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Deliberate sunlight UV finish fading

Lbushwhack88

New Member
Joined
May 27, 2014
Messages
34
Hey guys! I was wondering if anyone has had decent luck with this. I've seen quite a few (mostly les paul) forum posts about intentionally fading guitar finishes, but I am wondering how many of you have had success stories with it.

I've got an 08 Matteo blue custom 22 that I'm debating doing this with. It looks gorgeous when it is exposed to a decent amount of light, but in soft light environments or low light scenarios, I'm not a huge fan of the way it looks, and would love a lighter, more faded finish.

I'm in Florida, and I'm quite sure the sun is putting off quite a bit of strong UV light this time of year. But before I go crazy trying this for an extended period of time, I would love to hear some stories / see some before and after pics!
 
I've also considered this - I have an SE Akesson that has an amazing top, but is so dark that it's often hard to see. Don't know if the SE finish would be harder to fade.
 
No first hand experience but I've seen it done. Some colors fade better than others. Emerald green is my favorite to fade. It turns a lovely greenish gold.
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Most bright colors fade well for a moderate amount of fading, but if taken to the extreme they just fade to grey IMO. You are left with little color and just the wood grain with gray highlights.
 
I have a pair of sapphire guitars that were inadvertantly UV faded by leaving them exposed to the sun in a storefront window -- two entirely different stores, but they came out very similar. The blue faded to green, which I like, but my point is, the colours don't fade evenly. So your blue matteo may turn into green matteo.

Also, when I asked about something similar, they (members here) warned me about cooling. It worked out fine with my guitars, because although they were exposed to the sun, they were kept cool and relatively dry inside the store. If you just take it to the beach with you and setting it on a blanket, you risk warping it. It'd probably be better to put it under an electric UV light that's relatively cool (like a fluorescent). Or if you can swing a storefront situation, but the glass better not be UV-safe, otherwise it won't let enough UV light through.

That said, I highly recommend it. It's definitely worth trying. I'm real happy with how my sapphire guitars turned out.
 
If you do end of doing this, please take pictures and show us your progress. Would be very neat to follow.
 
I will! I set it up yesterday and got a solid 3 or so hours of sun on the top. I'll post a before pic of it in the sun and eventually I'll add one if I see any changes over time!

Mann that green quilt top is a gem! Although the humidity here in Florida on top of my acidic sweat would mean imminent doom for that shiny gold hardware!!
 
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Here's a picture of day one in the sun. It's an 08 blue Matteo custom 22, sadly with no birds. I traded a 10 top McCarty for it because the tremolo is a must have, and I thought this had a pretty excellent top for a non tenner. I will post an inside pic too for comparison indoors. The top looks great in bright light, but even that bright blue top looks really dark and it is hard to see any flame at all in dinner room settings.
 
It's like a different guitar in your second pic, amazing how much of a difference.

Here's some before and after pics of my 11 CU24.
It sat in the store for at least a year under fluoro lights.
Hopefully you don't have to wait this long :)
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Btw, second pic was when the guitar was new to me, and hasn't faded any further in 5 years.
 
My only experiment with this was with a 07 Arctic white Stratocaster. It was too white to me and I wanted a more subdued color, so, I put it in the outdoor Hawaiian sun for about an hour about twice a month for a year. Taking the pickguard off, there is a definite browning both on the front, and if you take off the trem cover in back, it's the same. Thirty minutes on either side. Experiments over however, it got to where I wanted it and I stopped the sunburn..I don't think it was the actual white or creme that turned but the clear coat poly on top. Either way, My PRS is Cherry Sunburst and even with no intention of experimenting with it, it stays uncased 24/7 and I've noted a slight fade.
 
rr35s2.jpg


Here's a picture of day one in the sun. It's an 08 blue Matteo custom 22, sadly with no birds. I traded a 10 top McCarty for it because the tremolo is a must have, and I thought this had a pretty excellent top for a non tenner. I will post an inside pic too for comparison indoors. The top looks great in bright light, but even that bright blue top looks really dark and it is hard to see any flame at all in dinner room settings.
So you're leaving it outside? You're a braver man than I.
 
Yeah I'm trying it out. At this point, I'm doing increments no longer than 2 hours, and religiously watching for rain clouds.

If this were an artist or a showroom equivalent model, chances are I probably wouldn't be doing this. This guitar has kinda been a project for me, and I would really love to see what kinda neat color she fades into, since I haven't stumbled across another Matteo fade job on the web yet.
 
I managed to get some more sun time today, it's just amazing to me how this guitar looks like 5 different colors entirely based on the amount of light that it is being subject to at the time, it's insane!

Not too much of a visual change yet, but I will post some more pics next week after more light exposure.
 
I wonder what the wax and tape in the pickups are doing as the pups must heat up pretty well being black and such...
 
After about 7 or 8 hours in full sunlight I don't have any real updates. I haven't seen much of a change, though I'm pretty sure it's gonna take more than just 8 hours to see some results.

So no one else has any war stories with trying this out? I would love to see some fades, I'm sure someone has tried this and received some decent results!!
 
It's not the sunlight you see that fades it, it is the UV. It will take weeks to notice a change.
 
It's not the sunlight you see that fades it, it is the UV. It will take weeks to notice a change.

Photosensitivity can be to any light source, including, but not necessarily limited to, UV. This can include indoor, non-UV lighting.

It depends on the dyes used in the stain. Different formulations cause different results.

Also with some stains, the chemical reaction, once initiated, can continue after the source of light is removed. It's not very predictable.
 
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