refinish an acoustic guitar? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 12-08-2019, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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refinish an acoustic guitar?

I bought a classical guitar yesterday from an antique store. I never heard of Giannini before but it had an interesting shape so I took a gamble. Dropped $200 then showed it to someone who immediately recognized it and said it's worth like $1500. I found two online that sold for 1800 but another for 450. Either way, I think I made a good choice.

The guitar has a lot of dings in the finish and was wondering if that can be fixed somehow? Can you touch up lacquer to blend in the defects?
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post #2 of 8 Old 12-08-2019, 03:12 PM
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Yes, Giannini guitars are well known as being good instruments. How does it sound now? If it sounds good then I'd leave the dings alone and call it character.

But to answer your question, yes, dings can be repaired. You can drip lacquer into each ding, let it cure (and shrink), then wet sand it with a block to ensure it stays flat, and then polish to suit. You're almost always going to end up with these areas showing as a different sheen than the rest of the top, though, unless you polish the entire top. Even then they may show.

Sometimes this takes several weeks and multiple applications of the dripped lacquer to get it all proper.

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post #3 of 8 Old 12-08-2019, 04:52 PM
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Pictures would be helpful so we can assess how bad the dings are.

Do David’s point, I think spot repairs would show up unless you re-shoot the whole guitar. That might affect the sound depending on how thick the existing finish is.
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post #4 of 8 Old 12-08-2019, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep View Post
Pictures would be helpful so we can assess how bad the dings are.
There should be one showing the dings in my post.

It sounds great, the bass has a good depth to it. It's quite comfortable to play as well. There's a repair shop in town I'm going to talk to on monday, he wasn't in today. Figured since he specializes in guitar repair it'd be worth asking. Not just on the finish but I have a concern over where it appears there might be some separation between the neck and body. I've worked on electrics before, but given the delicate nature of an acoustic and its age, I might want to leave this one to a pro.

Whether I attempt to repair the finish or not, I'm quite happy with my rare find. The fact it might be worth more than my larrivee is just a bonus.
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post #5 of 8 Old 12-08-2019, 10:46 PM
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Nice find! That kind of stuff never happens to me. I was in an antique store a while back and my wife spotted a guitar case. As I went to open it, the shop keeper said: “if you’re hoping to find a pre-war Martin in there, you’re going to be disappointed.”

Anyway, I’d either live with it as is, or give it to a pro. I’d be inclined to have them level sand it, drop fill the dings and re-shoot the whole top.
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post #6 of 8 Old 12-10-2019, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
“if you’re hoping to find a pre-war Martin in there, you’re going to be disappointed.”
lol

I didn't get it to the shop yesterday as planned, it was raining too much and I didn't want to carry it outside.

The case somewhat works, but being an old chip case, the lid and locks don't seem to line up very well anymore. Just barely enough to get half the locks closed. Thinking that might be a better project for me to do, build a new case. Any suggestions on building a form-fitted case? All the examples I've found online build a generic rectangular case
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post #7 of 8 Old 12-10-2019, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Talked with the repair shop. He suggested using a piece of mylar to slide inbetween the fingerboard and neck to help clear out old glue and to reglue it myself. Otherwise, the whole neck would have to come off and separated. And he said due to heating the fingerboard to get the glue apart, often it'll bend and typically be replaced with a new piece. An estimate to reglue the neck was around $250, which is more than I spent on the guitar. I'll take his suggestion and try to clamp it down to secure it better, and I probably won't bother with the finish.
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post #8 of 8 Old 12-11-2019, 12:02 PM
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As a guitar tech who maintains a lot of beat up but fantastic sounding guitars, I would highly suggest leaving it. A good cleaning and some new strings should be enough to coax some stories out of it. Great find.
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