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Old 01-24-2020, 04:51 PM
Pura Vida Pura Vida is offline
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Default Bleached Spruce

Does anyone know how common it is for guitar makers to bleach their spruce tops during production? I've seen color toner and tint, but always thought that natural tops were just that... natural. Am I being naive?
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:55 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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I suppose itís possible that some manufacturers might do that if they were going for a very specific cosmetic appearance, but itís certainly not a common practice; in fact Iíve never heard of any guitar company doing that.


whm
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Old 01-24-2020, 05:51 PM
Pura Vida Pura Vida is offline
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Thanks, Wade. I hadn't heard of it either. But earlier today, I was chatting with someone from an unnamed guitar company, asking a number of different questions about their guitars. One of my questions was about their tops and whether the natural color was affected by their finish or any tint or aging toner. And their response was (paraphrasing): "well, we don't bleach our tops like the other companies do."

This caught me by surprise b/c I've never heard of that or read about it. When I pressed, they said it's not advertised, but an extremely common practice. I figured it was a good question to ask here, since there are so many knowledgeable folks and quite a few experienced guitar makers, as well.
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:16 PM
Osage Osage is offline
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Never heard of anyone doing this.
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:26 PM
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Simon Fay Simon Fay is offline
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Well, I bleach all my tops. I let them simmer in a few inches of bleach and wash them in my washing machine to give them a beautiful, pale color.

To clarify, nobody bleaches their tops - the fellow you spoke to was misinformed.
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:47 PM
Drak Drak is offline
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Being a hobbyist electric builder for ~25 years, I've always got wood bleach in the house and know how and when to use it.
I've used it to bleach figured maple tops and some other things many times over the years.

There are woods that 'take' to bleaching well and ones that do not.
Spruce would be in the 'do not' catagory.
As Simon said, no one would bleach Spruce.
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Old 01-24-2020, 09:22 PM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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I wonder if they try it to reduce the visual effect of runout?
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Old 01-24-2020, 10:24 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pura Vida View Post
Thanks, Wade. I hadn't heard of it either. But earlier today, I was chatting with someone from an unnamed guitar company, asking a number of different questions about their guitars. One of my questions was about their tops and whether the natural color was affected by their finish or any tint or aging toner. And their response was (paraphrasing): "well, we don't bleach our tops like the other companies do."

This caught me by surprise b/c I've never heard of that or read about it. When I pressed, they said it's not advertised, but an extremely common practice. I figured it was a good question to ask here, since there are so many knowledgeable folks and quite a few experienced guitar makers, as well.
Nah, that person was speaking out of an orifice other than the proper one, let’s put it that way. I would guess that it was a traveling sales rep for the company who fed you that misinformation rather than anyone involved with the actual process of building the guitars. In similar encounters with sales reps I’ve been given some rather blatant misinformation about rival firms’ supposed dubious practices.

Like Drak pointed out, yes, some woods can be successfully bleached, but spruce is not a good candidate for that process.


whm
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Old 01-25-2020, 12:28 AM
Pura Vida Pura Vida is offline
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Perfect. Thanks, all. It seemed unlikely to me, but I've never worked in the industry or made a guitar, so I figured I'd come here to set things straight. It's amazing that a guitar company would allow someone to speak so freely and loosely with the facts. It says something about the company this person represents, and it lends some credibility to other companies whose reps have provided me with some incredibly useful information.
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