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Can you stain the top of a GJ guitar?

MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-10, Epiphone Zephyr Regent, Epiphone Joe Pass

Does anyone know if it's feasible to change the color of the top of a GJ guitar? I'm considering buying one that has been stained a color that I dont really like. My luthier seems willing to take the project it on (sanding it & staining it), but wants to see the guitar before committing to it. Of course that means I have to buy it first, so I wonder what you all think.


  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited May 2 Posts: 3,234

    If the stain is right on the spruce I probably wouldn't sand it down to remove the stain as you would have to take off a lot of wood and the top might end up too thin. If the color is in the lacquer it will come off without sanding into the wood too much. Either way though it may change the sound of the guitar if you sand and refinish. Might be good or bad hard to say without seeing the guitar

  • MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-10, Epiphone Zephyr Regent, Epiphone Joe Pass
    Posts: 255

    That's good to know, thanks Bones.

  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 304

    I think it is risky to do what you propose. If nothing else, it should decrease the resale value of the guitar. If it will be your last and best guitar, that's one thing. But if not, I don't think it's a good idea. The GJ guitar tops are already quite thin, so the thickness and type of finish both likely affect the tone.

  • Posts: 3,984

    That's pretty much what I did with my guitar. It went from a dyed red to a natural blonde. So glad I did it too, it's lighter and louder, looks are subjective. I was talking to Craig Bumgurner prior to doing it and he warned me about being careful with removing the stain but not the top wood. I felt like I was never in danger of thinning the top. There was kind of a clear line between the coats of lacquer then stain then wood.

    First one is the new finish and below half and half when the lacquer was already gone on both sides and stain was half way off on the left.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-10, Epiphone Zephyr Regent, Epiphone Joe Pass
    Posts: 255

    Thanks pdg & Buco. I'm going to have to give it some thought. I'll let you all know if I decide to buy it & have it refinished. And if I do it, I'll let you all know how it goes. But I appreciate the info.

  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,234

    Buco, if the color was easy to remove without taking off much if any wood I'd say your color was probably in the first coat of lacquer and not actually stain in the wood. Stain soaks into the wood and you have to take off too much wood to get it out and the top would probably end up too thin unless it was overly thick to begin with.

  • Posts: 3,984

    That could be. The top on this guitar was actually pretty thin to begin with and it didn't seem that I was taking wood off. The only place I know I thinned the wood is just below the fretboard extension as I had a hard time getting in there.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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