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Les Paul Black Beauty finish durability


Fillmore99

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I was wondering if those who own the Black Beauty or similar Les Paul has any comments on the durability of the finish. I currently have a black Warmoth guitar that was finished in nitrocellulose which is somewhat fragile and scratches easily. Any scratches are clearly visible on the black finish.

I believe that Gibson uses a urethane finish which is considerably tougher than the nitrocellulose.

I'm considering the purchase of my first ever Les Paul, and I am attracted to the Black Beauty type model, but I'm concerned that the finish would quickly display all kinds of wear and tear.

Comments please.

Thanks to all

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As 80LPC said, black shows EVERYTHING - smudges, swirls, scratches and dings. I have an LP Custom I bought back in 1992 that has seen a lot of playing and the finish has help up very well, I just have to polish it more than my other guitars. The part of Customs that really goes to crap is the gold hardware as it wears off.

 

Here is my LP as of a few months ago. No super closeups, but you get the idea.

 

Gratuitous showing off of my LP:

 

lp1.jpg

 

lp2.jpg

 

lp3.jpg

 

lp4.jpg

 

lp5.jpg

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I was wondering if those who own the Black Beauty or similar Les Paul has any comments on the durability of the finish. I currently have a black Warmoth guitar that was finished in nitrocellulose which is somewhat fragile and scratches easily. Any scratches are clearly visible on the black finish.

I believe that Gibson uses a urethane finish which is considerably tougher than the nitrocellulose.

I'm considering the purchase of my first ever Les Paul' date=' and I am attracted to the Black Beauty type model, but I'm concerned that the finish would quickly display all kinds of wear and tear.

Comments please.

Thanks to all

[/quote']

almost all Gibson guitars are finish in nitro.

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Nice pics of a very classy guitar. By comparison, the gold on my bridge/tailpiece has taken a beating. The previous owner used to put it away without wiping it down. The plating on the tuners is better, but some corrosion took place under the surface causing small bubbles to form. In all the time I've had it, I've never polished it - just kept it clean. Will post a picture, but most of the hardware has been removed, and it really is a fretless wonder...

 

IMG_91891024x768.jpg

 

IMG_91851024x768.jpg

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RichCI' date=' your Custom looks great. So, I take it that even after a decade of playing, that the finish has sustained no obvious or vile scratches.

Thanks for the pics.[/quote']

 

Thanks! Yeah, the finish itself has help up very well. There are some small dents in it from usage over the years, the binding has yellowed (didn't show up in the pics, but it's nowhere near as stark looking as you see in the photos and looks more like the photos posted by 80LPC), the pickguard has lots of swirls and the gold has worn off a bit, particularly the tuners as you can see.

 

I try to take good care of it but I bought it to play it so it's inevitable that it's going to show some wear. I look at it this way: Some people pay extra to buy a new guitar that is prebeaten by a professional.

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as mentioned above, gibsons are also nitro and black does show scratches worse than other colors. the other thing to remember is that it will be easier to scratch it when it is new. the lacquer takes time to fully cure and it is easily damaged when new. even pushing down too hard with a good polishing cloth can scratch it. so, be extra careful until the finish hardens

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I believe that Gibson uses a urethane finish which is considerably tougher than the nitrocellulose.

 

Not sure where you're getting that from, everyone here has pointed out that Gibsons are finished in nitrocellulose lacquer.

 

Well, it's true that urethane and polyester finishes are much much tougher than nitrocellulose. However Gibson only uses nitrocellulose lacquer. It's probably a little souped up from the formulations used in the fifties, but it's still essentially the same type of resins. The finish is fragile but it's very easy to make invisible spot repairs and it's beautiful as soon as it comes out of the gun.

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as mentioned above' date=' gibsons are also nitro and black does show scratches worse than other colors. the other thing to remember is that it will be easier to scratch it when it is new. the lacquer takes time to fully cure and it is easily damaged when new. even pushing down too hard with a good polishing cloth can scratch it. so, be extra careful until the finish hardens[/quote']

 

How long does that take?

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80LPC' date=' are those scratches near the control knobs?[/quote']

 

Filmore, it's just the remains of sticky tape from when I was working on the guitar. I cleaned it off, and here are 2 more pictures. These don't show the true colour of the binding (yellow) due to the fluorescent lighting. If I use flash, it just appears bone white. If there were some decent daylight in the UK, it would show it ok, but we are gripped by an icy mist at the moment.

Happy new year !

 

 

IMG_93111024x768.jpg

 

IMG_93421024x768.jpg

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How long does that take?

 

well, that depends.......

 

leaving it out of the case, helps a lot. generally after the first several months you will notice a difference. it never fully cures though. after a couple of years it will be pretty hard to scratch by accident though.

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Filmore' date=' it's just the remains of sticky tape from when I was working on the guitar. I cleaned it off, and here are 2 more pictures. These don't show the true colour of the binding (yellow) due to the fluorescent lighting. If I use flash, it just appears bone white. If there were some decent daylight in the UK, it would show it ok, but we are gripped by an icy mist at the moment.

Happy new year ![/quote']

 

Good! I was sorry to think that your otherwise beautiful LP could have been so badly scratched.

Cheers.

F

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I had problems with my new nitro stratching so i aged it myself and sanded it down with 280 grit sandpaper like the custom shop uses on the vos's

 

Could you clarify that please? 280 grit seems pretty coarse for rubbing out a finish unless you're referring to micron or some other grit system (I'm used to 100, 120, 150, 180, 220, 320, 400, 600, 800, so 280 seems like an odd number). And where did you find out how they do the VOS treatment?

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bobv, that quote of yours ("Why don't you just make 10 louder, and make 10 be the top number, and make that a little louder?") at the bottom made me remember this...Leslie West (from Mountain) has a new guitar with Dean Guitars...he had them design this thing with a knob that goes to 11. Funniest thing I've ever heard of, considering that 10 is just an arbitrary number assigned to a pot anyway...they even had a picture of it...LOL!!

 

knobs.jpg

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Could you clarify that please? 280 grit seems pretty coarse for rubbing out a finish unless you're referring to micron or some other grit system (I'm used to 100' date=' 120, 150, 180, 220, 320, 400, 600, 800, so 280 seems like an odd number). And where did you find out how they do the VOS treatment?[/quote']

 

 

I was on youtube watchin a tom murph video and he said he uses 280 grit sandpaper and i looked in my garage and there was 280 grit sandpaper... And there is a guy that is frequently at my local Gibson Dealer whose son works at the custom shop and he also told me that they use 280 for the vos's (now he might have ment 280 for sanding down the wood) but I am MORE THAN PLEASED with the outcome,, Its a little rougher than a vos but it looks like a Bill Nash without all the dings and burn marks that he puts on them.... However, i would try sanding a part of one of the sides of your guitar before you jump right in and see if you like the results.....

 

 

Also, to keep this white film off of the nitro i use fretboard lemon oil on the top and it really makes the flame come through

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  • 3 months later...
I was wondering if those who own the Black Beauty or similar Les Paul has any comments on the durability of the finish. I currently have a black Warmoth guitar that was finished in nitrocellulose which is somewhat fragile and scratches easily. Any scratches are clearly visible on the black finish.

I believe that Gibson uses a urethane finish which is considerably tougher than the nitrocellulose.

I'm considering the purchase of my first ever Les Paul' date=' and I am attracted to the Black Beauty type model, but I'm concerned that the finish would quickly display all kinds of wear and tear.

Comments please.

Thanks to all

[/quote']

 

Hi. I have a 1971 Les Paul Custom "Black Beauty" which I've owned since brand new. Great axe, despite some of the negative comments about how lousy Gibson's guitars were in the seventies. I have found nothing to be true about that. I also own 2 more Les Pauls, one's a 1992 Les Paul Classic Plus in Cherry 'burst' which I love. But, I don't see any difference in those two guitars at all.

 

Gibson, to the best of my knowledge has always used Nitro for their paint, and I as a finisher and builder of my own guitars will only use that too. Durablility? Well, as I've said, my own 1971 has held up better than some guitars that are just a few years old. Advantages to Nitro are, they touch up so easily and buff beautifully. The sheen is perfect, not an unreal gloss, but a beautiful believeable 'instrument' gloss. I don't know about the tone, but many people believe that lacquer does provide a mellow tone, which urethane will never do. Urethane is basically a plastic resin, and it is a very good hard finish, but touch up is a nightmare. And also, if you bump a urethane-finished guitar, it will dent it. That's a bit tricky to fix, and involves quite a bit of technique. A lacquer guitar will meerly chip, and most times that can be 'drop-filled' quite easily, (I'm doing one now!)

 

I hope this somewhat answers your questions. Gibson has a video factory tour, which can be found by going to this link: http://www.gearwire.com/gibson-factory-tour.html It's really cool!

 

Good luch to you.

 

MorePaul is better than Les Paul

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