Look for some advice on Nitro finished guitars.

kiedff2

Strat-Talker
Aug 14, 2018
150
Glasgow
I was going to say guitarists are a weird bunch for wanting things worn in, because look at *thinks of equivalent industry* you don't see furniture guys.... Oh, no they absolutely do do that as well
 

Intune

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 14, 2021
6,194
Edmonton, Alberta
I was going to say guitarists are a weird bunch for wanting things worn in, because look at *thinks of equivalent industry* you don't see furniture guys.... Oh, no they absolutely do do that as well

No he wanted it to wear in, there’s a difference. The relic observation crew crew assumed he wanted a relic.
 

Voartist

New Member!
Jan 27, 2022
4
Tennessee
I bought an American Pro II a year ago and I really enjoy it. My issue is the finish. I really hate the plastic look on it, and I suspect that this Gloss urethane finish is going age well...Too well. Like other fledgling guitarists, I have a fantasy of owning a guitar that's as beat up as I am when I'm 60. I want my guitar to age with me. I know I have a pretty vain mind set in that regard, but for something that's supposed to be a forever guitar I want it to be perfect. It seems like the only Nitro finish guitars out there are the Vintera's (which come pre-relic...lame), American VIntage/American original, or the early Highway One models.

Are there any other models I'm missing? Is the best way forward to look for a nitro finished body and to attach my neck, bridge, pups etc... or is it a bad move to mix and match bodies and necks? Am I insane for considering selling a Pro II for a Highway one if one comes available? Or maybe I should avoid nitro finishes? I'm assuming Fender had good reason's to get away from Nitro. Finally do you think I should just suck it up, shut up, and play my awesome guitar and stop caring about such vain things. Looking for any and all input.
Not really advice, but I’m building experience with nitro and it’s getting easier to use as I do more finishes. If you do buy a poly and later want to refinish it, it can be a nightmare to strip. I stripped a Squier Strat and just about lost my religion over it. I used heat and some nasty solvents and nothing worked. I finally had to sand it off. It’s a 2001 Squier and other than it being a poly finish I don’t know what was in the mix. Others with more poly expertise might have the answer. I didn’t and still don’t. I tried what others said to use to strip it and nothing worked. I’m lucky I didn’t set my garage on fire with my heat gun. Even a brief try at 1100 degrees didn’t melt it. Best of luck in your decision!
 

stringtheoryNYC

Strat-Talker
Apr 23, 2021
139
NYC
I bought an American Pro II a year ago and I really enjoy it. My issue is the finish. I really hate the plastic look on it, and I suspect that this Gloss urethane finish is going age well...Too well. Like other fledgling guitarists, I have a fantasy of owning a guitar that's as beat up as I am when I'm 60. I want my guitar to age with me. I know I have a pretty vain mind set in that regard, but for something that's supposed to be a forever guitar I want it to be perfect. It seems like the only Nitro finish guitars out there are the Vintera's (which come pre-relic...lame), American VIntage/American original, or the early Highway One models.

Are there any other models I'm missing? Is the best way forward to look for a nitro finished body and to attach my neck, bridge, pups etc... or is it a bad move to mix and match bodies and necks? Am I insane for considering selling a Pro II for a Highway one if one comes available? Or maybe I should avoid nitro finishes? I'm assuming Fender had good reason's to get away from Nitro. Finally do you think I should just suck it up, shut up, and play my awesome guitar and stop caring about such vain things. Looking for any and all input.
You could start by buying a raw alder body, then applying the nitro yourself. There's a great series of three videos on the StewMac luthier supply site. The one thing though...they use an epoxy base seal coat (Z-Poxy), which is not going to wear. Of course the purpose of the video is not to generate relics. But the tech in the video does accidentally sand through the relatively delicate nitro color coat at one point. A temporary 'micro-relic,' but they fixed it.

You'll see the video links on StewMac.com. Watch that series and you'll learn a ton about nitro finishes, even if you don't use StewMac products.

Base sealer coats are absolutely critical to make sure that top coats don't sink in and look uneven. That can happen over time, so don't think you can just eyeball it while you're spraying. So you do need that base/sealer layer. But just use Aqua Coat Sealer or Aqua Coat X-119 for that crucial first layer (I think StewMac's ColorTone water-based sealer is similar to Aqua Coat's regular sealer). Those will seal the wood without having the tough, thick ZPoxy under everything.

You could also consider StewMac's ColorTone Vinyl Sealer over the AquaCoat. It's a nitro-based finish that will help to seal and to bond the top layers.

Compatibility: Don't stray far from the formula in the videos. You can apply nitro over another type of sealer (again, I recommend the viny sealer immediately over the base sealer coat). After your first nitro layer, you need to stay with nitro from there on.

Sand and smooth -everything- before, during, after. That's where the effort goes. If you have ridges, then you won't be able to apply the thinner top coats that you want.

Nitro can be applied very thinly, so it will get beat up. But do make sure that you know what you're in for. Nitro is no fun to breathe, so take careful note of how they do ventilation. Or just use the videos to figure out a workable approach, then have someone with experience do the painting.
 

stringtheoryNYC

Strat-Talker
Apr 23, 2021
139
NYC
Not really advice, but I’m building experience with nitro and it’s getting easier to use as I do more finishes. If you do buy a poly and later want to refinish it, it can be a nightmare to strip. I stripped a Squier Strat and just about lost my religion over it. I used heat and some nasty solvents and nothing worked. I finally had to sand it off. It’s a 2001 Squier and other than it being a poly finish I don’t know what was in the mix. Others with more poly expertise might have the answer. I didn’t and still don’t. I tried what others said to use to strip it and nothing worked. I’m lucky I didn’t set my garage on fire with my heat gun. Even a brief try at 1100 degrees didn’t melt it. Best of luck in your decision!
But now you have one of those cool 'roasted alder' bodies.
 

coprod

Strat-Talk Member
Jul 8, 2019
20
Texas
But
This wasn't directed at the Op. I think his question may have been answered a while ago. I prefer nitro, but love these posts as I always get to see what others think. I have had many guitars with many different finishes. I don't think I ever dumped a guitar due to paint. And there is probably little to none effect on tone between poly and nitro. Maybe even with tonewoods.
I was just making the observation that there seems to be much discussion around relics. This is somewhat of a guitar centrist issue. People wanting their newer shiny guitar to look well played. Car dealerships do not offer road worn finished on their cars to look well driven. Are there road worn pianos? drums? I don't know.
I think this topic may be most evident with Strats, Teles....although it is not limited to Fender. I think I was just playing random thoughts after thinking about the topic a bit more. I think it is fascinating. I have been a middle of the road player for about 40 years and relics were never something I was thinking about. After all relics were just old, or beater, guitars back in the day.
But people do like reliced classic cars and trucks. Growing up we tried to make em look new. Things have changed..i like em all when done right.
 


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