Misleading fender finishes

Pandamasque

Senior Stratmaster
Sep 22, 2020
1,209
Kyiv, Ukraine


I guess a no poly filler body would look something like this:


Okay, well that definitely doesn’t look anything like that lacquer Jaguar I posted. This one definitely doesn’t have that floating top coat 3D look like the Jaguar View attachment 559549

Since the official Fender communication on the matter is vague, perhaps try and ask this Fender nitro booth worker a few innocent questions (without sounding like you're a myth busting crusade :D ) directly on Instagram. There's a good chance of getting a straight answer. https://www.instagram.com/jncolor
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,490
Edmonton, Alberta


I guess a no poly filler body would look something like this:




Since the official Fender communication on the matter is vague, perhaps try and ask this Fender nitro booth worker a few innocent questions (without sounding like you're a myth busting crusade :D ) directly on Instagram. There's a good chance of getting a straight answer. https://www.instagram.com/jncolor


It’s not a life long conquest to debunk or prove this myth on fender finishes. I don’t want or need to know the break downs of each finish. I just want to know what models have the thick plastic and which ones don’t. Just like everyone else.

You sparked my interest again when in another thread saying your hot rod strat has a thin skin finish. I didn’t realize fender was using that term back then. I thought it was a much later Wildwood term for their special run guitars. I was wrong but not wrong in the sense that the hot rod Strats indeed have the thick poly finish. Just like every other AVRI fender from day one until the AV series came out.

I found the answers I was after which was mainly just fender and their clever wording throughout the years confusing a lot of people. I still don’t know about the road worn series though. So the crusade continues!!
 
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Wound_Up

You can call me Duane 😁
Silver Member
Jan 23, 2020
4,473
NW LA
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.
The first thin skin was an experimental finish done on Kenny Wayne Shepherd's Custom Shop 'copy' of his '61 Strat. It's not actually a copy but it's close enough. If I could find his post on Instagram about it, I'd post it here.

In a few weeks of touring, it looked like it had been on the road for years which was basically what they were attempting to achieve: to let it get that 'played in' look much quicker. It's a bad ass guitar.

Edit: it was actually the only guitar they know of to get that specific finish so it's one-of-a-kind. I'm guessing they modified the formula after that to get it suitable for production use.

- link to his JW Black CS Sunburst Strat: pics and description

This particular guitar has several unique features, one of the most noteworthy being it's experimental one-of-a-kind finish that was designed to age very rapidly and develop a characteristic known as "checking", which usually only happens after many years of natural aging, curing and temperature fluctuations. With this experimental finish applied to the body of the guitar combined with Kenny's aggressive playing style, this guitar would allow Kenny to naturally develop the same wear and tear associated with his original 1961 Stratocaster at a much faster rate than usual and eventually achieve the same road worn, broken-in appearance of his original 1961 Stratocaster, which took many years of playing to create on this new guitar in a very short amount of time. It is believed that this is the only guitar Fender ever built using this particular finish.
 
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Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,490
Edmonton, Alberta
The first thin skin was an experimental finish done on Kenny Wayne Shepherd's Custom Shop 'copy' of his '61 Strat. It's not actually a copy but it's close enough. If I could find his post on Instagram about it, I'd post it here.

In a few weeks of touring, it looked like it had been on the road for years which was basically what they were attempting to achieve: to let it get that 'played in' look much quicker. It's a bad ass guitar.

Edit: it was actually the only guitar they know of to get that specific finish so it's one-of-a-kind. I'm guessing they modified the formula after that to get it suitable for production use.

- link to his JW Black CS Sunburst Strat: pics and description

This particular guitar has several unique features, one of the most noteworthy being it's experimental one-of-a-kind finish that was designed to age very rapidly and develop a characteristic known as "checking", which usually only happens after many years of natural aging, curing and temperature fluctuations. With this experimental finish applied to the body of the guitar combined with Kenny's aggressive playing style, this guitar would allow Kenny to naturally develop the same wear and tear associated with his original 1961 Stratocaster at a much faster rate than usual and eventually achieve the same road worn, broken-in appearance of his original 1961 Stratocaster, which took many years of playing to create on this new guitar in a very short amount of time. It is believed that this is the only guitar Fender ever built using this particular finish.

You know I do remember hearing something about this. Then either fender or Wildwood released a “relic ready” series which was based off this experiment. Just a even thinner finish that did exactly what they said, wore away really quick. The guys saying the flash coat flakes off, this is even thinner!

Thanks for the info though. I’m sure there’s more that the custom shop experiments with or has over the years. How much of it trickles down to the production stuff, I don’t know. I know we’d hear all about it though, just like when the “flash coat” was introduced in 2012.
 

BeefTinn

Strat-Talker
Sep 17, 2010
397
Canada
I've owned a few nitro finished Fenders. They were all quite different. I used my wife's nail polish remover to see if the finishes would react, and they all did.

- early 2000s AVRI 52 tele. It had a few decent chips so I could see a poly layer with nitro over top. Thick overall finish. The guitar felt sticky from the day of purchase until the day I traded it in.
- mid 2000s Road Worn strat. Thin nitro layer over a clear base coat. Overall a thin finish. The base coat was very thin, think plastic food wrap or thinner melted right into the grain.
- 2012 FSR Classic Player '50s strat with a lacquer finish. Thin finish but I'm unsure of the base coat. I didn't own it long enough to chip it. It was a softer (not sticky) finish and felt like most of the Gibsons I've owned over the years.
- 2010 57/62 Thin Skin strat in Lake Placid Blue. I still own this one. A thin nitro finish in what appears to be 3 layers: transparent blue, metalic silver, and clear base coat which I assume is also nitro. All the layers are hard, so if it gets bumped there will be a chip.

Also, I came close to purchasing a 2014 or 15 AV strat with the flash coat finish. It had several chips just from hanging in the shop and the finish looked very similar to the Thin Skin.
 

BeefTinn

Strat-Talker
Sep 17, 2010
397
Canada
I stripped the nitro from a AO 60’s tele. Thin polyurethane sealer.
Good to know. I re-read the thread and see where you stated that earlier - I missed it before. I really like the specs on the AO series and the few I've played seemed very lively.
 
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Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,490
Edmonton, Alberta
The second part of his answer was probably that. I wonder what "two-part" means though.

Just to add more confusion, fullerplast sealer used way back when and the polyurethane sealer used on the 80’s Fullerton stuff and onwards are two different sealers.

Despite what you read they are not the same. This is what a lot of people get confused. Polyurethane was used after CBS took over. Started in the late 60’s. Not sure if it was polyester then polyurethane used first. Just read a thread stating a AO uses the same fullerplast as the old days. So strange that people read and interpret things so differently.
 

thegrasshopper

Strat-Talker
Mar 15, 2021
255
Spain
This is a 2022 Custom Shop.
It just looks like: grain filler + primer + nitro. The finish is really thin
 

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Wound_Up

You can call me Duane 😁
Silver Member
Jan 23, 2020
4,473
NW LA
The term 'flash coat' is too misleading.

View attachment 560499

Especially if you're in the refinishing industry. A flash coat is a very thin coat sprayed thin on purpose so it can "flash" dry quickly. Usually done first, before thicker coats are applied over it, so the finish will bond well to the surface. That way, it'll cure like it's supposed to Instead of laying it on thick from the beginning and hoping it all lays down and doesn't get solvent pop or some other issue.

I've never done guitars but I've got years of experience in the automotive refinishing industry. I imagine it's mostly the same when it comes to paints. We didn't do stains obviously so I have no experience there.
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,490
Edmonton, Alberta
This is a 2022 Custom Shop.
It just looks like: grain filler + primer + nitro. The finish is really thin

That’s exactly what my AV 54 strat and 65 jag look like under the finish. A thin lacquer based sealer. My custom shops have the exact finish too. There’s always going to be a sealer, just not a polyurethane based sealer on the custom shop or AV series. Not sure on the road worn series yet.
 

Tremdaddy

Strat-Talker
Sep 18, 2020
137
North Hollywood, California
Great question. My Fender guitars are, chronologically:
1) white 1965 Mustang, it feels like lacquer.
2) sunburst 1970 P Bass, polyurethane (?) except for the front of the headstock which is lacquer
3) white 1983 Fullerton '57 Strat RI, lacquer
4) Lake Placid Blue 2007 Custom Shop '65 Strat Relic, lacquer
5) blonde 2010 (?) Custom Shop '51 Nocaster Relic, lacquer
6) 2009 sunburst Roadworn 60's J Bass, lacquer
7) 2010 sunburst Roadworn 60's Strat, lacquer w/poly neck
8) 2010 (?) sunburst Roadworn 50's P Bass, lacquer
9) 2014 black Custom Shop '54 Strat RI NOS, lacquer

My point - except for the '70 P Bass all are supposed to be lacquer, yet all are different in terms of feel and thickness. The Roadworns, the '65 Relic and the '51 Nocaster Relic have the thinnest finishes and I think the Roadworns are actually the thinnest, FWIW. Fender never tells us exactly what they're doing, they just say nitro lacquer and that's about it. While I'm at it my 2006 (?) G&L Legacy and my 2018 Suhr Custom Pro are both poly, as is the '70 P Bass, and they all ring like a bell so I'm not even sure it makes a difference.
 

Intune

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 14, 2021
4,490
Edmonton, Alberta
Great question. My Fender guitars are, chronologically:
1) white 1965 Mustang, it feels like lacquer.
2) sunburst 1970 P Bass, polyurethane (?) except for the front of the headstock which is lacquer
3) white 1983 Fullerton '57 Strat RI, lacquer
4) Lake Placid Blue 2007 Custom Shop '65 Strat Relic, lacquer
5) blonde 2010 (?) Custom Shop '51 Nocaster Relic, lacquer
6) 2009 sunburst Roadworn 60's J Bass, lacquer
7) 2010 sunburst Roadworn 60's Strat, lacquer w/poly neck
8) 2010 (?) sunburst Roadworn 50's P Bass, lacquer
9) 2014 black Custom Shop '54 Strat RI NOS, lacquer

My point - except for the '70 P Bass all are supposed to be lacquer, yet all are different in terms of feel and thickness. The Roadworns, the '65 Relic and the '51 Nocaster Relic have the thinnest finishes and I think the Roadworns are actually the thinnest, FWIW. Fender never tells us exactly what they're doing, they just say nitro lacquer and that's about it. While I'm at it my 2006 (?) G&L Legacy and my 2018 Suhr Custom Pro are both poly, as is the '70 P Bass, and they all ring like a bell so I'm not even sure it makes a difference.
Nice!! Yeah I don’t think there’s a sonic difference at all. If there is it’s probably not the finish letting it breathe causing the sonic difference. That’s marketing right there.

My biggest thing and what people really want to know is what’s until the stuff fender calls nitro. Out of your line up I think the only one that would have the thick polyurethane is the 83 57 reissue. Not sure on any of the road worns yet. Rumoured to be 100% nitro top coat and sealer just like the custom shops. Yet they look completely different then the finish on a custom shop NOS or relic.
 

Hudman_1

Strat-O-Master
May 12, 2018
611
Gibraltar Michigan
I stick with poly. I’ve never heard a tonal difference between nitro and poly finishes. I’m not into the fad of relics or want my guitar finish to age prematurely. Poly is nearly bullet proof. It looks like new for years.
 

Cerb

Anti conformist reformist
Jan 22, 2016
15,004
Sweden
The first thing that came to my mind when I read the title, was how Candy Apple Red tastes nothing like candy apples.
 
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