#1
Do modern Nitrocellulose finishes on guitars such as the Vintage Hot Rod 62 strat or the Highway one strat have a poly coat underneath?
I would love to buy one of these guitars because I want to achieve a natural relic, and Nitrocellulose is best for this, but I've heard that they have a Poly coat underneath, which will affect the natural relicing process, is this true?
"I wanted water but I'll walk through the fire"
#3
I own a Vintage '62 Hot Rod Strat (photos of in my Gear Pics). I can't tell by looking at it, but I do remember reading somewhere that it did have a poly coat underneath. It may've been a review on Musician's Friend. Fender claims that the finish on this guitar is supposed to age naturally, but if it has a poly finish under the nitro, it never will. I've had mine for about 4 years and it's showing no sign of aging. Of course, I baby the heck out of it and keep it in an environmentally controlled room.

Have you considered contacting Fender and asking them? If you do and they give you an answer, please let me know.
#4
Quote by KG6_Steven
I own a Vintage '62 Hot Rod Strat (photos of in my Gear Pics). I can't tell by looking at it, but I do remember reading somewhere that it did have a poly coat underneath. It may've been a review on Musician's Friend. Fender claims that the finish on this guitar is supposed to age naturally, but if it has a poly finish under the nitro, it never will. I've had mine for about 4 years and it's showing no sign of aging. Of course, I baby the heck out of it and keep it in an environmentally controlled room.

Have you considered contacting Fender and asking them? If you do and they give you an answer, please let me know.

Yeah, I just read about it while looking up stuff about nitro finishes, but I'm still not completely sure about it.
In the case I bought the guitar, I would definetly make it go around by playing at a lot of bars and gigs, so I would expect some wear, I just want to know how much.
"I wanted water but I'll walk through the fire"
#5
yes they do. even the old guitars had an undercoat that wasn't nitro. keep in mind that modern nitro isn't the same as it was in the good old days. EPA regulations prohibit many of the chemicals found in the old nitro finishes. fender uses a solvent based nitro finish (this info comes straight from the Custom Shop).
#6
Fenders have had a poly sealer/undercoat since 68, and before that used a heavy oil-based sealer back to 55. It's a sealer, not a thick coat of colored paint under the nitro.

So, don't worry about it. Every holy grail vintage strat has a sealer underneath the nitro anyway. Modern nitro has more plasticizer in it, so it's going to take longer to wear out than the old stuff, but the poly undercoat isn't going to affect that wear one way or another. You're not going to wear through the nitro only to find an impenetrable wall of jet black poly underneath.

In case anyone's interested, here's a little writeup by Mark Kendrick at the Fender Custom Shop.
Pardon my typos. I've lost alot of brain cells in my day. Could it be the 'Nitro'.

The first Fender lap steel was finished in black enamel. When Doc Kauffman and Leo formed K&F guitars in 1945, their original instruments, including the amplifiers, were finished in a lead based, wrinkle coat enamel. A nice shade of Battleship Grey. That was the only color available. After expermenting with different woods other than pine for guitars, they began using nitrocellulose lacquer. They used what was available to the furniture trade at the time.
The original colors were blonde, sunburst, etc... just like your Grandmas coffee table.

Custom colors were introduced in 1955. Once again they were enamel. The same material they used in the auto industry. The enamel would not adhere to the stearate based nitocellulose sanding sealer. Acrylic lacquers were then developed by Dupont to be sprayed on material other than metal. "Duco colors". In order for the paint to adhere, Fender began using a Sherwin Williams product called Homoclad. It was a penetrating, heavy solid, oil based sealer used as a barrier coat to to provide better adhesion for their guitars with custom colors. It was applied by dipping the guitar bodies directly into a 55 gallon drum, filled with the product. ALL Fender guitars produced after 1955 used this product until 1967, when Fender began experimenting with polyesters an undercoat.

By 1968, virtually all Fender guitar products used polyester as an undercoat, including necks. It's a two part product using Methyl Ethyl Ketone(MEK) as a catalyst. The reason the face of the pegheads were not sealed with polyester, is because type 'C' decals (under the finish) would not adhere to the product. While it is true a few guitars may have squeaked by with homoclad, when homoclad wasn't available, they used a Fuller O'Brian product called Ful-O-Plast. PLASTIC!!! It's obvious to me that those necks or bodies were stragglers, having to be reworked for some reason or another and not shipped after the change.

I'd like to make one thing clear... ALL FENDER GUITARS PRODUCED AFTER 1968 HAD A POLYESTER UNDERCOAT WITH A LACQUER TOPCOAT!!! There is no specific ratio. Enough poly was, and is sprayed to properly fill the grain while preventig a burn through while sanding.

In 1983, Fender began using polyuerthane as a topcoat. It cured quicker. It had better clarity. It had more depth and gloss, and didn't melt when you accidently spilled 151 on it. Fender then discontinued the use of polyester on the necks. Polyurethane is a 2 part product using a catalyst.

Fender has continued to use polyester, polyurethane, nitro, homoclad, and Ful-O-Plast.

Nitro is not a superior finish. An electric guitar doesn't 'breathe' at 120 db.

I like polyester. I like Nitro colors too. But maybe I'll let the players that use poly (ester or urethane) speak for themselves...

Billy Gibbons, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Joe Perry, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Roccco Prestia, Jimmie Vaughn, Nils Lofgren, Vince Gill, Chet Atkins, Tom Hamilton, Lenny Kravitz, Merle Haggard, Don Rich, Darryl Jones, Mike Stern, Larry Carlton, Peter Frampton, Sting, Marty Stuart, just to name a few. More are available upon request.

Hope this helps,

Mark K.
#7
The Highway One guitars had their colour coats and a thin satin clear coat done in poly and another clear coat done in nitro. You only have to talk to anyone who's handled one or had to strip one to know this (it's a right pain in the arse when you have to strip one kind of finish cleanly then strip another, unless you just go for sandpaper, which is a pain in itself).

But yeah everything else, if it says it's nitro then it's as nitro as nitro ever gets. The only guitars I'm aware of that have ever had a 100% nitro finish are the Gibson 'worn' yellow, red and white finishes that they did on the LP Specials about five years ago, since they had nothing but a colour coat (they didn't even fill the grain). And those things wear through long before they have time to age.

In reality, it's fine. All you need to get the ''aged'' look is a nitro top coat. No matter what the sealer and colour coats are, the nitro top will still thin, contract, check and flake regardless. In fact if anything it'll age quicker than a ''full'' nitro finish will, since these top coats are such a small layer sitting on top of immovable poly. Hell you can make a modern guitar look like an time-worn classic in a couple of weeks just by sanding the clear coat satin with wet & dry, then spraying over it with lightly tinted clear nitro gloss and instead of buffing it all nice and shiny, stick the body in a cold garage for two days. Then bring it inside and sit it next to a radiator for a day, then put it back in the cold. Repeat this torture a couple of times and in no time you'll have checking and clouding all over.
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#9
Roc, that may have been the best post I've read in EG.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#10
Wow, I'm very thankfull of the responses I got, thanks for clearing my doubts guys.
"I wanted water but I'll walk through the fire"