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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Vintage Correct Jazzmaster Sunburst Refin

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Wayyyyy down the line when I have some money to spend, I would like to strip the horrible Polyester crap that's surrounding my Classic Player Jazzmaster (YES I am holding on to the guitar forever and am not concerned about depreciating value, etc). Then I would like to have it finished in a beautiful vintage correct Nitrocellulose Sunburst. My question is... Where is the best source for the most vintage correct sunbursts? I've heard great things about MJT, but have seen their sunburst and it's not very accurate to vintage JMs. I know the bursts do vary quite a bit but I've never seen one like this

I'm looking for something more like this:

Any help would be awesome Wink

I had a '52 AVRI Tele stripped and refinished. It's fun. It looked better. But I couldn't tell any tonal differences.

I dunno who can do the best sunburst for you but I will say those vintage pickguards add a whole lot to that overall look and vibe.

"as he stepped into the stealthy night air... little did he know the fire escape was not there"

Pat Wilkins in Van Nuys, CA is pretty much the best in the business for Fender refinishing. Here's his site:

This early (January)'68 Precision was a thoroughly trashed pawn shop find that a previous owner had painted rattlecan blue metalflake.

I don't have the "before" pictures (I got it after Pat worked his magic) but it turned out pretty good...


aka WoodyJ
The Mariners (1964-present)
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The Surge! (2004, 2011-2012)
X-Rays (1997-2004)

Wow! That looks really good, Woody. And Van Nuys is just under 2 hours away from Santa Barbara. Wonder if he can strip the Polyester off too... hmm

So, to get the poly stripped off of your guitar and refinished it would cost $745 at MJT. MJT can do the bursts you are looking for, he will match anything and I've seen him do a really great mid-60s CBS Jazzmaster burst. The yellow in the middle is key, and it doesn't look anything like in the photo you posted.

You are going to strip the neck as well right? The price above includes that. Stripping the neck is more important than stripping the body, it would be pointless to strip a body and refin in nitro if the neck would be poly. The comfort of a worn nitro neck is what makes a vintage Fender what it is.

You'd be better off selling your guitar and buying a used AVRI or getting a custom made MJT one. You can get that plus great pickups and the best electronics for about $1000.

My best tele was a poly MIM 60s neck w/ a thin nitro finished bodied by guitarmill. Yeah I know kind of a stupid pairing but it worked.

"as he stepped into the stealthy night air... little did he know the fire escape was not there"

Jake, I would do that if it weren't for the money, and the 7.25 radius and tiny frets. Again, this is my backup guitar. I really prefer the way te CP plays over the AVRI. I just can't stand the finish
I don't think MJT strips Polyester. I think they're talking about Polyurethane

Jake, you're a pretty big proponent of MJT, no?

Kul, I think stripping poly is a pretty nasty job, isn't it? I've stripped some furniture that had some pretty heavy factory poly finishes, and it was indeed a chore. BUT, if you can do that part yourself and get everything prepped, it'll save you whatever the cost from a finisher would be (assuming they'll even mess with it for a price you're willing to pay). If you like that guitar that much, go for it.

The Mystery Men?
SSS Agent #31

Yes, I am indeed.

I see no practical reason for stripping a poly finish off of an electric guitar, only to replace it with an expensive and fragile lacquer finish.

Most major guitar manufacturers apply poly finishes for good reason, they're durable, they protect the wood and they are mucho easy to clean.

Let's bust the myth that lacquer finishes somehow improve tone. That's nonsense. Most of the tone comes from the pickups and secondarily from the strings and electronics. That doesn't even take into account the amp and the speaker....unless you only play your guitar acoustically, which I doubt.

I have nothing against lacquer finishes at all. If that's what I want, then that's what I look for in the first place.

Louis7 is so correct. As someone who plays an archtop and other acoustics in another genre of music I find the idea that folks think because lacquer was used way back when that it was "better" or more authentic. It is the AMOUNT of finish that matters, not the formula. And anyway, as pointed out- these are electric SOLIDBODIES we are talking about. Pickups and amp are the biggest factors. Now, if you agree and are only talking about the look of classic instruments, yes lacquer FAILS over time and "checks". Why take a modern instrument and fake it to seem like an old one with a failing finish? Enjoy your instrument for what it is!

I had a '52 RI stripped down and refinished in something that would make what Fender refers to as "thin skin" thick. I think even the Custom Shop is laying the finishes on too thick. I had a '51 Nocaster and it was just slightly thinner than what is on the AV Teles.

Anyway. After I had my '52 RI stripped we couldn't tell a difference. I've got recordings of it through the same amp and you can't tell.

It looked a helluva lot better tho. So I can't fault anyone for trying to go that route. But yeah I agree with the idea that a nitro finish doesn't make a guitar...atleast a solid body electric sound any better.

I miss that Tele a ton. Wish I still had it.

"as he stepped into the stealthy night air... little did he know the fire escape was not there"

Yeah I probably should've clarified, seems like some people think I am doing it for sound. I'm not. I'm doing it for looks and I want the guitar to age naturally as I play. Polyester does not age. It's a thick plastic shell around the wood. I doubt there's a difference between POLYURETHANE and nitrocellulose sonically, but it makes perfect sense that there would be a difference in the tone of a guitar with a thick plastic coating around the wood and one without it. All that plastic definitely dampens vibrations. In fact check out this link. This guy recorded his Strat with the polyester on it and without it. I can hear a bit of a difference.


Not only does the guitar sound dead with a Poly finish it's gonna make your guitar weigh more!!! Nice link.. Big Grin

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