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Many of us like our guitars to exhibit the time-earned elegance of a vintage original, but tend to wince a bit at serious wear and scratches on a new instrument.
Gibson’s VOS process is exactly that: a fully finished guitar made to look ‘old’ with a special combination of finish and hardware treatment. Approximately 30 per cent of Memphis-made guitars are VOS.
“We have a lot going through,” explains Mike Voltz. “They’re very popular in the market right now: through the roof!”
Rather than physically chip and ding the guitar, Gibson instead opts to dull the nitro- cellulose finish back just slightly, while also tarnishing the various hardware and other components, using a series of closely guarded techniques, materials and chemical treatments.
“The idea is that maybe the guitar got played for about three months or so,” continues Jim Lillard, manager of final assembly, repair and VOS hardware processes. “Then it went back in the case, [got] put under the bed and forgot about. During that time, the lacquer – solvents – will evaporate inside the case that produces a kind of haze.