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Dallon426

Lightly sanded a J-45

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Hi, I would like to find out what you guys recommend for creating a vintage look on a new J-45. I used 1500 grit sand paper and wetsanded lightly over the entire body. It looks pretty good and is now a matte finish. However there are some scratches in the finish from sanding and I would like to get those scratches out and make it look like a semi gloss finish. I am not a fan of the hi gloss that most guitar companies use nowadays.

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Twenty years of hard playing, wiping with a rag daily, should do the job properly.

 

The finish on Gibson guitars is quite thin, and is easily sanded through, even with very fine papers. It's your guitar, but you probably just knocked $400 off the value.

 

Sounds like what you are after is the old Gibson VOS finish, which I believe they did on a large buffing wheel. Fine scratches were the norm in that finish, so you may already be there. A satin or semi-gloss finish is usually created today by adding flattening agents, such as very fine pumice, to a gloss finish material before applying it.

 

 

A perfect semi-gloss or rubbed-effect finish on an existing high-gloss surface is normally achieved by hand-rubbing the finish with rags using fine powdered pumice and oil or water, depending on the applied finish you are working with. It is a painstaking process that we used to use on parts of yacht interiors. You can easily cut through a thin finish with this method, particularly on outside corners. Then you're screwed.

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Twenty years of hard playing, wiping with a rag daily, should do the job properly.

 

The finish on Gibson guitars is quite thin, and is easily sanded through, even with very fine papers. It's your guitar, but you probably just knocked $400 off the value.

 

Sounds like what you are after is the old Gibson VOS finish, which I believe they did on a large buffing wheel. Fine scratches were the norm in that finish, so you may already be there. A satin or semi-gloss finish is usually created today by adding flattening agents, such as very fine pumice, to a gloss finish material before applying it.

 

 

A perfect semi-gloss or rubbed-effect finish on an existing high-gloss surface is normally achieved by hand-rubbing the finish with rags using fine powdered pumice and oil or water, depending on the applied finish you are working with. It is a painstaking process that we used to use on parts of yacht interiors. You can easily cut through a thin finish with this method, particularly on outside corners. Then you're screwed.

 

 

I’d say the value got cut in more than half, what are they going for now?

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How's the tone and feel on the hands? That's what counts now that you've messed with the finish. If you love it, a lifetime of dings, scuffs and rub-offs will just add to the aging process. When it looks like this it will have reached it's optimum beauty.

 

 

 

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Oooooooouuuhhhh, go careful - you should actually avoid paper.

I have done this on my Martin HD-28V plus an ol' semi-trashed Gibson Country Western and understand your mission.

Start with a fine kitchen-sponge and finish with one of these. https://www.sensatio...ffer-block.html , , , , and some cloth buffin'.

All executed by a lady's hand.

 

 

Corners might be reached with the Chinese eating-stick into smaller cuts of the flexible sponge.

Stay focused

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Thanks for the responses but regarding value I don't really care. I like the look and don't intend to sell this guitar.

It's going to look much better than a standard when all is said and done. I've done this to my Martin 00-15 models as well. However I used steel wool in the past. Also I bought this j-45 used for a good deal.

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Any chance for a picture or two? Need to post it to imgur or some sort of hosting site, but would love to see what your doing, and the ones you've done it on.

Don't think I have photos where it comes across as illustration, but the result is very much as you would imagine.

There are no dramatic spots really - the 2 softer sides of the block are smooth like reindeer-skin.

Btw. I started on the Epiphone Insp. by Texan to learn the 'craft'. It really needed it - shon like candy.

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Well done dallon! Hard to say without seeing pictures but try a different grit. First you have to get the scratches out from the previous grit. I do that by sanding back and forth with say 1000 grit, then go circular motion with 1500, then back and forth again with 2000, etc.

Best of luck with it! As you said who cares about value, its just a Gibson j45 and they are a dime a dozen.

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I Amy be entirely wrong, But I thought the VOS finish was achieved by limiting or entire skipping the final buffing, so as to leave that dull look. I used to polish my JV45 Tv too often, and accidentally created the new look shiny finish. Maybe something needs to be added, not subtracted ? Back when I produced rock shows some artists used to actually apply some sort of stuff, not wax but it looked like wax, to minimize spotlight glare.

Edited by duluthdan

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I Amy be entirely wrong, But I thought the VOS finish was achieved by limiting or entire skipping the final buffing, so as to leave that dull look. I used to polish my JV45 Tv too often, and accidentally created the new look shiny finish.

 

 

I suspect you're right. I got my L-OO Legend for a decent price because the boutique dealer who had it on consignment thought the VOS finish was damage from someone polishing the guitar wrong. I did a little Virtuoso Cleaner job on it to remove the worst of the excess VOS job, and brought the guitar to a nice low sheen with minimal scratches. Now it looks played-in, but not abused.

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My Wartime all-mahogany Harmony has an "eggshell" lacquer finish. I am not sure what that is but it was said to have slightly less sheen than a satin finish.

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I briefly owned an Eastman E10SS/v... a J45 knockoff with the built in distressed look. It looked cool enough...

 

Sold it though. I dont think I will buy a distressed guitar again.... unless its naturally done and sounds like lightning in a bottle.

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Because I don't like shiny new things. I like and have always liked the way vintage guitars look. I own a few 30's 00-17 from Martin. Guitar companies used to use less finish and had a different process. Martin went through their files apparently to find out what the finish process was back in the 30's and that is the finish they use for the authentics. I'm not trying to relic it. Just bring the sheen down. My guitar is a guitar. Not a bathroom. I don't need Hi-gloss.

 

Try here and see if you get the images.

BTW I am selling a 1936 MARTIN 00-17

Email dallonscottghan@gmail.com for details

 

https://imgur.com/a/UOfiXxr

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I can't tell much from your images, but it's your guitar so do what makes you feel good with it and enjoy.

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Try here and see if you get the images.

To be frank, it looks a bit rough, D426. I would definitely go cotton now and buff the other way. Then stop when the scratches are down.

Another thing to remember is that finish has quite a lot to do with the finer nuances of the voice of the instrument.

One doesn't alter it without gambling with bigger or smaller sonic adjustments too. This is the sensitive zone.

 

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I never understood why people pay or want their new guitars to look old. Just play the thing.

 

Everybody has their own attitudes about how they prefer their guitars to look. Yes, the sound is the important thing; we all know that. I'm left-handed and play upside down, but I don't change my strings around so I can play righty guitars. Should I have to go through life playing guitars with pickguards on the wrong side?

 

But to Dallon426's question.... This isn't exactly on point since it involves a poly finish, but I'll share it anyway. Some years ago, I had an Epiphone IB'64 Texan and decided I wanted to get the poly finish thinned down. I figured that while I was at it, I'd have it relic'd. The work was done by Leo Whitebird, a luthier and repairman in Minneapolis. I had him write down the process. It no doubt would be different for a guitar with a nitro finish. His report:

 

Rough material removal was done with a combination of cabinet scrapers, 3M scrubbies and copper pot scouring pads, steel wool (#000-0000), sandpaper of varying grits (100, 220, 400 and so on) depending on the amount of finish to be removed and the type of contour desired. There were some areas where wood was exposed where a wire brush was used along with water to raise the grain a bit.

 

-- Surface dings and chips, etc. were accomplished by a number of means- flogging with a set of keys, light taps with a jeweler's hammer and screwdrivers,etc. (the round shaft of a screwdriver does very nicely for the little binding chips) and the belt buckle marks were etched in with the ball hex-head of a truss-rod wrench. I dropped a few coins from 3 feet or so for random top dings as well.

 

-- Most of the initial sanding with the rougher grits was done dry, but at the 400-grit level I switched to wet sanding up to this point the work was only being done on areas where specific wear patterns were desired based on the player's style and handling of the instrument. Form the 400 grit onward, the entire instrument was wet-sanded with 400, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500 and 2000 grits. I frequently revisited heavier grits in some areas as the final wear patterns became evident. Once the 2000 grit was very thoroughly applied to the entire suface with some touch-ups from larger grits and steel wool here and there, I began buffing with a soft rotary wheel and Tripolish compound. This was rather time-consuming but paid off. Note, it is VERY important to have good lighting from several angles at this point -- the really fine scratches will disappear at certain angles and you need to be very vigilant. After this step a thorough hand buffing with a soft flannel and a very light polishing compound was applied before a final polish/wax coat.

 

-- Bindings and plastic parts were sanded with 400 grit on down (special care was taken to remove molding lines and soften corners consistent with playing wear) and colorized with Letraset permanent art marker (primrose) and vintage Amber lacquer pencil (Stew-Mac #6091).

 

-- Tuners were bathed in distilled vinegar and salt for five days while other work was taking place.

 

Anyway, that's about it in a nutshell (big nut). The only advice I would give to anyone attempting this is go slow and evaluate your progress constantly. I cannot stress the importance of adequate light, and I wore actual magnifier glasses for a lot of the finer work.

 

With the finish thinned, the guitar sounded better because the top was less restrained. And since there's nowhere I can get a road-worn and vintage righty Texan with a left-handed pickguard, it was the best I could do.

Edited by dhanners623

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The tone has not changed ftr. Not yet. Still sounds loud and growley.

If anything taking some finish off would take off less weight and allow the guitar to breathe a bit more. Thus creating a bigger tone. Adding finish I would imagine would have the opposite affect.

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The tone has not changed ftr. Not yet. Still sounds loud and growley.

If anything taking some finish off would take off less weight and allow the guitar to breathe a bit more. Thus creating a bigger tone. Adding finish I would imagine would have the opposite affect.

 

I doubt anything you've done will impact tone, volume, sustain or any other sound quality. The nitro finish on your J-45 was pretty transparent to begin with. The Epiphone I spoke of had a polyurethane finish, which does impede tone because it is basically a layer of plastic covering the guitar.

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I never understood why people pay or want their new guitars to look old. Just play the thing.

 

 

Not my preference either but I honestly enjoy a world where not everyone is like me.

I was just hoping to help him accomplish his mission.

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Dare I say, the same time put into the guitar to distress the finish could be spent playing the guitar, and in that time I'm sure you could acquire some scratches and whatnot. I have a 2017 J45 that has a TON of swirls and some small dents and dings. It's been played. In the right light you can see a LOT of those light surface scratches and swirls that accumulate from playing and handling, and it's those, that over time build up and dull the finish when the guitar is played in naturally. Not knocking someone who wants to speed up or alter the look themselves by any means since it's their guitar to do to it what they choose, but with a guitar with a darker finish (as opposed to a natural finish) like. J45, the wear and tear, scratches and dulling of the finish tends to show up and accumulate a little quicker.

Edited by sbpark

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When I mentioned on the Epiphone forum here what I planned to have done to my IB'64 Texan, I was inundated with people saying, "Why don't you just play it for years yadda yadda yadda" and I got really tired of it. People were very judgmental and there was a heavy dose of self-righteousness. I was obviously a poseur if I wanted a guitar that looked old. But guitars are individual choices. For the life of me, I think the Songwriter is one of the ugliest guitars on the planet, followed closely by the Hummingbird and the Dove. But I don't tell people, "You're buying a square-shouldered Gibson? Really?" It's their money and their guitar and they are free to get what they want. I don't get people who put stickers on their guitars, but Paul McCartney did ok with a Detroit Red Wing decal on his Texan. I don't get people who have others sign their guitars, but Willie Nelson's "Trigger" is an American icon.

 

I don't know if you guys have noticed it not, but there's a market out there for distressed guitars. Huss & Dalton offers them. Martin offers them. Fender offers them. Heck, there's even a whole guitar company -- Pre-War Guitars -- that is based on producing distressed guitars and they have monster talents like Molly Tuttle, Tommy Emmanuel and David Grier touting their guitars because they're really good instruments. And, yeah, they look vintage.

 

Cut the guy some slack. If he wants his guitar to have a certain look, what's it to us?

Edited by dhanners623

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When I mentioned on the Epiphone forum here what I planned to have done to my IB'64 Texan, I was inundated with people saying, "Why don't you just play it for years yadda yadda yadda" and I got really tired of it. People were very judgmental and there was a heavy dose of self-righteousness. I was obviously a poseur if I wanted a guitar that looked old. But guitars are individual choices. For the life of me, I think the Songwriter is one of the ugliest guitars on the planet, followed closely by the Hummingbird and the Dove. But I don't tell people, "You're buying a square-shouldered Gibson? Really?" It's their money and their guitar and they are free to get what they want. I don't get people who put stickers on their guitars, but Paul McCartney did ok with a Detroit Red Wing decal on his Texan. I don't get people who have others sign their guitars, but Willie Nelson's "Trigger" is an American icon.

 

I don't know if you guys have noticed it not, but there's a market out there for distressed guitars. Huss & Dalton offers them. Martin offers them. Fender offers them. Heck, there's even a whole guitar company -- Pre-War Guitars -- that is based on producing distressed guitars and they have monster talents like Molly Tuttle, Tommy Emmanuel and David Grier touting their guitars because they're really good instruments. And, yeah, they look vintage.

 

Cut the guy some slack. If he wants his guitar to have a certain look, what's it to us?

 

I understand what you're saying here, and can see both sides to the debate. I'll start by saying that first, these are Internet forums, and if it weren't for different opinions and people voicing them, these would be even more boring places to visit and be participating in! I also have no problem with someone disagreeing with me and voicing that in a thread. It's their right to. Sure, many may come across as (with full intent or not) as being very judgmental or self-righteous, and for sure there are many who just want to troll and poke the bee's nest with a pointy stick, but when people make comments like that it says more about them than it does about the OP of the thread.

 

The thing is, if you want to be able to ask opinions and get advice, you have to take the good with the bad and understand that not everyone is going to agree with you or support you, and many may even have a contradictory opinion or viewpoint. There's nothing wrong with disagreeing with someone or having a different opinion, it's more about how they phrase it, but the guy who doesn't like relic'ing or altering the finishes on guitars and prefers to pay them has just as much right to voice his/her opinion as the OP does in starting the topic in favor of it.

 

Just be glad this isn't the AGF! They're posting threads about $400 guitar chairs, worrying about if they ruined their sound hole humidifier because they used tap water (the manufacturer recommends distilled. Oh, the horror!), and how to "properly" launder the cloths you use to wipe down your guitars and debating callous development of nylon strings vs steel strings! I bet those guys are super fun at parties!

Edited by sbpark

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