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Review: Sunburst Finishing by Dan Erlewine and Don MacRostie

Review: Sunburst Finishing by Dan Erlewine and Don MacRostie

Reviewed by John Calkin

Originally published in American Lutherie #63, 2000 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Six, 2013

Video: Sunburst Finishing
Dan Erlewine and Don MacRostie
Stewart-MacDonald, 1999

Sunburst Finishing is sort of a strange video in that it’s intended to replace Stew-Mac’s out-of-date Color Finishing, yet it doesn’t cover nearly as much territory as the older film. So be it. It only costs half as much as the old tape, and the information included may be as much as you need.

The only guitar involved is an archtop Guild with a maple face. Some repair work has been done to the top before the tape begins, and the finish has also been removed. The job at hand is to match the sunburst on the top to that of the rest of the guitar. A yellow toner has to be mixed for the maple, then a brown candy is blended to match the color of the burst. The techniques of precision blending are the heart of the video, an operation at which MacRostie is a master. Chip sheets and blending boards are made which can be stashed away for future reference. The work is also referenced to the recipes in MacRostie and Erlewine’s new book, Guitar Finishing Step-By-Step (p. 530), which is a useful touch. There is no wood prep involved in the job (as far as the camera is concerned), as this video is intended to work in concert with Spray Finishing Basics, another video by the same dynamic duo. Touchups are necessary when the binding is scraped after the color coats, and the airbrush work is caught on tape. A close look at MacRostie’s scraping tools is a helpful segment.

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