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1976 Giannini

Q: I picked up a classical with a spruce top and used the filler known as " Second Chance" on the bigger spots and a syringe and clear nail polish on the tiny ones.

I would like to put a new coat of Zpoxy on the soundboard to even out the finish and sand to a fine luster. I cannot seem to match the grain and color of the spruce on a couple places I filled that were abused. Any hints you have would be greatly apprreciated.

A: As a general rule of thumb, because of its depth and iridescence, you can't match spruce. You can put on an opaque fill and then use fine brushes, water colors and a magnifying glass to paint an exact copy of the surrounding wood onto the fill. Get it absolutely perfect, and then look at it from a slightly different angle and it will be completely wrong. Large holes need to be filled with new spruce. The new wood still won't match, but it is slightly less annoying.

The main thing of interest about a 1976 Giannini Classical is that the back and sides are probably Brazilian Rosewood. It was illegal to ship Rosewood lumber out of Brazil after 1968, but Brazilians could use as much as they wanted and ship out finished products. The Giannini instruments were paragons of poor craftsmanship, but a back and sides set of Brazilian rosewood to make a guitar now sells for $1000 or more. Most of the Gianninis had plywood back and sides, so the rosewood would just be a veneer, but if yours is solid, you should throw out the neck, top and bracing and start over.

Steve Mason

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