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How long does aniline dye fade for?

GotTheSilver

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Joined
Apr 14, 2007
Messages
2,433
Hey all. This is something I have wondered about for a long time. I suppose I could have put this question in either the vintage or the historic forum. We all know the aniline dyes fade with exposure to sunlight, and the red disappears. But it seems like this only happens for a limited amount of time before the red sets and becomes permanent. There are many examples of bursts (e.g., Ed King's Red Eye) where part of the top is faded, but parts that were shielded from the sun are still red. Now, I would expect that after the guitar was taken out of the shop window, it still got some exposure to the sun over the next 50+ years, such as outdoor concerts and such, but the red is still there today. Why isn't all of the red gone?

Is there a point where the red stops fading and will remain? The recent post about Vic's new "Blood on the Tracks" model, with the red from under the Bigsby, got me thinking about this again.
 

J.D.

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Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
9,908
AFAIK if the dye is UV sensitive it will fade to its final color eventually given enough UV exposure.

Most colors are a blend of dyes with varying UV resistances, with red being low.

If an area was covered for an extended period of time next to a very heavily faded area, it may never "catch up".
 

sws1

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 4, 2001
Messages
2,725
Hey all. This is something I have wondered about for a long time. I suppose I could have put this question in either the vintage or the historic forum. We all know the aniline dyes fade with exposure to sunlight, and the red disappears. But it seems like this only happens for a limited amount of time before the red sets and becomes permanent. There are many examples of bursts (e.g., Ed King's Red Eye) where part of the top is faded, but parts that were shielded from the sun are still red. Now, I would expect that after the guitar was taken out of the shop window, it still got some exposure to the sun over the next 50+ years, such as outdoor concerts and such, but the red is still there today. Why isn't all of the red gone?

Is there a point where the red stops fading and will remain? The recent post about Vic's new "Blood on the Tracks" model, with the red from under the Bigsby, got me thinking about this again.

There are plenty of original bursts that show very obvious fading between the 80s and today. So it isn't just the first few years.
 

AA00475Bassman

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Joined
Apr 26, 2016
Messages
3,463
My 2007 VOS the back has been exposed to all day sun light since 2013 and the only red ls on the bottom around the strap button .
 

PixelBurst

Active member
Joined
Apr 11, 2002
Messages
4,089
Until all the pigment is gone. The back of my 2003 and 2004 R9s are complete brown. The tops have faded a lot less for some reason.
 

Big Al

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Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,336
The red is light fugitive and does not "take a set". It will fade if exposed to UV light until it is all gone.
 

Guitardon

Active member
Joined
Feb 3, 2002
Messages
2,129
The back of my 2002 R8 is completely faded which is weird because it spends a lot of time in the case, for some reason that one seem to fade with or without exposure to sunlight. Maybe it just had enough time in the light but I can't picture it because the entire back is pure mahoganyand there is no way the entire back saw sunlight. Is it possible that once it starts fading that somehow it spreads its own?
 

GotTheSilver

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Joined
Apr 14, 2007
Messages
2,433
The red is light fugitive and does not "take a set". It will fade if exposed to UV light until it is all gone.

It is very interesting, then, that some guitars still have red areas on the top that is otherwise faded. I guess the owners just have not exposed the guitars to sunlight since the hang tag / Bigsby / whatever else was removed.
 

AliGZero

New member
Joined
Oct 17, 2014
Messages
142
Been waiting 10 years for the aniline binding bleed to fade on my '05 G0. It's still pretty strong.:dang
 

Big Al

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Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,336
It is very interesting, then, that some guitars still have red areas on the top that is otherwise faded. I guess the owners just have not exposed the guitars to sunlight since the hang tag / Bigsby / whatever else was removed.

I think what happens is that the guitars are in a state of fade. I remember vividly all the Busts I saw in the 70's, most having strong color. Now they are quite faded. Bigsby shadows that were obvious become less so and hangtag shadows recede too. I've handled completely faded lemon drop Bursts that I believe were intentionally faded. Still if you track them over time you can see the effect. Overlapping ares have more red color and will fade slower than lower bout gradations.
 
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