Why Do So Many People Want Nitrocellulose Lacquer On Elecric Guitars

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  • the_other_edthe_other_ed Frets: 20
    edited October 17
    thegummy said:

    Take a reverb plate - if someone coated the whole thing in thick paint I reckon it would probably sound different.
    Similarly, I always wondered then, why a cabinet is covered in tolex?

    Seems the worst thing you could wrap around a speaker, after a nice resonant cabinet, would be a layer of glue and vinyl... go figure.

    Over Covid, I fashioned 2x10 cab for a Super Champ X2, with some Celestion G10 Creambacks. And I just did not want to wrap it with tolex this time.. I've done a few of my own cabs now, and although not difficult, the vinyl work is really hard on the hands - not to mention the hazards of razor cuts - so I chose to paint it instead.

    Still needs one speaker installed, but we'll see...
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  • My wudtone finished strat is getting quite relic'd. Not sure I like it, might refin, but it's also the best sounding strat I've played and I worry a refin might change it... 
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  • BillDLBillDL Frets: 389
    It's been really interesting to hear everybodys' perspectives on this topic.  The general consensus is that nitrocellulose feels warmer and ages nicely, and that natural wear and accidental dings look better than on most glossy "poly" finishes that have been applied very thickly as they were on most 70s Fenders.  These preferences are perfectly understandable.  I can also understand why some people like the aesthetics of a brand new guitar that had been artificially relic'd, but my personal preferences still are to have a brand new guitar looking pristine.

    When I say that I see absolutely no sense in buying a brand new guitar that has been relic'd, that is based on my personal choice and is not a criticism or disparagement of somebody else's choices and preferences.  To be honest, I also see no sense having  brand new DAB radio in an enclosure that has been made to look like a 1950s or 1960s radio, or an electric toaster in a chunky oversized rounded enclosure with cloth-covered cable that has been painted to resemble an old baked enamel kitchen appliance that would only have been available in a few basic colours, just as Fiat and Citreon have done with some of their cars.

    I can see why they might have a market when there are people who have restored the decor in old houses back to a time when the radio would have been a wooden or "tweed" rexine-covered affair with a distinctively old style speaker grille cloth, and I can see why there is still a strong market for ceiling clothes dryer rails, rollers and sash cord while people in older houses are trying to recreate a retro vintage look, but they look as out of place in a modern home as old "repurposed" kitchen chairs that have been painted cream and then relic'd with rough sandpaper to fill the new "shabby chic" descriptor.

    I suppose what it all comes down to is that some people like to have something that looks like it came straight from an era that they fondly remember, and some of those that never lived through that same era might like to have something they have seen in old videos or catalogues and looks cool and "retro".
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  • Alex2678Alex2678 Frets: 321
    edited October 17
    BillDL said:
    It's been really interesting to hear everybodys' perspectives on this topic.  The general consensus is that nitrocellulose feels warmer and ages nicely, and that natural wear and accidental dings look better than on most glossy "poly" finishes that have been applied very thickly as they were on most 70s Fenders.  These preferences are perfectly understandable.  I can also understand why some people like the aesthetics of a brand new guitar that had been artificially relic'd, but my personal preferences still are to have a brand new guitar looking pristine.

    When I say that I see absolutely no sense in buying a brand new guitar that has been relic'd, that is based on my personal choice and is not a criticism or disparagement of somebody else's choices and preferences.  To be honest, I also see no sense having  brand new DAB radio in an enclosure that has been made to look like a 1950s or 1960s radio, or an electric toaster in a chunky oversized rounded enclosure with cloth-covered cable that has been painted to resemble an old baked enamel kitchen appliance that would only have been available in a few basic colours, just as Fiat and Citreon have done with some of their cars.

    I can see why they might have a market when there are people who have restored the decor in old houses back to a time when the radio would have been a wooden or "tweed" rexine-covered affair with a distinctively old style speaker grille cloth, and I can see why there is still a strong market for ceiling clothes dryer rails, rollers and sash cord while people in older houses are trying to recreate a retro vintage look, but they look as out of place in a modern home as old "repurposed" kitchen chairs that have been painted cream and then relic'd with rough sandpaper to fill the new "shabby chic" descriptor.

    I suppose what it all comes down to is that some people like to have something that looks like it came straight from an era that they fondly remember, and some of those that never lived through that same era might like to have something they have seen in old videos or catalogues and looks cool and "retro".
    I didn’t live through those times but my dad did, so I was brought up in the 90s living in a kind of 60s/70s/90s mash up
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 4219
    thegummy said:

    Take a reverb plate - if someone coated the whole thing in thick paint I reckon it would probably sound different.
    Similarly, I always wondered then, why a cabinet is covered in tolex?

    Seems the worst thing you could wrap around a speaker, after a nice resonant cabinet, would be a layer of glue and vinyl... go figure.

    Over Covid, I fashioned 2x10 cab for a Super Champ X2, with some Celestion G10 Creambacks. And I just did not want to wrap it with tolex this time.. I've done a few of my own cabs now, and although not difficult, the vinyl work is really hard on the hands - not to mention the hazards of razor cuts - so I chose to paint it instead.

    Still needs one speaker installed, but we'll see...
    I know that back in the 50s when amps were first being made there was absolutely no consideration for the nuances of tone, the subtleties that an audiophile might care about. The amps were just designed for the very realistic purpose of making electric guitars loud enough without distorting.

    So can only guess that Leo coated them to look good, maybe for protection but gave no consideration that any potential customers might care at all how the cabinet resonated.
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 4219
    My wudtone finished strat is getting quite relic'd. Not sure I like it, might refin, but it's also the best sounding strat I've played and I worry a refin might change it... 
    Can totally understand that.

    Even though I'd guess that it's unlikely it would make a noticeable difference, if I had a guitar I was very happy with the sound of if I'd definitely be worried that it might be affected.
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  • thegummy said:
    My wudtone finished strat is getting quite relic'd. Not sure I like it, might refin, but it's also the best sounding strat I've played and I worry a refin might change it... 
    Can totally understand that.

    Even though I'd guess that it's unlikely it would make a noticeable difference, if I had a guitar I was very happy with the sound of if I'd definitely be worried that it might be affected.

    Yes, exactly. I've had very thick finishes on guitars that were absolutely superb, and I've had thin finishes on guitars that also sound amazing... So it's more a worry that I lose part of a winning formula that happens to work.

    Then again, I'm not overly fussy... And it is quite nice to have a guitar that's naturally relic'ing - but at this rate, after another 15 years there probably won't be much finish left! 
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 4219

    Yes, exactly. I've had very thick finishes on guitars that were absolutely superb, and I've had thin finishes on guitars that also sound amazing... So it's more a worry that I lose part of a winning formula that happens to work.

    Then again, I'm not overly fussy... And it is quite nice to have a guitar that's naturally relic'ing - but at this rate, after another 15 years there probably won't be much finish left! 
    Never done Rory any harm!
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 7391
    My (admittedly limited) experience makes me suspect that polyurethane would be my preference. I’ve dinged polyester and it isn’t pretty - it just cracks in a particularly nasty way. Polyurethane seems to be somewhat softer and perhaps easier to mark but also less brittle.
    I play guitar because I enjoy it rather than because I’m any good at it
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  • CaseOfAceCaseOfAce Frets: 131
    The same reason I want hot glass in the back of my valve amp.
    It all contributes to the whole (illusory?) sensory experience I get from the he sound and feel of playing electric guitar - completely irrational b*ollocks it may well be to outsiders... I don't care - it's the joy of the instrument for me.
    "I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."
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  • rossirossi Frets: 1370
    These is a lot of froth and codswallop about .The only time I tested it was putting some new speaker cloth on a Champ 600.Many swore they could tell the difference and the old cloth was strangulating the tone .We basically plugged in a guitar and playedt various sounds then cut the cloth off while playing .Sounded just the same loud or soft .Its replacement looked better .For me Nitro is patina all the way .just looks great .
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  • BillDL said:
    Can somebody please help me to understand why so many people these days crave Nitrocellulose lacquer finishes on electric guitar bodies and necks as opposed to Polyurethane or Polyester?

    Because we can!?

    Ultimately there is no right or wrong.

    Why do some folk question other peoples choices? Don't get me wrong I do it as well :-)
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  • LoobsLoobs Frets: 2753
    Well it's better isn't it?
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  • Nothing else that hasn't been said before - it feels more tactile, looks flatter, the colours shimmy, it smells nicer, wears more attractively and is embedded in traditional manufacturing (although that isn't really a reason).

    When I was at art school, we used oil based inks for screen printing with cellulose thinners as the solvent. We were then (health and safety) moved to non-flammable solvents. Very wise move, although cleaning up took twice as long.

    And eventually we were moved to acrylic inks. I swear the depth and vibrancy of colour wasn't as good...
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  • vanlooy1vanlooy1 Frets: 150
    I’m surprised there isn’t a market for reliced amps - maybe there is and it’s passed me by.
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  • GoldenEraGuitarsGoldenEraGuitars Frets: 7115
    tFB Trader
    vanlooy1 said:
    I’m surprised there isn’t a market for reliced amps - maybe there is and it’s passed me by.
    It’s an option with a lot of tweed amp builders. Some pedal builders also offer it as an option. 

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  • LoobsLoobs Frets: 2753
    Much easier to relic an amp than a guitar, after all. 
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  • vanlooy1 said:
    I’m surprised there isn’t a market for reliced amps - maybe there is and it’s passed me by.
    I think it might have passed you by. Fender Custom Shop have already been in on the act with tweed amps that have fake back stories – "saved from the fire", etc. 

    https://www.digimart.net/magazine/article/2019032903620.html




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  • vanlooy1vanlooy1 Frets: 150
    vanlooy1 said:
    I’m surprised there isn’t a market for reliced amps - maybe there is and it’s passed me by.
    It’s an option with a lot of tweed amp builders. Some pedal builders also offer it as an option.

    vanlooy1 said:
    I’m surprised there isn’t a market for reliced amps - maybe there is and it’s passed me by.
    I think it might have passed you by. Fender Custom Shop have already been in on the act with tweed amps that have fake back stories – "saved from the fire", etc. 

    https://www.digimart.net/magazine/article/2019032903620.html




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    I guess a CS heavy relic is going to look a little incongruous leant against a pristine Boss Katana! 
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  • Rocky1991Rocky1991 Frets: 183
    Not read the whole thread but it is similar vein to when someone like John Cruz says a master built is better than a vintage instrument and people laugh. 

    Its hard to argue the point, but if your heroes didn't use it then you will 
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