To any experienced players that have a played a wide variety of acoustic guitars. Would you be so kind as to share your experience on the difference between the sound/tone of highly glossed guitars compared to guitars with a matt finished, if any?

I own a(n):
-Ibanez PF series dreadnought, which has a High gloss. Spruce Top.
-And a S&P Folk, which has a 'laquer;' finish. Cedar Top.

High-Gloss = Slower aging, less sustain, more fingerprints (High protection/ looks)
Semi-Gloss= Steady Aging, longer sustain, damages easier (medium protection/ good looks)
Low-Gloss = Fastest aging, longest sustain, vulnerable to changes in humidity/ temp

As far as sound goes, it's relatively minimal. Though noticable, it's not gonna be a massive, or even a moderately big difference.

I would suggest you focus on body size, woods, technique, and strings. As those all make a noticable difference. Of course it's all personal preference... but I'd sooner worry about the body type, woods, your technique, and strings... 'cause the difference is going to be minimal when it comes to different finishes. Though some would argue otherwise...

edit: If I were you I'd take the well balanced option... that is, the semi-gloss. You get some of the protection offered with high-gloss, and the acoustic qualities of the low-gloss. But, depending on your uses, climate, etc you may want one over the other
Last edited by fngrstylgtr at Jul 28, 2009,
Whether you have a high gloss or satin finish depends on the finishing techniques of the factory or builder and really don't have much of an impact on tone. The big difference comes from the type of finish whether it's lacquer, shellac, or some polymerized finish like urethane or polyester. More inexpensive guitars have a urethane finish because it's easy to apply and finish to a high gloss, but these finishes are usually pretty thick and that is what affects tone more so than whether it's high gloss or not. More expensive guitars are often finished with nitrocellulose lacquer and is applied in thinner layers. Many custom builders of high-end instruments will offer a french polish finish option which is hundreds, if not thousands, of micro-thin layers of shellac and this is, arguably, the finish that has the least dampening effect on tone.

A high gloss finish can be achieved with all of these materials, but it really matters more what material is used to finish the guitar more so than whether it is finished to a high gloss or not.
Last edited by milagroso at Jul 28, 2009,
i find that a high gloss finished guitar tends to have a more focused sound. it could be just that the guitars they put gloss on are more focused guitars, though.