Grain

Tele-Meister

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Dear Tele-enthusiasts,

I saw this at the guitar store today.
IMG_0303.jpg

I like the satin finish and the grain effect. Don't like the colour, and the grain itself is ok, but I like the satin and the way the grain pops out like that... If I am wanting to build my own Telecaster, how does one get that satin finish with the grain popping out like that? Do you need to get a specific wood or something? Thank you so much! I'm looking into Wudtone (Honey colour) paints right now.

PS: Feel free to post Telecasters (or any guitar) with sexy grain!
 

Timbresmith1

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This looks like yellow paint with a brown pore-fill done after the yellow has been sealed. Then wiped off.
Satin over the top of that.
Could also be a white paint, filled with a darker filler, then sprayed with a yellow/ amber toner.
 

Maguchi

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Dear Tele-enthusiasts,

I saw this at the guitar store today.

I like the satin finish and the grain effect. Don't like the colour, and the grain itself is ok, but I like the satin and the way the grain pops out like that... If I am wanting to build my own Telecaster, how does one get that satin finish with the grain popping out like that? Do you need to get a specific wood or something? Thank you so much! I'm looking into Wudtone (Honey colour) paints right now.

PS: Feel free to post Telecasters (or any guitar) with sexy grain!
In 2019 or 2020 Fender made a line of "Sandblasted" satin finished Tele and Strat guitars for Sweetwater. They were available in a half a dozen colors with either maple or rosewood fretboards. This may be one of those guitars. The one in the link has more visible grain because of the color, but I remember the natural ones looked similar to this pic.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...d-telecaster-sweetwater-exclusive-daphne-blue
 

RickyRicardo

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That looks like swamp ash. A dark tinted grain filler over a sealer coat then a transparent yellow. Satin lacquer on top. The fretboard on that one looks like it's got about 10lbs of poly clear on it.

I sprayed a P bass a month ago with a satin waterbase lacquer and it's the easiest to finish that I've ever done. No sanding or buffing. Just a Scotch Brite pad. I had the body and neck done in no more than 20 or 30 minutes.
 

Mojotron

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You can make a Tele out of a wood like Ash, then use a darker - brown tint - then do what's called a blond finish from a can of lacquer that places like StuMac or ReRanch https://www.reranch.com/ sells. That is not a really tough finish to do. But, it does start with the right wood - Ash. In that case the grain is really far apart - by guess is that it's pretty light and likely 'swamp ash': Which is the same kind of tree just that the wood is likely taken closer to the bottom of the trunk and from a warm climate with a lot of water.
 

dlew919

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It makes you wonder whats under those guitars that are covered with black paint ?

I have three black instruments. I love them all - a bass, a guitar, a mandolin... they all work nicely.

I will never sand them back though... ;)
 

Tele-Meister

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I was watching this video, and by chance this guy's telecaster is the finish I am aiming for. Yes, I'm going to get a Warmoth Swamp Ash body, around 4 pounds, and I'd really like to finish it myself (cheaper) and make sure it's a satin finish where the grain shows, so much that you can actually feel the grain. Anyways, as long as the grain shows. It doesn't need to stand out that much like that Sweetwater link you sent @Maguchi, although that is very nice!:eek:

Here is the screenshot I took from the video:

Screen Shot 2021-08-15 at 2.00.25 PM.png


Here's what I'm thinking for the finish: https://www.wudtone.com/product/finishing-kit-honey/
No Transparent grain filler actually, because that takes away the texture of the grain.
 

Bob J

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Beautiful... did you finish that yourself?
Yes. It is an ash top over a chambered Douglas fir body. The ash was coated with amber shellac and sanded back. That really brought out the grain. Then a few coats of zpoxy to fill the grain, more sanding, vinyl sealer (Mohawk) and stringed instrument lacquer (also Mohawk, both in rattle cans). Pretty pleased with how it turned out. You could skip the zpoxy and use a satin lacquer and get the finish you’re describing but the coloring similar to mine (I think). As Freeman says, practice on scrap.
 

NoTeleBob

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(snip)

I sprayed a P bass a month ago with a satin waterbase lacquer and it's the easiest to finish that I've ever done. No sanding or buffing. Just a Scotch Brite pad. I had the body and neck done in no more than 20 or 30 minutes.

I'm a fan of water base finishes myself. Three coats of finish in three hours. Hard enough to polish out in a day or so. But, guitarists are so hung up on tradition that they shy away from water based products (even though most everyone, including the auto-industry, has moved to them now).

It makes you wonder whats under those guitars that are covered with black paint ?

I don't know about Fender specifically, but I do know that according to Ted McCarty, Gibson started doing Goldtops specifically because the wood (even back then) was often of too low a quality for a natural finish. So they painted them.

I suspect old Fenders might have the same "feature" under those solid colors... the best wood being used for natural / sunburst type finishes. Not that we'd necessarily consider it "bad" looking if we stripped one today. But I bet they still filter wood based on appearance.
 

Freeman Keller

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I'm a fan of water base finishes myself. Three coats of finish in three hours. Hard enough to polish out in a day or so. But, guitarists are so hung up on tradition that they shy away from water based products (even though most everyone, including the auto-industry, has moved to them now).

I have tried very hard to like water born lacquers and have tried two of them (the original stuff StewMac was selling about 10 years ago and KTM-9). I like the clean up, lack of toxic or explosive fumes and the whole idea getting away from solvents (altho water born finishes have some pretty powerful solvents in them). I have not tried the Target finish that everyone raves about.

The bottom line, I could not get the same results that I get every time with lacquer. Period. Sometimes the finish would get a bluish cast, frequently I would get witness lines between coats. I can't go back and drop fill or touch it up like I can lacquer. I know I should try the Target but I've been burned enough times so I just put my respirator on and get out the lacquer.

For the OP, if you wipe down your guitar body with naphtha or DNA you will see what it looks like with a wetting finish like lacquer on it. You can decide at that point whether you feel it needs additional colors which you can apply in different fashions.

If I had to guess I would say that the guitar in the first picture had a dark stain apply to the wood, then sanded almost completely back to white. The finish has a tiny bit of tint added but is basically transparent, kind of like how Mary Kay White was done. It is definitely one of those finishes you want to practice on scrap.
 

RickyRicardo

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To be honest I gave up on waterbase lacquer a couple of years ago. I happened to have the satin lacquer on hand so I sprayed the P bass with that. Nitro is so much more forgiving and no matter what I did I couldn't get the shine as good as nitro. But I'll use the waterbase if someone asks for it.
 

NoTeleBob

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To be honest I gave up on waterbase lacquer a couple of years ago. I happened to have the satin lacquer on hand so I sprayed the P bass with that. Nitro is so much more forgiving and no matter what I did I couldn't get the shine as good as nitro. But I'll use the waterbase if someone asks for it.

For a finish as shown on the guitar in the first photo here, I think water base is perfect. I'd use it wiped. But, I'm a simple man.

I'd agree that if you want a "looks like vintage nitro" finish that you probably won't be satisfied unless you have nitro (even it actually looks the same). Also agreed that lacquer is forgiving. Make a mistake and it's easy to correct without starting over... just a step back perhaps then forward again.

But, I don't think VOC based finishes will be with us much longer. The private space still has a bit of it. But at the manufacturing level it will soon be gone.
 




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