Im just gonna be broad and open ended on this. I want to stain my guitar, how?

1) Im working with a quilted maple top. I want it to be a lighter blue in the middle, and a little darker blue around the edges. How can I accomplish this?

2) What stains would you guys recommend?

3) whats the difference between staining and finishing?

If you have any information, then please share
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Just messing with you, I don't know anything about this kind of stuff, sorry!
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Check that out, it helped me a lot. As for getting it darker around the outside, i would just use a black paint and spray over the stain. As for the type of stain, i would go with a water based, unless you have some serious cracks to fill, in which case you might use a gel stain. Is this what you were looking for?
A stain IS a type of finish, like paint or oil. And yo fill cracks I would use wood filler, cause, you know, thats what its designed for.
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