Misleading fender finishes

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,916
Edmonton, Alberta
It's all about marketing bullet points and the susceptibility of guitarists.
In the end, nitrocellulose is a crap finish that was tossed by the automotive industry six or seven decades ago. Fender (and others) used it back when because it was cheap to buy it as leftovers from the local car manufacturers. They still push it because there are people who want to be just like their nearly dead guitar heros.

I don’t care about the guitar hero’s actually. I just want a reissue to age and wear as close as possible to the model it’s supposed to be emulating. I can’t afford a real one so this is the next best thing. Is there something wrong with that? This topic goes back over 10 years on this site alone, so there’s lots more to it than trying to copy some dead rock legend.
 

Tortoise Hell

Strat-Talk Member
Mar 23, 2012
77
Low Cal
Are you sure that the Road Worn strat you stripped is an original guitar and that was its body? Sorry if I ask, but if I have to change the spec of the guitar in the database I have to be sure. Fender Customer Service told me it was 100% nitro and there was not a poly undercoat. As I told you, it sounded very strange to me because almost every guitar has a poly undercoat (or other hard sealer). But it is not the first time that Custom Service gives a worng info. It's rare but sometimes it happens.
I don't wanna answer for anyone else but the clear poly can be seen on Road Worn guitars where the color is worn through. Kinda difficult to capture but here we can see the layers of color > primer > clear > wood. This is a 2021 RW Firemist Gold Strat. Seems to be the same clear hard poly undercoat all the other guitars have, IMO.

mcJV5Yp.jpg


And here's a Dave's Guitar Shop "Thin Skin" Tele with some chipping on the edge. There's a clear layer under the nitro which is not nitro else the nitro would not chip away from it like that.

XESpmeF.jpg


To be fair, this "Thin Skin" finish does seem thinner than what's on the AVRI guitars which are thick and glassy under the color coat.
 

Pandamasque

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 22, 2020
1,351
Kyiv, Ukraine
I don't know anything at all, (or care much) about finishes but if there's any incorrect information on the site, I know @Antonio77 would appreciate a heads up so it can be corrected.

I get your frustration, but better to light a candle than curse the darkness, and all that.
I don't think you can blame Fuzzfaced for inaccurate(?) specs in spec sheets and reviews published long before Fuzzfaced even existed.

Here's one from 2007:
1650990434987.png

more:

And here's a video uploaded in 2008:


My point is whether it is correct to call it Thin Skin or not, the likely source is official Fender press materials from when the guitar was new.
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,916
Edmonton, Alberta
I don't wanna answer for anyone else but the clear poly can be seen on Road Worn guitars where the color is worn through. Kinda difficult to capture but here we can see the layers of color > primer > clear > wood. This is a 2021 RW Firemist Gold Strat. Seems to be the same clear hard poly undercoat all the other guitars have, IMO.

mcJV5Yp.jpg


And here's a Dave's Guitar Shop "Thin Skin" Tele with some chipping on the edge. There's a clear layer under the nitro which is not nitro else the nitro would not chip away from it like that.

XESpmeF.jpg


To be fair, this "Thin Skin" finish does seem thinner than what's on the AVRI guitars which are thick and glassy under the color coat.


Hey that’s what I want to see. Let’s see some road worns in the wild!

Just to be clear(no pun intended) that clear you see on the “thin skin” will probably come right off with acetone. Don’t try it, I’m just saying it probably will. The road worn clear pocking through may not dissolve with acetone. That’s what I want to find out.

Also every AV or “thin skin” after 2012 still will have body sealer, just not poly. That’s what you’re seeing under the nitro on the tele. It’s just not a thick indestructible polyurethane. You can see here on my AV 65 Jaguar. That squiggly line is bare wood. Around it is a clear sealer. Again that came off to bare wood in seconds 4BEC045A-AE8A-4508-857B-846FEE68232F.jpeg
 

Scott Baxendale

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
May 20, 2020
5,559
Sante Fe, NM
Trying to figure out why I always get corrected when talking about the terms “thin skin” “full nitro” and “flash coat lacquer”.

The flash coat lacquer was out long ago in the custom shop world. You didn’t really hear about it. 2012 came and introduced the new “flash coat lacquer” on the AV series which in my neck of the woods added $1000 to the price tag of the previous AVRI series. The flash coat was all the rave, then “Thin Skins” was a thing. None of this was even talked about until 2011-2012.

Anyway it’s probably the 3rd or 4th time someone has mentioned this thin skin or flash coat process on HWY 1, road worns and now hot rod AVRI’s prior to the release of the 2012 AV series. I always get a link to a certain site, listing the specs using these terms for so many models that I know for fact that had a thick polyurethane sealer.

There was so much hype about the AV series and it’s flash coat lacquer finish. That somehow justified the large price hike. There was no real difference between the previous AVRI and the new AV other then the finish.

So it doesn’t make any sense to me that fender would secretly have this finish on any other model previous to the AV series and not hype it up or even mention it. Yet the site listed so many models as far back as 2005 FSR Strats with it. Makes no sense at all.

I know who cares right, I really don’t either and it’s not my point to debate poly/nitro drama. Just wondering where they got the info from. It seems to confuse a lot of people. I know I’ve spent money on 3 different bodies that all had poly, even though the site says otherwise.
I’ve been finishing guitars professionally since 1974 and I’ve never even heard the term “Flash Coat” used regarding guitar finishes until this post. All the debate over these slight variants is a waste of energy. It’s either Nitro or Urethane, acrylic, or polyester. Each has its own qualities. Fullerplast which is a poly is used as a base coat for a lot of factory finishes and then has other finish applied over it. In this case it’s just used as a sealer coat to provide a perfectly flat surface with no “grain” to apply the actual finish over the top. I use a product called wonderfil, which is a water based paste filler to get my surfaces flat, then seal it with Vinyl sealer rather than Fullerplast to get my base coat, then I apply the Nitrocellulose lacquer over that to create my final finish.
 

Pandamasque

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 22, 2020
1,351
Kyiv, Ukraine
And here's a Dave's Guitar Shop "Thin Skin" Tele with some chipping on the edge. There's a clear layer under the nitro which is not nitro else the nitro would not chip away from it like that.

XESpmeF.jpg


To be fair, this "Thin Skin" finish does seem thinner than what's on the AVRI guitars which are thick and glassy under the color coat.
This looks a lot like the little chips on my MIM Classic Lacquer Tele. It's feels rather different to the "Thin Skin" AV Hot Rod. The MIM's nitro is a lot more glossy, does not have the orange peel nor the smell of the HR '57.
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,916
Edmonton, Alberta
I don't think you can blame Fuzzfaced for inaccurate(?) specs in spec sheets and reviews published long before Fuzzfaced even existed.

Here's one from 2007:
View attachment 559247

more:

And here's a video uploaded in 2008:


My point is whether it is correct to call it Thin Skin or not, the likely source is official Fender press materials from when the guitar was new.


No one is blaming anyone here. More a discussion to maybe finally get to the bottom of this nonsense.

Yes you were correct in your recent post about fender using the term thin skin way before Wildwood started using “thin skin”. My point is fender is my lying and fuzzfaced is not incorrect. He’s going off what fender says which you think would be the source to go too. Fender leaves out the most important part which everyone is dying to find out. Is there thick poly under the thin skin top coat. Yes there sure is. This thin skin is not at all the same was the Wildwood thin skin.
 

Pandamasque

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 22, 2020
1,351
Kyiv, Ukraine
I’ve been finishing guitars professionally since 1974 and I’ve never even heard the term “Flash Coat” used regarding guitar finishes until this post. All the debate over these slight variants is a waste of energy. It’s either Nitro or Urethane, acrylic, or polyester. Each has its own qualities. Fullerplast which is a poly is used as a base coat for a lot of factory finishes and then has other finish applied over it. In this case it’s just used as a sealer coat to provide a perfectly flat surface with no “grain” to apply the actual finish over the top. I use a product called wonderfil, which is a water based paste filler to get my surfaces flat, then seal it with Vinyl sealer rather than Fullerplast to get my base coat, then I apply the Nitrocellulose lacquer over that to create my final finish.
This article goes into more detail about Fullerplast and other aspects regarding pre-CBS finishes: http://www.guitarhq.com/fenderc.html
 

Pandamasque

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 22, 2020
1,351
Kyiv, Ukraine
No one is blaming anyone here. More a discussion to maybe finally get to the bottom of this nonsense.

Yes you were correct in your recent post about fender using the term thin skin way before Wildwood started using “thin skin”. My point is fender is my lying and fuzzfaced is not incorrect. He’s going off what fender says which you think would be the source to go too. Fender leaves out the most important part which everyone is dying to find out. Is there thick poly under the thin skin top coat. Yes there sure is. This thin skin is not at all the same was the Wildwood thin skin.
Well, this wouldn't be out of character. If Fender's "Soft-V" necks can be vastly different, so can the finishes.
 

Tortoise Hell

Strat-Talk Member
Mar 23, 2012
77
Low Cal
Hey that’s what I want to see. Let’s see some road worns in the wild!

Just to be clear(no pun intended) that clear you see on the “thin skin” will probably come right off with acetone. Don’t try it, I’m just saying it probably will. The road worn clear pocking through may not dissolve with acetone. That’s what I want to find out.

I will test a small area on the RW. I have been mulling over refinishing or swapping the body. If the clear will come off easily will definitely sway what direction I go if either.
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,916
Edmonton, Alberta
I’ve been finishing guitars professionally since 1974 and I’ve never even heard the term “Flash Coat” used regarding guitar finishes until this post. All the debate over these slight variants is a waste of energy. It’s either Nitro or Urethane, acrylic, or polyester. Each has its own qualities. Fullerplast which is a poly is used as a base coat for a lot of factory finishes and then has other finish applied over it. In this case it’s just used as a sealer coat to provide a perfectly flat surface with no “grain” to apply the actual finish over the top. I use a product called wonderfil, which is a water based paste filler to get my surfaces flat, then seal it with Vinyl sealer rather than Fullerplast to get my base coat, then I apply the Nitrocellulose lacquer over that to create my final finish.

Hey that’s awesome Scott!! I wish I could finish my own guitars. Since I can’t I have to waste my energy shorting through years of misinformation regarding what does and doesn’t have a thick indescribable poly under coat.

I strip them myself and send them off to have refinished. It cost a lot more to have to poly remove by someone else and doing it myself is a real time consuming PIA. So that’s what I waste my time and energy on this 12 year search to find out what production models don’t use the thick poly.

I don’t care about what the chemical properties are or it’s what fender used way back when. What production models are easy to strip without the use of a cutting torch. That’s really I’ll I’m wondering. If that’s a waste of time to many then I’m glad you don’t have to burden yourself with the nonsense.
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,916
Edmonton, Alberta
Well, this wouldn't be out of character. If Fender's "Soft-V" necks can be vastly different, so can the finishes.

Yes as Scott said there’s always going to be variations with neck shapes since the final step would be hand sanding after the rough cut of the CNC.

The finishes however I don’t think changed drastically over the years. I really don’t know. Of the 4 different models and era AVRI’s I’ve stripped. They all had thick plastic body sealer. The nitro top coats may have been thinner but I didn’t notice at the time.

The recent AO 60’s tele I stripped had really thin nitro plus a really thin poly coating. It still requires heat and a scrapper though. You can see the poly here on the sides. The back is stripped to bare wood 88270D5C-A358-49DF-9BE8-268BFF0E1F04.jpeg E124BC2E-CF48-461C-8A69-765CD497214D.jpeg
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,916
Edmonton, Alberta
This looks a lot like the little chips on my MIM Classic Lacquer Tele. It's feels rather different to the "Thin Skin" AV Hot Rod. The MIM's nitro is a lot more glossy, does not have the orange peel nor the smell of the HR '57.

Here’s my buddies 60’s MIM lacquer Jaguar. He bought it used with a relic attempt. He wanted me to fix it. I told him it’s impossible to make it look authentic with the poly undercoat. He didn’t believe and said it’s bare wood. Ok sure. He sends me these pics. 20AE238C-5EE1-4A4B-B7E0-DA30427BE65D.jpeg B8F9D9C7-6013-41D9-9878-AF2449176343.jpeg 2176AD21-FF2A-434C-8D19-63992F2C5198.jpeg See look bare wood. I polity said that’s not bare wood. He was frustrated that he couldn’t get it to look right. It’s not easy and especially with the odd nitro stuck to poly. He got a little dirt on it and more aggressive with sand paper. Then sends me this pic F9644FF1-09AF-4277-91C9-213A5811590C.jpeg

Oh there’s the bare wood. I mean not bad but there’s definitely a thick poly coat on the lacquer series. Then he agreed to why I wouldn’t attempt to make it look natural. You simple can’t.
 

SonOfLerome

Senior Stratmaster
May 25, 2020
1,291
Mandalore
Here’s my buddies 60’s MIM lacquer Jaguar. He bought it used with a relic attempt. He wanted me to fix it. I told him it’s impossible to make it look authentic with the poly undercoat. He didn’t believe and said it’s bare wood. Ok sure. He sends me these pics. View attachment 559265 View attachment 559266 View attachment 559267 See look bare wood. I polity said that’s not bare wood. He was frustrated that he couldn’t get it to look right. It’s not easy and especially with the odd nitro stuck to poly. He got a little dirt on it and more aggressive with sand paper. Then sends me this pic View attachment 559268

Oh there’s the bare wood. I mean not bad but there’s definitely a thick poly coat on the lacquer series. Then he agreed to why I wouldn’t attempt to make it look natural. You simple can’t.
Speaking from personal experience, the lacquer on the lacquer series is really odd.
I can’t speak for the body much but the neck on my 50s Strat had a super brittle finish which chipped off in large portions, more akin to poly in my eyes. Odd stuff.
Not sure whether there was much under that layer but I suspect so.
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,916
Edmonton, Alberta
Speaking from personal experience, the lacquer on the lacquer series is really odd.
I can’t speak for the body much but the neck on my 50s Strat had a super brittle finish which chipped off in large portions, more akin to poly in my eyes. Odd stuff.
Not sure whether there was much under that layer but I suspect so.

Yeah I find whatever fender calls nitro on the less expensive models is really. The satin nitro on the HWY 1 is almost like chalk. The finish on the road worns and lacquer series is nicer for sure but still not really what you find on the AVRI stuff. Yet again you’ll never get a answer to exactly what it is no matter how much detail the description has. Just really vague.
 

Baelzebub

Dr. Stratster
Nov 1, 2019
14,780
State of Disbelief
Exactly, it’s as though there’s 90 different finish terms that fender uses. There isn’t really but people make up or interpret into their own words what they read and it turns into this.

It’s really simple. Expensive guitars get flash coat, thin skin or what the custom shop uses. The less expensive get whatever plastic fender uses plus a thin nitro coat.

I’ve stripped pretty much every fender “nitro” body except the custom shop stuff. The only bodies my industrial strength paint stripper could get to bare wood was the 2012-2017 AV series. A 65 Jaguar and a 64 jazz bass. Within minutes it down to bare wood.

Everything else which included the HWY 1, road worn, 57 hot rod avri, normal 62 avri, Jonny Marr Jaguar, and a AO 60’s tele, all required a heat gun and scrapper to remove the plastic once the top coat disappeared. So that’s my first hand experience despite what fender says is 100% nitro.
Yeah.it's a thing with them. Witness the name change from American standard to American and back to American Standard for no apparent reason. Dopey stuff like that abounds.
 


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