Identifying a Guitar Finish

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by joe2517, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. joe2517

    joe2517 Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I recently bought a '63 Jazzmaster body that had been given a really bad paint job which I need to strip down. I was wondering if anyone had a method for determining what kind of paint is on the guitar; it doesn't look like it's been laquered.

    Thanks
     
  2. K-Line

    K-Line Gold Supporting Member

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    take acetone on a qtip under the guard. If it does not effect it, then it is a polimer based finish. If it eats in, lacquer.
     
  3. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    Or enamel. Or conversion varnish. Or uncatalyzed polyurethane.
     
  4. B. Howard

    B. Howard Silver Supporting Member

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    Not sure what you are saying but those are all polymer finishes that will not be affected by acetone.

    To the OP, if you are stripping the finish it doesn't really matter what type it is.
     
  5. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    Wanna try an experiment? Pour some acetone on a Rickenbacker and see what happens. Or, pour some acetone on an '85 Mustang.

    Acetone will dissolve all of those. Not as quickly as lacquer, but it will soften - and dissolve, given enough time - most non-catalyzed paints.
     
  6. wetordry

    wetordry Member

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    Isn't nail polish enamel and remover acetone?
    Acetone is rough stuff on paint, but stripping a guitar with it is likely more work than other dedicated chemical strippers, it evaporates too fast.
    Need something that lays there a while.
     
  7. B. Howard

    B. Howard Silver Supporting Member

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    Can't say for what you find on a Rick, but I can soak my CV finish in acetone and nothing happens, same with my urethanes.....Did those experiments years ago when the large cabinet shop I ran set up to run CV finish.


    Besides in the test scenario where the acetone is dabbed on and wiped off immediately there will be no reaction.
     
  8. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    My point really is that all non-catalyzed finishes by definition are 'reversible', it's just a matter of finding the right solvent. Acetone will absolutely destroy enamel, and very quickly. NON-catalyzed polyurethane is also sensitive, although not as rapidly...catalyzed polyurethane is immune.

    Conversion varnish, being catalyzed, should be inert but in my experience acetone will soften it. RIC says that's what they use, but I've not been able to determine if they mean the entire finish, or if they only mean the clear over the fingerboard. Acetone definitely melts the finish on the body though.

    I think the sentiment expressed above is that, of the majority of common guitar finishes, lacquer is the only one that acetone will quickly affect. True, but we don't know that the OP's guitar has a 'common guitar finish' on it. It might be Krylon!
     

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