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  #16  
Old 01-16-2020, 06:44 PM
antvas1963 antvas1963 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
I own both and gig with both. Satin finishes are generally much faster to apply and to cure, so those guitars with it can be sold for a friendlier price than those with high gloss finishes.

Most guitarists donít realize that applying a high gloss finish makes up about half of what it costs to build a professional quality guitar, due to the need to let successive layers cure before proceeding to the next, then the hand work needed to buff it out. The guitar factory employees who work in the finish department are usually among the most skilled and thus best-paid on the factory floor.


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I was not aware of that. I could see that on a nitro cellulose finish, but is it the same for a poly finish, I thought they cured faster and took fewer coats?
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  #17  
Old 01-16-2020, 07:19 PM
jseth jseth is offline
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For some reason, whenever I see or hold a satin-finished guitar, it just looks "cheap" to me... partially finished, if you will... and I know all the ins and outs of each and still, I far prefer a great gloss finish.

Whether lacquer on my Mark Angus guitars and my Gibson electrics, or urethane on my Goodall, I am a gloss finish guy!
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  #18  
Old 01-16-2020, 07:22 PM
1Charlie 1Charlie is offline
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Just one playerís experience, but my Huss & Dalton RD-R with gloss top, and satin back, sides and neck has kicked several high-end all-gloss lacquer-finished guitars out of the house. It has proven to be way louder and more resonant than anything I have ever owned.

According to Mark Dalton, the Road Series guitars get several coats less finish, thus reducing finishing time and cost. The thinner finish is a bonus.
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  #19  
Old 01-16-2020, 07:29 PM
Kitkatjoe Kitkatjoe is offline
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Originally Posted by MikeInBethesda View Post
Curious to hear what folks think of satin finishes on acoustics. Iím considering buying a relatively high end acoustic that has a satin finish. Would a satin finish be a deal breaker for you? I realize this is primarily aesthetics (I havenít heard that the finish has much effect on tone) and in the eye of the beholder, but would still value thoughts on this. Thanks, Mike
It would be a deal consideration. Why does the guitar have a satin finish if it's a high-end guitar? I'd do some research, that doesn't sound like a high-end guitar finish to me.
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  #20  
Old 01-16-2020, 08:26 PM
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Simon Fay Simon Fay is offline
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Gloss finishes are more time intensive but are not "better" finishes. They do reveal the wood grain more and are typically found on more expensive guitars. Nevertheless, there are quite a few high-end guitars that have satin finishes - Lowden is one such brand that comes to mind and they build beautiful instruments.

Most modern finishes (urethane, polyester) are catalyzed finishes and they cure very quickly. UV catalyzed finishes cure immediately when exposed to UV lamps.

Nitrocellulose lacquer is a bit more time consuming to apply but easier to level and buff than most modern finishes. You apply several coats of finish on per day for several days and then let the finish cure for a few weeks before you can level and buff it to a high gloss.

Satin finishes save the finisher having to deal with the time consuming process of leveling and buffing the finish but the overall finish is pretty much the same. With satin, you can usually go a bit thinner because gloss finishes need to be sanded level and buffed which both remove some of the finish. So gloss finishes need to be a fraction thicker to compensate for that process. There is absolutely nothing wrong or inferior with a satin finish. Personally, I prefer the aesthetics of high gloss and that's what I do for my guitars but a satin Lowden looks very nice too.
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  #21  
Old 01-17-2020, 12:52 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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After I mentioned how much more time it takes to apply high gloss finishes, antvas wrote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by antvas1963 View Post
I was not aware of that. I could see that on a nitro cellulose finish, but is it the same for a poly finish, I thought they cured faster and took fewer coats?
It is faster, much faster to cure, but poly UV is a physically tougher finish than nitrocellulose lacquer and takes longer to polish to a high sheen. Iím sure that overall itís a bit faster to produce a high gloss finish with polyester finish materials, but itís still very skilled work.

Having watched finishes applied at the Gibson, Larrivee, Tacoma and Yamaha guitar factories, and at several small shop operations and repair shops, I can tell you that thereís a great deal involved in the process, regardless of the finish material being used.


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  #22  
Old 01-17-2020, 01:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxo View Post
I’m not totally sure if my Lowden F32 is gloss or satin, it’s like somewhere in between? Either way I prefer that, it just feels and looks great.
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Originally Posted by M19 View Post
The hand rubbed satin finish on a Lowden or McIlroy is wonderful (I have a Mac and have owned Lowdens). Smooth and lustrous. I wish my Taylors, Martin and Gibson had the same finish.
A good point! It’s worth remembering that not all satin finishes are created equal. Unlike the cheaper satin finish of, e.g. Martin, where a flattening-agent is added to the lacquer used to spray the guitar, Lowden, Avalon, and McIlroy instruments are sprayed with gloss nitro, which is then hand-rubbed to ‘knock-back’ the gloss to satin. It’s a more expensive process, but the result looks and feels luxurious, and superior to the satin finishes achieved by putting a flattening agent in the lacquer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitkatjoe View Post
It would be a deal consideration. Why does the guitar have a satin finish if it's a high-end guitar? I'd do some research, that doesn't sound like a high-end guitar finish to me.
Lowden, Avalon, and McIlroy don’t build high-end guitars? I recommend you do that research - you may get a very pleasant surprise!!

The usual disclaimers apply......IMHO, YMMV etc.
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  #23  
Old 01-17-2020, 03:21 AM
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I refuse to upset owners of satin finish guitars by telling them they look cheap and unfinished.
I just won't do it.
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  #24  
Old 01-17-2020, 06:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ncbandit View Post
I have both and love the look of both evenly.Gloss finishes scratch and smudge easy but the light scratches can be buffed out. I never noticed any obvious tone differences.

I would get whatever guitar speaks to you without any concern about the finish type.
This for me as well. I own both and totally agree.
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  #25  
Old 01-17-2020, 07:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post

Having watched finishes applied at the Gibson, Larrivee, Tacoma and Yamaha guitar factories, and at several small shop operations and repair shops, I can tell you that there’s a great deal involved in the process, regardless of the finish material being used.

whm
If anyone hasn't seen it, there's a great YouTube video on a custom build in the Goodall shop (link below). The level of detail involved AFTER the application of finish -- scraping/sanding/polishing -- is astounding. It really emphasizes what Wade mentions regarding the proportion of cost that is involved in the finish process as a whole. Great video on the overall build process at a small boutique builder.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gS78naDiB4k
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  #26  
Old 01-17-2020, 07:05 AM
hermithollow hermithollow is offline
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One down side to satin finishes is you can't buff out scratches. In some cases you can overspray them with a "flatted" finish to help cover them but finding the right level of flattening can be tricky.
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  #27  
Old 01-17-2020, 07:06 AM
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I generally MUCH prefer satin or semi-satin to gloss, both for feel and for looks. Preferably with little to no gain/pore filler so I can feel the wood texture.

I adore the finish on my GS Mini , which is just a simple thin satin varnish over the very open-pore Koa.

Marks are also more upsetting on a gloss finish to me.
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Last edited by RalphH; 01-17-2020 at 07:18 AM.
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  #28  
Old 01-17-2020, 07:07 AM
S-10Ken S-10Ken is offline
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I like shiny
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  #29  
Old 01-17-2020, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S-10Ken View Post
I like shiny
Haha! Yeah...me too.

I had the opportunity to visit a shop yesterday that had a couple of the new Grand Pacific Taylors...a 517 & 717. I'm not a huge Taylor fan, but I'll admit they are amazingly easy to play...so I was curious. The fact that the guitars were so "neck heavy" bugged me a little, but the number one deal breaker for me was the satin finish. I know the "Silent Satin" is being spun as a huge deal by Andy Powers, but it just downplays the beauty of the guitars in my personal opinion. I think both models would look absolutely amazing if they were presented with a gloss finish.

I know there are said to be distinct advantages tonally with satin finishes over gloss...but like S-10Ken said..."I like shiny".
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  #30  
Old 01-17-2020, 07:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeInBethesda View Post
...Would a satin finish be a deal breaker for you?....
I used to have several Epiphone Masterbilts. They were always satin. I really liked 'em! My tastes, however, have evolved. Now I much prefer shiny, glass-like gloss, and since I've tended toward higher-end guitars, why not get what I prefer? So yeah, satin is a deal breaker for me at this point.

I also much prefer an ebony fretboard, but AFAIK, this is also a matter of "looks." I think the rosewood board on my Songwriter performs just as well as the ebony on my JF30-12.
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