Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

nitro or poly??

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by dawgnap, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. dawgnap

    dawgnap TDPRI Member

    Jan 30, 2010
    Hi, so i recently bought this 68 telecaster maple cap! I have been doing research and i read that in 1968-69 fender started to change from a nirto finish to poly. My guitar dates "mar 68" and i am pretty sure its a nitro finish by the look of the cracks but can anyone verify this?? the guy who appraised the guitar said he thinks it might be poly..

    Attached Files:

  2. Thinlineggman

    Thinlineggman Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 15, 2011
    Oregon City, OR
    It has that eery "perma gloss" thing going on that poly usually does. The face of the headstock is nitro, I think the headstock face actually stays nitro into the 70's (I think).

    People say that poly doesn't wear, but it can definitely crack and wear through like that over time. It just takes a lot more time and it will always be that "perma gloss" unless you sand it to a matte finish.

    SO probably poly judging by my eyes, but I ain't no expert.

  3. richinva

    richinva Tele-Meister

    Apr 13, 2010
    Rice, VA
    Wouldn't a guitar "appraiser" know the difference between poly and nitro?

    Not try to be smart a$$ed, just doesn't sound right.......

  4. MichaelAa

    MichaelAa Tele-Holic

    Jun 9, 2012
    Nice guitar! I also bought a maple capped `68 not so long ago. It`s such a great guitar! The finish is poly.

  5. twangplank

    twangplank Tele-Afflicted

    May 29, 2010
    Valliant Okla
    My June 68 has nitro on the neck. The body was stripped long ago so no way of knowing. I think a black light will illuminate nitro though. That's the way my local shop has checked the old ones

  6. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

    May 25, 2010
    North Alabama
    Whatever it is, it has the mojo! DOnt refinish it!

  7. dawgnap

    dawgnap TDPRI Member

    Jan 30, 2010
    thanks for the replies! ye i love the guitar and am not going to touch anything just wanted to know for my own piece of mind.

  8. frogger

    frogger Tele-Holic

    May 10, 2003
    Lincoln Nebraska
    It doesn't matter what finish it has. As long as your Tele plays and sounds great that's all that matters. I have owned guitars either poly or nitro over the decades some where better than others so finish really didn't matter except for a few late 70's Fenders I owned which where poorly built. Yes leave it looks fine to me. :)

  9. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Do a few google searches on identifying lacquer vs polyurethane (those the the "paint industry" terms - "nitro" will cause all sorts of other results to pop up, and "poly" is an abreviation for thousands of products. There are very simple tests you can do without damaging the finish that will clearly identify the type of finish.

    It's not a bad idea to determine what you have - it'll help you select safe cleaning products, polishes, etc.

  10. sonny wolf

    sonny wolf Friend of Leo's

    Jun 16, 2009
    austin texas
    Most people are confused.Fender started applying a poly undercoat in 1968 but continued to apply nitro topcoats on the bodies until the early 1980s when they switched to full polyurethane.This explains why guitars of this era look the way they do(including yours which is a good example)....a poly topcoat would never look and age this way.The Tele in the pic looks exactly how a nitro topcoat would age and it might just be the earlier 1968s with no poly undercoat.

    The necks of the late 1960s and 1970s were sprayed with poly except for the headstock face which was still poly.This explains why it is common to see necks of this era with a paler finish than the headstock whick would typically amber because the nitro would age more than the poly.

    I read this in an interview with a Fender master builder at the custom shop who knows the details about Fender history and it makes complete sense.A guitar finished in full poly would age very differently.Compare a 1970s era a Fender to a 1980s or later poly finished one....the 70s one will always have that smooth wear and tear compared to the plasticky look of a full poly finish.

  11. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Dec 6, 2005
    Looks like it has only a sealer coat and a color coat underneath the nitro top coat. The contrast between the color coat and the aged/yellowed top coat also gives it away.

  12. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    No,ALL Fenders after 1968 have two coats of Aliphatic Urethane as a clear coat ,not nitro.The only thing that continued to be sprayed with nitro was the front of the headstock.

    Your guitar is olympic white (a CUSTOM color) so like ALL olympic white Fenders (from ALL eras) it has an ACRYLIC finish with,in your case , a nitro top coat (Fender used DuPont colors and some of them where nitro while others acrylic) .The practice of clear coating (top coat) the guitar was not always used in Fenders .

    Here you will find all the info you want on Fender finishes

    if you scroll down you will also find the list of the Du Pont colors and whether they were nitro or poly.

  13. PumpJockey

    PumpJockey Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    New Joisey
    ... and a final coat of mojo. What a wonderful axe!

  14. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Dec 6, 2005
    That is why some 60's Olympic White Teles still are almost as white as when they were new, while others have faded to a banana/vanilla pudding yellow.

  15. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    The 3rd picture tells the story. That coat underneath the topcoat, which has crazed as nitro will, is a thick poly coat. That thick coat is almost impervious to all forms of stripping. Ime, only hard, physical knocks will get it to come off of the wood. That coat is also considerably thicker than the top coat as one can see even from this picture.
    Sharp looking guitar, though. We can't see the back of the neck, but from the front the neck seems to be all nitro. AS noted in an earlier post, the necks that have the poly finish everywhere but for the front of the headstock do not yellow as does the nitro on the peghead face. This guitar's fretboard looks to have yellowed with age/ match the headstock face, right? FWIW, nitro was used on the face of the headstock so that the decal would adhere.

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