Is This Poly or Nitro?

Boreas

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Thanks. Yeah, late 60s early 70s. Was pretty sure was Poly as it’s consistent with other early 70s Blondes I’ve tried… plastic-y thick finish with chunking wear, and creamy undercoat visible. But I wanted the added wisdom of TDPRI. Always learning.

As I mentioned above, it is best to learn how to test a finish to know for sure. It is simple enough. Many finishes are not as obvious as this one.
 

skradlee

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Doubling down on lacquer. Some type of modern reissue or whatever body with thick lacquer. That wear is typical of many such non-CS Fender guitars.
I am with you on this. The big cracks that go from the ferrules to the neck pocket would not likely happen with poly. It is thick, that is undeniable, but I don't think it's poly.
 

proxy

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You know, I just watched Zac Child’s video comparing his 50s Tele to his 67, and his finish is just like this one, and his is Nitro apparently. Were they using heavier fullerplast as a base as we move towards the 70s?
 

proxy

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Late 60s and early 70s (any 70s) Teles didn't have flush string ferrules in the body.

Do you have additional pics of this body to share, inclusive of neck pocket, etc.?

The shift to protruding ferrules is supposed to be around 67, no? The neck is 67 so maybe this transition was still happening on this body? Sorry for causing confusion with the general late 60s early 70s reference… that seemed like the broader “zone” that this guitar was in.
 

proxy

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As a reference, I was picturing the finish of a 67 with Nitro to be more like this…


In theory a blonde 63 and a 67 both have a fullerplast base with a nitro finish right? Yet my finish is very different than these 63 photos. And these photos are more what I associate to a “nitro finish”.

But I’ll admit I’m just starting this vintage journey, and many of my references are either reissues, or internet postings.

All your input is so valuable and I appreciate it.
 

oregomike

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slack

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Rather than make a whole bunch of quotes...

The OP has indicated that the pictured guitar is a nitrocellulose lacquer finished 1967 Telecaster. (Hence the flush ferrules I pointed out while also identifying the finish as likely lacquer.)

The OP has also opined that perhaps the Fullerplast undercoat is thick. Very likely true on a 1967 Blond. (In contrast an oly white from the same period can sometimes appear to have been sprayed thinly over bare wood.)

Fender began using Fullerplast as an undercoat in the early 60s, though they didn't use it for all colors or with consistency. They definitely used it under blond. And it's well established that Fender started using aliphatic urethane (not the same as polyester) finishes during 1968, though they didn't use it for all colors.

Lastly, the picture I posted is of a 2008 "52 Reissue Hot Rod Telecaster with nitrocellulose lacquer finish.
 

proxy

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Rather than make a whole bunch of quotes...

The OP has indicated that the pictured guitar is a nitrocellulose lacquer finished 1967 Telecaster. (Hence the flush ferrules I pointed out while also identifying the finish as likely lacquer.)

The OP has also opined that perhaps the Fullerplast undercoat is thick. Very likely true on a 1967 Blond. (In contrast an oly white from the same period can sometimes appear to have been sprayed thinly over bare wood.)

Fender began using Fullerplast as an undercoat in the early 60s, though they didn't use it for all colors or with consistency. They definitely used it under blond. And it's well established that Fender started using aliphatic urethane (not the same as polyester) finishes during 1968, though they didn't use it for all colors.

Lastly, the picture I posted is of a 2008 "52 Reissue Hot Rod Telecaster with nitrocellulose lacquer finish.
Thanks for the extra clarity, I really appreciate it. As someone who is trying to get to the next level of vintage understanding, my beginner perspective is that it’s easy to oversimplify key milestones for these guitars. The deeper I go, the more I learn how there are so many nuances, particularly as they continuously iterated over the production aspects over time.

I’m really grateful for this forum, and for the people who keep this knowledge alive, and continue to share it here.
 

proxy

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For those curious about this year and this finish, I feel mine looks and sounds exactly like the one in this video (even though I sound nothing like Andy Wood).

 

proxy

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Full body snap…

23AB9FB1-B46A-4789-A8B6-BD75FF45F21F.jpeg
 

Matthias

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Fender began using Fullerplast as an undercoat in the early 60s, though they didn't use it for all colors or with consistency. They definitely used it under blond. And it's well established that Fender started using aliphatic urethane (not the same as polyester) finishes during 1968, though they didn't use it for all colors.

+1… seems to be a huge myth about the move to ‘poly’ being absolute. I have never seen a pic of 60s fullerplast that thick! Yet, as you say, the dates make that most likely so quite an eye-opener on what Fender were putting on their guitars in the ‘nitro’ era. And interesting what you say about it being colour specific… My ‘67 red (pretty sure it’s fiesta, they didn’t specify at the time) Bronco doesn’t appear to have a thick undercoat.
 

Boreas

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IMO, if the thickness of a finish is 95% Fullerplast and 5% nitro sprayed on the surface, I wouldn't call it a "nitro finish", but rather a nitro overspray. In the case of these vintage Fenders from this era, they may have been originally marketed by Fender as a nitro finish because there is nitro on the surface, but it is kinda stretching the truth.

The reason there is confusion as to why these finishes look like poly is because for the most part they are. The higher proportion of Fullerplast or other poly/plastic base compared to the nitro overspray, the more the entire finish is going to act, weather, wear like the bulk of the substrate. And just as any real, thin, nitro-only finish, it can wear through over time. If relatively fragile nitro overspray was applied over a hard, plastic base, how can you be sure how much of the nitro is still intact and how much has been worn off? The only way to be sure is to test it at various places on the instrument.

If I were to sell one of these guitars, I would advertise it as a "original Fender factory finish" or "original Fullerplast/nitro finish" and NOT "original nitro finish" to avoid someone contesting the sale afterward because they can't find much nitro left on the surface. I wouldn't be comfortable selling a guitar as a "nitro finish" if very little of it is nitro! But that is just me.
 

proxy

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That’s a really useful framing. I have to admit, I was a little bummed that the finish was so heavy handed. Even though technically it is to the letter of a “nitro finish”, it didn’t feel in the spirit of what made many people love a “nitro finish guitar”.

That said, even though I had a moment where I thought I might want to refin it to feel more like an early 60s blonde, I thought better of it quickly as I actually don’t want to mess with it at all because it sounds sooooo wonderful the way it is, and I don’t want to do anything to mess with that chemistry. It is what it is and is an accurate snapshot of that moment in time in the Telecaster’s history.
 
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Boreas

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That’s a really useful framing. I have to admit, I was a little bummed that the finish was so heavy handed. Even though technically it is to the letter of a “nitro finish”, it didn’t feel in the spirit of what made many people love a “nitro finish guitar”.

That said, even though I had a moment where I thought I might want to refin it to feel more like an early 60s blonde, I thought better of it quickly as I actually don’t want to mess with it at all because it sounds sooooo wonderful the way it is, and I don’t want to do anything to mess with that chemistry. It is what it is and is an accurate snapshot of that moment in time in the Telecaster’s history.

I agree. If it is original, I wouldn't touch it! 👍
 

Telekarster

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I thought I might want to refin it to feel more like an early 60s blonde, I thought better of it quickly as I actually don’t want to mess with it at all because it sounds sooooo wonderful the way it is, and I don’t want to do anything to mess with that chemistry.

Don't mess with the mojo man ;) Good call!
 




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