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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody,

I was wondering if I can accelerate the "aging" with some exposure to sunlight ?
Case at hand: A black guitar with white winding and a very bright maple neck.
I would like a more ivory look of the binding and I also "a-less-brighter" neck color. Is it reasonable to expose the guitar to some "sunbathing" in the morning or afternoon sun ?
No change in temperature, just some extra sunlight.

I guess this will not alter the black body. Right ?

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You can also buy a UV lamp for more targeted focus of particular areas.

If you're exposing everything to sunlight, the clearcoat of the body will also be affected; it will take quite a while, as poly is tough stuff. The clear tends to go yellow (check out the thread where a bloke made an Evo replica from their Premium Jem – he used a UV lamp), so a black guitar may develop a greenish tint in particular lighting angles.

If you look at some old Gibson LP Customs from the 50s, you can see a more extreme iteration of this - bindings are very yellow, and guitars look greenish in some bright light. Of course, they were finished in nitro lacquer, which reacts to UV quite readily, so even if they sat in a shop window for some weeks/months, the nitro would've reacted with any UV exposure. Poly doesn't break down like this. On a related note, as you probably know, on the fabled bursts, they had to change the formula of the red dye used on the tops after 2 or so years because the guitars were fading so quickly.

Is the binding clearcoated over on your guitar? I guess if you wanted just the binding areas to be affected, you'd have to mask off the rest of the body.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thx a lot for your helpful response.
I will check the Evo thread you mentioned.

I know, that ppl keep their valuable Jem's as case queens or in showcases on the wall with special lightning in the basement. Understandable ,as a faded LNG or Desert Yellow is not that attractive.

I imagine that there might be some differences between the aging of the clearcoat and the aging of the binding.

Only the binding on the body is clearcoated. I´ll leave the guitar just a few weeks in the morning sun and watch if anything happens.
You think that UV also has some effect on the wood color of the neck? It's pretty bright maple and I wouldn´t mind it to be a bit darker.

Again, thx a lot.
 

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Sure thing.

That's right, the original Jems are also known to fade. Have seen some particularly bleached looking SKs over the years. The pickups too - whatever is in the pink DiMarzio bobbins is also reactive, I'm sure you've seen older Jems which look pretty good but the pickups have faded a lot. I do wonder if they changed the paint formula in the 30th reissues to prevent this :unsure:. They've certainly changed a bunch of other stuff compared to the originals, like pickups and multi-piece, full tenon necks.

E.g. this one has bags of mojo! Probably plays like butter.


Yes, UV ought to affect the tint of the neck too, how much depends on the kind of coating it has (I don't know what the satin stuff they use is composed of), amount of UV exposure and play time. You can see on that SK above how dark the fingerboard is, a combination of play wear and ageing of the finish. In the old catalogues they're very bright!
 

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I live in Arizona.

Here's what the Sun did to my Fender Strat. It hangs in a spot that gets some Sun throughout the day.

It was a stark white when new, now it's banana pudding.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh man, that´s a lot.
I imagine, it's still stark white on the back side.

Did this happen in weeks, months or years ?
 

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It took about three years before I noticed.

And ya, lol, back is fairly stark white.

It is a "vintage" style guitar, so maybe the nitrocellulose finish played a part?
 

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Oh boy, that's one yellow Strat! I should think only a nitro or similar finish would age so much so rapidly.

As an example of old guitars which used poly, check out Burns from the UK. Here's a 1964 Black Bison, see how it has a greenish hue from the aged clear.


Some of the ones with burst finishes have faded a bit, probably due to the kind of dye used, but solid colours behave differently, like the black above, white ones are a bit creamy, like old Jem 7VWHs etc.
 

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There is another possibility to accelerate the aging progress. "Kryo", that means to freeze the guitar at very low temperatures. Years ago i visited a workshop about that, but i can't remember how long the instrument was frozen and what the temperature was. There was a company here in Germany offering to do this with your instrument.
UV light is always a problem in my eyes.
Cheers Wolfgang
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Interesting Subject.

1) The 60-year old Burns really has some dark green-ish effect on the image.

2) I'm not yet ready to shell out the money to deep freeze to age the binding of my Indo-made Ibby ;)

Question: The banana-yellow is just the surface and with heavy use eventually gets worn down and white reappears?
 

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Interesting Subject.

1) The 60-year old Burns really has some dark green-ish effect on the image.

2) I'm not yet ready to shell out the money to deep freeze to age the binding of my Indo-made Ibby ;)

Question: The banana-yellow is just the surface and with heavy use eventually gets worn down and white reappears?
Yes, 100%

You can see by where my forearm wear is, the newly "rubbed" off portion is stark white.

Since the protective topcoat is worn off it does turn rather quickly now.

Like I stated before, I live in Arizona, that wall it hangs on gets about eight hours of sunlight a day, every day, for years. We only have cloudy days something in the neighborhood of twelve days a year Lol.
 

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8 hours a day for years ? You kinda asked for some aging, I guess ;)
No doubt.

Having mainly poly finished guitars, never gave it a second thought. Just gave it a spot hanging on the wall.

I work outdoors for a living, it's a great reminder to apply sunscreen. If that nasty Sun did that to a guitar, one can only imagine what it does to frail human skin! Lol.

Just one of the oddities- drawbacks of living in the desert I guess.
 
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