My first Nitro Finished Guitar...Love and Hate!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by BillyBardahl, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. BillyBardahl

    BillyBardahl Member

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    My candy red EJ Strat....I love the feel of the finish, and what it may do for the resonance, but if I look at this thing wrong, it gets a dent or scratch in it. It has the defensive properties of balsa wood.
     
  2. hendrix2430

    hendrix2430 Member

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    :D Some people are currently paying big bucks for such attributes!
     
  3. BillyBardahl

    BillyBardahl Member

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    They should send their new nitro guitars to me! Between me and my 2.5 year old boy, we should be able to relic them in under a month!:jo
     
  4. Jet Rink

    Jet Rink Member

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    I loooooovvvveeee nitro. If I could redo my tele, I'd be darn happy.

    Jet
     
  5. RL in Fla

    RL in Fla Member

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    Just think of it as his college fund :p :D
     
  6. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

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    Yeah, that's one of the things I don't like about nitro. Scratches too damn easy.:mad: No matter how soft the cloth.
     
  7. bailnout

    bailnout Member

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    Don't worry about the dents and scratches. Enjoy the tone and play that mutha 'til your dead!!! :)
     
  8. BillyBardahl

    BillyBardahl Member

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    Well, I have seen some cool relic guitars, and would love me some 51' Nocaster Relic, but there is still something about those first bumps and dents on a new guitar that rip my heart out.

    I have an Amer. Dlx. Strat with the poly finish. Bufford Pusser could have used this in "Walking Tall" to crack heads and I don't think it would scratch.

    This EJ though, I barely, and I mean barely bumped it on the side of my desk one night and it left a pencil eraser sized crater on the lower bout.

    It is my favorite guitar right now, so I play it alot. Within a year it should look like something in Sanford & Son's front yard at the rate I am going.
     
  9. bailnout

    bailnout Member

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    LMAO!!!

    Yea, I got a few of those myself! Which only strengthens my point... YOU BETTER LOVE IT!! :D I remember the first time my first Les Paul took a dive and put a dent in it. I was crushed. But that was 1984 and now that guitar has so many scratches, dings, nicks, haze, chips, bumps, bruises, wear and tear on it, I wouldn't even know where to begin to describe it to someone who might want to buy it. But the cool thing about that is...IT'S NOT FOR SALE. It's MY guitar and it will remain that way until it's passed on in my will.

    That EJ Strat to you is probably like my Les Paul was to me when I first got it. So I expect you could be like me and hang on to yours for eternity. If you know in your heart that you will, play the ever loving $h1t out of it and enjoy every minute of it. Damn the relics! Relic your own and take the next 20 years doing it!! When you've had your guitar for that long, people will look at it and say, "wow, he loved that thing."

    IMO you will never get as rich of a tone out of a poly finished guitar as you will out of a nitro finished one. That's probably why Eric Johnson's signature model is finised that way. So like I said, enjoy the tone. Use the poly guitar for home protection...or get yourself a junkyard dog! :AOK
     
  10. Mike Dresch

    Mike Dresch Silver Supporting Member

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    Not trying to start an argument here, just stating my opinion on that belief......I don't buy it. My Suhr is finished in, what I believe is acrylic urethane, and it is probably the loudest, most resonant guitar I own. The satin finish on the neck broke in so nicely since I bought it last summer and it is acrylic urethane as well. I own nitro finished guitars as well and I don't hear the difference. Good wood is good wood and to me, when coupled with the right hardware, makes the sum of a good guitar.
     
  11. bailnout

    bailnout Member

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    Yep, the finish is only one small part of a big equation. You have your opinion and I have mine. The good news on that is you and I won't be competing to buy the same guitar!!! :BEER

    You have found something you like and that's what it's all about. You sure can't knock the Suhrs that's for sure! :) If you go to the Suhr guitars website you'll see that John lays out a ton of factors that equal the end tone. Great stuff!!! The fact that there are so many variables and opinions to go with them is what keeps all of this interesting to me.

    But I wasn't trying to make this a thread about tone. I just wanted to make BillyBardahl feel not so bad about dinging his guitar.
     
  12. Mike Dresch

    Mike Dresch Silver Supporting Member

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    No problems there :D

    To me, a well worn guitar is the sign of a guitar that gets played and that's what it's all about :AOK
     
  13. cnardone

    cnardone Supporting Member

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    When Leo choose Nitro it was becauses it was readily available and CHEAP (It was used for cars). It had nothing to do with designed to improve with age. So much of this has to do with how any finish is applied (i.e. how thick the finish is).
     
  14. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Member

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    Nitro vs poly seems to be debate that will go on forever :) I have a '57 reissue strat which has nitro and sounds and feels great. After having it for 7 months now it's beginning to show signs of wear and tear here and there. It's white blonde, and I noticed that the yellowing has already begun when I removed the pickguard.. yellowing or then it's just getting dirty ;)

    Don't worry about the nicks and scratches, they only add persona. I know how you feel though. I remember the first scratch that I put on my newly acquired Gibson Les Paul Studio in 1995.. I nearly cried :)
     
  15. BigDoug1053

    BigDoug1053 Supporting Member

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    An extension of Murphy's Law and the Second Law of Thermodynamics:

    The fancier an object, the more desperately it seeks damage.

    You can't stop it, so relax and enjoy the instrument! :cool:
     
  16. Hackubus

    Hackubus Member

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    Very true! My goldtop LP sought out the corner of a desk shortly after I got it, leaving a nice "L" shaped ding on the upper bout where your arm would cross over while playing. Now the finish is slowing starting to wear away up there on the edge of the bout. I actually like it alot. Gives the old girl some character. :BluesBros
     
  17. RL in Fla

    RL in Fla Member

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    :BEER
     
  18. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    The really interesting thing about those truly great-sounding (and they certainly can be) 50s and 60s Fenders is that under the nitro (or acrylic, depending on color) finish is a layer of something called Fullerplast, which is a wood sealant/undercoat.

    It would probably shock and horrify all the Nitro Purists if they found out what Fullerplast is actually made of.

    ;)
     
  19. tonedaddy

    tonedaddy Member

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    It's a catalyzed clear varnish, isn't it? Not near as much fun as the pure nitro myth, is it?
    :)

    But in fairness, (and I can't vouch for it's veracity), but this site has exhaustive coverage of Fender's vintage finish processes:
    http://www.provide.net/~cfh/fenderc.html

    According to this site, Fullerplast wasn't used until around 1962-63. In addition, they clarify the misconception that early Fender sealers (including Fullerplast) had pigment (the misconception being that they were often yellow or white). The site says those sealers (including Fullerplast) were clear.

    From the site and others I've read, it looks like there was a fair amount of variation in the use (or lack of use) of primers/undercoats/Fullerplast in certain eras. Bottom line is it appears Leo's goal of using any or none of it was to speed/simplify production and lower costs, as in cases where finished guitars (and perhaps poorly finished guitars) were simply painted over.


    Similar information about Gibson finishes from another part of the same website here:
    http://www.provide.net/~cfh/gibsonc.html

    Regardless of what the finish is, I'm inclined to believe that the issue is more the thickness of finishes as opposed to what they're made of. But as in all things tone related, what's "better" is a matter of taste.

    I've got a number of Teles (MIA/MIJ Fenders, partscasters, boutique builders, relics, etc) with very different finishes, e.g. tung oil, fairly thick poly, very thin nitro, Fender stock finishes, and on and on.

    And while I have some that have tones that I prefer more than others, with all the variation in body & neck woods/pickups/etc, even if you attempted to create 2 "identical guitars" I'd be hard pressed to believe anyone could pick a thin nitro finish from a poly finish played through the same amp in a double blind test with control.

    I do prefer the look and feel of a thin nitro finish over a thick poly, but I feel that has very little to do with tone, IMO.

    I'm sure others would disagree.
    ;)
     

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