Classical Guitar Festival Experiences, Part 4

The guitar maker who was at the next table was fairly well known for his double top classical guitars, the guitars he had on hand were very nice to look at, high quality wood and a wonderful finish. I played several of his guitars, but they didn’t sound like they were made of wood, they were just loud. I didn’t find their sound too attractive.

This maker started looking at my guitars and the first thing he said asked was “What do you use to finish your guitars?”

“I French polish all mine.”

“Why? It’s an inferior finish! It doesn’t stand up to abuse! You need to use UV cured polyester! That’s the stuff! You can finish an entire guitar in two days and the polyester stands up to all sorts of abuse! All you need is a spray gun, a spray booth and a UV light to cure the finish!”

“I work in a tiny shop…”

“Shellac is antiquated, no one should use that stuff!”

“How long did it take you to become proficient in applying the polyester finish?’

“About two years. It’s great stuff! You just have to wear a full body suit to protect yourself from the UV light and a respirator. I got bad ‘sunburn’ on unprotected parts of my arms when I first started.”

“Like I said, I don’t have the space to operate such an outfit.”

“Well, you should! French polish is a thing of the past! And you could do a better job since you are using it!”

Needless to say, I didn’t talk to this guy for the rest of the festival. And he never played one of my guitars.

I recently heard that this maker no longer uses a UV cured polyester finish on his guitars, he French polishes with shellac and claims that it is the only finish that really makes his guitars sing.


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