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Clear coat layer under nitro finish

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by BeefTinn, Sep 18, 2010.

  1. BeefTinn

    BeefTinn Strat-Talker

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    I posted this picture on the 'Dealer Select Thin Skin Strats' thread, because the discussion had gone in this direction, but thought it perhaps this is a separate discussion.

    I have a 60s RW strat and was curious enough to take nail polish remover to a small portion of the finish, in order to see what was under the nitro. There is indeed a base coat layer that does not appear to be nitro (it would have melted away on contact with the nail polish remover, were it nitro). The picture below shows the base layer. It has absorbed some of the colour from the nitro layer.

    The base coat is VERY thin, and soft enough to scratch with a fingernail, so I doubt it would affect the guitar tone in the same way as a thick poly finish. I would suspect it will wear in quite naturally over the years.

    BTW, I owned a Jeff Beck strat a few years ago, and chipped a piece of the finish off accidentally - it was as thick as the candy coating on an M&M - so I have seen how thick the 'regular' poly finish can be.
     
  2. fenson

    fenson ----------------------

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  3. fenson

    fenson ----------------------

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    Oh ya what picture?
     
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  5. BeefTinn

    BeefTinn Strat-Talker

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    Don't know what happened to the picture - it was there on the preview. Here it is again.
     

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  6. jmorovan

    jmorovan Strat-Talker

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    Where exactly did you put the acetone? Was it to the bottom right of the flash?
     
  7. BeefTinn

    BeefTinn Strat-Talker

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    Thanks for the welcome eh. ;) I read that thread but thought it a different discussion. The Poly v. Nitro debate seemed to compare the thick poly finish to a pure nitro - I was wanting to discuss the base coat on the new 'nitro' guitars. I should do a full search on the forum though, as this horse may have been beaten already.
     
  8. BeefTinn

    BeefTinn Strat-Talker

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    The area where I removed the nitro is just below the flash reflection and to the right. You can just barely see the slightly darker area - darker than where the finish was sanded to the wood.
     
  9. TexCaster

    TexCaster Strat-O-Master

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    The old fenders also had a non-nitro undercoat. Only the custom shop fenders are pure nitro, AFAIK.

    The finish is IMHO, thr least important part of the guitar. If Leo had use poly back then,
    People would be cork sniffing about how the stiff poly resonates better.
     
  10. fenson

    fenson ----------------------

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    Ya I guess your right . The whats a RW finished with has been an on going thing . It is of only passing interest to me , but from the little I have read and your own obsevation , they do appear to have a thin coat of something other than nitro. IMO should have no affect on the tone , voice . I do not think even the thicker poly finished guitar lack compared to a thin nitro. Or no finish at all . IMO ya either got a good sounding guitar or ya don't, great guitars found in any Fender line ploy or nitro, CS , reg. production CBS , pre CBS etc. etc.
     
  11. BeefTinn

    BeefTinn Strat-Talker

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    I agree that there is good tone out there in all of the models, regardless of the finish. I have noted the general debate on the base coat used on the newer nitro guitars - I think I just wanted to post a picture of the nefarious base coat - to show how thin it is. I can't see how it would affect the timbre of the instrument versus a pure nitro finish. Also, I suspect it will wear away fairly quickly after the nitro is gone, but only time will tell.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  12. philzxyz

    philzxyz Strat-Talker

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    Please spare any other holy instruments from this nail polish remover torture.

    If it's the same nitro over poly as on the HWY1, then Fender's stated intention is that it wears in more easily and has better acoustic properties. My HWY1 vibrates so well it nearly jumps out of my hands so something works. Natural acoustic sustain to burn.

    As to the type and thickness of undercoat, from http://www.strat-talk.com/forum/str...231-protect-highway-1-satin-nitro-finish.html :

    Hang on - you do mean a reissue or something don't you?
     
  13. philzxyz

    philzxyz Strat-Talker

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    The interview with the guy from Fender on that thread seems to say the 69 and 70s (RIs or Classic I presume) all have a WLS undercoat under the nitro topcoat? Not Fullerplast. He said WLS was more period correct. At the risk of thread hijacking, makes me wonder what version of plastic is underneath the HWY1 finish.

    It would be nice to have a definitive list of all the coats on all the strat lines. Sigh.

    btw on nitro versus poly: I notice the cranky but redoubtable Ed Roman says that it all comes down to thickness and the use of crap filler layers in the finish. He says thin poly done right can sound very good but not thick poly or thick filler undercoats and that the wearing down (thinning) of the nitro finishes on old guitars is a big factor in why these sound so good. He also says he believes the very best finish sonically is oil. He believes the early PRS guitars sound so much better than current PRS because of the finish.

    http://www.edroman.com/techarticles/polyvsnitro.htm

    Interesting info here, don't know how correct it is: http://www.thegearpage.net/board/archive/index.php/t-520382.html


     
  14. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    It is NOT the same as the Highway One.

    With all due respect, no-body takes this marketing fluff FMIC had printed about these Highways seriously. I hope they let the fool that wrote those words go because he's not worthy of belief - embarrassing.

    +++

    Back to the Poster's question.

    Here's my speculation: You're right, the base coat is not lacquer. It is some kind of low molecular weight polymerized coating. I think they "vacuum bag" the bodies with this initial sealant/protective coat to drive it deep into the wood - to protect it. Bodies but especially Necks. But what it is and how they do it is Proprietary. Won't be seeing any tours of this part of the finishing process anytime soon, I predict. ;)
     
  15. fenson

    fenson ----------------------

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    It a road worn RW = Road Worn the MIM relic guitar you know the one (model) thats already beat up a extra little spot orf finish removed , isn't gona hurt.
     
  16. rcole_sooner

    rcole_sooner Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Finish shminish. It is a guitar. Play it.

    ...I'm not dissin' the OP, I'm just sayin'.
     
  17. BeefTinn

    BeefTinn Strat-Talker

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    I agree. I bought it because the sound and feel of this particular guitar was better than half-dozen CS strats I compared it with - plus the super comfy neck. I didn't get it for the relic job. I actually don't really care for the relic look - more of an NOS person myself (a little tarnish but no damage). If I still love the sound of this thing in six months I may refinish it.
     
  18. philzxyz

    philzxyz Strat-Talker

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    Well, with all due respect or not, say what you will and believe me or not, but my HWY1 definitely has good acoustic sustain - for whatever reason. Better than an Am Deluxe at twice the price which was cold. I can't say why, but it is known that the hwy1 does have a thinner overall finish than poly overcoat strats. That has been verified by people who have stripped them down. You can say it's not because of the thinner finish but due to some other factor if you like. However plenty of knowledgeable people do say thinner finishes change tone eg Ed Roman Poly vs Nitro Guitar Finishes - Ed Roman Guitars believes thinner is better generally (whether poly or nitro) and is a key factor in the sound of vintage guitars. However I'm sure that topic has been beaten to death and you either believe it or you don't. Clearly you don't.

    I've worked in product development and, while marketing depts will seize upon whatever seems to be appealing in the design spec and product requirements document, that does not mean the designers were necessarily being disingenuous in the first place or that marketing definitely just made it all up. That happens but even so I don't assume this means the premise about thinner finishes is false from the get go.

    Cork sniffing, marketing hype notwithstanding, in the end I only believe my ears and fingers. If my observations happen to support Fender's marketing blurb then I have reasons to be less cynical about Fender.

    The guy in thegearpage quote claimed that he was told by Fender: "ALL Fender guitars have a synthetic grain sealer. So even all those very expensive Custom Shop Relic guitars have this."
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010

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