Compare the Gold Tone GM-55A, with its thin-yet-protective hand-applied oil-based finish, to other mandolins in its price range and hear the startling difference! The urethane or lacquer finishing materials typically used by other companies are sprayed onto the instrument and whether left in a matte state or rubbed to a gloss, these methods result in a thicker finish that can dull the sound. An oil finish cannot be painted on or applied and left to soak in. This finish must be hand-rubbed into the wood using an abrasive applicator. This laborious process generates the heat needed to break down the oil so it will penetrate into the pores of the wood.