View Full Version : Nitrocellulose lacquer from GM paint code?
09-21-2008, 08:47 PM
I'm currently planning a kit guitar build of a '70 Stratocaster to match my 1970 Pontiac LeMans. I'd like to finish the body in a Nitrocellulose lacquer that matches my car's Granada Gold. (Granted, nitrocellulose is technically not the correct paint for a '70 Strat).
This is what I know:
Pontiac color name: 58 Granada Gold
Ditzler "DDL" code: 2179
DuPont "Lucite" code: 5117L
Would any automotive body shop be able to supply me? Any suggestions?
09-21-2008, 09:06 PM
Not in nitro, AFAIK. I own a paint-matching system (for Standox paints) and it can't be translated to anything else. I'd assume other systems would be the same. Each proprietary system relies on the qualities of THEIR tints and shades to reach the correct primary and flop colors, and nothing I've seen interchanges.
You could potentially find someone who mixes nitro paint and has a color reader and computer analyzer. They could look at the color of your LeMans (typically a gas cap door or mirror, if painted to match) and generate a color for you.
Unless there's some method I'm totally ignorant about, I don't think this is likely.
09-22-2008, 04:47 AM
Agreed - most car paints today would likely be acrylic enamel, urethane, or if you're lucky acrylic lacquer. Most auto makers had moved from nitro to acrylic lacquer by the late 50's. Acrylic was developed to overcome the problems inherent in nitro. The problems we seem to love in guitars - namely shrinking, yellowing and checking. Kind of funny when you think about it.
09-22-2008, 07:38 AM
Any good car painter can order & mix the "old codes" for you, but here's your problem:
DuPont "Lucite" code: 5117L
"Lucite" is DuPont's trade name for "acrylic lacquer". This color never was "nitrocellulose lacquer"....it was (only) ever acrylic lacquer. You can't get it in nitro...
09-22-2008, 07:58 AM
So if it's not reasonable to get a color match in nitrocellulose, would acrylic lacquer be an acceptable choice in terms of letting the wood resonate? I'd like to go with a one-piece body. The last thing I would want is to choke it with paint.
09-22-2008, 08:34 AM
I know I'm asking for it here.
But any properly applied paint system will let the guitar resonate.
The issue I believe stems from missunderstanding the difference between a custom applied finish and factory finishes. Plus a friend who does tons of work for Jackson's custom shop has explained they, and other manufacturers, top off their finishes with P-Tex resin. P-Tex is the same stuff they use to bury the graphics on things like snowboards. So you end up with a thick heavy finishes.
Typically when clearing a guitar I use about 4oz of clear using modern automotive Uros. I then sand back and polish removing some of that. I feel the guitars I have painted resonate just as well as anything I've played with any other finish.
The only real reason to use Nitro in my opinion is if you want the checking and aging that nitro brings.
Also nitro seems like much more of a pain with long dry times etc...
09-22-2008, 08:59 AM
The color layer in Fender custom colors were always acrylic, though they still used nitro clear coats through the late 60's. Shoot the color in acrylic lacquer, which a good auto paint store should be able to mix for you. So long as you let the acrylic color cure well, nitro can be sprayed right over it for top coats to get that traditional nitro gloss.
09-22-2008, 09:03 AM
The color wasn't always acrylic....
Fender used Acrylic as well as Nitro. Nobody complained.....
Look at an old Fender color chart. "Duco" was nitro, "Lucite" was acrylic
I know it's hard to read, but you can see Duco & Lucite on this chart, under the color chips....
09-22-2008, 09:05 AM
ps....want to go nuts? Start reading!
09-22-2008, 09:24 AM
Correct Mark - I should have said Fender has always used acrylic for custom colors, but not all custom colors.
Clay has a lot of good info on his site. He's actually in my neighborhood, and I'll be meeting up with one of the people who has worked with him on finishes at a seminar I'm hosting this weekend. This guy who's coming is one of the most knowledgeable persons I've ever known about Fender and Gibson finishing - far more than myself certainly. I hope to get some time to pick his brain as usual.
09-22-2008, 10:46 AM
Cool! I sure wish I could be there!
09-22-2008, 10:58 AM
I used to do custom motorcycle painting, and did some guitars for myself and friends. Automotive acrylic lacquer. Works just great, and it's easier to work with than nitro. It isn't stiff and hard like a poly finish, and holds up well to all manner of mistreatment.
How thick it comes out depends on just what you're doing...a nice clear with just a touch of yellow or amber tint on an acoustic, maybe two coats (actually four, you shoot a layer, let it flash dry for a few minutes, then shoot another for a 'coat') will be quite thin.
A full-on M/C custom style with metallic base, candy color layers, Murano or Chameleon flash and some microflake sparkles on top will get kinda thick. A simple solid color will be pretty thin, your typical GM Firemist Iridescent metalic wil be several coats.
Any reasonable thickness won't hurt tone at all, and is easy for a repair man to remove or work with if necessary.
09-22-2008, 01:58 PM
Sounds like you want your guitar to match your car, not that you're at all cork-sniffy about the original finish material. That would be a really cool thing to do. I agree with OlAndrew - there's nothing wrong with using auto paint on a guitar so long as you're not doing a really really thick finish (although there are guys who sparkle their Telecasters with a thick layer of goup and nobody complains about the tone...)
I'd just talk to the auto repair shop, let them mix up a small quantity of paint for you to match your car, and use their materials for your color coat. Either topcoat with their clear or try your own on a sample board (come to think of it, you need a sample board to make sure your primer coats will build enough to fill surface defects and still be compatible with the color coat). I used Oxford Ultima Spray Laquer (a water borne clear acrylic with a slight straw color) on top of Duplicolor auto spray paint (from a little rattle can) with no problems at all. In fact I chose the color because the prototype Clapton signature Strat was a metallic charcoal grey that he wanted to match one of his cars (production models are a darker metallic graphite color).
I wonder what a body shop would charge to mix paint to match the color, without prep or spraying, when they're not being paid an hourly rate approved bya collision adjuster? And would you go with what they have in their formula chart, or have them do it by matching it to the way the car looks today? Good luck and keep us posted on your progress (that means pictures!)
09-22-2008, 04:50 PM
I would find a body shop supply near you, they should be able to hook you up with whatever you need. Some of them can even load it in a rattlecan for you. They will definitley know who in your area can help you. Some of them specialize in repair while others in custom stuff.
09-22-2008, 10:08 PM
Wow, thanks for the great info, everyone!
It seems that an acrylic lacquer is probably the way to go. I'll continue to read up on the whole process and formulate a game plan. I'm still coming up with the guitar's recipe as a whole; I'll be sure to post it and get your feedback.
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