White primer under color coat

PARCO

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Does anyone out there know when Fender started using a white primer under the color coat?
 

marktg

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I’m not sure exactly when fender started using white sealer under color coats. You can see plenty of examples from different years with and without a white sealer under the color coat. With that being said, my experience is that certain colors look far better when they have white sealer applied before the color coat (mostly lighter or more vibrant colors), and others (darker) look better without it.
 

eallen

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White evens out the wood grain & color variations to provide an easier and more consistent solid color with less color coats. Basically, not matter what wood they used the final color comes out the same. It also brightens light colors on dark woods.
 

NoTeleBob

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White evens out the wood grain & color variations to provide an easier and more consistent solid color with less color coats. Basically, not matter what wood they used the final color comes out the same. It also brightens light colors on dark woods.

I don't know if Fender does it, but with lacquers, it's common to shoot a silver or gold undercoat over the sealer to reflect light back up through the surface. I expect white would do much of the same with translucent lacquers or poly as the top coat(s).
 

eallen

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I don't know if Fender does it, but with lacquers, it's common to shoot a silver or gold undercoat over the sealer to reflect light back up through the surface. I expect white would do much of the same with translucent lacquers or poly as the top coat(s).
Fender custom shop still does white under all standard solid colors, silver & gold under candies and pearls, black under color shifting colors. All done with nitro.
 

stratisfied

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From a previous response to a forumite who was getting "streaks" in his paint:

There's your problem. Your wood grain is telegraphing through the paint as "shading".

People don't realize it but metallic colors are quite transparent. If you don't have a uniform color under it, you get shading. The darker grain against the white wood shows through as streaking. You need a solid primer under it. A little known fact is that a white primer will make a light metallic color brighter, a light gray will render an accurate color and a dark primer will create a more subdued color.

Primer your body with a white or light gray automotive primer (they are heavily pigmented for good coverage) and then recoat with color. The streaking will disappear.
 

Freeman Keller

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Does anyone out there know when Fender started using a white primer under the color coat?

This is from the Vintage Guitar information forum for Fender and discussion their finishes


Fender Primer Undercoats and Sunburst Undercoats

  • Fender was inconsistent in using undercoats on their custom color finishes. During the 1960's, if there is an undercoat it is usually a white primer undercoat. And most often you see this white primer undercoat on metallic finishes such as Lake Placid Blue or Burgundy Mist. The pastel colors like Dakota Red, Daphne Blue, Foam Green and the like don't often use an undercoat coat either. But then again, sometimes they do. In the Fender production shop, it all depends on where the custom color order fell in the production schedule. If Fender had the time to use undercoat, they did. If they didn't have the time or were backordered, they didn't bother with an undercoat (depending on the color).
    Undercoats were used on guitars for different reason than on automobiles. On cars, a primer undercoat is used to increase the adhesion of the color coat to the metal. It is also used to fill imperfections in the metal. And finally, special primer undercoats are used on metal for rust prevention. But on wood, none of the above undercoat properties are needed. Imperfections can easily be sanded out with sandpaper. Lacquer already adheres well to wood. And there is certainly no problem with rust.
    So why bother with an undercoat on guitars? The reason is purely financial. In today's prices, white nitrocellulose primer undercoat costs about $15 per gallon. Any of the Fender custom colors cost about $15 per pint, with reds costing $20 per pint. So if you use the white primer to cover the wood and make the body a consistent white color, you can use about half as much color paint for a uniform top color. This could save a considerable amount of money when painting thousands of guitars. Of course the financial disadvantage to using an undercoat is it takes more time. You have another step where you have to let the body dry. So when the production schedule allowed, Fender used an undercoat. When things were rushed, Fender didn't.
 




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