How to Polish a Satin Finish Guitar

How to polish a satin finish guitar is a recurring question among the owners. These guitars are non-shiny guitars. These guitars have a rough appearance. So, people are often tempted to polish these guitars and get a good shine. Satin guitars are also known as matte guitars. 

The satin finish guitars do not end up in gloss appearances. These are the tips that can help you in polishing:

  • Guitar cleaning
  • Guitar polishes

This article will introduce you to the basics of satin finish guitars. Additionally, it will also give you tips on getting the shiniest surfaces. 


Introduction to Satin Finish Guitars

Satin finish guitars do not get glossy finishes. The factories prepare them for rough appearances. The guitar surfaces are less reflective. This helps in covering defects better. 

Contrarily, polishes on these guitars shine prominently. In this way, minor scratches become obvious. Thus, satin finish guitars look more natural. These guitars are thinner, and the wood is very tangible to your hands. The upside is that your fingerprints are much less recognizable. 

These guitars have a traditional look and so appear clean for longer periods. Thus, these guitars are less prone to stain marks as well. Thus, these guitars require less time during manufacturing as well. 

Difference Between Satin and Gloss Guitars

Guitar designs play a very important role. Guitarists pay great heed to their guitar designs. The gloss and shine of a guitar surface are major design factors. Aesthetics are an important factor that shapes the choices of guitarists. Guitarists give better performances when they are comfortable with their instruments. 

Satin finish and gloss finish guitars are two prominent guitar designs. Both have their pros and cons. Both designs are very different from each other in many aspects. Even the physical differences between both designs are considerable.

The major differences between both guitars are as follows:


Aesthetics are mostly dependent on a guitarist’s personal preference. Good surface polishing improves guitar looks. Gloss finish guitars reinforce the wood grains and are pleasing to the eyes. This is true for people who prefer shinier looks on their guitars. Such people would want their guitars to depict glassy appearances. 

Still, many other guitarists prefer their guitars to be rough and rugged. Such guitarists would prefer a satin finish guitar over a gloss finish any time of the day. Satin finish guitars give a natural woody feel. These types of guitars are common among country players. The matte looks suit their style of playing. 


The backs, sides, and necks of guitars mostly come in a satin finish. Guitarists usually prefer satin finish necks over glossy necks. These necks assist in smooth playing and movement of the left hand through the neck. The reason is that these necks get less oily. Hence, less stickiness of the neck occurs. Oily and sticky necks create friction. This hampers the left-hand movement through the neck.

Hands get very oily and sweaty when you play guitars. These secretions attach to gloss finish guitar necks quicker. Thus, it is not something pleasing to the guitarists. The downside of satin finish guitars is the swoosh sounds that rise during left-hand movements. Gloss finish guitars reduce this sound and are helpful in recordings. 


Satin finish guitars are easier to maintain. These guitars require you to spend less time and money on maintenance. The rough look of the guitar stays pretty much the same for many years. The scratches also are less obvious on a satin finish guitar. Additionally, stain marks and fingerprints also remain hidden on these guitars. But eventually, you must clean every guitar. Cleaning a satin finish guitar requires more effort. 

Gloss finish guitars are easier to clean. But they require constant maintenance. Stain marks, fingerprints, and scratches are obvious on these guitars. You must polish these guitars regularly so that the original shine stays intact.

Weather Conditions

People living in hot and humid weather mostly prefer satin finish guitars. The hands get sweatier and stickier in this weather. Gloss finish guitars are more prone to stain marks. So, satin finish guitars become a necessity in these weather conditions. Additionally, satin finish guitars are also cheaper than gloss finish guitars. 

Advantages of Satin Finish Guitars

There are many benefits associated with Satin finish guitars. Satin finish guitars remain in better shape for longer periods. They are resistant to a fair bit of weather damage. Satin finish guitars do not get too sticky with oils and sweat. Thus, it is easier to shift chords. They also allow swift left-hand movements to play solos. 

Additionally, these guitars can also sustain rough handling. You can get away with treating these guitars without care. Country guitar players adore the rugged look of these guitars. It suits their style of playing a lot. The only downside is that these guitars create a swooshing sound during the performance. 

Guitar Cleaning

To clean a satin finish guitar, you should use a microfiber cloth. Microfiber cloths are the best option for cleaning such guitars. If you do not have a microfiber cloth, find yourself a silk cloth. Even your t-shirts can work just fine on these guitars. Keep your guitar steady on something to rest like an open book. Now start cleaning the stretch marks on the body of the guitar. 

Scratch marks and fingerprints do not appear too much on such guitars. Thus, you can clean them off with little effort. Apply the same principles to the fingerboard and clean the neck in the end. Guitar necks get sticky and oily the most out of all parts. So, take your time cleaning it. 

Guitar Polishing

Satin finish guitars do not go hand in hand with polishing. Polishing is a bad option for cleaning your satin finish guitars. Satin finish guitars do not end up in shiny finishes in factories also. These guitars are not meant to be shiny. If you end up polishing your satin guitar it creates an unnecessary gloss. The gloss does not go away easily as well. This ruins the whole purpose of a satin finish guitar. 

Polishing your satin finish guitar can damage its surface. Thus, it is best to leave these guitars unpolished. Simple cleaning with a microfiber cloth will suffice. 

Can You Use Guitar Polish on Satin Finish?

You should never consider polishing your satin finish guitar. Guitar polishes abrase the surface of satin finish guitars. So, the surface ruins quickly. Polishing will also create an unnecessary glow. This gloss does not go away easily. Thus, it beats the whole purpose of getting a satin finish guitar in the first place. 

To clean efficiently, use lukewarm tap water. Soak your microfiber cloth in this water and clean your guitar body. You should be very careful that water does not drip or leave behind on the guitar surface as well. The focus ought to be on cleaning your satin finish guitars instead of polishing them. 

How Do I Make My Satin Guitar Shiny?

You do not need to shine a satin finish guitar. The whole idea is to get yourself an instrument with an earthly outlook. Get yourself a gloss finish guitar if you have a thing for shinier instruments, Satin guitars are easy to clean and are sustainable to scratch marks and fingerprints. So, polishing is not even necessary for these guitars. 

You should just keep your satin guitar clean. Dust it every fortnight and you are good to go. Always use a microfiber cloth for these guitars. Buffing is also a bad option for satin finish guitars. Thus, you ought to gently rub these guitars when cleaning. 

How Do You Treat a Satin Finish Guitar?

The satin finish guitars are easy to maintain. They can withstand harsh and neglected treatments. These guitars are also very resistant to weather damage. You can clean scratches on your satin guitars with ease. They also do not get oily or sweaty easily. All you need is a microfiber cloth and some lukewarm water. 

Soak your cloth with the water and clean the guitar surface. Always rub light. Never use polish on satin guitars. Keep them free of dust. Also, keep the basics in check. Do not put too much pressure on the neck. The neck should remain straightened. Change your strings every month. These are all the things that will suffice in the treatment of such guitars. 


Satin finish guitars are guitars that have a rough or matte appearance. Factories do not shine finish such guitars. So, these guitars are meant to have a non-glossy appearance. Satin finish guitars confer many benefits to lazy guitarists. Their maintenance time and costs are much less than gloss finish guitars.

Such guitars are resistant to weather damage. The necks of such guitars do not get much oily and so allow swift left-hand movements. Country guitarists prefer their guitars to have a rough look. 

Simple cleaning is sufficient for satin finish guitars. Polishing, buffing, or shining these guitars is a bad idea. Guitar polish ruins the surface of a satin finish guitar. The guitar body may get an unwanted shine because of polishing. You should just clean your satin finish guitars with a microfiber cloth. 

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