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Author Topic: Do Larrivee satin finishes wear away/age?  (Read 484 times)
StringPicker6
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« on: January 13, 2022, 12:53:19 AM »

Hello gang,
As a new larrivee owner, one of the things I actually love and prefer with these guitars is the satin finish, mostly because it seems more durable and I don't have to worry about scratching a nitro finish.  However, I was curious how the satin finish ages as time goes on.  From what I understand it's a polyester UV cured finish, so does that mean it's fairly indestructible and won't ever wear away?  I'm not looking to have the next Willie Nelson Trigger guitar, but I really feel I have my lifer guitars, and if it shows some wear and tear years from now, I won't mind because I will know that it has been used and loved.  Any input from some of you long time owners would be appreciated!
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2022, 01:22:12 AM »

Hello gang,
As a new larrivee owner, one of the things I actually love and prefer with these guitars is the satin finish, mostly because it seems more durable and I don't have to worry about scratching a nitro finish.  However, I was curious how the satin finish ages as time goes on.  From what I understand it's a polyester UV cured finish, so does that mean it's fairly indestructible and won't ever wear away?  I'm not looking to have the next Willie Nelson Trigger guitar, but I really feel I have my lifer guitars, and if it shows some wear and tear years from now, I won't mind because I will know that it has been used and loved.  Any input from some of you long time owners would be appreciated!
My oldest Larrivee is an early 2000 O-01, and the satin finish is still in great shape. My OM-40 is about 7 years old and the satin finish is impeccable. My newest, the Forum VI LS-03WL is also satin and the consistency and quality of the finish, to me, is a thing if beauty. They do satin very well.
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mike in lytle
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2022, 01:43:22 AM »

Hello gang,
As a new larrivee owner, one of the things I actually love and prefer with these guitars is the satin finish, mostly because it seems more durable and I don't have to worry about scratching a nitro finish.  However, I was curious how the satin finish ages as time goes on.  From what I understand it's a polyester UV cured finish, so does that mean it's fairly indestructible and won't ever wear away?  I'm not looking to have the next Willie Nelson Trigger guitar, but I really feel I have my lifer guitars, and if it shows some wear and tear years from now, I won't mind because I will know that it has been used and loved.  Any input from some of you long time owners would be appreciated!
There will be no wear and tear, but the satin finish will begin to be smoothed and become shiny.
This will happen along the backside of the neck, and on the lower bout on the top surface where your arm tends to rest, and also on the lower side/back where it sits on your leg.
Believe me, I know. Takes quite awhile, unless you are me.
Mike
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Silence Dogood
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2022, 01:52:31 AM »

My D-03 is almost 20 years old and the finish is still very satin-y.  They are great finishes and great guitars. 
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mike in lytle
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2022, 02:11:43 AM »

My D-03 is almost 20 years old and the finish is still very satin-y.  They are great finishes and great guitars. 
Or, to put it in another perspective....
The back of your satin neck will be very shiny by the time you need a fret dressing. Could be years.
The other shiny parts will be smaller in area and not objectionable, probably more a source of inner satisfaction.
Mike
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2022, 02:28:54 AM »

The necks on both of my '99 O-01 and '13 PV-03 are glossed up just from use.  The finish hasn't worn off, it has just shined up.  I have J. Pearse armrests on both, but the other place I have had satin finishes gloss is where my arm would rest on the lower bout.  The finish on both guitars is a UV cured Polyester which is very (I mean VERY) durable.  Essentially, both satin and gloss are the same formulation with very minor additions to the gloss version and lots of buffing and additional coats for the gloss.

Ed

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B0WIE
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2022, 07:56:55 AM »

It may have been said, but the satin Larrivee uses is the same as the gloss. They just lay down more gloss as it's necessary in order to buff it down to a flat finish. You won't see a real durability difference other than satin glossing in the friction spots.

The UV cured poly is non yellowing, won't check, etc. It's got advantages and disadvantages.
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2022, 11:25:04 AM »

I have two satin finish Larrivees:

My parlor was built in early 2004 and 12 string was built in late 2005, early 2006 and after 16-17 years neither guitar shows any significant sign of wear. My three gloss, sunburst finish guitars (two Martins and an Alvarez) are a different story. After nearly 45 years, my D35 is starting to show her age including around the sound hole where my thumb pick has worn a groove in the wood.

I remember reading an article about Bill Collings who said it used to make him sad to do warranty work on an older guitar that was in pristine condition that looked like it has never been played.

Here are my rules of thumb that I have discussed at length over the years with all of my guitars:

1) You will stay in your case when you’re not being played. You can sit on a stand in a safe place if you are being played.
2) I promise to keep my room humidifier operational and filled at all times to keep the right room temperature and relative humidity.
3) I will wipe you down with a cotton cloth after each use and wear a long sleeve cotton t shirt when I’m playing you on a hot summer day. Clean, white Cotton diapers work great.
4) I also promise not to eat Cheetos, pizza, wings or French fries before or while playing without washing my hands first.

In closing, if I want to see real wear and tear, I just stand in front of a full length mirror before my shower. 66 years is hard to hide. Didn’t Neil Young and Jeff Blackburn tell us in the third verse of Hey, Hey, My, My: Is this the tale of Johnny Rotten, its better to burn out than fade away, the king is gone but not forgotten.
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Silence Dogood
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2022, 12:21:35 PM »

Or, to put it in another perspective....
The back of your satin neck will be very shiny by the time you need a fret dressing. Could be years.
The other shiny parts will be smaller in area and not objectionable, probably more a source of inner satisfaction.
Mike
Yeah, the back of my satin neck went smooth and shiny ages ago, but the body is still satin-y.  I have played this guitar _a lot_ and it still sees daily play-time.  I wore out the original frets and had them replaced a few years ago.  There is a shiny bit on the top where my pinky rubs while I play.  I think there will eventually be a hole in the wood there (I took off the clear PG when I got it - disliked the look of it a lot).  I love my guitar.
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markj
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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2022, 02:46:53 PM »

My OO-40 neck has been played smooth and shiny. There is also a small shiny spot on the lower bout, where my arm rests.

 
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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2022, 07:25:08 PM »

I recently did a video talking about my OM-03R built in 1997.  I don't note any adverse wear.  The UV cured poly finishes used by Larrivee and Taylor are pretty tough.

Mine even has 1/4 dent in the top from when it fell off a stand on stage, and the finish is still adhered to the dent.

https://youtu.be/MLTmPI1dUUE

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StringPicker6
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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2022, 07:29:48 PM »

This is great information, thanks everyone!  I'm sure that light will also darken the spruce top with time.  Right now I'm admiring the natural color of the mahogany back and sides of my parlor, and it just looks so darn beautiful!  The way nature wants mahogany to look.
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2022, 11:24:59 PM »

This is great information, thanks everyone!  I'm sure that light will also darken the spruce top with time.  

Yes and maybe.

My 1998 is not appreciably darker than when I bought it, while my wife's 1998 is.  Mine has an Engelmann top and hers is Sitka.  My Sitka topped parlor has darkened a bit as well.  I don't think the top on my Forum-III (which I sold) ever darkened much either.

So some spruces will darken more than others.

Edit: changed dated fro 97 to 98, getting old sucks.
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B0WIE
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2022, 01:15:38 AM »

Spruce doesn't need light to darken. Oxygen gets in through the unfinished inside and adds some color. They'll never stay that new, white look even if they stay in the case for years. I like the way spruce ages under a poly finish because there's less yellow/orange, and more of a nice reddish/tan shade.
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2022, 03:08:56 AM »

I’ve seen pictures of the beautiful white color in the European “moon spruce” tops. I wonder how dark moon spruce will get.
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2022, 04:50:58 AM »

I’ve seen pictures of the beautiful white color in the European “moon spruce” tops. I wonder how dark moon spruce will get.
Same as all other Alpine spruce. If you look up guitars with Italian or Swiss spruce tops you'll get an idea. Lovely tan color, a lot like Sitka. The nicest color I've had on a Larrivee top was Italian spruce. They start crisp white and develop a lovely tone that reminds me of venetian plaster. Granted, other spruces are very similar but the slight differences in color have always stood out to me personally.
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2022, 12:41:18 PM »

As far as darkening of the top goes, my D03 is from 2003 and has darkened up quite a bit, while my son's is from 1998 and looks almost white-washed.  They are very different as far as weight goes, too: mine feels like an average guitar but his is light as a feather.  Also, my guitar is a great guitar, but his is a flat-out amazing guitar.  Mine can be a bit muddy and the notes in the bass/mid range tend to bleed together a bit, while his has a sparkle and clarity that is just beautiful.  Mine is blackwood and his mahogany, which I'm sure accounts for the different tones.  They are both wonderful instruments but his is really special.  Oh yeah, you should ask me how much I paid for his guitar...


* D03twins.jpg (189.67 KB, 750x929 - viewed 13 times.)
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StringPicker6
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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2022, 01:07:51 AM »

How much DID you pay? 
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« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2022, 01:28:09 AM »

As far as darkening of the top goes, my D03 is from 2003 and has darkened up quite a bit, while my son's is from 1998 and looks almost white-washed.  They are very different as far as weight goes, too: mine feels like an average guitar but his is light as a feather.  Also, my guitar is a great guitar, but his is a flat-out amazing guitar.  Mine can be a bit muddy and the notes in the bass/mid range tend to bleed together a bit, while his has a sparkle and clarity that is just beautiful.  Mine is blackwood and his mahogany, which I'm sure accounts for the different tones.  They are both wonderful instruments but his is really special.  Oh yeah, you should ask me how much I paid for his guitar...
The larger the guitar body, the better mahogany sounds. My humble opinion only. I like mahogany Larrivees. And they are lighter, weight-wise.
Your son's 1998 may might have been an Englemann top. I have had two 1998 C-05's with tops that were very light looking, had a bit of a brighter sound, and I think I read somewhere that Larrivee had a bunch of Englemann tops back around that era. Cannot verify that, but one of the C-05's is still in the family, across the Atlantic.
Mike
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« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2022, 03:46:00 AM »

Your son's 1998 may might have been an Englemann top. I have had two 1998 C-05's with tops that were very light looking, had a bit of a brighter sound, and I think I read somewhere that Larrivee had a bunch of Englemann tops back around that era. Cannot verify that, but one of the C-05's is still in the family, across the Atlantic.
Mike

Larrivee used a bunch of Engelmann in 98.  My OM has an Engelmann top and is still much whiter than my wife's OM, or my Parlor.
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