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What's the difference between a dyed and transparent finish?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Akito, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. Akito


    Dec 1, 2003
    I've been curious about this for a while, and the most simple explanation I have found is on the Warmoth site. Is there really a big difference between dyed wood and a trans color?
    Instruments with fancy tops and deep looking figured wood like Paul Reed Smith or Modulus- are these the result of dye or a transparent finish or both? I'm having a bass made, and I want the top to stand out, so I am just interested in info from experienced folks. Thanks!
  2. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Dyed is when the wood itself is actually stained. Transparent finish is when its a clear-coat finish, which has stain mixed into it...
  3. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    With a dye, the color is actually soaked into the grain of the wood, and the wood literally becomes that color. With the transparent finish, the clear coating itself is tinted, not the wood.

    I think.
  4. Rick Turner

    Rick Turner Commercial User

    Jul 14, 2004
    I design and build electric basses and pickups under the Turner, Renaissance, and Electroline brand names.
    With transluscent finishes, you're looking through colored pigment suspended in the finish to see the wood. When you dye the wood, the look is much brighter, deeper, and the grain of the wood is enhanced rather than obscured.

    I'm shooting MEK metal acid dyes from US Cellulose directly on pore filled wood, then oiling, then shooting clear coats. I love the look.