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  1. #1
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    Matte finish to glossy/ Could, Should I do it ?

    Hi. With the right set up now, I've finally bonded with my $500 Gretsch New Yorker. It grew on me.. But I go back and forth on whether or not I like the dull matte finish. It gives it a cardboard-ish look which I believe is why a lot of players think it's cheaper than it really is..
    Anyroad, in order to give it a glossy look would it need to be all sanded down to the wood before brush painting or spray painting it with some type of gloss coat. Could a hand polish/wax right on top of the matte finish do the same (as I might not have to remove/sand anything this way). Thanks, M, Los Angeles

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  3. #2
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    I remember reading about some guys on the UMGF (Martin guitar forum) who have used a Meguir's (car wax) product to buff a satin finish to a gloss. There is a big concern in that some of the products contain silicone, and some don't. You don't want to use a product that contains silicone on a guitar, to my understanding.

    I think sanding it down and refinishing it yourself is probably not the best way to go, unless you really really know what you are doing.

    Here's a link to a few images:

    Polishing a Satin Finish

  4. #3
    If it isn't possible to polish the original finish to gloss, I'm sure a glossy coat could be sprayed over the top. Stripping and refinishing sounds very extreme and not to be recommended in most cases.

  5. #4
    I'vo got a satin finish guitar that I've been playing a lot. It's getting glossy in a few spots - where the pickguard would be, where my arm rubs etc... The whole guitar might look nice glossy like this, but the trouble is not worth it to me. I'll just see these glossy patches as more hours spent playing.. doesn't really bother me. Kind of like rosewood fretboards, which also go kind of shiny, I prefer the look of that too.

  6. #5
    I believe a few here had buffed up their epi 175's to a gloss finish ....

  7. #6
    Guitars aren't "spray painted". The better finishes use some kind of lacquer or other clear finish (poly, etc.) with coloring agents in them.

    So, a Gibson Cherry Red on a 335, is really clear coated, then a red lacquer is sprayed on top of that...you are looking "through the finish" as Stewmac says in his book on basic guitar repair.

    Getting a really good finish is a LOT of work....NOT advised for someone to take on without proper tools and some experience.

    If you're in LA, your state has all sorts of restrictions of what finishes can be used. I don't think nitro is even allowed in LaLa Land.

    Bottom line----you can spend a lot of money to get this looking the way you want paying someone do it...which won't be worth it, probably....is it really true there is no such thing as this model guitar in a gloss finish, if that's what you want? Probably better off selling this instrument, and buying another in glossy, or something like it.

    There's a site called reranch.com which caters to the do it yourselfer....it's a lot of work, though.

    PS: Listened to some clips on various of these models....they sound good ! , esp. the one with the DeArmond type pu. Gloss finishes can be a bit of a pain....lacquer ones show scratches. I think you should just close your eyes, play it, and enjoy it, but that's me.

  8. #7
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    Thank you to all who've replied (or 're-ply-wood-ed') thus far. Advice to not sand it down to the wood is well taken..It's no biggy. Maybe a certain polish could be rubbed right on top of my satin doll !! M

  9. #8
    I’m sure if you just took a soft cloth and rubbed the hell out of it, it’ll shine up. Cheapest, easiest solution. The wear on mine is definitely shiny. (Can you post photos if you do this, coz I’d consider it too).

  10. #9
    If the wear is shiny, then it will almost certainly buff to a gloss of some sort with cutting polish. T-cut is used in the UK, or Farecla. In the US I think you have meguiars cutting polish of various grades, but one for cutting (polishiing) old paintwork on cars should do it. Can be used with an old rag.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by plasticpigeon View Post
    If the wear is shiny, then it will almost certainly buff to a gloss of some sort with cutting polish. T-cut is used in the UK, or Farecla. In the US I think you have meguiars cutting polish of various grades, but one for cutting (polishiing) old paintwork on cars should do it. Can be used with an old rag.
    Yeah, I doubt it will look like a proper gloss coated guitar, but I could see how it would be shinier. It would hide the 'wear' spots better I suppose..

  12. #11
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    The problem with matte finish is keeping it perfect, as none of the normal techniques or products will maintain the uniform appearance.
    Any cleaner or polish not specifically made for matte (rules out 99.9% of products) will mess it up.
    Cleaning a smudge, even with great care, can leave it looking shiny where you touched it.

    I have one guitar purchased this last year with matte finish, but it is nitro and I am experienced at spraying lacquer, so I figured worst case I could "fix" it myself. I kind of like the matte look it has, but the original finish is imperfect (as forgiving as lacquer is, with matte you do not get a chance to final sand / buff away anything -- you are left with "as sprayed" typically.)

    There actually is an exception or two, where a product can restore or even create a matte finish, as automotive detailers have special flatting agents for this treatment. The one affordable potion is from Farecla (the UK company mentioned previously in this thread) and its called "G-Matt Advanced Flatting Liquid".

    So my own matte guitar came new with imperfect finish, some small areas of dry spray. Buffing it all to lose the matte is not the answer for me, as the matte clear would have flatting agents incorporated that really do work against that goal. You can expect an uneven result, without uniform clarity. You can try this, many have done it, but I expect the results to be uneven and not look like a true gloss or a uniform matte. For the specific issues my matte finish has (some dry spray) I'm going to lightly wet-sand to knock down the dry spray and get uniform surface, then use the Farecla G-Matt to cut it back to matte. And if all goes south, or I decide the matte is too fussy to maintain (can't use any guitar cleaners / polish) I can prep it for top coat of gloss lacquer. I use the Seagrave / McFadden lacquer (mostly out of familiarity) and it produces a very durable finish. If I did not have the equipment to spray lacquer, I'd take the job to someone else rather than use a rattle can. The aerosol can finish is going to be compromised by the spray delivery and the set formula -- no adjustment possible with fast / slow thinners, ratios etc.. and usually too much plasticizer

    Anyways, the relevant part of my post was to mention Farecla G-Matt in case you got to a point where you decide to renew the matte condition. Here's how it works:

  13. #12
    There are two ways to achieve a matte finish. One is buy rubbing out a gloss finish with some kind of mild abrasive. In this case, the matte look is created by the fine surface scratches left by the abrasive. The other way is to mix some kind of flattening agent (solid particles) into the finish. These particles then create the matte look.

    The first type of finish can usually be buffed back to gloss if desired. Or if it's nitro or shellac, you can add more finish which will blend with the old and get you back to gloss. The second type cannot be converted to gloss by either buffing or adding more finish. So you need to know which type you've got.

  14. #13
    Hey man, I just doing it to my guitar about two weeks ago and it turned out great! I followed this video closely
    What you have to watch tho, is on the top to make sure no compound gets in the f holes, if it does just make sure to clean it up right away. Also don’t be lazy with it, unless you want to have some parts be more shiny than others. I made thread about the same topic, I’ll post pictures soon.

  15. #14
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    coldfingers, I may be mistaken but I think you have it backwards. My Gretsch has a matte finish and I am planning to make it glossy.. But thanks. It's the thought that counts..M

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkInLA View Post
    coldfingers, I may be mistaken but I think you have it backwards. My Gretsch has a matte finish and I am planning to make it glossy.. But thanks. It's the thought that counts..M
    It's always possible. But what is it you think I have backwards?

  17. #16
    Oh, I see - you didn't read my second paragraph. This point is, you have to know which type of matte finish you have in order to understand what your options are in converting it to gloss.

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by coldfingers View Post
    The first type of finish can usually be buffed back to gloss if desired. Or if it's nitro or shellac, you can add more finish which will blend with the old and get you back to gloss. The second type cannot be converted to gloss by either buffing or adding more finish. So you need to know which type you've got.
    Is there a way to find out which type it's got? thanks

  19. #18
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    I want to say thanks to everyone who replied to my OP. I still remain in limbo as to whether or not to mess with the finish at all, out of fear of opening a huge can of worms.. Please don't labor any longer over my thread. Your suggestions are many. It's up to me whether I'll ever go for it or not. MH, Los Angeles

  20. #19
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    This nitro finish started out matte. Now it's reasonably shiny:
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  21. #20
    Did you decide to do it?

    I started buffing mine out with just a cloth an hour ago.. taking a long time but starting to match the super glossy area I've worn where a pickguard would be. Too tired to concentrate playing tonight anyway.

    Anyone have any ideas to speed this up? (without cutting compound or anything) I went from using a cloth to using some denim - slightly more abrasive.

  22. #21
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    There are super-fine "finishing" rubbing compounds that will make your life much easier.
    I'm still working my way through a quart of 3M Finesse II that is 20 years old.
    Or something along these lines, maybe.

    http://www.meguiars.com/en/automotiv...hing-compound/

    I'm sure there are others as well.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone View Post
    There are super-fine "finishing" rubbing compounds that will make your life much easier.
    I'm still working my way through a quart of 3M Finesse II that is 20 years old.
    Or something along these lines, maybe.

    http://www.meguiars.com/en/automotiv...hing-compound/

    I'm sure there are others as well.
    Yeah I'm going to find something... takes way too long with just the cloth alone.

    With mine (335 type mahogany), I'm surprised to see how much the colour and grain pops out in the wood glossy vs matte. I'll probably only do the top, since I'd rather spend the time playing. But may eventually get round to doing the whole thing. It's my #1 practice guitar and don't really care about re-sale value.

    *UPDATE: Meguiars "Ultimate Compound" (cutting compound) worked a charm, like having a new guitar. It could be a sort of placebo effect, but it even sounds and feels more lively now.
    Last edited by p1p; 06-08-2018 at 05:36 PM.

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