Guitar Finishing Step-By-Step

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By Dan Erlewine and Don MacRostie
Published by Stewart-MacDonald. The definitive book for finishing guitars and fretted instruments.

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Guitar Finishing Step-By-Step

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By Dan Erlewine and Don MacRostie
Published by Stewart-MacDonald. The definitive book for finishing guitars and fretted instruments.

Learn from the pros: materials, equipment and techniques, plus three dozen recipes for famous finishes. This book helps give you the confidence to finish new instruments, refinish old ones, and perform flawless touch-ups.

The expanded 2nd edition features color stain mixing charts, a color gallery of vintage finishes, and detailed recipes for recreating them with professional results. Guitar Finishing Step-By-Step focuses on nitrocellulose lacquer, the most common guitar finish, but also includes addditional information on varnishes, oils and French polishing. Dan Erlewine's color-illustrated essay guides you through the steps of modern waterbase finishing, too. 188 pages, softcover.

A partial list of contents:

Materials and tools
Abrasives • Solvents • Fillers • Colorants • Topcoats • Buffing materials and equipment

The basics of spray equipment • Sanding • Buffing • Basic finishing steps

Recipes for popular finishes
Fender blond, sunbursts and solids • Gibson goldtop, cherry red and sunbursts • Basic Martin-style finish • Lots more!

Color gallery
Stain mixing color charts • Examples of vintage finishes • Waterbase finishing steps

Ratings & Reviews

Guitar Finishing Step-By-Step

  • Based on 35 Reviews
Displaying 3 of 4 1 2 3 4
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Library must have

By Julyan Wallis, Guitar Doctor / J Gu from Cornwall, UK
(Customer's Reviews) Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Forget the net to look up facts and ideas. Excellent book, works great when you have the Colour Tone sets too :)
Very handy colour matching pages.

Really complete

By Capu from Switzerland
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, April 18, 2011

I appreciated this book because it gives you all the theoretical information you need to understand the painting process. Highly recommended

Great book

By Giovanni from Milan Italy
(Customer's Reviews) Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Great book, very clear.

I suggest to buy the video too, with both you can do a perfect finish for sure.

Great Resource

By GuitarTron from Canada
(Customer's Reviews) Friday, March 04, 2011

Ah the cold of winter, time to curl up and learn how to paint. This is a great book, good explanations that so far I am able to understand. I will finish reading it front to back by the time the frost leaves the ground and I am ready for my next paint project.
Only complaint I would have (why it is 4 stars vs. 5) is that it tends to lean very heavily on the Fender/Gibson model and I want to see a bit more information on customer colors cause that is where my interests lie. Thanks!

Very disappointed

By Franko from Katy, TX
(Customer's Reviews) Saturday, February 26, 2011

I bought both the book and the DVD. One section of the book did not recommend wipe-staining the instrument, but the recipe I picked said to wipe stain the instrument. I bought the DVD, which did not address this at all. When I ordered the supplies I needed, I told the salesperson the recipe# I was using, and he was totally at a loss as to what to suggest. The airgun I bought came without instructions or a schematic, and when I tried to clean it for its first use, I broke a small plastic part crucial to its operation. Now I have to return it, and I'm another week or more plus shipping costs over budget and behind schedule.

Stewmac are nice guys, but apparently cater to experienced luthiers. Very, very disappointed. This should have been an exciting project, and it is turning into a nightmare.

Great book!

By Rob Schuh from Phoenix, AZ
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, January 27, 2011

Super book! It helped me out a great deal. I also bought the DVD and having the 2 of them is a great reference to have. Keep up the good work!

Very theoretical

By Mack Guitarworks from Hungary/Europe
(Customer's Reviews) Friday, January 07, 2011

This book is very theoretical, and contains not enough color-pictures. A finishing book in black and white? It focuses on nitro, no recipe for french-polishing or other varnish.

A bit disappointed.


By Johnny Star from Napa, CA
(Customer's Reviews) Friday, November 26, 2010

Very well written book. Thank You for it. Will put up photos of the candy red Strat I built for my sisters friends dad

A Reassuring Read

By Jukebox John from Shutesbury, MA
(Customer's Reviews) Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm finishing my second guitar using ReRanch products. Although the ReRanch instructions are pretty good and their forum is helpful, using this book has given me a much clearer picture of the what's and why's and how's. Feeling like this second guitar will come out much better.

And, like a lot of Dan's books and videos, if you are into guitars, they make just plain entertaining reading. He and co-author DonMacRostie include history, anecdotes, and dozens of tips that only someone with their experience would know about. They are very generous about sharing their knowledge, and their love of everything guitar shines through.

Great book!

By Yarek from Prague, Czech rep.
(Customer's Reviews) Monday, November 08, 2010

I've found this book really great, full of useful info and describing all the process from general ideas to practical details. It is focused mostly on nitro lacquer finishes though, and I am starting to think about French polishing shellac technique, so I will have to buy also your DVD focused on this :-). Your web is really The Source of professional info about lutherie, great job, many thanks!!!

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