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Finish Inside Chambers?


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With a chambered guitar, is it a must to finish or seal the inside of the chambers? If you put an F-Hole on it, does that change things? I'm thinking of just leaving the chamber closed, it's really just to lighten things. I usually spray the inside of my control cavities, and while I can get the insides of the chambers, I don't know the best way to get the back of the top before I glue it on. I was looking inside my acoustic, and it doesn't seem to have any finish inside, but it's also a junky old cheap thing.

I tried searching, and didn't find quite what I was looking for in the archives, sorry if it's there and I missed it.

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I feel strongly that it is a good thing to do, not anything heavy, just what is called a "wash coat" of shellac or sanding sealer. Especially if you have F-holes, and double-especially for an acoustic with thin back & sides, you want to make sure that any humidity changes affect the inside and outside of the guitar equally.

Rout out your chambers (glue on the back if need be), apply the wash coat with a brush (make sure you don't coat the glue surfaces), let dry thoroughly, then glue on your top.

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Drak mentioned somewhere that he finishes the cavities. Search some hollowbody threads he's in. I'd take the position that the inside of an acoustic should not be finished in any way for tonal reasons. But a hollowbody electric should have a sealer of some kind for stability. An acoustic is so thin that the finish on the inside would just dampen the vibrations even more. It's widely accepted that a thin, open pore finish, or a french polish will produce a more vibrant sound on an acoustic than a thick, poly glass coating. On a semi-hollow, the back and sides are so thick that a little sealer coat won't hurt anything, but could cut down on the expansion and contraction, which will cause grain telegraphing through the finish over time.

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Frank is correct that any finish will dampen the vibration. I wouldn't argue that point in any way. I prefer to give the inside a wash coat to even out the effects of humidity and prevent acceptance and rejection of moisture from only one side(to me it is to provide a degree of protection, although it does have a down side the same way an exterior finish has a down side). Just two different approches.

Peace, Rich

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