Re: Sanding a pattern into a guitar finish
It sounds like what you are describing is a finish similar to popular Asian furniture, which is black with little hints of red showing through?
If so you did the coats reversed. You want the dominant color on top, so you can "fatigue" it for faint secondary color showing through. I think the way you did it, with red as a top coat and black underneath, red will be the dominant color of the guitar (from across the room it just looks red) and the black would be really really subtle. Generally this effect looks more dramatic if you have the bright color peeking through the black. The black peeking through is, as you described, underwhelming.