Believe it or not, the finish of a guitar can also affect its tone. It is widely believed that the thinner the finish, the less restricted the tone wood's vibrations are. Subsequently, the tone of the instrument is improved. From our experience, although the finish definitely affects the tone, we aren't so convinced that it necessarily makes it worse. There are many factors at play here and different woods no doubt react differently to different finishes. Again, this is very subjective, some of the best sounding guitars we have come across have had "thick" finishes on them, so I wouldn't get too hung up on it if I were you.
Other things to consider are the appearance, the cost and the durability.
These are the types of finish that we offer.
APPEARANCE - A natural wood looking finish which subtly highlights the woods grain with a soft satin sheen.
FEEL -Extremely tactile and smooth. Feels like natural wood. Our favourite feel of all finishes - especially for necks.
TONE - Extremely thin and therefore gives a natural tone, similar to an unfinished neck. However, we think you'd be hard pushed to hear a massive difference between finishes.
DURABILITY - Oil has been traditional used to protect wood for hundreds, if not thousands of years. It isn't as durable as modern sprayed finishes. It can wear through to give a relic'd look after a few years. However, it is easy to repair and its lifetime depends on your playing habits and how well you look after your finish. If you gig hard, sweat lots and play for several hours a day, you may be better suited to a satin or gloss neck. For most "normal" players, oil will be more than adequate and if it wears through any local luthier will be able to repair it cost effectively.
COST - It's a bit cheaper for us to apply, so we let you see that saving directly.
APPEARANCE - Gives a soft sheen. Available in open and closed pore. Open pore means you can see the grain of the wood through the finish. This is only available on Swamp Ash, and comes in slightly cheaper than its closed-pore counterpart as it saves us some time that we would spend grain filling.
FEEL - Very tactile and smooth.
TONE - Again this is quite a thin finish, especially in open pore, so the tone is quite similar to the natural wood.
DURABILITY - Very durable. It ages well and tends to dent when you knock it rather than chip or crack.
APPEARANCE - Mirror like shine. Looks stunning on top of walnut. Really brings the grain out and gives that wet look finish. Looks great in all solid colours.
FEEL - Not as tactile as the other two finishes. It can feel grippy when touching it - think rubbing your hand on a pane of glass. For this reason we tend to only recommend high gloss for body finishes and not necks, but it's ultimately up to you.
TONE - The thickest of our finishes. Some say these finishes can restrict the vibrations, but to our ears they can still sound great.
DURABILITY - Very durable. It tends to chip or crack when you drop it, which isn't ideal if you tour a lot.