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Author Topic: Varnish finish on Bakersfields?  (Read 2397 times)
Steveareno
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« on: February 14, 2014, 04:58:43 PM »

Pardon my ignorance, but can someone explain in more detail about the Varnish finish used on Bakersfields? My sunburst look and feels fabulous. I've watched some videos on YouTube showing the buffing, but no explanation of the actual finish. I assume the Varnish is NOT Poly and does NOT use a catylist (hardener). Maybe the varnish is similar to the finish on violins? Also assume the "varnish" is used on the neck? Any additional information greatly appreciated
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JOYCEfromNS
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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2014, 05:49:17 PM »

Steve per the Larrivee site the Bakersfield is hand sprayed with a Ultra High Sheen Varnish. I recall ML commenting a few years ago  the varnish used not being a true Varnish, but modified to Larrivee specs, being designed for ultra high sheen, and enhanced durability. He further commented on its use for production stating  varnish being alot more difficult to use due to its long cure time.
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2014, 05:30:01 AM »

Isn't it the same poly (yet very thin) finish used on the acoustics? 
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2014, 01:11:00 PM »

Isn't it the same poly (yet very thin) finish used on the acoustics? 
No, I think the varnish started with the Mandos. A difference as I mentioned ML stated was the poly will cure in 3 or 4 days on the guitars you reference and the varnish is around 30. The chemical makeup and that kind of thing some around here ( including ML of course) such as GA-ME seem to have a good understanding of the differences.
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Steveareno
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2014, 09:10:16 PM »

Thanks folks, I saw the video clip making reference to the 30 day curing time. This would indicate the varnish is not a "2 pot mix" with a hardener, but more of a true varnish with a long hardening time and nicer, more organic quality. Polyester cures in a few hours.  Still would like more info and confirmation it's varnish on the neck and that the varnish is the same as used on Larrivee mandolins?  Any more input, greatly appreciated. I'm not being obsessive, but do appreciate the details. It also looks like Larrivee makes changes from time to time (like the body shape on the Lancasters). 
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Danny
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2014, 06:21:22 PM »

No, I think the varnish started with the Mandos. A difference as I mentioned ML stated was the poly will cure in 3 or 4 days on the guitars you reference and the varnish is around 30. The chemical makeup and that kind of thing some around here ( including ML of course) such as GA-ME seem to have a good understanding of the differences.
     If the finished is the same as the Mando's then it is a finish Larrivee used in the past. When I was at Yarnel Place when the Mando's were first being built Jean showed me a container of that finish. Things could have changed since then though. Even the UV polyurethane finish has been changed a few years back now I believe. Only one of the Larrivee's could share all the details with us to be sure of the finishes used.
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2014, 09:54:08 PM »


Only one of the Larrivee's could share all the details with us to be sure of the finishes used.


Bingo ^^^ this.
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Matthew Larrivee
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2014, 12:45:34 AM »

The spec actually needs to be updated. The very early Bakersfields were a conversion varnish. At the time we were still experimenting with new finishes after Lawrence McFadden (our former paint supplier) went belly up. They were finished with a special sanding sealer / polyester mix coat, then top coated with conversion varnish.

Fairly soon after we switched to a super thin specialty urethane on top of the special blend undercoat. Unfortunately we have no way to tell which guitars are painted with which since the finishes are identical in look and thickness.

We are always examining our paint process to improve it. No matter how good it is, we are always improving it. There are some really positive developments with our finishes coming in the next 24 months. We have been working with an Italian Paint supplier on a completely new system for our acoustics and electrics. We’ve been testing for the last 12 months and the results are astounding. We still have a way to go (longevity and climatic testing). We had to obtain special air pollution permits to be able to use these new finishes. It is extremely rare that California allows high VOC finishes to be used, but they have granted us an exemption from the regulations as they understand that high end instruments require specialty coatings. The higher VOC coatings create a harder and thinner finish than modern finishes with high-solids.
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Steveareno
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« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2014, 02:33:22 AM »

Thanks for chiming in, Mathew. Interesting info. I think mine is from 2011. The serial number is only a couple of numbers away from one pictured in an online article of Premier Guitar dated Dec. 2011 and the one on the website showing the close up of the decal. I guess that's fairly early. Recently bought used from a dealer. I really like the neck profile and sound, but was curious about the "varnish" finish, as opposed to nitro or poly, etc. From the videos on YouTube it almost looks like a hybrid form of French polishing and certainly produces a stunning result. Some makers like Collings seem to charge a premium for varnish finishes. Same with solid body suppliers for nitro finishes. I prefer this over urethene or polyester. I used to work with that stuff in surfboard and boat factories and do not like. Just don't like the feeling of a guitar encased in plastic. Was wondering if the varnish was the same as you use on the mandolins?
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tulk1
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2014, 04:18:02 PM »

I have a 2012 Bakersfield. I can tell you this about the finish - when you run over it with your car it breaks.  crying Not the guitar, the finish! It chipped right off. Just a tiny piece. But it was def a poly like substance. The Bakersfield itself, on the other hand, sustained no damage whatsoever. Gotta love a slab guitar ........... and a very very thickly padded gig bag. 
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Kenny

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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2014, 05:02:26 PM »

I have a 2012 Bakersfield. I can tell you this about the finish - when you run over it with your car it breaks.  crying Not the guitar, the finish! It chipped right off. Just a tiny piece. But it was def a poly like substance. The Bakersfield itself, on the other hand, sustained no damage whatsoever. Gotta love a slab guitar ........... and a very very thickly padded gig bag. 
gotpics?
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2014, 05:28:33 PM »

No. Not of the guitar. I was too embarrassed at first to even mention doing it. And it was only two weeks after I got it! And after my botched attempt to fix it, not sure I'll ever take pics of it. It's on the upper bout, body side. So only I ever see it. But, I do have a pic of the case.

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Kenny

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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2014, 07:32:11 PM »

No. Not of the guitar. I was too embarrassed at first to even mention doing it. And it was only two weeks after I got it! And after my botched attempt to fix it, not sure I'll ever take pics of it. It's on the upper bout, body side. So only I ever see it. But, I do have a pic of the case.



That looks like more than one tire track, did you leave it in the road?   
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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2014, 07:54:27 PM »

That looks like more than one tire track, did you leave it in the road?  

I ran over it twice. Once backing up, once pulling forward. Never felt it. Pretty dumb! Buddy found it at the rehearsal barn. Took the pics. Looks worse than it turned out. So, whatever is being used for a finish, it REALLY protects the guitar. Only one small chip. And was probably from a rock in the gravel drive.

Steveareno: Didn't mean to hijack your thread. But it's my only finish story.
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Kenny

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Steveareno
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« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2014, 08:41:49 PM »

Thanks Kenny, any Bakersfield finish info appreciated. Your experience certainly added to the "character" of your guitar. Teles and strat style guitars are tuff. Reminds me of the Buddy Guy story about his old 50's strat flyng off the roof of his car and apart from a few scratches, was still in tune. Your chip may have been the poly filler/base coat. You could still have a varnish top coat. The early ones, which have a finish as described in the YouTube videos as having a one month cure time, surely can't be polyester? I thought the statement on the website that "all Bakerfields are hand sprayed with an ultra high sheen varnish" was a unique selling point. Still don't understand the one month curing time referred to in the YouTube video, posted in July 2011, unless it's a traditional style varnish? Maybe I'm missing something, but this doesn't feel or look like a run of the mill, thick, plastic finish IMHO. gonna try and post some photos....
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Steveareno
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2014, 10:21:00 PM »

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Steveareno
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2014, 10:25:01 PM »



sorry about the photo quality...shot from my Ipad. The grain looks smuch stronger in person. I'm a fan of sunbursts and most of the Bakersfield bursts I've seen so far look great .

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