Modern Gretsch Guitars

What’s under that paint?

1

I have a very nice Gretsch G5125 Electromatic black all the way. I was just wondering "what is under that paint?" Is there some nice woody wood grain just waiting to be walnut stained. Has anyone ever stripped one and restained it? I envision a dark "country gentleman-ish" walnut stain. Jis wunderin'!!! Thanks, Steve

2

Usually, paint hides wood that isn't pretty enough to be stained and varnished. Structurally and sonically it's fine, just not as attractive.

3

This logic carries through to sunburst archtops too. The reason a natural finish has a premium price tag is because they use premium veneer for the top layer of the laminated top. Same principal for dark stained or painted solid top acoustics.

4

This logic carries through to sunburst archtops too. The reason a natural finish has a premium price tag is because they use premium veneer for the top layer of the laminated top. Same principal for dark stained or painted solid top acoustics.

– Windsordave

Some manufacturers are not too fussy about wood tops for color-stained guitars -- ONLY for the clear/natural finish pieces.

I bought (factory ordered) a high-end Gibson (MSRP over $5G) a few years ago that was a cherry (red) stain. When my guitar arrived, the wood grain reminded my of sub-flooring plywood from Home Depot. From a distance it looked "OK" -- not gorgeous, just OK. It finally bothered my to a point where I took it to Curt Wilson to have it refinished in a solid red (not transparent) with nitro.

So my guess is that the grain on the guitar in question will not be particularly attractive. With darker stain (i.e., walnut) it will be less annoying but still noticeable.

5

I'd bet manufacturers are more consistent and systematic about grading wood today, but I know we've seen a few examples of 1950's solid colored Gretsches that had been stripped to reveal some pretty strikingly figured veneer.

6

I'd bet manufacturers are more consistent and systematic about grading wood today, but I know we've seen a few examples of 1950's solid colored Gretsches that had been stripped to reveal some pretty strikingly figured veneer.

– Afire

Agreed. On todays guitars, one probably doesn't want to know what the grain looks like under the paint.

7

Even higher-end ones can have flaws. John Hall over at Rickenbacker is on record several times as saying "they're painted black for a very good reason."

8

Yeah, but after seeing Curt post pic's of a Ric with a knotted neck on Facebook, I'd say buyer beware.

9

I think all wood is attractive. I don't mind a few imperfections. It gives the wood character. I also prefer plain grain to tiger stripes but I would happily play a flamed guitar.

10

For the money I'm paying, I'd much rather see wood then paint. Transparent colors and stain are fine, paint on an inexpensive guitar is fine, but I've never been a fan of sunburst.

11

Steve - the guitar in my avatar was a sunburst Pro Jet that was stripped and stained chestnut by Curt Wilson. I could at least see through the yellow transulencent portion of the original finish, but of course not the black edges. You can see more pics if you look under Electromatics in the Discussion section and look for this thread: "Curt does it again! Latest electro mod". Plus you might consider Pro Jets are made in China, your hollowbody in Korea. I don"t know where either countries wood is sourced from or if the wood Quality is different.

12

For the money I'm paying, I'd much rather see wood then paint. Transparent colors and stain are fine, paint on an inexpensive guitar is fine, but I've never been a fan of sunburst.

– wabash slim

".....but I've never been a fan of sunburst."

We should start a club.

13

With a laminate you can be confident that it's good quality. They don't want to waste time dealing with imperfections, the wood is cheap labor is expensive. Of all the Gretsch's that I've stripped they've all looked good naked.

14

Thanks Curt! What kind of stripper do you recommend for guitars?

15

Strippers don't work on polyester, I use sandpaper but you have to be very careful that you don't sand through the top laminate.

Some use heat but I'd never d0 that with a laminate.

16

For the money I'm paying, I'd much rather see wood then paint. Transparent colors and stain are fine, paint on an inexpensive guitar is fine, but I've never been a fan of sunburst.

– wabash slim

I'm not a big fan of them either but am coming around. If it's a subtle transition they can be nice. This is an early 59 that had to be refinished.

17

And a non-blotchy Fireglo that's nice, refinished 65.

18

I don't think I've ever heard of anybody disliking sunburst finishes outside of this forum. I'm sure people do, but I've never heard it voiced anywhere else. When done right, nothing beats a good burst.

19

I'm not a fan of sunburst either, but...

20

I don't think I've ever heard of anybody disliking sunburst finishes outside of this forum. I'm sure people do, but I've never heard it voiced anywhere else. When done right, nothing beats a good burst.

– Afire

I love sunbursts.


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