Gibson style Tobacco Burst

Wyatt

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Nov 3, 2004
Posts
1,345
Tobacco burst is typically used to describe the late 1960 Cherry Bursts which used a different type of lacquer than the 58s and 59s.

I always heard it in reference to the classic Gibson sunburst used on mandolins, guitars, and lapsteels of the '20-'50s. There are many names for variations of Cherry Sunburst (faded and otherwise), but I've never heard Cherry Sunburst and Tobacco Sunburst mixed.

1929GibsonF5Fern88185-2.jpg

GM381-shot-Rob-Toma-lap-steel-1-Hero@1400x1050.jpg

gibson-1935-gibson-l-5-1st-year-of-17inch-body-sun.jpg
 

Freeman Keller

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Posts
10,427
Age
77
Location
Washington
Beebe, I have done traditional wiped 'bursts on maple and spruce but never mahogany. When I built my archtop I was planning to do a dark Cremona style burst but wasn't happy with the way the spruce was taking the stain so I bailed and did a light one.

These are all done with Colortone amber, cherry red and tobacco brown applied as stains
 

Attachments

  • IMG_7280.JPG
    IMG_7280.JPG
    137.8 KB · Views: 20
  • Img_0413.jpg
    Img_0413.jpg
    42 KB · Views: 19
  • Img_0412.jpg
    Img_0412.jpg
    44.8 KB · Views: 20

stratisfied

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Dec 17, 2019
Posts
1,967
Age
70
Location
Midwest
Just found that StewMac has a 2-Tone Tobacco Burst kit that includes three colors.

I'm going to start with BLO, a homebrew oil based grain filler, and mix up an Amber and a Black/Brown and see where that gets me.

View attachment 1073999
Yeah, the Brown is for the fade and Black for the outer ring. when done properly, it appears to be a 2 color burst. Trying to fade the edges of the black makes too abrupt a transition and you wind up with something like this Chinese interpretation of a vintage burst.

1002505gv9.jpg


That guy in the video just killed me. He handled that spray can like it was the first time he ever used one. Short little bursts of paint, no movement other than his jerky hand, staying in one spot too long and just piling on the paint with no fade. The end product looked more like grafitti than a sunburst. Yikes.
 
Last edited:

stratisfied

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Dec 17, 2019
Posts
1,967
Age
70
Location
Midwest
Beebe, I have done traditional wiped 'bursts on maple and spruce but never mahogany. When I built my archtop I was planning to do a dark Cremona style burst but wasn't happy with the way the spruce was taking the stain so I bailed and did a light one.

These are all done with Colortone amber, cherry red and tobacco brown applied as stains

As always, you are the wood-whisperer!
 
Last edited:

Beebe

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Posts
1,245
Location
Atlanta
Does anyone know what the difference between Gibson's Tobacco Burst and Sunburst is?

I'm doing an all Mahogany Non-Reverse Firebird - Jazzmaster hybrid for a guy who likes "Tobacco Bursts" and a "darker" look.

Here's one Gibson calls Tobacco Burst

View attachment 1073946

Here's one they call Sunburst

View attachment 1073947

Here's the workpiece

View attachment 1073948

View attachment 1073949

As I was focused on the finish, I failed too mentioned the body is by Rosser and the neck (right hand Reverse) is from Warmoth.
 

Beebe

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Posts
1,245
Location
Atlanta
I always heard it in reference to the classic Gibson sunburst used on mandolins, guitars, and lapsteels of the '20-'50s. There are many names for variations of Cherry Sunburst (faded and otherwise), but I've never heard Cherry Sunburst and Tobacco Sunburst mixed.

1929GibsonF5Fern88185-2.jpg

GM381-shot-Rob-Toma-lap-steel-1-Hero@1400x1050.jpg

gibson-1935-gibson-l-5-1st-year-of-17inch-body-sun.jpg

Great examples. Thanks Wyatt!
 

Beebe

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Posts
1,245
Location
Atlanta
Beebe, I have done traditional wiped 'bursts on maple and spruce but never mahogany. When I built my archtop I was planning to do a dark Cremona style burst but wasn't happy with the way the spruce was taking the stain so I bailed and did a light one.

These are all done with Colortone amber, cherry red and tobacco brown applied as stains

Thanks Freeman! These are gorgeous. I'm curious about how you used the cherry.
 

Beebe

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Posts
1,245
Location
Atlanta
Haven't gotten a chance to make progress on this yet. It's been really humid here.

In the meantime, here's a nice example on a '65 Non-Reverse Firebird.

 

Attachments

  • Screenshot_20230119-044338~2.png
    Screenshot_20230119-044338~2.png
    718.6 KB · Views: 11
  • Screenshot_20230119-044442.png
    Screenshot_20230119-044442.png
    975.8 KB · Views: 11

Freeman Keller

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Posts
10,427
Age
77
Location
Washington
Thanks Freeman! These are gorgeous. I'm curious about how you used the cherry.
I followed the instructions in Siminoff's book on mandolin building. The maple got a coat of brown which was sanded back almost to white leaving just the flame with stain. Spruce did not get the brown. Entire instrument got a coat of amber, then a bit of red coming in maybe two inches from the edge, then the tobacco brown about one inch. The colors get feathered into each other with a rag with solvent on it. I used DNA, some people use water - there are slight differences that you should experiment to find what you like. The colors will not be too vibrant at that point, seal them and shoot clear and they really come alive.

Remember that this is staining the wood in the traditional fashion, not how Gibson or Finder shoot sunbursts today which is totally in the lacquer. In that case you keep feathering progressively darker coats of finish with a gun - completely different technique and completely different results. I have done bursts with tinted lacquer but not a tobacco burst so I didn't show any pictures.

I have also never done a full burst on mahogany - I have darkened the edges but again never tried the full tobacco burst. I would think that it will be hard to get the center of the burst light enough, you can spray amber but your back ground is pretty dark. Good luck.
 

Freeman Keller

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Posts
10,427
Age
77
Location
Washington
One more thing that I'm sure you know, mahogany is an open pore wood and if you want a smooth shiny finish you need to fill the pores. Gibson doesn't always fill pores on their less expensive models, they typically have a semi gloss or flat finish.

If I am staining mahogany I always put the stain on first, seal, then pore fill, followed by the actual finish. If I am tinting the finish (which is what I think you are doing) then I pore fill first, seal, apply the color or tinting finish, then clear coat. Again, you should work out the details on scrap.
 

eallen

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jul 30, 2013
Posts
3,105
Location
Bargersville/Indianapolis, Indiana
For those with decent spray skills using a well adjusted spray gun rather than cans and wipe provides significantly better control for smooth transitions of bursts of any color including black. Spraying off the body with the ege of a fan rather than direct allows nice gradual color shift. When a brighter center is desired it can be helpful to lightly tack cloth off the overspray that can land in the middle of the body. It's not hard to get any variety desired if you've been doing it long enough or practice on scrap.

For gibson bursts, remembering they are using mahogany which is naturally an organgish brown helps. Many pieces require nothing only a yellow mist for the base color to accomplish a sun burst. The tobacco a little red misted on before the edge fade transitions.
 

Beebe

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Posts
1,245
Location
Atlanta
Off to a good start. The Mahogany took on a nice orange color with the Boiled Linseed Oil.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20221215_150333440~2.jpg
    IMG_20221215_150333440~2.jpg
    249.9 KB · Views: 6
  • IMG_20230123_113301767.jpg
    IMG_20230123_113301767.jpg
    124.6 KB · Views: 4
  • IMG_20230123_112804291_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20230123_112804291_HDR.jpg
    156 KB · Views: 6
  • IMG_20230123_112720949.jpg
    IMG_20230123_112720949.jpg
    185.6 KB · Views: 6

Beebe

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Posts
1,245
Location
Atlanta
Grain filling with oil based filler.

I mix wet ground Mica in BLO.

It takes a couple applications, therefore a couple of days, but I like it.

It's pearlescent, so contributes a small amount to a nice sheen.

I make a paste and massage it on heavily. Let it sit. Wipe off gently against the grain, let sit, then finishing wiping it off.

I did this on the brown burst panel above but added Raw Umber pigment. The wood was sealed with previous application of BLO, so the pigment mainly stays only in the grain.

I rubbed it all over the neck as well, including the rosewood fretboard, once I saw that it was not coloring the grain against the dark wood. I know it's not necessary, or even advisable, but I really don't mind doing some finishing on rosewood. I'm not putting anything that won't wear off elegantly on there. Plus I can be sloppy with it, not have to mask, and it looks nice. At least that's my thinking.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20230124_092543568.jpg
    IMG_20230124_092543568.jpg
    146.1 KB · Views: 13
  • IMG_20230124_091050135.jpg
    IMG_20230124_091050135.jpg
    128.7 KB · Views: 12
  • IMG_20230124_091353181.jpg
    IMG_20230124_091353181.jpg
    247.5 KB · Views: 11
  • IMG_20230124_090956780_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20230124_090956780_HDR.jpg
    128 KB · Views: 14

Beebe

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Posts
1,245
Location
Atlanta
... and another bonus, I just found out, is that the Mica polishes the frets. That's Nickel dust on the rag.

I'm glad I leveled and polished up to 3000 grit already!
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20230124_094927788_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20230124_094927788_HDR.jpg
    148.3 KB · Views: 8

Beebe

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jun 1, 2021
Posts
1,245
Location
Atlanta
Grain filled and looking good.

This is the first project I've done with just Mica and oil as grain filler and I'm loving it so far.

I can fill the grain the rest of the way by spraying clear and leveling before color.

I did have to go back and wipe off oil leaching out of the pores multiple times a day.

There are some rough areas on the roundovers that might need another fill before spraying.

And as I learned when filling the neck, the Mica is abrasive, so it polishes the wood as well as filling. Probably also creating fine wood dust to help fill. Mica also breaks up easily, helping fill tiny valleys.

I'm hoping it has enough "tooth" to hold the lacquer, because it's looking too good to rough it up. Linseed oil doesn't dry glossy, so I'm pretty confident the shellac based homebrew violin spirit varnish will hold.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20230126_093310079_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20230126_093310079_HDR.jpg
    169.8 KB · Views: 5
  • IMG_20230126_093336500_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20230126_093336500_HDR.jpg
    111 KB · Views: 5
  • IMG_20230126_093352425_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20230126_093352425_HDR.jpg
    139.8 KB · Views: 5
  • IMG_20230126_093435684_HDR.jpg
    IMG_20230126_093435684_HDR.jpg
    131.8 KB · Views: 5
  • IMG_20230126_093939983.jpg
    IMG_20230126_093939983.jpg
    101.4 KB · Views: 5




Top