Midi Guitar Custom Build: Continued
Applying the Finish: Satisfied with the final shape of our body, and the fit of the major components, next the finish is applied. For this instrument an airbrush was used to apply a sunburst to the body using vintage water soluble dyes. There are many options for pigments, dyes, stains and finishes available at many luthier suppliers. A water based spray-able finish was selected for use in a nonprofessional finishing environment. Water based finished offer easy clean up, and much lower toxicity than traditional lacquer based finishes.
Luthier’s Tip: Fresh airflow is a must when spraying a finish. Work outdoors, in a well ventilated garage, or indoor with airflow control.
First a sealer coat protects the delicate sunburst pattern and then the outer edge is sprayed with an opaque black. Another sealer coat or two sets the stage for several coats of clear top coat. The body is hung up to dry for a few weeks, and then wet sanded and buffed to a gloss.
Enough about the build, how does it sound? In a word, great! The design is really a winner, and may eventually find it’s way into a line of custom instruments. The midi triggering works very well, noticeably better than the GK style pick-up. The on body midi controls aren’t missed, although the lack of a tone control might require a mod in the future. For now the volume control does a natural roll off as it’s turned down. This also might get a mod in the future, perhaps a treble bleed.
Listen to this guitar here. (coming soon)
Conclusion: After several months it seems the finish could have used a few more clear coats. A few nicks have marred the beautiful sunburst. A good lesson, and a reminder not to rush the finish process. Also upon close inspection some of the dyes used seemed to have reacted with the sealer, leaving some slight blemishes in the dark shaded areas. These aren’t noticeable from a distance, but would be unsuitable in a production guitar for sale. The balance between a truly vintage look, and compatibility with a modern finish proved to be another lesson. Overall, this guitar is a smashing success. A new, stylish design, featuring modern electronics blended with vintage feel and custom craftsmanship. This one is a keeper.