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SteveFord

335 Satin Finish Spiff Up

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My favorite guitar is my 05 Satin Finish ES335 - it needed some help as delivered (poor fretwork) but I persevered and it feels great.

I'd been reading the threads on how to give a bit of gloss to the satin finish but I was worried about using anything too aggressive and ending up with a gigantic mess.

I use Mother's California Gold Carnauba Wax paste wax on my motorcycles and the can says it contains a mild cleanser.

I gave the back of the 335 a coat, liked what I saw and then gave the guitar two full waxing and buffings just using an old white tee shirt.

It turned out really good. The finish has a glow to it and best of all, no damage!

Seeing as how somebody at Gibson glued two of the volume and tone knobs on (?) it now has some old gold ones from a Les Paul that I had kicking around for a change of pace. Different if nothing else.

 

Wife nixed the gold knobs so I'll see if black speed knobs will look okay on it or not.

 

Oh, I would NOT use this wax on those wretched faded or worn finishes as there's a good chance you'll be down to the primer in short order.

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Hi Steve,

It's nice when you get your guitar personalised, set up and finished just as you like it isn't it, good for you; but it never ceases to amaze me how peoples tastes are so different; I suppose thats what makes guitars so interesting!!

I recently bought a new ES335-12 and really hated the very high lustre finish and the gold volume/tone knobs; nothing wrong with the guitar, just my personal aesthetic preferences!

I changed out the knobs for the black variety and had a local wood finisher dull the paintwork a little (definitely NOT a "roadworn" job msp_laugh.gif ), more sort of a dull french polished sheen, and now the guitar seems like perfection to me.

Enjoy your 335....................Brian

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I knew that was coming!

Sorry for the cruddy photos, you need sunlight for a decent picture and we just had a winter storm come ripping through so these are done with a flash.

It sounds odd but I'm pretty sure that buffing out the satin finish made this guitar more resonant. This one's alive, if you know what I mean.

I owned two 335s back in the 70s and 80s and they were better made and prettier but this one plays and sounds better.

Go figure.

Many thanks to my wife for getting this for me for my birthday a few years back. She's a keeper and so is this guitar.

The pic of it leaning up against a brown leather couch is the cruddy before picture (once again with a flash).

shine004_zps569e1c9a.jpg

shine002_zps6aba68fe.jpg

 

shine002_zps6aba68fe.jpg

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Thank you.

It makes my SG look like it was dipped in plastic.

At the next string change I'll give it a more serious buffing with a microfiber detailing cloth and call it a day. I was afraid to get too carried away.

If anyone else is going to attempt this you should know that they are not using their best wood for the satin finish guitars.

I exposed a small divot which they hit with wood filler before they shot it with red and some sort of weird scratch in one of the lower coats (looks like it was done with a fingernail) which they painted over so who knows what you'll find.

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Thank you.

It makes my SG look like it was dipped in plastic.

At the next string change I'll give it a more serious buffing with a microfiber detailing cloth and call it a day. I was afraid to get too carried away.

If anyone else is going to attempt this you should know that they are not using their best wood for the satin finish guitars.

I exposed a small divot which they hit with wood filler before they shot it with red and some sort of weird scratch in one of the lower coats (looks like it was done with a fingernail) which they painted over so who knows what you'll find.

 

Steve, yes you did a real nice job of bringing the luster out of a Satin finish. It looks almost like a regular finish now. Do the Satin finished ES-335's come without a bound fingerboard? As I remember I had a regular ES-335 dot

and mine had a bound fingerboard. Maybe the Satin finished ones don't have that frill.

BTW, how does your Satin finish handle dings. I have the regular nitro finishes on my SG-Standard and CS-336 and man, if you hit them against something it shows bad. I got one on the front of my SG from a microphone,

(I had neck surgery and had to sit down while playing for a while and when getting up hit the front of my SG on my vocal mic). Now I can see a spot right down to the mahogany and it makes me cringe. But as CB always says,

"It gives your guitar mojo!" :unsure: LOL!!!

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I couldn't stand not knowing so this morning I ripped all the junk off, buffed the finish with a damp cloth and DuPont No. 7 Rubbing Compound and then hit it with two coats of Mothers California Gold paste wax.

Success! It brought the gloss up, got rid of that weird scratch in the coating which was bothering me and now I'll stop thinking about it.

While I think of it, if you have the misfortune to have the cable jack unscrew and drop into the guitar the trick is to bend a section of a pipe cleaner to hold it in place and then you can get the washer and nut on.

I would not want to have to work on 335s for a living.

Here is the obligatory guitar and unmade bed shots (with the low E string out of the saddle as I just slapped the strings on and wasn't paying attention):

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Yes, it came with the unbound fret board and they left the fret edges exposed and rather sharp.

It wasn't cut yourself sharp but you'd run your thumb along the edge of the neck and you could feel them, all right.

It took me around 8 hours of filing and buffing and sanding to get the frets the way I wanted them - low and smooth with edges that wouldn't drive me crazy. Binding would have been a plus!

The frets were really bad and if you take a look at the section between the neck and the neck pick up you can see all of the splintering and they didn't even bother to try and fill it in, they just sprayed over it.

 

 

I'll ask one of my buddies about maintaining the nitrocellulose finish as he reshot one of my Lucille's after the finish on the neck melted on a hot stand. That happened to a previous owner, not me.

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Yes, it came with the unbound fret board and they left the fret edges exposed and rather sharp.

It wasn't cut yourself sharp but you'd run your thumb along the edge of the neck and you could feel them, all right.

It took me around 8 hours of filing and buffing and sanding to get the frets the way I wanted them - low and smooth with edges that wouldn't drive me crazy. Binding would have been a plus!

The frets were really bad and if you take a look at the section between the neck and the neck pick up you can see all of the splintering and they didn't even bother to try and fill it in, they just sprayed over it.

 

 

I'll ask one of my buddies about maintaining the nitrocellulose finish as he reshot one of my Lucille's after the finish on the neck melted on a hot stand. That happened to a previous owner, not me.

 

Thanks, Steve. Sounds like you did a get job of filing these frets and fret ends as you did with polishing your guitar. If she plays as good as she looks now, you've got yourself a winner. Best wishes for you.

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Well Steve, you've done a nice job of it! [thumbup] The original (early) ES-335's had no

neck binding, either. That came later. So, in a sense, it's like you've got a "reissue"

of the earliest version, now. [biggrin]

 

Cheers,

CB

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Here's the answer from my buddy Dave for the bang on the SG:

 

I guess it depends on how deep the scratch is and the color of the guitar. If it is a solid color like white or black he could dab in some nitro and smooth it with some 600 or 1200 paper and polish it like you describe*, if its a tint and its not too bad if the color is still there he could use some clear nitro and fill it in. He can also use a shellac stick where you melt in some matching finish from a stick, sort of like a crayon. He could also stain the scratch to match and fill in with clear nitro. If all else fails he can take it to a repair shop and get an opinion.

 

* buff with DuPont No. 7 and then polish with carnauba paste wax

 

I remember around 30 years ago Dave was fixing a Gibson with a cracked head stock and the trick is to use a syringe to inject the epoxy into the crack and then use wood clamps for a day or three.

Somebody asked about repairing a cracked head stock by the tuner and Gibson wouldn't touch it but that's what you'd need to do. You might have to fabricate some sort of clamping jig for it but that shouldn't be all that difficult.

 

I just got another email:

I forgot stewart mcdonald used to sell touch up pens. They have colored laquer in them. Gibson used to sell them also, worth checking out. Should enable a reasonable touch up with out too much trouble

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I knew that was coming!

Sorry for the cruddy photos, you need sunlight for a decent picture and we just had a winter storm come ripping through so these are done with a flash.

It sounds odd but I'm pretty sure that buffing out the satin finish made this guitar more resonant. This one's alive, if you know what I mean.

I owned two 335s back in the 70s and 80s and they were better made and prettier but this one plays and sounds better.

Go figure.

Many thanks to my wife for getting this for me for my birthday a few years back. She's a keeper and so is this guitar.

The pic of it leaning up against a brown leather couch is the cruddy before picture (once again with a flash).

shine004_zps569e1c9a.jpg

shine002_zps6aba68fe.jpg

 

shine002_zps6aba68fe.jpg

 

I have a 2006 of the same guitar. I did the same with some stew mac buffing compound. It has a great sheen too it now. I have a new 335 12 String arriving today and I agree with the other poster that too glossy is a bit too much. What I usually do to my new Gibsons is wait a while, usually untill I have some scratches and dents to fix, and then I buff the whole guitar down to a nice warm semi gloss. As far as tone, mine has a nice open honky bite too it. The satin finishes are only 3 coats thick so I think this has something to do with it.

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Steve, yes you did a real nice job of bringing the luster out of a Satin finish. It looks almost like a regular finish now. Do the Satin finished ES-335's come without a bound fingerboard? As I remember I had a regular ES-335 dot

and mine had a bound fingerboard. Maybe the Satin finished ones don't have that frill.

BTW, how does your Satin finish handle dings. I have the regular nitro finishes on my SG-Standard and CS-336 and man, if you hit them against something it shows bad. I got one on the front of my SG from a microphone,

(I had neck surgery and had to sit down while playing for a while and when getting up hit the front of my SG on my vocal mic). Now I can see a spot right down to the mahogany and it makes me cringe. But as CB always says,

"It gives your guitar mojo!" :unsure: LOL!!!

 

Because the satin finish is so thin, dings tend to go deeper in to the wood. With gloss finishes having around 7 coats there is a certain amount of buffer zone before it hits the wood. In either case drop filling with nitro can be done if you are patient and the dent can be completely invisible with careful leveling and buffing. I do mine all the time.

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Victory Pete,

 

How are the frets on yours? They left the ends of mine really sharp so I had to spend quite a lot of time with my junior luthier's tool kit to get them to feel right.

 

 

 

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Victory Pete,

 

How are the frets on yours? They left the ends of mine really sharp so I had to spend quite a lot of time with my junior luthier's tool kit to get them to feel right.

 

Same thing on mine, I spent some time with StewMac tools. I am a bit anxious today, my new ES 335 12 String is being delivered.

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It has passed the Victory Test. I spent the last 24 hours scrutinizing and testing it, it is a keeper. I will post pictures soon.

 

I am trying to post pictures but apparently I am already close to the 500K limit. How do I delete old pictures? I have never had this problem with other forums.

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The best way is to go to photobucket.com, set up an account and then you can copy the pictures onto this site.

 

 

Here's some pointers:

 

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/11005-sticky-how-to-post-photos/

 

 

Thanks for the links, I don't want to get involved with photo bucket. I just want to be able to post pictures like I do on many other forums. Also, is there a way to view only the most recent post?

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