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A Tiger Can Change It's Stripes or it's"'burst"

Sometimes, inspiration and expectation do not meet up with results; you can have all kinds of hopes for attending a great concert, but if the singer is in a car accident and winds up in the hospital on the way, you're bound to be disappointed. Well, when building guitars, there are sometimes concert sized hopes and "car accident" results! Fortunately, it's never over 'til the fat guitar sings and that is the case with this sunburst A Style.

Spraying a sunburst, which is the faded color as if the sun were setting, is very tricky and requires a lot of careful prep, taping off all the areas you don't want the burst covering. Except for the light areas, the color obscures the wood grain. Beyond the taping, it takes a very steady hand to keep the darkness away from the center. One slip and you're starting over, which happened once on this guitar.

It took two tries and working with the spray gun I was using, which did not have a particularly small nozzle, I ended up with a Gibson style burst that I was not really happy with.

I was really excited to design this with the 'burst idea, but while spraying it (a few of you might remember the post from a couple years ago: time flies!),

I dropped it cracking the back and binding!

Crack on the back that also cracked the binding on impact.

End view of damage from dropping during spraying.

Bummer! After berating myself thoroughly (it pays to have a private space to "work" and express yourself!) I moved on to repairing the damage and took it as an opportunity to practice fixing cracks and stabilizing the area. This was done and I resprayed over the damaged area. It looked fine, but I was still not happy with the results; details of my work on the binding and purfling (the little inlaid wood strip around the edges) were obscured and looked messy. I don't think you can build anything well unless you're a bit of a perfectionist and oboists are nothing if not detail oriented perfectionists. Being an oboist and a luthier...double dose!!

So, looking at this guitar still awaiting completion almost two years later, I'd had enough of trying to "live with it". Taking some acetone to a cloth, I rubbed and removed the entire 13+ coats of finish and color!

Using acetone to strip the finish on the back.
Top stripped with sides still in the burst finish.

Getting down to the bare wood revealed a nicer job of craftsmanship than I think the sunburst displayed, in spite of the repairs (which appear here as a dark line), which look fairly small really.

Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!! I like it better already.

I am aiming this towards being a brown body with a "natural top and neck (which still requires some stain to warm up the maple and Engelmann Spruce, which is particularly light in color).

I liked the result on the neck, so it pained me to remove it.

But once you go in a new direction, everything must follow.

But the five piece maple neck is really pretty either way and natural shows off the beauty of the wood, so there's always a trade off. This guitar should be done in two weeks, so if you are looking for a great deal on a well built, larger bodied guitar, this is your chance! The repairs are solid and won't affect the sound., It's going to be a beauty!

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