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Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Jared Purdy, Feb 12, 2013.
Wow, I seriously thought this would be a resurrected zombie thread from 3 years ago...
Poly's a better choice if there's any chance you'll be playing outdoor gigs in the summer.
Martin guitars use nitro because it can be applied thinly and is easily repaired . It was also one of the few finish options back in the day . This is directly from the mouth of Dale Bartholomew . He is retired from Martin and ran the finishing department for many years .
Acoustic guitar body wood " breaths " because the entire inner surface of the body typically has no finish on it .
If you were coated in lacquer , could you breath through the lacquer ? I don't think so . Neither can a dead tree .
By the time the wood gets to a guitar body it is simply a sub straight for supporting the neck, anchoring the strings etc.
The resonance on a solid chunk of ash or alder is probably pretty much pre-determined once the tree has been cut down, cut to lumber blanks, trimmed, kiln dried, shaped and finished.
Acoustologists out there could tell you what the difference would be if the WOOD not the finish was dense or not. I know from cymbals, yes cymbals, that a thick cymbal is; A) Harder to get vibrating and higher in pitch once it gets going. Maybe, just maybe if you added enough " finish" on the cymbal you could change it's fundemental sound.
A thin cymbal on the other hand is easier to get vibrating and lower in pitch when they are vibrating. It could also be argued that if you lay enough finish on top of the cymbal you are in effect making it thicker and could raise the pitch ?
Let's add the " how rigid is the finish " into the equation that could, in theory make the cymbal vibrate different ~ slower ~ unevenly ~ faster ~ or whatever.
Maybe I need a nap but all I'm saying is once you start with an objects basic sound / resonance it's probably kinda hard to drastically change it.
Mine too! I want to continue to breathe. No poly for me.
Seriously though, I think it's a totally sentimental thing. As per my preference, nitro does feel a little better in touch, but when actually playing an instrument, that's not very noticeable. Neither allows the humidity fluctuations to have an effect on wood (read: breathe) - the primary purpose of any wood finish, even if by some miracle the dead wood would try to breathe.
I buy my guitars in nitro, let them breathe for 50 or 60 years until the vintage vibe is perfecto & then brush coat 1/4" poly on 'em to seal in that monster tone.
"keep it period correct, more or less" I'm liking how some of the American Vintage models were originally poly but starting some time last year Fender switched to finishing them in Nitro.. Talking about about the AV '69 & '72 Thinlines and the '72 custom &Deluxe.
I like the feel of nitro but it's not usually a big deal either way except for my relics..
If guitar wood didn't breath, it wouldn't absorb or release water vapor, so there would be no chance that the wood could dry out, develop fret sprouts, and there would be no such thing as dryness cracks.
Are you being serious?
I've been putting some nice seasoned logs on my wood buring stove this morning; some almond, some olive. Is it breathing inside my stove?
Earlier today I wiped a tea stain off my computer desk with a piece of kitchen wipe. It absorbed all the moisture. Having now looked at it again, it is now dry - i.e. it has released all the water vapour that it originally absorbed.
Is my piece of kitchen towel therefore "breathing"???...
FWIW, the "dipped in plastic" look is the result of technique, not materials. Modern finishes can be thin and can have a lower gloss surface that doesn't have that deep look. I have a cheapo Xavier sitting here that looks and feels much more like new nitro than it looks like poly. And trust me, it's not. It would cost more to have it refinished in nitro than I have i it. And beyond that, the love or hate of those thick finishes is just fashion. One man's dipped in plastic is another's deep, luxurious gloss.
Aged nitro has a look some folks really love. If it weren't for that, it would no longer be used. It has no practical advantages. My advice, and it's worth every dime you'll pay for it, is if you love the look of nitro and you're buying a guitar to play around the house, or if you want your guitar to be a natural "relic" ASAP, go with nitro. If you want a gigging instrument that will wear well, go with a modern finish.
In my experience nitro can be sticky and horrible when the weather changes. Based on that a satin poly finish is, IMO, infinitely superior.
I find nitro easier to repair and "match up" as for anything else, it's just personal preference
It's nice to have the choice.
Well, if the wood was "seasoned," it was dried out, right? And if it was dried out, the moisture that was formerly in it was released somehow, or perhaps you can offer an alternate explanation?
Ya know… considering the "logic" that would allow an intelligent life form to rationalize that a dead hunk of wood breaths better through one type paint, than another, that is a good idea… get the guitar to where ya want it, and "lock it in".. brilliant . .
Can't wait to see how the big manufacturers embrace this one…
Agreed! You stated exactly what I meant with my "breathing" comment.
Around the 2:30 marker Jimmy Vivino states the same thing.
I've always wondered what a tree sounds like when it falls in the woods. Does it make a sound?
It might...but the real question is would it sound better with poly or nitro?
Yes, I'm pretty sure it makes a sound. But when someone like Ron Kirn or the folks at Martin Guitars or someone with that kind of talent works on it for a while, it will make music!
If a breathing piece of wood is absorbing water, wouldn't it be choking, drowning?? and if air, Hyperventilating?
could just develop aspiration pneumonia
have your guitar turn and cough every 2 hours, and use an incentive spirometer every hour as tolerated.