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the only problem with varnish is it's tendency to turn yellow. for the amount needed to finish a guitar it's shouldn't cost more than a couple dollars more for polyeurathane..a much better finish.

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I'm going to disagree here. Polyurethane is a little harder than varnish but it looks a whole lot more like plastic. If you like that look, okay. Polyurethanes like Minwax or Varathane are a great floor finish. Your guitar will look the same. The Poly that is oohed and ahhhed over on this site is catalyzed Polyuretane and not ever the same thing.

If you can get decent varnish, use it. Start with a couple of sealer coats of shellac. Rubbing out the final coats will involve a lot of elbow grease and probably some pumice if you want a high gloss shine, but it is worth it.

I've got pieces of furniture out there that are thirty years old, have seen a lot of wear and tear and still look great with a shellac and varnish finish.

The only two reasons I switched to lacquer were speed of drying time and repairability.

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