the stew mac disc pad. Then followed up with a hand rub using meguiars # 7. All with cotton flannel. AS you can see from my pics its like glass.

    :hippie:
     
  3. fjgaston

    fjgaston Member

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    Thank you for your answer.
    I red your topic about your sunburst but I just don't understand how to spread the color to make a sunburst ?
    What did you use to spray the color ?
    how to spray the color correctly ?
     
  4. 3dmac

    3dmac Senior Member

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    1st: I used nitro spray in cans from stew mac. This was cheaper to start with than a spraygun setup.
    2nd: Bursts are always started from the middle color and move out to the edge color. Each is a layer in it self. Start with your base top color (amber ). Light even coats until you get the desired color darkness. Next is the inner ring color ( mahogany red for vintage burst, or cherry red for modern ) Like I noted practice and spray in an arc following the body line. Start with a lite coat toward the center were you want the color blend to start, and add more layers moving out to the edge ( this will give the color increasing density from center out ). Last color (darkest, I used tobacco ) Spray this color with angled towards the edge away from the body. This will reduce the darker over spray into the center colors and give a more refined line of transition.
    :applause:

    Do not sand any of these color coats, only clear coats after at least 3 clear. Start with really light clear coats first before any thicker ones, since the color will be desolved when the clear is sprayed on. Thick will make the color run, and we don't want that. But need a little for soft color blending.

    :hippie:
     
  5. fjgaston

    fjgaston Member

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    Thank you for your answer but I have a little problem with the aerosols at stewmac : "Cannot ship by air or outside the U.S." I'm in france, it seems to be hard to find those things in france.
    Can I do something with this ColorTone Concentrated Liquid Stains at Stewart-MacDonald
    ????
    I heard some in france use polyurethane coat applied with a brush in few very thin layer.
    Have any of you tried it, is it good for the tone?
     
  6. 3dmac

    3dmac Senior Member

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    Yes you can use these to make the burst by hand application. Practice on a piece before. Apply the same way , from the center out. Base color/ inner color/ outer edge color. Intensity is done by length of time left on before wiping off. When wiping, use a clean cloth and wipe pulling to the edge. Darken each color band by layering (banding ) towards the edge, this will give the fade from dark outer to light inner.
    Clear coat caution will be the same, so do very lite coats at first to seal, before heavy finish coats. Fine sand after 3rd 400gt , next 600g, final 800gt on last coat then buff out.
    poly will work fine and is durable. Sanding will give thin layers since poly goes on thicker. Poly will give you some warm tones.

    Have fun !
    :hippie:
     
  7. Robster

    Robster Premium Member

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    I only use products from Bill at ReRanch Guitar Refinishing - no plasticizers, just real nitro. Here's my latest sunburst project:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    There's a great forum there, too - you can learn a shitload about refinishing from the guys at ReRanch. I did.

    Rob
     
  8. pinefd

    pinefd V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    This was posted in another thread, but I figured I'd post it here as well. Check out this video on doing a burst by hand: How to Create a Sunburst Finish
     
  9. uOpt

    uOpt Senior Member

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    What I want is for somebody to nitro-paint their guitar, make soundclips, get the paint off, refinish in rubber errr poly and re-record.

    I don't doubt that there's a sound difference, but I have the feeling it's more present in the acoustic tone and maybe not so much through the pickups.
     
  10. FLICKOFLASH

    FLICKOFLASH V.I.P. Member

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    That looks really good ,Did you build it as well ? If so what parts did you use ?
     
  11. fjgaston

    fjgaston Member

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    I didn't tried it but played a guitar with "plastic" finish get the paint off, and played it without paint, it just completely changed the sound.
    without even pluging it, the owner and I noticed a real change, there was more sound. We plugged it in the amp, our first impression was just confirmed.
    So I can say the paint change the sound.

    I want to have some clue from a real Luthier as there are some here. Are water-base finishes good for the tone??? compared to nitro??? Poly???

    Thank you all for your answers. I may do as on the video you send me pinefd :
     
  12. Robster

    Robster Premium Member

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    Thanks, and yeah, I did do the build on this one. It's a Warmoth alder 2-piece body, Warmoth pro construction neck (Anagre/Brazilian Rosewood), Kluson tuners, Gotoh bridge, Robertson Pickups, etc. All in all I have about 800 bucks in it. I love it to death - strattiest sounding strat I've ever owned (and I have a real '65!)

    Rob
     

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