Does Tru-Oil Change the Tone of Your Instrument?

Q&A Woodworking Forum IndexCategory: Guitar MakingDoes Tru-Oil Change the Tone of Your Instrument?
Westfarthing Woodworks asked 9 months ago

How does Tru-Oil change the tonal qualities (sound, sustain) on a guitar/ukulele compared to other finishes that you’ve experience with?

In particular shellac and other oil finishes?


1 Answers
Westfarthing Woodworks answered 9 months ago

Tru-Oil is a finish that you apply to the instrument, and anything you apply will alter the tone. However, its likely not noticeable to your ears.

Thick coats of finish do restrict plate movement more than thin coats, and they can cause the guitar/uke to be a little brighter and not as loud.

However, you really need to coat the guitar a lot for that to happen. In the case of tru-oil, you almost can’t do that unless you are really going overboard with the coats.

If you apply a reasonable amount of coats, around 3-5, you will have no difference in sound that you can actually hear. You will also have a change in tone that is in line with the same coating of lacquer.

The big difference with tru oil is that you will have a much warmer and more hand oiled look. This is one of the really pleasing parts about working with the product.

You can get the oiled look, that pops the grain and makes you guitar look amazing, and you can also get the protection of a film finish.

I always go for as little finish as possible, and I handle my instruments carefully to protect them. If you do the same, you will get a finish that does not destroy the tone, and makes your instrument look great.

Happy building.

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