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so... les paul style lemon or cherry burst questions


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so... I'm using nitro and I've laid down some lemon keda dye.  have started working towards building up some clear nitro over that so that when I spray a burst, and inevitably get it wrong... I can wetsand and start over without going thru my clear/yellow. 

Then it hit me... I love the look of old les paul lemon burst/lemon drop/amberburst... and am wondering if the way they did it was to spray right on the yellow dye with no clear on top.  the reason I ask is because the orange/cherry/brown/amber that would go on top... always seems to display the figured maple well... not cover it up. 

I'm wondering now... if some clear nitro with some keda in it is going to lay on top and now allow the flames of the flamed maple to show thru... does that make sense?  let me rephrase that in the form of a question... anyone know if that's how gibson did it and/or if when you burst on top of clear nitro if the flame will still show highlights? 

going for this below, but with a light cherry which will be a bit darker than the orange here:

DSC_0310_992e75e2-dec9-4188-a3f5-d30b2f0

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11 hours ago, mistermikev said:

I'm wondering now... if some clear nitro with some keda in it is going to lay on top and now allow the flames of the flamed maple to show thru... does that make sense?  let me rephrase that in the form of a question... anyone know if that's how gibson did it and/or if when you burst on top of clear nitro if the flame will still show highlights? 

I don't know how Gibson did/does it, but I've done it a number of ways. I've sprayed dye bursts directly on the wood, I've dyed the wood the under color of the burst and used tinted lacquer to add the burst, and I've done every part of the coloring as a tint.

The flame figure will  still show up through tinted lacquer (clear nitro with some keda in it). Dying the wood enhances the flame more so than dying the clear. The trade off is the dye in the wood lessens the chatoyance some. These days I enhance the figure with multiple dye layers and multiple sand backs, polishing the bejesus out of the wood till it dances like the last drunk on the floor at 2:00am. That greatly enhances the chatoyance, and greatly worries normal woodworkers about the ability of the lacquer to stick to that polished surface. With the figure now greatly enhanced I use tinted lacquer to color and burst the wood, so the additional dye doesn't hid the extra chatoyance I worked hard to find.

AS far as the picture you posted, you can get similar results either dying the wood directly or using tinted lacquer.

SR

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2 hours ago, ScottR said:

I don't know how Gibson did/does it, but I've done it a number of ways. I've sprayed dye bursts directly on the wood, I've dyed the wood the under color of the burst and used tinted lacquer to add the burst, and I've done every part of the coloring as a tint.

The flame figure will  still show up through tinted lacquer (clear nitro with some keda in it). Dying the wood enhances the flame more so than dying the clear. The trade off is the dye in the wood lessens the chatoyance some. These days I enhance the figure with multiple dye layers and multiple sand backs, polishing the bejesus out of the wood till it dances like the last drunk on the floor at 2:00am. That greatly enhances the chatoyance, and greatly worries normal woodworkers about the ability of the lacquer to stick to that polished surface. With the figure now greatly enhanced I use tinted lacquer to color and burst the wood, so the additional dye doesn't hid the extra chatoyance I worked hard to find.

AS far as the picture you posted, you can get similar results either dying the wood directly or using tinted lacquer.

SR

you are a wealth of info.  I very much appreciate.  your finish work is outstanding so I'll take it like the bible.  this will be my first time tinting lacquer myself (using preval and perhaps airbrush depending)... so no confidence yet.  also cracked me up with 'last drunk on the floor' hehe!

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I use an airbrush for bursts and tinting. I've also used it applying dye to wood, and once applied Tru-Oil  layer by layer to a build--Stripy double-cut with an F-hole. Its a very useful tool. I also save figured maple off cuts like they were gold, and during times where the build says I must wait for the glue to dry or the lacquer to cure, I sand up little pieces and test dye combinations and techniques. The airbrush is great for mixing up small batches of tinted lacquer for testing as well.

SR

 

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20 minutes ago, ScottR said:

I use an airbrush for bursts and tinting. I've also used it applying dye to wood, and once applied Tru-Oil  layer by layer to a build--Stripy double-cut with an F-hole. Its a very useful tool. I also save figured maple off cuts like they were gold, and during times where the build says I must wait for the glue to dry or the lacquer to cure, I sand up little pieces and test dye combinations and techniques. The airbrush is great for mixing up small batches of tinted lacquer for testing as well.

SR

 

all great ideas... (stored for later) but I'm saving all my offcuts in hopes of someday doing a build with a mountain/stream/mackaray thingy!  probably never happen but a guy can dream right!  haven't used an airbrush since high school... model building... this should be a real trip down memory lane! gonna try the preval first cause i'm told they are pretty awesome.

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57 minutes ago, ADFinlayson said:

Search youtube for Freddy's Frets and watch his series Building les pauls, that bloke knows all there is to know about spraying bursts. I was surprised to see that a lot of it is done in the sun fading, the colours he sprays are a lot bright than the final result.

freddy is a member over at mylespaul.com.  I could have asked over there since they know EVERYTHING about les pauls but generally it can take some time to get a response.   I trust scott's  experience on the matter so have what I need but that's def a good call on your part.

I was recently in a thread over there asking about "when did the cherry back start on the les paul vs natural" and it was a shocking ride.  I was aware that water based dyes fade over time... but I had no idea how much.  A few members chimed in that A) all vintage burst les pauls had cherry backs but B) many of them faded to the point where there was ZERO indication of cherry anymore.  could have knocked me over with a feather.  some of the pics that were posted - you'd never have guessed they started cherry let alone dark cherry.  was a real learning experience.

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29 minutes ago, ADFinlayson said:

I was under the impression Gibson didn't dye but used coloured grain filler, brushed on and wiped off which stained the wood, I've seen that done a few times in the factory tours anyway. Pretty sure alcohol stains will fade just as much as water based too. 

I believe they added aniline dye to the grain filler so... basically the sm as dying it.  and they used aniline to dye the base color on the fronts (as I understand).  now somehow the fronts don't fade as much.  (perhaps the color yellow fades slower?)  I'm told alcohol based dyes (not simply diluting aniline in alcohol) is more colorfast... but I think w/o uv protection almost anything is going to change to some degree.  would love to know if I'm wrong.

over at mlp a gent had a real 59 that he showed pics of the guitar with the cavity covers off... the cavity was dark red... the body looked completely natural.

https://www.mylespaul.com/threads/when-did-gibson-start-doing-the-back-of-guitars-in-red.438630/#lg=_xfUid-5-1586297119&slide=0

 

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5 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

I believe they added aniline dye to the grain filler so... basically the sm as dying it.  and they used aniline to dye the base color on the fronts (as I understand).  now somehow the fronts don't fade as much.  (perhaps the color yellow fades slower?)  I'm told alcohol based dyes (not simply diluting aniline in alcohol) is more colorfast... but I think w/o uv protection almost anything is going to change to some degree.  would love to know if I'm wrong.

over at mlp a gent had a real 59 that he showed pics of the guitar with the cavity covers off... the cavity was dark red... the body looked completely natural.

I was going by the older PRS factory tours I've seen where they've said they always use alcohol dyes and some of the colour fades I've seen on even some of their more recent guitars. PRS fading with UV is horrendous. 

I would have though that in those days Gibson would have painted the back in tinted lacquer the same as the coloured the tops. One thing I do like about Gibsons coloured lacquer finishes is that the finish and the colour ages as one and it looks consistent as the guitar gets older. But a PRS that's been bleached by UV yet still has an immaculate polyester topcoat just looks wrong to me. Just my opinion but it's my rationale for favouring nitrocellulose as a finish, it will yellow and fade and crack over time as the colour fades rather than just become bleached. 

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5 minutes ago, ADFinlayson said:

I was going by the older PRS factory tours I've seen where they've said they always use alcohol dyes and some of the colour fades I've seen on even some of their more recent guitars. PRS fading with UV is horrendous. 

I would have though that in those days Gibson would have painted the back in tinted lacquer the same as the coloured the tops. One thing I do like about Gibsons coloured lacquer finishes is that the finish and the colour ages as one and it looks consistent as the guitar gets older. But a PRS that's been bleached by UV yet still has an immaculate polyester topcoat just looks wrong to me. Just my opinion but it's my rationale for favouring nitrocellulose as a finish, it will yellow and fade and crack over time as the colour fades rather than just become bleached. 

did not know that (about the poly) will have to check that... got any good pics?  won't actually show the gibson pic in here but here's the link: gibby

 

 

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3 minutes ago, ADFinlayson said:

I guess you can forgive a gibson for fading after 60 years :P I'd like to see more pics of a real '59. quick google finds you loads of stuff about faded prs. Here's a guy complaining about the fade on his 2016 private stock northern lights 😂 https://forums.prsguitars.com/threads/private-stock-is-fading.32484/

yeah... 60 years is a looooong time.  would not complain.  u r right about that prs... that does not appeal to my eye at all.  looks all 'fuzzy'.  and after 3 years...it looks like THAT?  and sells for probably 2-3K! it's one thing if you buy a nitro guitar - you should expect that and it's kind of cool... but buying poly... why NOT do uv resistant?  is it THAT expensive?

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Just now, mistermikev said:

yeah... 60 years is a looooong time.  would not complain.  u r right about that prs... that does not appeal to my eye at all.  looks all 'fuzzy'.  and after 3 years...it looks like THAT?  and sells for probably 2-3K! it's one thing if you buy a nitro guitar - you should expect that and it's kind of cool... but buying poly... why NOT do uv resistant?  is it THAT expensive?

i'm floored by how washed out that looks.  tsk tsk.  note to self... if you use bright colors like that... might want to go poly + uv resist.

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