Tropical/ocean blue maple finishing help!!

ARandall

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Well, I'm re-finishing a maple top (plus headstock veneer) and want to do that lovely gradiated/burst blue you see about where it looks like a tropical ocean/beach.
An example of the look: https://www.gyrockguitars.com/collection/dark-blue-ocean-burst-021/

I'm new to the whole stain/sandback thing as its not my fave way of doing maple.......but I've got to the point where the amount of initial black is the strength I want, and I have some clear onto it to lock that in.
DSC_0284.JPG


I'm just not sure how the colour goes.....is it simply a low intensity blue in the centre area that makes it almost look like 'shallower water'?
 

cmjohnson

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Mix up several batches of dyes in different strengths. And use different related colors that fit the burst. So you'd use a green tinted with a little bit of blue for the middle, and a blue-green for the outer middle, and a blue for the outside.

Use a solvent soaked rag (but not TOO wet!) to blend the transitional area between the different dye areas.

Of course, you'd be well advised to practice on some scraps first.

Here's somethind I made that's basically the same idea but obviously in a different color scheme.

It was done as I described, except I did not do a black base stain as I didn't want to darken it like that.



DSC_7059_sm.jpg


Here's another one I did in the same manner. It's more similar to what you seek, but darker.|

From top to bottom, finished guitar, after applying the darker blue outer stain to the rim, and after solvent blending the burst with denatured alcohol on a rag.


DSC_4764_sm.jpg DSC_4517_sm.jpg DSC_4516_sm.jpg
 
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cmjohnson

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Now as for actually getting a nice bright light blue....experiment with the aniline blue and green dyes sold by Luthier's Mercantile. Adding a little bit of green to a larger amount of blue will give you the color tonal range that you're looking for. It takes the blue more toward cyan which is the light clear blue water look you're probably looking for.

I used Fiebing's turquoise leather dye once. It was fantastic when it was fresh but it has faded a lot, so much that I'm thinking seriously of stripping the top of that guitar and redoing the dye job and reshooting it.
 

WhiteEpiLP

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Did you bleach the top first? If not it’s very hard to get that vibrant colour, it gets a bit muddy. @Skyjerk seems to have this process down fairly well. Check his threads out, like his “half a strat is better then none” thread.
 

ARandall

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^ Its a pretty white maple top.....luckily. I didn't think about the bleach despite having heard of the process a while back. The black will most likely 'muddy' it a bit anyhow.....but thats the effect I wanted so I'll live and learn here.

Now as for actually getting a nice bright light blue....experiment with the aniline blue and green dyes sold by Luthier's Mercantile. Adding a little bit of green to a larger amount of blue will give you the color tonal range that you're looking for. It takes the blue more toward cyan which is the light clear blue water look you're probably looking for.
Thanks for that. The cyan looks just like the colour I was after.
I've got to spray my burst, as I've already sealed the sanded black with clear.
 

cmjohnson

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Here's what the Fiebing's turquoise looked like when the guitar was new. Now it's "faded blue jeans" and still fading.

Because the original color was so much exactly the color I wanted it to be, reworking the top will probably be a winter project for me. I also want to slim down the neck a little. It's great up near the headstock but grows too much as it gets closer to the body.


blueangeltree.jpg
 

Bend'n'Slide

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I can’t comment on the luthery aspect of this but I have ready access to a Lester with just such a top. If I can provide anything useful in terms of accurate hi-res pics of the various colors of the burst just let me know.

This is one of the craziest tops for giving the impression of looking down through tropical sea to sand on the beach under the water.

The edges almost have a royal blue color with just a hint of indigo hint right at the outside, visible here on the horn and the rim of the lower bout, but it fades to a much lighter cyan / sea green color towards the center. In other lighting, though, it just looks turquoise all over so, as ever, it’s tricky to capture all this in one single shot, even in the fairly bright daylight when I took this photo:

View media item 109790
There are several other shots in my media gallery but if I can help with anything specific just drop me a messsge. I can try to get decent color-balanced images of particular areas if you need them.
 
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ARandall

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Thanks for the pic....thats just the sort of colour I'm going for.
And quilt maple is just the perfect figure for such a finish.....it really does look like water.

I agree on the photography.....I've now got the first colour on there, and its so hard to get the camera 'seeing' the balance of the blue and green.
DSC_0294.JPG

DSC_0295.JPG
 

Bend'n'Slide

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Wow. That’s gonna be one very pretty guitar!
Love the matching headstock.

And quilt maple is just the perfect figure for such a finish.....it really does look like water.
This one was a fluke find on eBay. I loved the look when they first appeared but they were waaay out of my budget. I stumbled across this one a few years later in immaculate condition at about half the original price.

Whoever it was at Gibson who selected the quilted maple on this one and whoever actually cut and book-matched the top, they pulled off an absolute doozie! The versions with fairly evenly distributed quilting look like ripples in shallow water with sand underneath and it’s a beautiful look — but this one is pretty much unique in that it looks like it has a bow-wave coming off the end of the fretboard and spreading out past the pups into the lower bout. I was sold in it the moment I saw it!
 
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ARandall

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Wow. That’s gonna be one very pretty guitar!
Love the matching headstock.
Thanks
The 'sad' thing about that pic is that its come out so flat by comparison to how it looks in reality.

The beauty of the figure and the colour are the ways the subtlety of the tint makes some of the blue come out at certain angles, and it look almost green at others.

Its almost like there is some yellow in yours too.
 

Roxy13

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I had a blue quilt top singlecut and it was nearly impossible to photograph the way it looked in person.

Great job on the finish and it's looking really good!
 

Bend'n'Slide

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Thanks
The 'sad' thing about that pic is that its come out so flat by comparison to how it looks in reality.

The beauty of the figure and the colour are the ways the subtlety of the tint makes some of the blue come out at certain angles, and it look almost green at others.

Its almost like there is some yellow in yours too.
Yep, its impossible to get decent photos without a really good pro camera setup — and even then...

I know what you mean about the yellow in the middle; I don’t think it is but best guess, it looks like it’s a very delicate stain of a turquoise / sea-green / Caribbean blue sort of color that’s barely wiped over the maple in the center. This is very much what gives the impression of looking down at the sand through the water. It’s almost as hard to describe as it is to photograph!

This one was on Reverb a little while back. The pics really emphasise the different colors used in the finish. I’m pretty sure there must be some filters on the photography because I’ve never seen one with quite *that* much indigo around the edge (although I appreciate that there are always variations in the the spraying of the bursts from instrument to instrument).

I also wonder if the indigo blue element in particular is prone to fading as mine no longer looks quite as intense as it did a couple of years back and it’s spent more time out of the case in the last year or so.
 

ARandall

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Typically blue is fairly stable. Even with fairly low tolerance aniline dye of yesteryear, the blue part of the cherry red stayed about.....which gives some of those old bursts that slightly green tint when added to the yellow centre area (once the red fades away).

But of course nothing is perfectly stable. Its just that the blue tends to resist better as its a high energy spectrum of light - indeed its the high energy blue into UV part of ambient light that is causing the low energy red spectrum to lose cohesion.
 

Bend'n'Slide

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Thanks -- good to know!

It may just be that I'm playing it a lot more than I used to so perhaps the novelty "wow" factor is the only thing that has faded...! It varies so much with different ambient light.

Very much looking forward to seeing how you get on with your re-finish. I'm a bit of a sucker for blue guitars.
 

ARandall

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Well, I've got the outside colour on.....and fluked it!!
I'd been hoping for the dark blue ocean on the outside, and managed to add just the right amount of dye to get the burst sprayed with very little colour coat (the intensity was a shock when I started with the initial pass....luckily it was only right on the outermost rim, where that is expected)

Still can't get a great shot of it :facepalm:


DSC_0303.JPG

DSC_0302.JPG
 

Roxy13

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You created one beautiful guitar there!
 


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