Nitro vs Poly, Is It Relevant Any More?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Shades of Blue, Mar 19, 2020.

  1. Uncle Salty

    Uncle Salty Strat-Talk Member

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    Do you use nitro? If so why?
     
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  2. Shades of Blue

    Shades of Blue Most Honored Senior Member

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    I appreciate it, but you didn’t touch on my specific desire for Nitro over Poly. What happens to Poly when you ding it? Well, you get that plastic-looking dent on a guitar that looks otherwise brand new. The thing about nitro I’ve noticed is that it seems to wear all around. You get cloudy arm spots, scratches, swirling, and that’s makes the one dent blend in better.

    I was looking at my PRS before I boxed it up to ship it today. The finish is bubbling in spots, there’s a tiny dent but otherwise it was perfect. The bubbling stood out.

    I guess I see poly as a brand new truck, and I see nitro as that same truck beat up a few years down the road. All I’m saying is that blemishes on Poly just look bad in my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2020
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  3. antitype

    antitype Strat-Talker

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    The only reason I want nitro is I want to see what kind of wear I can put on it. But as careful as I am with everything I doubt I will live long enough.
     
  4. fezz parka

    fezz parka fezz parka

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    It's just an example if something that doesn't matter. And plenty of people eat both. Or used to. ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2020
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  5. fezz parka

    fezz parka fezz parka

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    37 year old Poly.

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    20 year old Nitro refin on a 55 year old guitar.

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    Guess which guitar sounds better?
     
  6. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    I do.. a boat load of it... why? Cause far more want Nitro than anything else... That's the key to some degree of success, giving guys what they want..

    No, not really, what it does is suggest more mass.. the mass means there's less chance for runaway resonances to cause problems... your chance of having a better sounding guitar is improved by leaving weight prejudices at the door, and buying a guitar in a more normal weight range.. these guys buying very light guitars will be disappointed when the "new car smell" wears off.

    r
     
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  7. RL21980

    RL21980 Strat-O-Master

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    We

    I prefer light weight nitro finished guitars. Subjective. However the "new car smell" hasn't worn off yet. Keep giving folks what they want. It pays the bills.
     
  8. Class A Knob

    Class A Knob Senior Stratmaster

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  9. Jason D

    Jason D Senior Stratmaster

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    I don’t really see a purpose in these kinds of threads. People will debate this crap until the end of time. It’s like Ford vs Chevy. Just silly.
     
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  10. Neil.C

    Neil.C Most Honored Senior Member

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    Personally I prefer nitro for one reason, the resistance to bumps.

    My Fender US Standard got knocked and it left an awful look like smashed glass/candy apple. :eek:

    My Les Paul has numerous dings but they merge in and are difficult to see unless you search for them. I guess because of the softer finish

    One thing I will say is I think Fender's version of nitro (or the thickness thereof) wears far more quickly than Gibson's.
     
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  11. R-Dizzle

    R-Dizzle Strat-Talker

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    I mean, if you look at all the threads posted lately you could say they've been talked about over and over already too. If we didnt bring them up anymore there wouldnt be much to talk about on these forums.
     
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  12. fommof

    fommof Strat-Talker

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    For me it's nitro for the neck (it has only to do with the feel, just a matter of preference) and poly for the body (durable, easy to clean/wipe etc.).

    It's impossible after all these years to clean the body of my AVRI57 (1991-1993 era, it's been with me since '93) while I can do this in a few seconds with just a piece of cloth to my two MIJ/CIJ RI68 strats.

    If I had money to burn I would certainly refinish the AVRI57 with poly without a second though.
     
  13. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Most Honored Senior Member

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    well.. this topic has been "discussed" since the mid 90's when I first encountered it on AOL... that was carried over into the forums in the early part of this Century, so... there are 20 to 30 somethings on the forums today that weren't even born back then.

    But it goes deeper.. there are a lot of guys pushin' 50 today that were bubble gummers in the 90's and the closest they got to rock guitar was the "woody" that Brittney Spears cultivated when she shook it. Those guys are now well steeped in all the crapola on the internet and feel compelled to discuss it, putting their 2 cents into the fray also.

    So what is the recommendation... a topic can only be chatted about for a specific length of time, or only in a specific forum? This is also why all the whining about Zombie threads is laughable... are newbies not allowed to participate? Everyone was a "Noob" at one time, knowing zip, asking what some thought were just plain stupid questions.. We all started at some point, up the "curve" to whatever level we have achieved.. remember there is no intellectual Status Quo, you are either constantly learning, or you are Intellectually eroding...

    So, anyway, You know how 20 - 30 somethings tend to know it all and are compelled to enlighten us old timers...... :rolleyes:

    I've been buying the same can of lacquer from Sherwin Williams since around 1966 when Mike Longworth of C F Martin told me that's what they used on my brand new D-35 .. and it was also used by the other primary guitar makers of that time. That was good enough for me..

    However even though I still use the "same lacquer", it has changed.. you can see it in the appearance... I had the opportunity to talk with a Sherwin Williams Chemist years ago about it.. he simply said, when the EPA bans a specific chemical, ya can't argue,,, so, they had to "tac" and replace it with a new component... Same thing any manufacturer of lacquers had to do.

    Point being all this talk about Nitro is purely academic.. The whole reason for the discussion is because it is what was used in the 50's and 60's, and guys today STILL think using nitro gets them the same results as it did back then.. Well guys THAT nitro of that time is history, it's no more available today than a pet Tyrannosaurus .. it's only a Museum exhibit today.. Maybe Mattel will make a little toy can of 1960's Lacquer for the shelf as a remembrance... :D

    Wile excellent Nitro is available today, the chemistry of the 60's is NOT... so other than superficial qualities, today's Nitro has Zero advantage over anything else you wanna dunk your guitar's body into.

    and If you think a Nitro painted guitar is gonna make you sound Like Jeff Beck, or Eric Clapton, you need to go ask your Momma when exactly did she drop you on your head... :whistling:

    Conversely, if you think Practice, and ONLY practice, will get ya there, then congratulations, perhaps you're a Mensa Candidate... :cool:

    r
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2020
  14. Violeiro

    Violeiro Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    I wish there was a down vote on the forum :thumbd:

    Here are two guitars I received last week and this week. The one on the left has a thin nitro finish, the one on the right (Aged at the factory) has an even thinner nitro skin (about 40% thinner) than the one on the left....

    Are you really saying that the same guitars with a Poly finish would sound the same???? PLEASE :rolleyes:

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    Last edited: Mar 20, 2020
  15. Shades of Blue

    Shades of Blue Most Honored Senior Member

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    One can only truly become educated on a subject when they've exposed themselves to both sides of the argument.
     
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  16. Shades of Blue

    Shades of Blue Most Honored Senior Member

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    I don't get it Mr. Kirn. You keep coming back to the same arguments regarding "tone" and sound. I'm the OP and no where do I mention that I'm after Nitro for sound benefits. I frankly think that a good sounding guitar is a good sounding guitar, regardless of finish. You mention that us "youngsters" keep bringing the topic up and seem to think that we can sound like guitar heros of the past, but that has nothing to do with my question or why I am torn between Nitro and Poly. Of course I don't think finish makes a difference on tone, that is not anywhere close to my question.

    My question just involves wear and tear. Others are making this about tone and sound, but all I care about is asking if the advantages of nitro over poly for getting that gracefully aged look is worth buying nitro over poly.

    Heck, I just read yesterday that Fender's new formula for their American Original line is a nitro finish clear coated with poly. That is interesting and more along the lines of the information I was hoping to receive. Not whether or not the more seasoned guitar vets among us could once and for all solve the tone debate...
     
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  17. Shades of Blue

    Shades of Blue Most Honored Senior Member

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    I don't think there is any question that nitro is the better sounding finish for acoustic guitars. It's all about resonance with acoustics. I'm sure it has to do with finish thickness though more than anything. On electrics? I don't think sound/tone is as much affected.
     
  18. Violeiro

    Violeiro Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    Poly will not age like Nitro, heck you can probably have a 100 years old Poly guitar, play it everyday and it would still look like it came from the store... that aspect of looks is personal preference - do you like new looking guitars, polish them...then Poly is the choice. Do you like the character as it ages...then Nitro.
     
  19. Violeiro

    Violeiro Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    I completely understand - the acoustic is used as an example that nitro ( a thinner finish compared to Poly) DOES affect the tone of the guitar....also, play one of these for a few years along side a Taylor then come back after a few years to see how they look....

    Using Nitro here as it is the topic of this discussion... you can put whatever thin skin you want and compare them...
     
  20. stratmatt777

    stratmatt777 Strat-O-Master

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    You're not old. You just refuse to be seen playing a guitar with pretend/faux wear on it.
    I've never wanted anything I owned to look old. I've been playing guitars since 1997. I'm 42.
    I will never ever understand relic guitars... especially the corroded looking bridges. I was upset when my '97 MIM Strat got corrosion on it.
    But that's okay. I don't need to understand things that other people like that make no sense to me. If they like it, that's fantastic.

    Now, if they pay Fender $3,000 to get that worn-out finish.... well.... you know... :p