View Full Version : To do or not to do.....

Mar-19-2004, 11:07pm
I have a Gibson A9-love the mando--hate the finish--already lots of pick and finger scratches in the top. I'd love to refinish the top only--lighter color--stronger finish--do I dare? And if so......do I only lightly sand, then restain? #Or reseal after sanding then stain and finish? Is it worth it? Am I crazy?

Mar-19-2004, 11:58pm
Just my opinion--I wouldn't refin. I'd let it wear and continue to to become the naturally distressed instrument that time will make it. I happen to like instruments that are worn from years of play. They feel like comfortable shoes or something.

I can't judge what you should do without seeing your mandolin. Maybe a little steel wool buffing is all it needs. Maybe a coat or two of french polish. Hard to say. I wouldn't try and sand it down to the wood. All those scratches and marks are the start of something unique--character and your personal "signature" on your instrument. I think its pretty cool how an instrument naturally gets distressed over time and I wouldn't mess with it if it were mine. You will just get more pick marks and finger scratches in it again anyway!

Mar-20-2004, 12:03am
I don't think it would ever look very good unless you refinished the whole thing. Even then it would look like an amateur did it. Nothing against your skills, just that it's harder than you can imagine to produce a "factory finish". Also harder than you think to get the existing finish off. Then you'd have to refit the bridge and get the mandolin all set up to play and sound right again.

It reminds me of the Bottle Rockets' song, "Thousand Dollar Car", the bridge of which goes:

A thousand dollar car
Ain't even gonna roll
Until you put at least another thousand in the hole
You lay your money in it
And there you are
The owner of a two-thousand dollar thousand dollar car

Just live with it.

Mar-20-2004, 12:05am
IMO, that is one ugly color on those things. That's almost reason enough to refinish, but maybe not. If you want lighter that would be hard. If you wanted darker, that would be easier, but still a lot of work.
From here, go back to Crawdad's post and read that again. It's really up to you after all.

Mar-20-2004, 12:25am
A light, Red Krylon over sprayon the top then play the devil out of it.

Michael Lewis
Mar-20-2004, 12:43am
Any finish that you put on your mandolin that will protect the surface from scratches will undoubtedly kill the tone and volume. Cream colored epoxy comes to mind, but you probably want it to sound good too. Again, listen to Crawdad, he is tuned into the present and eventual realities.

Mar-20-2004, 9:05am
Well thanks guys, I just really wasn't sure where to go with this one. I like the mando, it really has a nice tone and plays nice. I came to this site for input before I bought it and I was warned about the finish, but of course didn't listen. My bad, so I guess I'll just live with it!

Mar-20-2004, 3:22pm
Part of it may be the dark finish that is on these instruments. It may show pick wear more than a clear finish on the spruce. I wonder if one could order an A9 with clear finish top?

Mar-20-2004, 3:56pm
Or you could get a Rigel...:D

jim simpson
Mar-20-2004, 4:21pm
I would use the scratches,etc. as an excuse to have it refinished and I would have the top done in BLACK! Sorry, didn't mean to yell but I've always loved the old Gibson black tops and I don't think the finish on those hurt their tone. After all I have heard about the sound of these, I am tempted to get one but do not care for the finish. I think it would be cool if Gibson offered options on these (different finish, dots on neck, etc.) Go for it!

Mar-20-2004, 4:42pm
Ooh. That would be COOL. Along with the dark brown back and sides..

Mar-20-2004, 7:44pm
I have always liked look of the old Whiteface A3's. Only made them for 3 or 4 years, ending about 1920.

jim simpson
Mar-20-2004, 9:45pm
Okay Glen,
You like vanilla, I like chocolate! Let's hear it from Charles & Big Joe, can we have these options added?
2 Simpson votes should count for something!