Intentionally Fading a Finish?

Discussion in 'The Custom Shop' started by PermissionToLand, May 20, 2017.

  1. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Senior Member

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    So I have an SG in Oxblood and I've always been a bit disappointed that the finish looks black in 90% of all lighting conditions. It basically needs to be in direct sunlight to bring out the actual color. So, I'm wondering if fading it by exposure to sunlight would lighten the finish and bring out the brown. And if so, what would be a safe way to do that?


    Outdoors, cloudy day:
    IMG_0743sm.jpg

    Direct sun, best I've ever been able to picture it:
    IMG_0753sm.jpg
     
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  2. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    Does it sound good?
     
  3. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Senior Member

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    Hmm, I'm not sure. I've never played it. Is that what these things are for? :hmm:


    Seriously, yes. Although the bridge PU is too hot, I want to order one with a lower output. The neck is 7.8 and the bridge is 10K.
     
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  4. geochem1st

    geochem1st V.I.P. Member

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    http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/fading-guitars.84987/#post-1644806
     
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  5. moreles

    moreles Senior Member

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    I wonder if the faded version will look better... or worse. A great oxblood finish is beautiful and translucent; cruddy ones, including those that are lightened too much, or where the translucency is lost, are just a fairly ugly brown. If you roll the dice, good luck. Its current state might be the best you can get.
     
  6. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Senior Member

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    Muchas gracias, Geochemist!

    Translucent? It sure as heck isn't now. Unless you have X-ray vision, you ain't gonna see the grain!

    And call me a weirdo, but I LOVE brown finishes. That's why I bought it. But I will be careful to find the right balance. There's no going back, obviously.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Senior Member

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  8. geochem1st

    geochem1st V.I.P. Member

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    Depending on the type of pigment used, it may not fade at all.
     
  9. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Senior Member

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    Yeah, I've been reading through old threads on here, and there seems to be a wide range of experiences. But it seems like it's mostly a matter of just having to give it more time. I haven't seen anybody who couldn't fade it at all, yet.

    So, will it lighten the color?
     
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  10. geochem1st

    geochem1st V.I.P. Member

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    I would not expect it to lighten very much. I'm assuming that plant pigments are not used but mineral ones are, as Gibson tries hard and has changed formulaes to not to have their finish's fade. Factors affecting fading are the altitude where you live.... the higher up, the more UV, and the hours you leave it out in the sun.

    Becks original LP seems not to have faded at all given the pics.... but it may be a case queen and has not seen much daylight.
     
  11. Have FUN

    Have FUN Senior Member

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    OMG !

    Beautiful Oxblood finish , rare Gibson SG. It looks like a Custom shop (?)

    Don' t sand or relic that finish .
     
  12. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    The reason why people think EVERY finish must fade is that the 50's cherrybursts contained both aniline colours that will fade.....red and yellow.

    Of course modern ones are designed/chosen not to fade. Even the top end historic bursts are done with colourfast dyes, as when you buy a set colour you want it to stay that way. That is not to say that modern colours won't fade, but you need an entire summer of sun to lighten even a regular burst with colours that are generally more susceptible. If anything, you might remove some of the red.....making it all brown. But you sure as hell won't reduce the intensity.

    I have a 1980 deluxe in a dark-ish oxblood. It too looks almost black in some lights. I enjoy the colour for what it is, not what it isn't.

    If you want a more translucent colour, sell what you have and buy what you want.
     
  13. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Senior Member

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    Well, that's what I want, to make it more brown. I'm not sure what you mean by "intensity". My problem is that it looks black in ALL lights except the most bright, direct sunlight. I've even taken outdoor shots on a sunny day where it looks black.

    IDK why you guys are talking about translucency; that refers to the level of transparency. I'm talking about lightening it to bring out it's true color. I don't think anything could turn an opaque finish translucent, and I'm not trying to.
     
  14. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Well, you'll go from dark oxblood looking black to dark brown looking probably black in most lights too. Its the nature of that sort of finish that it will look different in bright light to more indirect light.....well that goes for all finishes.
    The long and short of it is that I don't think you are going to find any joy with fading.
     
  15. Thugstrings

    Thugstrings Junior Member

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    Brown finishes give off this vintage and natural feel, that's why I like it as well.
     
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  16. JMon

    JMon Senior Member

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    Well, you could leave it in a window that gets full sun for several years, then turn it over and leave it several years more for the backside to fade. You can also remove everything and dull the glossy finish with fine steel wool to a nice matte. If it were me, I would just sell this one and find a brown I like that I don't have to mess with and buy that one.
     
  17. Satellitedog

    Satellitedog Senior Member

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    1. I'd go to a refinish specialist first and ask their opinion, and probably go look at car paints/visit an automotive paint shop too, perhaps there's a better oxblood colour in some catalogue, or a single layer type paint that doesn't require a surface coat of clear that may influence the refraction of light.
    2. Is this a '61 Reissue? Loving the deep and nicely shaped bevels.
     
  18. LeftyF2003

    LeftyF2003 Premium Member

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    What year is it? As far as I know the dyes that Gibson has used since the 60s do not fade the way the 50s guitars did. Gibson thought that fading was a bad thing, and consequently the dyes on modern Gibsons won't fade. FWIW I think your guitar looks great the way it is, but I also get what you're saying. My red Telecaster looks black in certain light (stage lights especially).

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. pillbug

    pillbug Senior Member

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    1 - your guitar is beautiful and reminds me of my black cat who looked brown in the sun.

    2 - I read a Michael Schenker interview years ago, where he said he leaves all his guitars out in the sun to break them in. He did believe it improved their tone, so pretty obviously he didn't worry about whether it would affect the finish.

    3 - intentionally fading, that's nothing:
    [​IMG]

    :lol:
     
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  20. vintageguitarz

    vintageguitarz Member

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    In a word NOT.
    It's NOT exposure to Sun that fades a guitar's finish, it is time. All you will do is cause the top layers of Nitrocellulose Lacquer to crack prematurely and worse.

    See pictured, my original and real 1958 Les Paul Jr. I bought in 1961 when in Jr. HS from a local guitar shop in Illinois (near Chicago), it's original owner was a traveling sales for Gibson (he had Gibson build it with Gold hardware) and he sold it (traded) to the shop I bought it from ... for $75 some bucks. When I bought it, it was still the deep cherry red clear stain of the Mahogany slab with the clear coat of lacquer. By 1972, with many hundreds of concerts under it's belt, 90% indoors or under a thick tent like cover if outdoors, it faded to this and stabilized and never got any lighter (it's near natural Mahogany wood color + a wee bit of stain). The brief encounters with sun did some damage too, micro cracking of the clear coat and the original "dog ear" plastic PuP cover warped badly; but I was able to find a late 60's cover to replace it with. If you take off the pickguard, it's faded underneath too, about 90% of the exposed area, so it the back.

    Fading is contact with the atmosphere primarily, sun will only damage the outside layers.

    I don't know how much has changed in applying finishes and the chemical nature of the finishes at Nashville Gibson as opposed to those from Kalimazoo Michigan Gibson's factory where all Gibson's were originally made until 1973 including this '58. I would hazard a guess that the finishes are better now in recent decades, Les (pun intended) to fade or crack. I have a 1970 SG Standard I bought new that year and it's hardly faded it's Cherry Red stained finish, it maybe lost 25% of it's original deep red, but of course it is a model far up the scale than a Junior was, so Gibson likely put more effort and cost into making it and finishing it to with better stains 12 year later than the 58 Jr. While my '62 "White" Les Paul Custom (SG style) is now more of a cream color than the stark white it originally was.

    Last comment on guitar fading - I've seen some early Gibson's, namely late 50's and early 60's Les Paul Jr's and low end SG's with nearly original "color" and pristine surface finishes. I'll bet you dollar to donuts that those "mint" condition guitars spent 95% of their life in a case and under a bed or in a closet, rarely played and never out on the road with bands. I think mine are average examples of "players" guitars, only time in a case was traveling between gigs, usually out on a guitar stand or played exposed to "atmosphere". Mine aren't "beat to sh*t" like many road warriors, I was and am a guitar enthusiast even when an very active artist that appreciated my guitars and amps and tried to baby them. Yeah, a bent, scratch or a chip on each that "accidents happen" to each, but not abused as I've seen far too many guitars owned by well known pros.

    LesPaul_std80_LesPaul-Jr_58.jpg Gibson SG Std.jpg
     

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