Opinions on the nitrocellulose lacquer Gretsch uses

fabian1137

Electromatic
Jul 26, 2022
14
Sweden
Hi all! This will be my first post on the forum.

I'm curious about what people think about the nitro lacquer Gretsch uses. Does it feel a lot different than the poly they usually use? The nitro is applied on top of a coat of poly right?

I had a 6119 with poly finish and I didn't like the way it felt at all, it was really hard and kinda uninspiring. I unfortunatley don't have the opportunity to try one out so I'm curious what your thoughts are.

Thanks!
 
Last edited:

G5422T

Country Gent
May 24, 2012
4,073
usa
Welcome.

I have two ProLines with the laquer finish.

Yes, the finish feels great compared to the standard poly on the neck.

A thin poly coat is used as a "sealer coat," then the lacquer finish applied.

No snobbery about it, I like the neck feel and overall look much better than the all poly finish. Smells good too. 😆 🤣
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,608
Where the action is!
I also prefer lacquer, but I think an even bigger factor is the thickness of the finish.
I had a 6119 with poly finish and I didn't like the way it felt at all, it was really hard and kinda uninspiring.
What year was it? I think even with the poly finishes, Gretsch isn't pouring it on so thick these days. Older ones had that "dipped in plastic" feel, but the recent ones I've checked out don't. Although in retrospect, they may have been lacquer. They were a '55 Falcon and '53 Duo Jet. According to the Gretsch website, the Falcon would have been lacquer, but the Duo Jet should have been poly and it felt nice to me. But you never know how accurate the listed specs are.
 

TV the Wired Turtle

Gretschified
Jul 25, 2009
14,595
Sandy Eggo
Hi all! This will be my first post on the forum.

I'm curious about what people think about the nitro lacquer Gretsch uses. Does it feel a lot different than the poly they usually use? The nitro is applied on top of a coat of poly right?

I had a 6119 with poly finish and I didn't like the way it felt at all, it was really hard and kinda uninspiring. I prefer not have my guitars feel the same as my plastic phone case lol. I unfortunatley don't have the opportunity to try one out so I'm curious what your thoughts are.

Thanks!

I too have never been happy with Gretsch Lacquer finished necks on the last two falcons and SSL that I owned. I have very VERY dry hands, and I'm in California and yet the necks would end up feeling slightly sticky over time. I'd have to hit them w 0000g stainless steel just to be able to play them without getting miffed. Ultimately I sold them and always grumbled to myself that someday I'd get a custom shop gretsch that had a nitro lacquered body w a satin poly neck. Because I loooove my 99' SSU w a well worn poly neck, but wish it wasnt covered in bomb proof poly from hell. But... then I got the Gretsch Setzer SMOKE, oh Lordy.. its "semi-gloss" lacquer and it feels like my old 56' Gib ES-150. They cracked the code, or whatever that means... you know what I'm saying. :)
 

dspellman

Gretschie
Jul 4, 2020
339
Los Angeles
Hi all! This will be my first post on the forum.

I'm curious about what people think about the nitro lacquer Gretsch uses. Does it feel a lot different than the poly they usually use? The nitro is applied on top of a coat of poly right?

I had a 6119 with poly finish and I didn't like the way it felt at all, it was really hard and kinda uninspiring. I prefer not have my guitars feel the same as my plastic phone case lol. I unfortunatley don't have the opportunity to try one out so I'm curious what your thoughts are.
I can (and DO) do without nitrocellulose lacquer on guitars. It's a crap finish, IMHO and I'm definitely not a fan.
 

ForTheLoveOfIvy

Gretschie
Feb 28, 2022
203
London
I noticed a chip in the lacquer finish of my LDS Falcon the other day that looked more like the kind of chip you get in a poly finish...maybe it was just the outer layer.
 

fabian1137

Electromatic
Jul 26, 2022
14
Sweden
I also prefer lacquer, but I think an even bigger factor is the thickness of the finish.

What year was it? I think even with the poly finishes, Gretsch isn't pouring it on so thick these days. Older ones had that "dipped in plastic" feel, but the recent ones I've checked out don't. Although in retrospect, they may have been lacquer. They were a '55 Falcon and '53 Duo Jet. According to the Gretsch website, the Falcon would have been lacquer, but the Duo Jet should have been poly and it felt nice to me. But you never know how accurate the listed specs are.
I believe it was from 2011. I didn't get the impression that it had a very thick finish but it still didn't do it for me.
 

dspellman

Gretschie
Jul 4, 2020
339
Los Angeles
I'm pushing 70. All sorts of "stuff" in life can kill me.

My car will probably get me before my guitar. 😆 🤣 😂 😹
View attachment 185612
LA just opened a new bridge -- the 6th Street Aquaduct. Nice bridge to walk on, except for the youtube idiots looking for viral exposure. A day or two after the opening, there was a takeover so that kiddies could do donuts. Took about 15 minutes before an idiot in a Hellcat lost control, took out two other cars, and then got out and ran away. City is going to install cameras, bridge has been closed evenings for the last couple of days.
 

fabian1137

Electromatic
Jul 26, 2022
14
Sweden
I too have never been happy with Gretsch Lacquer finished necks on the last two falcons and SSL that I owned. I have very VERY dry hands, and I'm in California and yet the necks would end up feeling slightly sticky over time. I'd have to hit them w 0000g stainless steel just to be able to play them without getting miffed. Ultimately I sold them and always grumbled to myself that someday I'd get a custom shop gretsch that had a nitro lacquered body w a satin poly neck. Because I loooove my 99' SSU w a well worn poly neck, but wish it wasnt covered in bomb proof poly from hell. But... then I got the Gretsch Setzer SMOKE, oh Lordy.. its "semi-gloss" lacquer and it feels like my old 56' Gib ES-150. They cracked the code, or whatever that means... you know what I'm saying. :)
Oh nice, the finish on those Setzer Smoke models look really good. I'm not very fond of the superglossy new look on guitars and that model seem to take care of that problem. If I only could afford one...
 

Uncle Daddy

Friend of Fred
Jan 19, 2012
5,911
Maldon UK
It's a really thin lacquer over a poly base to prevent cracking and therefore warranty issues. It's slightly less "glassy" than a poly coat, but it can wear through and leave a tidemark. From 10 feet away, you can't really tell the difference, IMO.
 

Craig Encinitas

Gretschie
May 3, 2021
287
Encinitas, Ca
I too have never been happy with Gretsch Lacquer finished necks on the last two falcons and SSL that I owned. I have very VERY dry hands, and I'm in California and yet the necks would end up feeling slightly sticky over time. I'd have to hit them w 0000g stainless steel just to be able to play them without getting miffed. Ultimately I sold them and always grumbled to myself that someday I'd get a custom shop gretsch that had a nitro lacquered body w a satin poly neck. Because I loooove my 99' SSU w a well worn poly neck, but wish it wasnt covered in bomb proof poly from hell. But... then I got the Gretsch Setzer SMOKE, oh Lordy.. its "semi-gloss" lacquer and it feels like my old 56' Gib ES-150. They cracked the code, or whatever that means... you know what I'm saying. :)

When we get dry Santa Ana days in the fall-winter, forget it! It’s Tele time with the super satin neck.
I can’t play any neck that is poly or nitro gloss coat. Baby powder on the palm helps for a minute, but the frustration isn’t worth it. 😾
 

G5422T

Country Gent
May 24, 2012
4,073
usa
LA just opened a new bridge -- the 6th Street Aquaduct. Nice bridge to walk on, except for the youtube idiots looking for viral exposure. A day or two after the opening, there was a takeover so that kiddies could do donuts. Took about 15 minutes before an idiot in a Hellcat lost control, took out two other cars, and then got out and ran away. City is going to install cameras, bridge has been closed evenings for the last couple of days.

Key word, "idiot." Respect the power.

So I'll keep both my good smelling guitars and my car.
 

diamoroso

Gretschie
Feb 4, 2019
185
San Diego, CA
I'm actually kind of surprised by the amount of responses here preferring the lacquer Gretsch finishes, but of course there are no wrong answers. My 6120 has a lacquer finish, and my Falcon poly, and to me the really don't feel that different, both finishes really nice, not too thick, feel great in my hands. The difference between my two guitar's finishes are extremely subtle (ignoring color of course), which is in contrast to the nitro of my Gibsons and poly of my Fenders, where the differences in feel are quite obvious. I do not think I would want a poly Gibson, however based on my experience, lacquer vs poly on a Gretsch proline makes no difference to me. I guess I might prefer the poly even, since scratches show so much easier on the lacquer, however it's black, and I'm sure that's a factor.
 


Top