I am building a Tele and would like to know the best way to get to this color. I thought about using black and then sanding it off to get the nice grain effect but the exact satin triton color is very hard to get. Any tips on finishing products I can use?
Yes, using black and then sanding back will get you the dark grain highlights. Matching a specific colour is going to be very difficult. I'd suggest that you find a blue stain in sort of the right colour, and experiment a bit with:
(1) diluting the stain (using the appropriate thinner depending on the solvent used as the base of the stain, usually water or spirit), or
(2) applying multiple coats to deepen the colour
You can usefully employ both techniques to gradually get to the shade that you want.
Don't forget two things:
- The colour of the wood will affect the final colour, and assuming you're using swamp ash (with that kind of grain) it will add a bit of a yellow tinge that will make your blue a bit green if the colour isn't very strong.
- Whatever finish you apply after the stain will also affect the colour - generally they will deepen the colour a bit. Different finishes give differenent results - some will add a definite amber hue, for example.
The above assumes that you're going to use a stain of some kind rather than a spray lacquer, but there are many ways of colouring and finishing guitars and I only have experience of a small proportion of them. You can also, for example, use a brush-on lacquer and add a concentrated dye to the lacquer. Or you can apply car paint (but that will cover the grain).
I hope this helps a bit, although it might have just confused you more! If you tell use what you want to use (stain, lacquer etc.), we might be able to focus in on the right answer.
If you want actual product recommendations, the only stains that I've used are the Crimson Guitars ones. I certainly admit to my bias - I like the guys, having been there for three courses - and inexperience with other products, but there are also quite a few other people who have given the stains very positive reviews on YouTube, so it would be my first choice. You can find their stains here: https://crimsonguitars.com/store/stunning-stains/
There's also a video on how to apply them on that page, and they have more examples in their other videos.
You can buy either the original water-based stains, or the recently introduced spirit-based stains. Generally, people take one type or the other, but you could mix them (e.g. get the black in spirit-based and blue in water-based), which apparently has the effect of making the colours more distinctive, because the different stains won't mix as much so the black should show up more. That's what I've heard...I haven't experimented with it myself, so I can't vouch for its accuracy - and of course a lot of the end result comes from how you apply it!
Crimson has three kinds of blue stain, so you'd have to choose the one that you think is closest. The denim is actually quite a bit darker than the sample that they show on that page, where it's been sanded back - look at the blue streaks for a better idea of its real colour. I'd probably go for the Royal Blue, but either apply it over a black coat that's only partially sanded back, or possibly mix the blue with a very small amount of black to darken it.
I suggest getting a spare piece of wood and practicing different ways of doing it, and then you can see which way gives you the result you want. If you bought a prepared body and don't have offcuts, just get hold of a piece of wood that has a similar colour and experiment on that. It's going to be a lot easier to experiment on a spare piece so that you just work on the guitar itself once, rather than experimenting on the guitar body and then having to sand it back if you're not happy - that can be very frustrating!
For the oil finish, Crimson Guitars' finishing oil is also very good, but you can use whatever you want. They now have two types of finishing oil, but if you're just building one guitar then I wouldn't bother buying both - just get a bottle of the normal finishing oil (https://crimsonguitars.com/store/high-build-guitar-finishing-oil/) - they call it the "high build finishing oil" now, since they brought out a second version. You need something like five coats of that, then buff it and, if you like, wax it afterwards (there are various other tips that you can get from their videos, such as the first coat of oil can usefully be applied using a high grit sandpaper - 800 / 1000 - to help to even out the surface). One bottle should be enough for about three guitars.
Don't forget to also apply the oil on your practice pieces, in order to check how the colour will look after the oil. One coat is enough for this purpose - the first coat of oil changes the colour quite a lot, but subsequent coats don't really change it much more.
Lots of other products are available, but I think the principles of how to apply them will be similar. Let us know how you get on!
I have indeed looked into crimson guitars but couldn't find the right colour. Now what your saying about the denim color helps me a lot. Thanks for the tip. I'll look into it and post updates on the process
Yes, you can mix colours to darken them or to get other colours. If you want to do that, you will have to get both colours with the same base, i.e. both water-based or both spirit-based.
An alternative is to buy the "stunning stains shots" which are very highly concentrated, and then it's just a question of diluting the shots less to get a more intense colour.
Although, of course, a more intense colour isn't exactly the same as a darker one...most likely you won't be able to achieve the exact colour of the Triton ML-3, but I'm sure you will be able to get a really nice colour that is similar!
If you're interested, I've just stained the top of a guitar that I'm working on, and it's a little bit similar to some of the Chapman colour schemes. There's a picture and a description of what I did to achieve that effect in this post. It was all done using the regular Crimson Guitars water-based stains, not the stunning shots.