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Question: for you guys owning a strat/tele with a worn nitro finished maple fb...

Neon Trotsky

Member
Messages
630
Relic'd or natural wear. Do you find it easier to play than non-worn (still 100% lacquered) ones?

I have one nitro-finished maple fb guitar. I love this guitar - neck carve, sound, weight, aesthetics, the highly resonant body, yadda yadda.

It's cool to play for like the first hour or so. But as soon as my (fretting) hand starts to get tacky/sweaty/moist, the fb becomes an insufferable point of friction on account of the lacquer, I'm then 'fighting the guitar', it's like rubber soles on a gym floor, bends and lateral slides SUCK.

No big deal, I just put it down and grab one of my 2 other strats (both rw boards, taller frets).

But I'm just curious, if the nitro eventually starts wearing/peeling off the fb with age and you get down to bare wood in spots and then bigger chunks on the fb, will this annoying issue go away or be somewhat alleviated?

Like any of you have a maple fb guitar that was once kind of a b%#ch to play like this, but now after years of natural wear, is real easy playing?

(Oh btw, I've had the guitar 3+ years now, so I don't think it's an issue of the nitro not having fully cured yet)

I've never been able to gig with this guitar (ESPECIALLY during the summer months), because of this issue. Which is a shame, 'cause it's one dope strat otherwise. Guess I could have it refretted w/ taller frets...
 

SandyB53

Member
Messages
39
I have a Fender Strat with Maple Neck & fb. When I play for a little while (and I am a Beginner by the way) my natural Stress causes my hands to sweat and I observe the same issue you are having. My Resolution for this is that I have a Bottle of Baby Powder next to me when I am Practicing. I just sprinkle it on my Left hand in all the areas that Contact the Neck & fretboard and it feels like in it's own way Lubricates the Neck and also dries my Hand and I have no problem from there. As time goes on I have to add a little more. As best I can tell this doesn't hurt anything. You could Also use Corn Starch as it does about the same thing but has No Fragrance. I am not sure about Summer Months but it might be worth a try.
 

Axis29

Member
Messages
3,606
I have had a few nitro guitars over the years... Quite a few, actually. I've found that some get sticky, well, most get sticky after a while playing. Some are better than others. I've been surprised by how much the newer Gibson 'satin' finished ones resisted this longer than glossy finished guitars. I've also worn through one of these. I do not have acidic sweat, I just played the crap out of it. I do have heavy calluses/rough dry hands from my day job... I'm sure that has 'helped' the wear.

To directly answer your question, yes, when the finish is worn back to the maple, you get a slicker feeling neck and fretboard.

I like using FingerEase... it works on the front and back of the neck to help stay slick longer. Been using it for years.

I have found my favorite finish for a neck is a thin shellac finish. It soaks into the wood a little better than the nitro, protecting it in a different way, while staying velvety smooth. It doesn't get sticky (until the sweat is pouring off of me. Like the 100+ degree gig I did this past Summer... There was no hope!) on any of my regular gigs. But, refinishing is a bit extreme, really.
 

Neon Trotsky

Member
Messages
630
I have had a few nitro guitars over the years... Quite a few, actually. I've found that some get sticky, well, most get sticky after a while playing. Some are better than others. I've been surprised by how much the newer Gibson 'satin' finished ones resisted this longer than glossy finished guitars. I've also worn through one of these. I do not have acidic sweat, I just played the crap out of it. I do have heavy calluses/rough dry hands from my day job... I'm sure that has 'helped' the wear.

To directly answer your question, yes, when the finish is worn back to the maple, you get a slicker feeling neck and fretboard.

I like using FingerEase... it works on the front and back of the neck to help stay slick longer. Been using it for years.

I have found my favorite finish for a neck is a thin shellac finish. It soaks into the wood a little better than the nitro, protecting it in a different way, while staying velvety smooth. It doesn't get sticky (until the sweat is pouring off of me. Like the 100+ degree gig I did this past Summer... There was no hope!) on any of my regular gigs. But, refinishing is a bit extreme, really.
Hey, thanks for the pointers Axis. Shellac eh? I did play a maple neck one time that the owner said he had refinished in tung oil, that felt amazing, almost like bare wood.

If
this strat was my only one, I would have it refinished and maybe refretted too, because it's the only thing(s) really holding it back, I love everything else about it.
 

jimmyj

Member
Messages
5,562
My '55ri thinskin Tele is all nitro and the neck used to get sticky in summer. It seems better after a few years but I've found the best deal for me is to use Virtuoso Cleaner on a regular basis. A lot of that stickiness builds up over time and regular polish doesn't remove it. The Virtuoso cleaner was designed by guys that restore old vintage acoustics so it's made to remove gunk without harming a nitro finish.

 

Neon Trotsky

Member
Messages
630
My '55ri thinskin Tele is all nitro and the neck used to get sticky in summer. It seems better after a few years but I've found the best deal for me is to use Virtuoso Cleaner on a regular basis. A lot of that stickiness builds up over time and regular polish doesn't remove it. The Virtuoso cleaner was designed by guys that restore old vintage acoustics so it's made to remove gunk without harming a nitro finish.

I have this stuff, and the Virtuoso Polish too. Doesn't do anything for me, sticky/tackiness still there as soon as my fingers start getting moist from sweat or humidity or whatever.
 

jimmyj

Member
Messages
5,562
I have this stuff, and the Virtuoso Polish too. Doesn't do anything for me, sticky/tackiness still there as soon as my fingers start getting moist from sweat or humidity or whatever.
I have to admit I have dry skin so it lasts longer for me than most.
 

Neon Trotsky

Member
Messages
630
I have to admit I have dry skin so it lasts longer for me than most.
I do too, it's only when it's really hot/humid or I've been playing a long time (> 2 hrs) that my fingers'll sometimes get moist.

It's just physics, the whole friction thing. I'm not looking for a way around that. Like I said, I just grab another guitar if I notice this one is fighting me.

Mainly, I was just curious if with age and wear the whole effect will eventually diminish over time as the nitro hopefully starts wearing away.
 

jimmyj

Member
Messages
5,562
I do too, it's only when it's really hot/humid or I've been playing a long time (> 2 hrs) that my fingers'll sometimes get moist.

It's just physics, the whole friction thing. I'm not looking for a way around that. Like I said, I just grab another guitar if I notice this one is fighting me.

Mainly, I was just curious if with age and wear the whole effect will eventually diminish over time as the nitro hopefully starts wearing away.
I guess I was trying to answer that. It seems to have improved quite a lot, this '55 thinskin is 9 years old now but the neck is still glossy so I kind of thought it was at least partly due to the Virtuoso. I'll admit that I have a '60s Baja Tele as my backup these days so if the nitro would get sticky on the thinskin I could grab the poly finished Baja. But, the last couple of years I haven't really noticed stickiness like the first couple of years.

I also have a pair of nitro finished PRS Ted McCartys from 2010 that were really sticky when I first got them. I haven't noticed it as much in the last few years either but I don't play them as much as I did at first either.

I guess I attributed the improvement partially to the cleaner but since that didn't really do the trick for you I actually didn't have that much to contribute to the thread. :)
 

Neon Trotsky

Member
Messages
630
I guess I was trying to answer that. It seems to have improved quite a lot, this '55 thinskin is 9 years old now but the neck is still glossy so I kind of thought it was at least partly due to the Virtuoso. I'll admit that I have a '60s Baja Tele as my backup these days so if the nitro would get sticky on the thinskin I could grab the poly finished Baja. But, the last couple of years I haven't really noticed stickiness like the first couple of years.

I also have a pair of nitro finished PRS Ted McCartys from 2010 that were really sticky when I first got them. I haven't noticed it as much in the last few years either but I don't play them as much as I did at first either.

I guess I attributed the improvement partially to the cleaner but since that didn't really do the trick for you I actually didn't have that much to contribute to the thread. :)
Dude, you helped a lot actually.

Ya know, I would just take the nitro off myself, sand it down or w/e, I've resigned it to just be that guitar that I play every now and again, not even close to a #1; because, ultimately, even if it takes 20 years for the nitro to start wearing through, it's SUCH a cool look when that happens.

Well to me anyways; some people probably saw Clapton's Brownie and said YUCK, but I think that kind of authentic wear on a maple fretboard looks dope as $hit personally.
 

jimmyj

Member
Messages
5,562
Dude, you helped a lot actually.

Ya know, I would just take the nitro off myself, sand it down or w/e, I've resigned it to just be that guitar that I play every now and again, not even close to a #1; because, ultimately, even if it takes 20 years for the nitro to start wearing through, it's SUCH a cool look when that happens.

Well to me anyways; some people probably saw Clapton's Brownie and said YUCK, but I think that kind of authentic wear on a maple fretboard looks dope as $hit personally.
That's specifically the strat that I thought was the coolest looking guitar in the world from the back cover of Layla and the front cover of his first solo album,
 




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