Nitro Lacquer vs. Poly... What difference does it make?
Lacquer is a much thinner paint coat due to the high content of solvents. This allows for many multiple coats without a build up of layers or additional weight to the guitar. I feel that the density of a poly finish does have an effect on the tonal qualities of the wood. Many will argue the point. It's a matter of personal opinion. The wood cannot "breathe" under a poly coat. Lacquer allows for the original ambient tone of the wood to remain true. Poly is a much more durable finish but poly will not age over time like lacquer. A desired aspect of both vintage guitars as well as re-issues, etc. are the signs of an aging nitro finish such as wear spots, yellowing of the clear coat & checking patterns. While poly has a high shine to the finish, I feel that a lacquer finish has a glass-like reflectiveness with greater depth & warmth than a poly coat.
What does a "refinish" actually entail?
The process begins with a fully stripped wood body that will be checked for any dents, chips, dings or deep scratches or gouges in the wood. These will either be sanded out if possible or filled if too deep for sanding. Next the wood grain is filled with oil-based filler, a minimum of 2 coats, depending on the type of wood. Sand & Sealer is then applied 1 coat at a time, with sanding between coats. This is followed by a 2-4 coat application of primer, which is sanded to complete smoothness & an even levelness. This is very important since this is the foundation upon which the paint coats will be built. Any flaws in the previous steps will become readily apparent when the lacquer is applied so a perfect prep is mandatory. After all the color coats are done, the body is wet sanded prior to the clear coats. When that is completed, the clear coat is applied & has to cure a minimum of two weeks before I will even consider the final sanding of the clear coat & final polishing.
When will I get my guitar back?
This is an easy question. I think the expression is "Don't call me, I'll call you"..ok, not quite as blunt as that but many factors affect the total project time. The type of wood is a consideration, some woods such as mahogany can require up to 4 coats of wood grain fill. All these steps have their own drying stages & these estimated times could increase when humidity levels are higher than desirable. The minimum estimated time is 6 weeks. Feel free to e-mail me for a progress report during the project. I will be glad to let you know what stage your guitar is at as long as you promise not to ask the inevitable "so, when do you think it will be finished?" O.K. all teasing aside, I would just like to emphasis that you should be prepared to be without your guitar for at least a six-week period.
Just how much will this cost me? Or..Why not just buy a new guitar?
The price is based upon the starting condition of the body & the desired finish. A stripped body needing minor bodywork with a solid custom color choice would be $300. A similar situation with a three-tone sunburst finish would run $375. Additional custom work is available, just let me know what you have in mind & that will be priced according to each individual project.
Obviously buying a new guitar for color reasons is ridiculous. You might have your favorite guitar with that awesome tone but you were never knocked out by the color or perhaps the finish quality. Maybe the guitar you have had for years has just been looking more "abused" than "aged" & you want a chance to do it over again. Some imperfections & defects add "character ", while others are just downright unsightly. Others might just feel the need for a change. Whatever your reason, your guitar will receive personalized & individual attention from start to finish.