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Finish Advice on 59 JM

Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 1:09 pm
by dinosaur
Hey guys, I'm looking for a little advice on the finish of my yellow/gold 59 refin.  I know I said in the past I would never refinish it, but I am at least curious about the existing finish.  Plus I have another JM up and running again so I wouldn't be totally heartbroken to be without this body for a little bit.

The story as I know it is that this was a one owner guitar refin'd in the 70s, but I bought it from the owner's son and he did not have a clue as to the original color.  The whole finish is a thick looking metallic yellow, but there are numerous spots worn/chipped to an almost shellac type primer underneath.  One of these spots is worn through one layer deeper with a pretty decent gash, and there is a gold colored finish showing through.  There are bits of green as well, but I am fairly certain this is part of the top coat that got caught up in the gash.  It seems like there is a finish underneath the white layer, though I am not sure .  If the finish was sunburst, I would think it would be black at this part of the guitar.  All routes/pockets are painted over with the metallic yellow.

Anyway, anyone have any ideas if this would be worth exploring somehow?  I know little to nothing about finishes and would not want to start on this body.  I'd be interested in finding out about a possible original finish, but otherwise I love the existing color. 

I'd welcome any thoughts/ideas.


Re: Finish Advice on 59 JM

Posted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 6:19 am
by CurtisNovak
The best way to determine the color is to go to the neck pocket or other routes.  These locations are usually never stripped completely.  Try to chip, scratch or ship the paint back.  You assumption of the Sunburst being black at the ship is wrong. 
The vintage correct layers of a Sunburst finish is this. 
Yellow stain, Sealer, Outer Tobacco band, Inner medium brown when doing a 3 color burst.

W/ this process the "Black" band will removed easily.
If you send me some pictures of these locations I can likely tell you what you have.

Re: Finish Advice on 59 JM

Posted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 6:33 am
by dinosaur

Thanks for the reply.  I was actually going to email you about this anyway.  I'm a little unclear as to what pics you want.  You want me to try and take some of the pain off in the cavities or neck pocket and send you those pics? Or you want the pics of those locations as they are right now?

I have pics of the disassembled guitar here: ... ?.dir=1c22


Re: Finish Advice on 59 JM

Posted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 9:14 am
by CurtisNovak
I want to see a pictures of the cavities w/ the refin paint scraped back, you can use a nail or some such object, I use dental tools.
The deal is of all the refins I have seen and restored it is these locations that tell the most. 
Usually a person starts sanding, w/ high hopes of their new and "Better" color once they realize they are in over their head and it is not progressing as fast as they hoped  they switch to painting and ignore the cavities.  The other option is they will use a chem stripper, realising this too is taking longer than they planned, they just make sure the surface is "good enough" to except paint.

I usually will find the original paint color in the corners, sides, or inside the drill holes for running wires.  If you can scratch off the finish down to the wood in these places you will find the original color.  Another somewhat common place is under the neck or metal parts that were applied while the original finish was still a little fresh as it stuck to the part.  Ship that back and you will see the color.

good luck.