USA Gibson LP Standard - wood dye instead of coloured nitro


Senior Member
Jul 29, 2013
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I noticed that Gibson USA started using wood dye instead of coloured nitro lacquer on their Gibson LP Standard TOPs. Until recently, all colors of the TOP finish were 100% nitro lacquers. But now they're starting with the wood dye on the bare maple, and then sometimes sprayed the the burst in nitro - or not (like in BlueBerry finish, which looks like all wood dye). Of course, the top coat is still clear nitro.

I know that dyed wood could looks clearly and deeper then wood that is only sprayed with coloured nitro, but I've never identified Gibson electric guitars with this technique. At first, I thought that they use it only for "unique" finishes (BlueBerry, Trans Black), but from the latest factory tour I see that also the classic sunbursts 2019 are painted in this way.

2017 Gibson LP Standard T BlueBerry (wood dyed TOP)

2016 Gibson LP Standard T Trans Black (wood dyed TOP)

2019 Gibson LP Standard HP Heritage Cherry Fade (wood dyed TOP, nitro sprayed burst)

Wood dyed process, of course, is not shown here - but you can see that the maple top is dyed - not nitro coloured. It starting from 13:47:

Previous Gibson USA guitars painting were 100% nitro as you can see on the factory tour movie from the Custom Shop (but exactly the same was on the Gibson USA line) - starts from 18:30

When did they introduce it? Did you know about it? What do you think about this change?


Senior Member
May 9, 2015
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I’m pretty sure my Faded Blue Jean is dyed, and I think the Seafoam Greens I’ve seen were as well. I say that because, where the top (am I supposed to capitalize it?) figure takes a weird, dense turn, or there is a mineral nick, the dye doesn’t appear to have taken. I believe I recall having seen the same on some Blueberries.

I never thought of it as a bad thing since, if anything, it contributes to the character of the top. Just like with finish on anything, some colors/effects require different techniques.

Is there a reason that them dying some tops turns you off or causes you concern?


Senior Member
Apr 16, 2012
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There are certain finishes that can only be achieved with dye, just as there are some that can only be done with tinted clear.
There is no 'better or worse' here, just different.

And a burst will be done with yellow tinted clear as a layer, then the outer rim done as the darker colour.....but you do the first layer then spray the second after some drying time otherwise you can get runs.

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