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  #1  
Old 02-22-2018, 06:28 PM
SoonMusic SoonMusic is offline
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Default Is it safe to change an acoustic guitars finish from gloss to satin?

I have a Guild D-120e, and was wanting to change the gloss finish to a satin finish. Is that safe to do? And if it is safe, what would be the best method of doing it safely? Thanks for any advice.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:07 PM
jaybones jaybones is offline
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The difference between satin and gloss is that satin isn't polished as much.

What you could do is get some Scotchbrite pads and hit the finish to scuff it up.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:16 PM
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Be careful -- be very careful. Not sure you will end up with the desired result.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:30 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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The smoother a surface is - the smaller the irregularities in its surface - the more spectral is the reflected light. As one introduces irregularities into a surface, light reflecting from that surface scatters in direction making the surface appear less shiny.

To make a shiny surface less shiny, one can add irregularities to the surface. One way of doing that effectively is to add scratches to the surface. The larger and more frequent the scratches, the duller the surface will appear.

The "trick" to obtaining a good-looking result is to make the scratches no larger than necessary and to make them uniform in size and distribution, otherwise the surface just looks less glossy but scratched.

Fortunately, there are a variety of abrasives that can be used to accomplish this, and in a variety of relative coarseness. One option is to use an appropriate grit of abrasive paper or cloth. Micromesh brand, for example, sells cloth-backed abrasives in grits from about 1500 to 12000. A typical "satin" finish is in the 1500 to 3000 range. A light sanding with a bit of water will provide a uniform lower gloss (satin) appearance. You can choose whatever level of gloss you like by using the appropriate grit abrasive.

Another option is to use rubbing compounds specifically made for finishing lacquers and related finishes. These are common in the auto industry and are available in a variety of suitable grits. Many guitar finishers use a red/coarse followed by a white/fine compound. A SMALL dab of compound on a soft cloth or paper towel rubbed on the surface will provide a uniform low gloss (satin). Essentially, one can choose whatever grit one wants to obtain any level of sheen from flat to high-gloss.

The advantage that these have over steel wool and synthetic "wools" are that they leave a more uniform appearance. Steel wool can leave a "scratched" appearance.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:35 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaybones View Post
The difference between satin and gloss is that satin isn't polished as much.
One needs to be careful in interpreting that statement.

On modern guitars, most satin finishes are a very different treatment than a high gloss finish. The difference between them is much more than just how much they have been polished.

It is possible to lower the gloss of a high-gloss finish by "reverse" polishing, or "un-polishing" it - that is, abrading the surface with an intermediary grit of abrasive, returning it to a less glossy appearance.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:48 PM
hearsedriver hearsedriver is offline
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A True Satin lacquer finish is not polished/buffed at all. The flatteners are in the lacquer itself.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:18 PM
Steadfastly Steadfastly is offline
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Before you go and do it, practice on something else as similar to the guitar as you can find. Go s-l-o-w-l-y.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:29 PM
vindibona1 vindibona1 is offline
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I dunno... If you get it done to your satisfaction, after the fact you run the risk of having shiny spots in the satin. Have you ever played a satin neck that over time became glossy as your hand would rub over it? That happens with satin finishes that get polished, usually inadvertently. A surface that can be roughed down can be polished right back up. I wouldn't do it.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:37 PM
SoonMusic SoonMusic is offline
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i read some place that changing the finish could affect the sound of the guitar. I also heard that Guild's have pretty thick finish so it would be easier to correct any mistakes made the first go around. I also only want to do it to the front of the guitar because on stage that's the only thing people see and the high gloss finish it comes with takes away from the natural mahogany finish under bright lights.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:54 PM
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fazool fazool is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaybones View Post
The difference between satin and gloss is that satin isn't polished as much.

What you could do is get some Scotchbrite pads and hit the finish to scuff it up.
This is true and will work but there's more to it than that.

Gloss finishes have additives to lower surface tension so it levels and cures slower. Satin finishes have the opposite.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:55 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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As Charles mentioned, it's possible to dull down a shiny finish, but care should be taken, obviously.

As for Guild guitars having overly thick finishes, that depends on the era when the instrument was made. The ones built in the past fifteen or twenty years, whether in the USA or China, do not have excessively thick finishes. Not that I've seen, anyway. The modern Guild GAD jumbo I own does not, and neither did any of the half dozen or so made in Rhode Island Guilds I've owned over the years. So if I was you I would be very cautious and, let's state it more strongly, highly averse to thinning down the finishes on those guitars any further.

As a general rule of thumb, whenever a nonprofessional starts changing the finish on any professional quality guitar, it's a crapshoot at best, and can easily slip over into being a total disaster. There are nonpermanent, reversible ways of dulling down the finish on the top, simply by applying skin cream or something else that's removable. I'm not going to recommend any specific brands, for fear that I might suggest something that has silicone or some other chemicals that could cause problems. But there are plenty of innocuous waxes and creams that can do the job without causing any damage.

If you talk to your nearest friendly, competent guitar repair tech, I'm sure that he or she can recommend a safe, easily reversed approach that will dull down the shininess without permanently changing the finish. Or perhaps ask the same question over on the "Custom Shop" and "Build and Repair" subforums on this forum:

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...splay.php?f=38

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...splay.php?f=44

There's generally higher per capita representation of builders and repair techs on those subforums than there are on this one, so you might get your question answered more quickly (and perhaps more accurately) than over here in the General Discussion.

Hope this helps.


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Old 02-22-2018, 11:06 PM
CaptRedbeard CaptRedbeard is offline
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As much as I am against messing with a stringed instruments finish due to possible affects to the tone......Test on a piece of similar glossy finished wood. use 0000 steel wool rubbing very lightly. Remember that if you remove too much of the finish, it is very hard to fix your mistake. Look at how the finish of your test piece is being affected. There are areas on the guitar that you will have trouble dulling down due to their location so be careful as everyone else has advised.
The other way I might suggest, takes time but is less harsh. Use a rough cotton cloth to wipe down the front of your guitar before and after every gig. Over time. you will dull down the finish a little so it is less shiny under the lights.
Good luck.
BTW: I personally keep all my guitars cleaned and polished to protect them and keep them sounding just like they did when I played the first chord. Don't care what the lights do. The people are there to hear me sing and play.
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:13 AM
ManyMartinMan ManyMartinMan is offline
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Maybe I'll be the first (and last) to say - just say no. You are flirting with disaster. Of course, if it's a guitar you care nothing about then you make the call. You can't just de-gloss a finish. The chance that you would be able to do so evenly is slim to none. But if you decide to try, photograph the entire event and post it so no one tries it again........
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:57 AM
Silurian Silurian is offline
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Sounds like a bad idea to me, unless you don't mind inadvertently ending up with a 'reliced' look.
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Old 02-23-2018, 02:04 AM
catfish catfish is offline
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After I looked at the pictures of Guild D-120e, I'd say I would not do satin conversion if I were OP. I'd buy Martin D-15M instead or a similar guitar in satin.
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gloss, guild 120, modified dreadnought, satin finish

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