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How to Get the Ultimate Guitar Finish

For years now, Target Coatings EMTECH finishes have been a go-to for guitar makers who are looking for a guitar finish that not only looks great, but delivers high-performance durability and enhances sound. We’re proud to have some incredible luthiers as our clients, and we wanted to share some of their work with you–and some tips on how they get the best guitar finish!

David A. Bernroth, DAB Guitarworks

EM6000 best guitar finish
Guitar by DAB Guitarworks, finished with EMTECH EM1000 and EM6000

David’s approach to guitar-making (at left) isn’t cookie-cutter, and he doesn’t do custom requests. Here’s his philosophy: “It takes incredible patience, faith and energy and hours to make professional boutique instruments, a lot more than you probably think…I scrutinize everything from wood to hardware to finishes, all have to be excellent or there’s really no point.  The adventure is what I like, understanding the mechanics of guitars and the different tonal pallets you can conjure up.  I like doing variations on what’s out there, things you wouldn’t normally see…”

To get the best guitar finish for his creations, David says, “I use EM1000 Universal Sanding Sealer, EM6000 WB Production Lacquer–and I wet sand and hand buff after I have enough coats.”

EM6000 best guitar finish
Bass by Steve Davis, Albuquerque, NM, finished with EM6000

Steve Davis, Custom builder, Albuquerque NM

Steve says he doesn’t advertise much, but enjoys making guitars for friends (and friends of friends–mostly pros). For the bass shown at right, Steve shares his finishing process with us–he uses EM6000 to achieve the best guitar finish.

“With this instrument, I sealed and pore-filled with Zpoxy, because I like the fluidity and amber tint (however slight).
I sprayed about 20 coats of EM6000 with a Qualspray AM-5800 LVLP gravity feed. Usually 2 coats per day, and since I live in the desert, used a humidifier to keep the RH around 50% in a dedicated booth.
I thin by 10% with distilled water for all coats.
I let it cure (with fan) for 10 days, and rubbed out with Abralon 1000, 2000, 4000, all wet (after 800 wet or dry level ) and then to the wheel up to Menzerna medium for about an 80% sheen. “
Makoto (Mac) Harada, Honua Ukulele
Mac was first introduced to the ukulele on holiday in Hawaii in 2002–he bought one as a souvenir. After learning how to play from award-winning ukulele luthier, Mr. Takayuki Mori, his interest turned toward building ukuleles–which he’s been doing for about twenty years now. Mac now makes Hawaii his home, and ukulele building has become his full-time passion.
EM6000 best ukulele finish
By Honua Ukulele. Finished with EM6000.

We asked Mac how he gets the best ukulele finish and about his finishing process–here’s what he had to say…

“I’m using EM6000WB Gloss for the topcoat on my ukuleles.

My finishing processes are: wash coat (shellac) – pore filler (clear water base) – sanding sealer (shellac) – topcoat (EM6000WB).

If using any water-base finish directly on koa wood, it would change the colour of koa.  So I’m using shellac (alcohol base).”

We appreciate it when customers share images of their work, and let us know which EMTECH finish they’re using, and how they go about their finishing processes.

Thank you to David, Steve and Mac for sharing their beautiful work!
If you’d like to share some images of a project you’ve completed with EMTECH Water-based Finish, simply contact us, or post your pictures to our Facebook page, or tag us with #TargetCoatings on Instagram.
By Honua Ukulele. Finished with EM6000.
Work in progress at Honua Ukulele.

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