The skinny on the finish... from plastique to plank

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by olaftheholy, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. olaftheholy

    olaftheholy Tele-Afflicted

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    There seems to be a (worldwide) never ending debate on the benefits of Poly vs. nitro on the soundcharacteristics of guitars (and intsruments alike)
    One camp is pro "doesn't matter what you use" and the other is more "nitro finished instruments sound better"
    The thing you often hear from both is, in a blind test with two instruments with either finish, one could impossibly point out wich is wich.
    Well now, i've unclad my MiM 60's LPB classic player of it's poly just the dat before yesterday and in light of that poly vs. nitro discussion i've tapped the guitar before hand.
    Let me tell you it sounded like i was tapping on, well, plastic and with the acoustics 'muffled'
    The pitchfork had very slight volume to it, compared to for instance the oak coffeetable.
    This guitar had an 'locked up' sound since it came into my posession a couple of years ago and even though in the distance i could hear it's potential, even with a multitude of pickups and electronics changes i couldn't get it to come out.
    The final version is a couple of overwound Jason Lollars round about 10K ohm in output and all the grigsby and cbs goodies to complement 'm.
    Until, that is , yesterday when i stripped it's paint off off it.

    the guitar "stripped"
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Man,Man... Oh Man!!!! what a difference it made, tapping the wood it immediatelt sounded like it's supposed to, like Wood, nice round acoustic vibrant zingy sound.
    This time with the pitchfork things were different, very different.
    It produced a very loud and round pronounced sound very acoustic and it held on way longer then with the poly on.
    Of course i know it's not only the poly paint fender smears on, from research i found that the glass like stuff (fullerplast?) they put on sort of acts like a grainfiller and sealer in one.
    This stuff is rock hard and if dinged hard it cracks like glass, or rather more like epoxy it looks.
    Funny enough this stuff is so strong it doesn't even get that affected from a heat gun, it just turns darker shades but will not come off.

    guitar with "fullerplast?/fender sealer
    [​IMG]

    Now i know this is nothing like a blind test, but i been a good boy and strung up the guitar this afternoon just to hear what it would sound like.
    Man oh man! this is guitar has soundwise improved so much it's not even funny anymore.
    The sustain is endless and overall it is smoother, more well balanced and pronounced. It finally sounds like i always knew it could but never got it to.
    Now i know there's a lot to be said for finishing guitars, not only does it look pretty it protects the instrument from the element and other agressive forces preventing it from getting dinged and scratched.
    Nitro lacquer is in general percieved as beïng a better finish for guitars soundwise and it protects the guitar from said elements.
    So as to not be an idiot i went and picked up my dad's old '57 black strat as an comparison test and sure enough.. no plastique sound here.
    Altough it was a bit more muffled (of course) then my own now nacked plank, it sounded way more open and woody then my 60's CP whilst it was still in it's LPB poly jacket.
    To finalize this happy rant about paints and such; i needed to convince myself that nitro at least is better in supporting the acoustic quality of wood then poly based finish and then especially that crazy Fender undercoat that's on the majority of the guitars they produce.
    A lot of good things have come in the past from Leo Fender and the Fender company.
    But that filler/sealer epoxylike coating and in extension of that a poly based finish on guitars is IMHO not one of em.
    Now what to do with the guitar...
    Yesterday i gave it nice rub with beeswax or briwax to give it some nourishment from years of suffocation.
    I'd taken up the plan to start oiling it in doubleboiled linseed (flaxoil) today but i let that fly away again.
    So after taking the guitar apart again, i've given it a thin skin finish with satin Olympic White nitrocellulose paintspray.
    Motip trendy colorline.
    No grainfiller, no sealent agent,no primer just sanded it babybottom smooth, then misted it with water wich makes the cellulose hairs in the wood stand out and then 1200 grit sanded it.
    After letting it dry, i mist-sprayed it in 12 sessions until it was completely covered...
    I'm now a happy camper, defenately in the nitro camp!!!:p
    When it's cured and set up again i'll post a nice Happy New Reborn Guitar Day... ;o)


    thought i'd share this with you guy's.



    cheers,Olaf
     
  2. surfoverb

    surfoverb Doctor of Teleocity

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    I found exactly the same thing after stripping my poly CIJ and refinish in nitro. The guitar is more resonant, louder unplugged and feels different. Shortly im afraid the experts will chime in and say its all placebo. Or that because I changed strings the experiment is flawed.
     
  3. olaftheholy

    olaftheholy Tele-Afflicted

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    The opposition can read the riot act all they want, nacked geeters are sexy in all way's of perception!

    End of discussion, period! :D






    cheers,Olaf...

    [​IMG]
     
  4. olaftheholy

    olaftheholy Tele-Afflicted

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    finally finished

    Well, instead off oiling, the wife convinced me to stick with the original plan i had to replicate a roadworn 60's strat Fender put's out nowaday's.
    And here it is...


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    :D






    cheers from the Netherlands,

    Olaf.
     
  5. tuuur

    tuuur Friend of Leo's

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    Echt hartstikke mooi man!
     
  6. olaftheholy

    olaftheholy Tele-Afflicted

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    Net echt he? :D
    En hij klinkt een potje vet joh!
    Je mag hem best eens komen proberen, ik woon in Ede.
    Laat maar weten!


    cheers,Olaf.
     
  7. Del Pickup

    Del Pickup Poster Extraordinaire

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    There is no doubt in my mind that you are absolutely right here.

    After stripping the fotoflame finish off my old MIJ tele last year the tone was like night and day (for the better) - exactly as you have described it with your guitar.

    I stripped my old MIM strat of its poly overcoat a few weeks ago and refinished it in a very thin sonic blue (only 4 thin coats of paint and 4 clear coats) and again the same difference from what it had been before.

    Yup, in my book, naked is better.............
     
  8. John Scott

    John Scott TDPRI Member

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    In the past another finisheing guy , and myself had this debate while working at SOUTHBOUND CUSTOM and we sent some samples on poly, and nitro to a lab to have them looked at under a microscope, because we had been hearing about how "nitro has pores, that lets the wood resonate better"

    and we found that NO under the scope they looked the SAME< so our conclusion is that it DOESNT MATTE WHICH material you use, HOWEVER THE THICKNESS IS definatly thte difference, and that since NITRo will continue to dry and shrink,, that it will continue to get thinner and thinner as years go by,


    where as if you want your poly guitar to get thinner you might want to invest in a sandpaper suit!
     
  9. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Although I agree on your conclusion, I would be interested to know what type of microscope was used, John.

    A child's balloon deflates after a day or two, not out the knot ... but through the walls of the balloon.

    Two nitrogen atoms are about 0.000000001" across. Nearly everything breathes. Mylar balloons can't hold helium - it would be interesting to blow up a latex balloon and then paint it with polyurethane. I have my doubts it would stay inflated.
     
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