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

Why am I obsessed with nitro? Is it a huge difference?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by GaryOsborne, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne RIP

    Jun 7, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Just wondering. Ever since I got into mjt stuff and had a couple bill nash Teles it's been really hard to deal with poly finishes. It's more of visual thing on the body but with necks it seems to make a huge difference. Any of you guys anti-poly?
    I think the last poly guitar I had was an mim 69 thinline. The body looked ok but the fretboard just felt sooooo sticky. I sanded the back of the neck but didn't want to risk messing up the frets.
    It seems so easy to find affordable nitro stuff with companies like mjt but I find that it's easier to sell mim fenders than parts casters, even if they're nice ones like mjt.

  2. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

    I don't know dude.

    I can easily go both ways but I prefer nitro more for look and authenticity.

    I have 3 poly finished guitars and find the glossy necks and fretboards to play fast and smooth.

    I am about to own a completely nitro finished tele and would have owned one sooner if they were easier to come by with specs I want.

    I like both just fine as long as I have done a setup/fret job on the guitar/neck.

  3. superbadj

    superbadj Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 26, 2008
    roanoke, va
    I guess I'm not so picky.

    I have a couple of MJT guitars done in nitro. I have a couple of others in nitro. A bunch of the necks I finished I did in pure de-waxed (from flakes) amber shellac. I have a couple of Fender Japan guitars in poly. Same for a few Gretsch guitars.

    I can play any of 'em.

    I like the less plasticky/thinner feel of a good thin less-than-uber-glossy finish, be it nitro or shellac or poly or what have you. But honestly, I can play whatever.

  4. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2011
    los angeles
    I've often wondered if the reason some have problems with poly being sticky and others don't might be due to location. People who live In areas where humidity gets very high and is there most of the year, maybe those are the one for the most part that have problems. I like in so cal which next to arizona probably has the lowest humidity on average. And i have no problem with poly. But when the humidity DOES get high on rare occasion, that changes completely and i'm spraying finger ease like theres no tomorrow.

    Personally i prefer poly and would actually pay more to have poly. It's one of the reasons i stay away from the AV line and instead go with MIM or MIJ RI's.

  5. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    the reason so many are infatuated with Nitro finishes is simply all the "bad press" any other finish gets... we're all impressionable.. datz zit . .

    Ron Kirn

  6. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Dec 6, 2005
    The majority of the complaints about sticky necks/fretboards come from people with nitro finished necks, not poly. Nitro can be real sticky until it's thoroughly cured. And for some the stickyness never goes away due to skin chemistry. I've seen very few complaints about poly being sticky since I joined here, but lots of complaints about nitro.

    And Ron is absolutely right ... as usual.;)

  7. bo

    bo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    There must be different levels of poly finishes as I have some that are fine and others that are sticky. The nitro coat on my 52 AVRI feels great (as does the nitro on three other guitars), but my hand bound up against the finish on my poly 50s Classic even though it didn't actually feel sticky. Sand paper corrected that. Never had any issue with the old DeArmond, the Reverend, or the Hanson poly finishes though.

  8. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 9, 2011
    Philadelphia, PA
    I play rosewood necks with poly finishes because less $. I never had a problem w/ sticky back of neck, but if I did I could just scrub it with some abrasive. I really prefer rosewood always.

  9. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 15, 2014
    Call me an impressionable geek if you like, I'm with the OP, I love nitro, I'm singularly disinterested in poly. Nitro is real, poly is fake. Nitro is analog, poly is digital. Nitro smells good, poly smells funny. Poly is cheaper, easier, tougher, more durable, etc., etc., whatever, but gimmie some lakker!

  10. dmitri

    dmitri Tele-Meister

    Poly vs nitro... on an electric it's all about feel. What you like and are wiling to pay for...

    For me? i'll put the money I save buying poly into better pups and other gear...

  11. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    If the guitar sounds good, it's finish type does not matter to me.
    Nitro is cooler looking, smells great, and ages nicely, but poly is more durable.
    My two main squeezes have poly finishes.

  12. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    The "nitros" used today, particularly by large production oriented manufacturers, are as similar to the Nitros of 50+ years ago as a pair of Ballet Slippers are to a pair of Steel toed, Red Wing work boots..

    you practically NEVER hear of anyone complaining about sticky nitro on old guitars... sure, occasionally a few will pop up. but that's nothing when compared to those playing guitars with the modern concoctions coating 'em.

    But there's another twist... ya know high end Billiard cue sticks are made of maple, like our guitar's necks and finished with nitro...

    what's the first thing ya do when ya walk in getting ready to play a few racks... ya dust up... you already know the pool cue will present a higher coefficient of friction on your raw skin, than the same on a hand dusted up with talc... You do NOT beetch about the sticky lacquer... ya just dust up..

    So what in heck makes ya think you can just arbitrarily grab a guitar and the neck will be slipperier 'n Acme boots on a frozen sidewalk...


  13. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

    The sticky feel goes away after awhile in my experience. All of my Tele's, except the Am Dlx Thinline, have nitro and I don't have an issue with any of them. The Am Dlx Thinline has the "satin" finish neck which is easily the smoothest neck I have in terms of feel.
    For me the issue is not so much nitro vs poly but the thickness of the finish. I think Fender is using less finish on many of their guitars and not just the nitro.
    I am not sure if any of it matters. The finish is not what I notice when I compare an American Standard of MIM to a higher end guitar. It's the weight, fret size, fit and finish, neck profile, the fret ends, etc, and, of course, the sound.

  14. simonsp

    simonsp Friend of Leo's

    Jan 13, 2013
    I don't think that Poly ages as well as Nitro. Dents and knocks on a Poly finished guitar can look plain ugly while Nitro bears its scars much better.

  15. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

  16. xtrajerry

    xtrajerry Doctor of Teleocity

    Ron's point about talc is right on point as is Telemarkman's point about skin chemistry.. Another is issue is are your hands clean when your picking up your guitar or are you sitting back with a bucket of Popeyes and your tele on the sofa?

    First thing to do with a sticky neck is make sure it's clean.. Naptha on a soft rag is fine.. Then hit it with scothbrite or emery paper.. Then before you pickup the guitar wash your hands.. I'm also on the side that finds Nitro necks more likely to be sticky than poly but Gary is specifically talking about Nash or MJT reliced necks that have had most of the nitro taken off. I think Gary probably needs to learn how to relic his own necks because he swaps his guitars so often.

  17. rhythmjones

    rhythmjones Tele-Holic

    May 24, 2012
    Kansas City
    For me it is always about the look, the feel, the wear, and even the smell. Lacquer just hits all those marks better.


    I don't go for the whole "tone" or "let the wood breathe" arguments.

  18. BritTwang

    BritTwang Tele-Holic

    Jan 14, 2013
    I like nitro on Fender and Gibson guitars for the way it ages. I have more modern finishes on other guitars and I'm happy with those too.

  19. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 9, 2011
    Philadelphia, PA
    Now I know what I'm doing tonight!

  20. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Dec 6, 2005

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