It’s a good idea to check out some photos online to see the colors and transitions that you like for your sunburst. There are options. Generally, the darkest outer edge of the sunburst top is opaque and the transition to the ‘backing color’ is only 1½“- 2” from the edge.
Backing Color: Before the sunburst color is sprayed, the entire face of the guitar needs to be sprayed with the backing color. That is, the color that you want for the center of the soundboard. (Usually, the backing color is a yellow blended with red or umber. It is completely your choice.) Let this backing color dry 24-48 hours to ensure against dents in the next step.
Sunburst Cut-Out: The next step is to trace a profile of the guitar body onto a piece of stiff cardboard. Using a scribe (or the like), draw a second line inside of the original cardboard profile, parallel to and about 1 ½” from the edge. Cut the cardboard profile along this inner line as pictured. The dark edges of the top are sprayed with the cut-out mask in place, revealing approximately 1½“ on the perimeter of the top.
Sunburst Prep: Masking the soundboard can be tedious. Woody wanted to leave the original bindings in place, so they had to be masked as well. Masking tape does not want to stretch laterally as it is being applied 'sideways' around the curves of the binding. The darkest part of the sunburst, however, is next to the binding. In the end there should be a crisp line between the black edge of the sunburst and the light cream color of the binding. Getting masking tape to do this is a bit of a trick.
I hope that this month's discussion of sunburst finishing will at least get everyone started on the right foot if you try it. If you're the least bit handy with a spray gun, you'll do fine.
Play safe... stay healthy.
Next, the pickup installation work began. It was decided to put a Lindy Fralin P-90 hum-cancelling pick up at the neck (ES-125 style). Lindy's shop is here in Richmond, and he was very helpful in selecting and harnessing up the hardware. I just had to rout the top for the pickup, tone and volume knobs, and the output jack. This was not difficult but there could not be any "oh-sh*t" moments once the router bit touched the 40-year-old archtop.
As expected, routing for the neck pick up cut about half way through the braces, so piggyback bracing was installed to keep the top reinforcement at full strength. The side was also reinforced where the output jack passes through. All went well.
C-15 REPAIR, RENOVATE
The top and neck were masked and the back and sides were cleaned, scuff sanded and sprayed with a semi-gloss, clear lacquer finish.
This old Gibson now has new life...with a performing musician.
PROJECT 1: Gibson ES-125 to ES-175 Conversion Project
As we talked I explained that the Gibson had been hanging on the walAs we talked, I explained that the Gibson had been hanging on the wall for 30 years or so and I always intended to repair it and install a pickup... but never got around to it. I've got more than one of these projects waiting for an incentive to take up and finish. My friend supplied the interest and incentive as he said that he might like to have the guitar when it was finished.
Well, there's nothing like having a goal unless it's having a friend with a mutual interest in that goal.