What is the Attraction to the Nitro Finish?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by MoarGear, Mar 23, 2019.

  1. MoarGear

    MoarGear Member

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    Soft. Sticky. Less durable. More expensive. It seems inferior in every way.

    I don't understand. Do you think it has some positive effect on the sound of the instrument?

    No trolling whatsoever.

    Please explain. Thanks.
     

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  2. FenderBigot

    FenderBigot Supporting Member

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    Resonance maybe? :dunno

    FWIW... I have a nitro strat and a poly strat. Both sound good, the nitro sounds ever so slightly sweeter imho.
     
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  3. Meriphew

    Meriphew Member

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    I own a lot of guitars with nitro finish. None of mine are sticky. I prefer the way they age, and the way they feel as opposed to poly.
     
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  4. 67super

    67super Supporting Member

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    I have both and and had many of both over the years. I don't base a purchase on it at all, I play a guitar and if I like it I buy it. I don't think nitro today is at all the same as many years ago but I'm not an expert. Some people swear nitro sounds better but I would like to do a blind tone test on that one.
     
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  5. Benz2112

    Benz2112 Supporting Member

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    We have been conditioned to like distressed guitars, and guess what nitro looks like when it ages.
     
  6. drysideshooter

    drysideshooter Member

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    Quite a few folks, including Ron Kirn, who I hopes chimes in, have written about a finishes effect on sound. The consensus seems to be that on a solid body electric, the finish doesn't make a difference. It would be hard to compare even two seemingly identical guitars, because as we all know, they can still sound different. I think some like nitro because it's sort of traditional, and as others have said, it ages in a way some folks like.
     
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  7. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    Its because it smells so dang good for at least a month after you first pull it out of the shipping box... :cool:

    I'd say for at least three reasons...

    As far as I know it's easier for small companies.

    It wears in a cool way to many guitarists.

    Its old school and we like older tech for guitars and amps.
     
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  8. stickyFingerz

    stickyFingerz Supporting Member

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    Nitro can be sticky while it cures, this can be dealt with by rubbing it with naphtha. Once it has cured it's as hard as glass. Polyurethane feels softer and might be a bit thicker, though I'm not sure about that.

    I have a nitro finished guitar, a wax finished guitar and a couple of polyurethane finished guitars. They all sound great and I like them all but can understand the preference for lacquer.

    Another factor may be that lacquer finish is more expensive and usually only available on premium guitars... so there's also that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
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  9. BigDoug1053

    BigDoug1053 Supporting Member

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    I have both kinds of finishes, and prefer the newer polymers as they will last longer, resist moisture better, and are less likely to react negatively to the foam and rubber in guitar stands.
     
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  10. Stike

    Stike Member

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    There are several different companies that manufacturer nitrocellulose lacquer (nitro. does not need to be capitalized btw, sorry pet peeve) and they all usually offer a few different formulations so there is not just one nitro.

    I'm not really a fan either, fortunately we have options
     
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  11. MoarGear

    MoarGear Member

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    Oh yeah, options are great.

    No criticism there.

    Interesting, overall.
     
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  12. Brian N

    Brian N Member

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  13. GT40

    GT40 Member

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    Both my guitars have a nitro finish and neither is soft or sticky
     
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  14. DrumBob

    DrumBob Gold Supporting Member

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    After I realized my best friend's '73 Strat had a plastic finish a quarter inch thick, I investigated and discovered that all guitars used to be finished with nitro. I have had many poly finished guitars, but have all been thin skinned for the most part, no buikld-up. I prefer nitro, because I like finish checking after a while, like my Billie Jo Les Paul Junior.
     
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  15. Scary Uncle G.

    Scary Uncle G. Member

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    I like the way I can overspray wear and touch up damage. New lacquer will melt seamlessly into old lacquer so I can make chips and wear disappear. I can’t do that with poly.

    There’s also a matter of “feel.” I don’t really care for a guitar that feels like it’s been dipped in liquid plastic.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
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  16. MoarGear

    MoarGear Member

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    That sounds like a fantastic benefit.
     
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  17. cap10kirk

    cap10kirk Member

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    Nitro was used in the 50s, and guitarists hate change. That's why there's still such a demand for it today. Doesn't matter that poly is a better finish in almost every way, it wasn't used on the first Teles, Les Pauls, and Strats, so it is looked at as an inferior finish.
     
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  18. Scary Uncle G.

    Scary Uncle G. Member

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    Over the years I’ve become an expert at hiding “goofs” with drop fills and overspray. A lot of practice using an airbrush while building models comes in handy.
     
  19. RolandKorg

    RolandKorg Member

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    I don't like the 'plastic' feeling of poly. I'm used to it, but since i began to take notice of old, worn vintage guitars, and then the "road Worn" and relic thing happened, i started to appreciate the feeling of wood that feels more like wood. ['Insert' Beavis and Butthead meme here > ]
    I like necks that are closer to 'unfinished' and bodies that look and feel like something more 'organic' than hard plastic.

    I'm looking forward to acquiring a guitar that looks and feels like it has 40 years of history.
     
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  20. c_mac

    c_mac Member

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    I know that I’ve owned nitro and poly finished guitars over the years but I can’t think of one time where I was on stage or in the studio giving even a nanosecond thought as to the finish of my guitar.
     

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