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Hi, I'm New Here/advice On Finishing Needed!


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Hey, before I start, please be gentle, as this is my first project guitar! :D

Basically I had an squier strat affinity series (2002 I think) that I stripped the black lacquer/colour/plastic off (slowly, with a knife) and sanded down.

The wood I think is alder, I really like the look of it, it has an odd look unfinished... and since it's been sat on my workdesk, while I've been waiting on pickups/parts, it's acquired a cool yellowed/aged look.


Do I need to finish this guitar body? or can I just leave it as it is?

Are there differences in tone/volume/sustain that will be noticable?

And if, as I expect, it would be in my best interest to finish, how would I go about applying nitro to it? is it simple?

Will it make it shiny? (I know that sounds stupid)

Oh, also, I've cut some cavities in the body for a pickup on/off control plate and a killswitch,

if I were to nitro, should I do these bits along with the rest?

Thanks a lot, I have tons of questions so I'm pretty sure I'll be doing this very frequently from now on :D

Kind regards, Pat x

Edited by TheGarden
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First, although we gripe about searching a bit - there are TONS of posts about applying nitro, how to, how not to, how it can go wrong - the key bit of advice is always PATIENCE.

Assuming you'll be using rattle cans of lacquer - there's plenty of finishing tutorials on here. I've even posted one about finish sanding here

Should you finish it? Ideally - frequently played guitars tend to get a bit grungy with no protection.. and we all know what can happen if you don't use protection.

Will it make it shiny?
- The "it" in that statement is you. You make it shiny, the finish just makes a clear coat.

Are there differences in tone/volume/sustain that will be noticable?

Yes. If you use 250k pots vs. 500k pots - you should hear it. I'm sure someone will argue this with me, but that's ok. Read up on the pot value differences in any of the hundreds of posts here. Search for something like psw +pots or Mikro +pots

Typically, you don't clear the inside cavities (some do), since metal foil tape (copper/aluminum) used to help with shielding and grounding doesn't always stick so well to it.

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Hey, many thanks for the reply/help :D

I'm actually using the electric rig from a 60's hollowbody... It has a volume and tone pot for each pickup. Although it doesn't give its value I'm guessing they will be 250k... What's your opinion on using this rig in a solidbody? I'm hoping the vintage circuit will do interesting things to the sound. I am planning on using p90's. (?)

Literally any thoughts on this madness is much appreciated, as I admit, I'm kind of hoping for the best here.

As far as finishing goes, I've never done it, but I'm guessing a few modest coats in between drying...?

Is there any particular brands anyone can recommend?

Again, many thanks, I'm sure in time I will learn how to search for the answers myself :D

Pat x

Edited by TheGarden
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The vintage circuit will prob serve to add some noise in the circuit :D TBH, I don't see any real issues with that setup at all, other than it possibly being a little scratchy. I would recommend shielding the body cavity/pickguard with foil tape (copper/aluminum) to help with the hum. Other than that, give it a go. As far as nitro rattlecans go - I prefer Deft - others may have other favorite brands. In the winter I prefer water-based finishes like KTM-9 since inhaling solvent and lacquer seems cause problems.

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Before you go any further, I would HIGHLY recomend reading through the tutorials. There is good information in them and especially on the SAFETY of using different finishes. I would also recomend checking out the ReRanch forum. You're asking basic questions such as "Guessing a few coats between drying"? A lot of this information can be gained by reading the tutorials and at the ReRanch forum. There's a ton of good information about using lacquer over there and the ReRanch brand is supposed to be pretty good. Once you have a little understanding you'll still have questions but they'll be more specific and it is easier to get answers from guys.

As for needing a finish, I would say Yes you need one. Even if it's just an oil finish. This will keep the wood cleaner, but it also slows down moisture transfer. The moisture causes swelling and shrinking of the wood which can lead to damage.

Search Danish on here to learn about Danish oil and there is also a ton of threads on Tru-Oil, but the words are too short to search. Shellac is also a nice finish and EASY to use.

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