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I have begun building 3 guitars, one for each of my sons. For this project, I think the building will be the easy part and the finishing the hard part. The finishes they want are vintage amber (on flamed maple drop top over mahogany body like Gibson LP Supreme Trans Amber), see through black cherry (on quilted maple drop top over mahogany body like ESP Custom) and vintage cherry on mahogany body (like Gibson SG).

Can anyone give advice on recipes or approaches to achieve each of these different finishes? B) Lots at stake here as you would understand. :D

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Hi John,

I would suggest that you need two things. 1) Samples of wood to work with. 2) Something called a colorwheel. You pick out the color and it tells you how to mix it.

The colorwheel is not exact, but it will get you close. And the color of the wood will have an impact. If you have a friend who is an artist who can help, I would suggest that the investment of a bottle of wine is worthwhile.

Take care,

Guitar Ed

Advice worth what you paid for it. Nothing.

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OK, let's start at the beginning.

1) Have you done any finishing like this before, if so, how much, and on what?

2) How do you intend on doing these finishes? (Sprayed on, wiped on, any preferences?)

3) What's your budget?

Gotta have some frame of reference before we can give you some useful suggestions. B)

If you're really just starting out, I would recommend you go to the Guitar ReRanch, Bill is very well set up for beginners to get first-rate finishes from the 'jump'.

And there is a forum there too so you can ask questions about his products and applications right there on his site.

Not trying to brush you off from here, please post any questions you wish and we'll help you all we can, but Bill's operation is set up for first-timers who want pro results immediately.

His system involves using pre-mixed shader lacquer colors in 'spray bombs', (colored, pre-mixed aerosol cans) already mixed for you, it is a guitar finish-friendly site, and he is there to help you use his products to get great results.

Now, if you have experience and a spray system already set up, we can give you what you need, or cull information from both places. :D

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Thanks for the responses guys.

I have some experience making and finishing solid body guitars but it is limited to opaque finishes. I have used rattle cans with tinted nitro and clear nitro before. I have a compressor and spray gun suitable for nitro. My budget is ok but not unlimited - I have a reasonable amount of equipment but no dedicated finishing room. I can segregate a portion of my garage if need be. I do have breathing equipment and other safety equipment. However, I haven't worked with figured maple before.

I am learning but either reasonably capable or foolishly confident. :D

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