I also noticed a few smudges that I couldn't take out with the polishing cloth. Any advisement on getting rid of these, or is it normal to have? I believe they've been there since I had the guitar but I can't be sure. Is this something the famous Scratch-x can take care of?
The earlier acid-catalyzed conversion varnish clear coats (which formulas and suppliers RIC changed several times over the decades!) all had one thing in common--they were initially very ductile. This is to say that they remained resistant to expansion and contraction of the wood guitar body as it warmed and cooled, depending upon room temperature. Still, it wasn't entirely forgiving--hence the warnings years ago about acclimating the guitar in the case for 24 hours at room temperature after it had been air-shipped or spent time in a delivery truck or unheated warehouse in the winter, leading to thermal shock and checking of the clear coat.
This ductility (ability to stretch and contract a bit) also gave the CV a softer surface, that was amenable to both fine scratches ("called "haloing") and polishing these out by hand with products like Scratch-X and Swirl-X (and a product I discovered a few years back, but haven't mentioned that I can recall, MAAS Metal Polish). The post-2008 polyester finishes are much thicker and harder. They are less likely to respond to thermal shock, but have a harder surface that resists any sort of hand-polishing.
So, pre-2008--use a cotton cloth (I prefer diapers, though they are getting impossible to find!) or microfiber towel loaded with a bit of the polishing medium. MAAS works really well, and comes in tubes and tins. Rub, rub, rub.
Post-2008--a perfectly wet-looking surface with zero haloing is possible and will last much longer than the conversion varnishes of yore. The drawback is that the guitar must be disassembled and wheel-buffed using what the factory does-- Menzerna solid buffing compound. I use GW16 for fine scratches. Deep scratches might require GW 18 first and then the GW 16.
I understand that this is beyond the capability of anyone but a pro luthier with a good buffing setup.
Those halo scratches on either type of finish will respond well to several applications in succession of Zymol cleaner wax (light blue bottle), which after nearly twenty years of my use and recommendation, is still the only game in town. This stuff is water-based, while every other wax I know has a percentage of petroleum distillate, which allows it to go on easily and flash-dry so you wipe off the powder that remains.
Unfortunately, the petroleum distillate is also there to strip the previous coats of wax, to prevent yellow build up. Zymol does not strip the previous coats of Zymol, but builds on top of them, once you've buffed the surface, Zymol does not "dry" as such--you apply it and it will actually fill those halos. Buff it with a clean towel (microfiber towels--which I used to lecture against--are just fine) until shiny. Wait a half-hour and apply another coat. Buff again. On Jetglo guitars, I used four coats, buffing between and after. The final coat, after buffing, receives a light misting of cool water to "set" the Zymol wax, and one more buff to remove the water and give it its final gloss.
I would suggest trying this regimen on your FG 360, as the photos show typical haloing. There is hope!
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