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?
I think most would acknowledge that the tougher and much more resilent "poly" finishes are more resistant to being "melted" by solvents leaching from things like foam rubber on guitar stands and hangers, things inadvertantly left in contact with them in a case, spillages of certain liquids and overspray droplets from air fresheners and insect spray, etc, etc, etc. I have had this in the past.
It is also true that poly necks can be made in satin finishes that many find less sticky than full gloss, so there is still an element of versatility when using poly.
Personally I find that a poorly finished "nitro" guitar can look every bit as bad as a poorly finished poly one, and I think that a good poly finish looks just as good as a well executed nitro one.
I'm sure nitro is generally applied more thinly on guitars than production line poly coatings, but I'm talking about electric guitars here and body vibration is not going to be affected to any discernible extent by the type of lacquer used on it and the thickness of that lacquer.
So why is it that nitro finishes are touted as being the holy grail when it comes to brand new custom made guitars?
Do they look better as they start to age, or is it that they begin to age quicker and look older than they actually are?
Is this something to do with a warmer feel in the hand from nitro as opposed to a cold plasticky feel from poly?
Have I opened up a can of worms? If I haven't already, my disclaimer below might do so.
I have to come clean here and say right upfront that I don't see any sense in artificially "relicing" a brand new guitar. I as the owner and player would always know it was artificial wear, and trying to impress people by having a guitar that looks vintage isn't something that interests me. I do like the rounded feel of the fingerboard edges of a well played neck, but I don't actually like the feel of lacquer worn through to the wood on the back of the neck or on the playing surface of a lacquered fingerboard. This is not to say that I don't like the look of a vintage guitar that has acquired real wear over its lifetime, but rather that if I buy a newly made guitar I don't want it to be masquerading as a vintage.