#1




Are these patterns painted over a plain piece of wood or do the woods have those pattern in place already?

If it's true that the wood's pattern influence the look, what type of guitars are painted over plain wood vs using woods that have those patterns? let's say a 400 $ epiphone vs a 2000 $ gibson.


does this guitar have a pattern in the wood to cause this look ? This is an ESP EC-256 which is to have a flame maple top. $400 retail price

Last edited by musicandthewave at Feb 21, 2015,
#2
not paint but a stain to bring out the patterns that are already in the wood. so no those tops aren't painted they are indeed real wood. obviously the cooler the pattern the more expensive the guitar will be (provided it's a full wood top and not a veneer. veneers are just a paper thin slice of the wood glued on to a plain piece.

missed the bottom part. an epi would use a veneer which is much cheaper than a full maple cap which is usually about 3/4" thick on a Gibson LP. the venner gives the cool appearence of the wood but as i mentioned is a much cheaper way to go.
Last edited by monwobobbo at Feb 21, 2015,
#3
Most guitars like that are made of multiple parts, in this case the body and the top, body usually being made out of mahogony or a similar wood and the tops, in these cases, are maple, the one on the Gibson is Flame maple and the other guitar is Quilted maple, finished with a transparent finish so you can see the wood through the finish, looks pretty cool on a load of guitars
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#4
The flamed and quilted texture are the wood grain. Spalted wood is also natural, but caused by fungus. Sunburst is caused my staining the guitar.

So with the Less Paul you posted the texture is the wood finish itself (though it is a separate piece from the rest of the body, being a thin top piece added for looks) and 5 he color is stain.

The Conklin has a quilted top. It is also stained to get that color, but it is a consistent, uniform stain rather than the gradual burst stain.
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#5
Quote by monwobobbo
not paint but a stain to bring out the patterns that are already in the wood. so no those tops aren't painted they are indeed real wood. obviously the cooler the pattern the more expensive the guitar will be (provided it's a full wood top and not a veneer. veneers are just a paper thin slice of the wood glued on to a plain piece.

missed the bottom part. an epi would use a veneer which is much cheaper than a full maple cap which is usually about 3/4" thick on a Gibson LP. the venner gives the cool appearence of the wood but as i mentioned is a much cheaper way to go.


Actually, in the above examples, there's no extra stain used to bring out the patterns; that's just what the wood looks like with a clear or semi-clear. There are various levels of grain, including flame, quilt, burl, spalt, etc.

Some guitars have a black stain worked into the grain and then sanded back (some parts of the grain take stain deeper than others), but none of the woods in the original post have anything like that applied. This one does:



There IS a stain applied, of course, turning the wood a bit more amber or red or even dark, to create the light to dark burst transition.

Maple is a fairly common wood used for guitar tops, but this one is a Mahogany burl:



This flying V has a neck made of multiple pieces of FLAME maple. The two wings on it are a sandwich of maple burl (top and back) over a piece of mahogany. No extra stain was used to bring any of this out; it's all the natural colors of the wood:



This guitar has a spalted maple top (spalt, typified by what look like inked lines, is a mineralization of the wood, often due to a kind of rot that sets in if the wood is wet or underwater).



This is a Gibson, and it's either a painted-on or "photo" top (it's got nothing to do with the texture of the wood):



And this is a Carvin; it's actually a burl maple top before any clear or anything else is applied:



And finally, this is a metal body with a texture and finish done with snakeskin and rust.

#6
nice pix . yeah i was just trying to give a quick explaination. lot of work goes into some of those tops to get it to look that nice.
#7
Burst is having dark edges and a lighter centre, and the color gradually trasitions between the two. That is the effect of staining the wood, but flame tops, burl, spalt, quilt, etc, are all qualities of the wood itself. Stain is applied to the wood to accentuate these features, usually. So there actually is stain applied to the guitars above (at least the Les Paul), but the stripes (flame) are already in the wood.
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#8
A lot of inexpensive guitars have a photo type grain image printed on them that is hard to disinguish fro the real thing. Not sure, but the $400 Epi may be of this type. Two ways you can tell are:

Look carefully at the centre seam and you can see a slight fuzziness, where real wood has a razor-sharp joint. A magnifying glass may help.

The pattern doesn't show any "ripple" when you move it in the light. - The effect is known as chatoyancy.

It looks OK, but any scratch will go straight through it to the underlying timber. Buyer beware.
#9
Quote by Tony Done
A lot of inexpensive guitars have a photo type grain image printed on them that is hard to disinguish fro the real thing. Not sure, but the $400 Epi may be of this type. Two ways you can tell are:

Look carefully at the centre seam and you can see a slight fuzziness, where real wood has a razor-sharp joint. A magnifying glass may help.

The pattern doesn't show any "ripple" when you move it in the light. - The effect is known as chatoyancy.

It looks OK, but any scratch will go straight through it to the underlying timber. Buyer beware.


photo finishes aren't really that common except maybe on super cheap guitars. the EPi LPs use a veneer as do most guitars in that price range. i'm guessing that veneers are fairly cheap to do as many guitars feature them these days. some are pretty sharp and even on some of the more expensive guitars like a LP Studio the cap is plain with a veneer to make it look good.
#10
Actually Gibson burst tops are done a bit differently than other guitars. There is a yellow/amber shader coat (coloured/ tinted lacquer) that is applied over the bare maple top, since it's thinner it does seep in a bit but it's not technically a stain. Then successive shader coats of lacquer with other colours are applied over the top to get the sunburst appearance. This is why Gibson figured tops don't look like PRS tops.
Moving on.....
#11
Quote by Tony Done
...
The pattern doesn't show any "ripple" when you move it in the light. - The effect is known as chatoyancy...


Awesome. I love new vocab. Thanks. I'd always just referred to it as having "that holographic quality"

Given the nature of the OP question (I assume lack of knowledge) and seeing as noone else seems to have mentioned it specifically, I want to add for OP info, the center seam that was mentioned (as seen on the les paul style gutiars in the original post) and that whole visual effect related to it of a symmetrically patterned top is achieved through "bookmatching." This is where a piece of wood is cut in half and opened like a book and then glued together on edge to make a wider, piece of wood that has a mirror image of the actual grain and figuring on both sides of the center seam.
#12
Quote by BledGhostWhite
Burst is having dark edges and a lighter centre, and the color gradually trasitions between the two. That is the effect of staining the wood, but flame tops, burl, spalt, quilt, etc, are all qualities of the wood itself. Stain is applied to the wood to accentuate these features, usually. So there actually is stain applied to the guitars above (at least the Les Paul), but the stripes (flame) are already in the wood.


The process of enhancing the grain before applying color, though, is slightly different. A normal cherry sunburst (CSB) finish doesn't enhance the grain first; it's simply stained in a burst pattern, light to dark.

When the grain is enhanced, black dye is worked into the entire top. Then the wood is sanded back and some of the grain retains the black dye deeper, some not. Then the burst colors are applied. In this example, a "caribbean burst," there's an almost metallic yellow in the center, facing to a deep emerald green and a deep sea blue.

#13
Quote by KenG
Actually Gibson burst tops are done a bit differently than other guitars. There is a yellow/amber shader coat (coloured/ tinted lacquer) that is applied over the bare maple top, since it's thinner it does seep in a bit but it's not technically a stain. Then successive shader coats of lacquer with other colours are applied over the top to get the sunburst appearance. This is why Gibson figured tops don't look like PRS tops.


Traditionally, Gibsons have stained their guitars. One of the reasons we have so many "shades" of burst is that the stain used on 58 and 59 guitars was extremely UV sensitive and faded fairly quickly. Thus we have the honeybursts, etc. In 1960, Gibson changed to a different stain that was also a different color (more of a tomato red), and it was far less UV sensitive, and lasted longer.

The reason PRS tops don't look like Gibson tops is that PRS pretty much mastered the art of working black dye into the grain and then sanding it back. Gibson has never done a good job of this (and their tops tend not to be of the quality of PRS tops), but their attempts include the finish on the Dusk Tiger, etc. Carvin calls its dark stained tops "DTS" or Dark Triple Step.

On this guitar (a Moonstone), the burst was created by working several colors of stain (lighter to darker) into the edge of the top with rags.

#14
I thought DTS was Deep Triple Step, as in, the finish color was applied 3 times yielding a deeper richer color. That's what the literature said when I bought mine, anyway.
#15
Quote by Hydra26
I thought DTS was Deep Triple Step, as in, the finish color was applied 3 times yielding a deeper richer color. That's what the literature said when I bought mine, anyway.


Uh, yeah, I think you're right about the "deep" (rather than "dark") part, but...
step one is to apply a dark pigment and remove right away. This gives the figure of the wood a 3d look. Then the color coat. Then the finish (clear) coat.
#16
Quote by dspellman
Traditionally, Gibsons have stained their guitars. One of the reasons we have so many "shades" of burst is that the stain used on 58 and 59 guitars was extremely UV sensitive and faded fairly quickly. Thus we have the honeybursts, etc. In 1960, Gibson changed to a different stain that was also a different color (more of a tomato red), and it was far less UV sensitive, and lasted longer.

The reason PRS tops don't look like Gibson tops is that PRS pretty much mastered the art of working black dye into the grain and then sanding it back. Gibson has never done a good job of this (and their tops tend not to be of the quality of PRS tops), but their attempts include the finish on the Dusk Tiger, etc. Carvin calls its dark stained tops "DTS" or Dark Triple Step.

On this guitar (a Moonstone), the burst was created by working several colors of stain (lighter to darker) into the edge of the top with rags.



Gibson does stain the body and neck using coloured filler that's allowed to soak into the pores before the excess is wiped off. It was an aniline dye that faded.
The tops however really aren't stained(ie colour applied to soak into bare wood), they're finished just as I described with only the sealer coats possibly being called stain and even then the sealer remains on the surface for the most part. This has been demonstrated by pics of makeovers where the finish is removed and the wood has very little yellow colour to sand off.
And yes these colored layers of nitro did lose tint over the years from UV with some strange results at times.
Moving on.....
#17
The burst is paint, the quilt is in the wood.

I think.
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