Opinions on the nitrocellulose lacquer Gretsch uses

TobyB

Electromatic
Nov 22, 2021
76
UK
French polish is a shellac technique, button-polish often diluted further with more turpentine, it's all about applying very thin layers very evenly, then sanding back lightly with very fine grade abrasive, then another ... repeat and repeat to build up a deep high gloss finish, that is then enhanced with wax polish.
Fine furniture applications ... takes a lot of skill and practice to cover large table or cabinet surfaces mirror-smooth. Neat repairs to damage takes a lot of patience in my experience! And learning to do it well, be prepared to sand it all off and start again. Not the most robust finish, easily water-marked for instance. Not very practical for instruments.
 

Stefan87

Country Gent
May 20, 2019
2,991
Brisbane, Australia
My 2009 6120SSL hasn't got any real issues, yes it feels a bit different then my other poly prolines but I can't complain about it, it definitely has aged a bit more so then the others but I haven't got any cracking or anything like that, well actually the only thing I can say is there is a small little chip under the bigsby when a string slipped of the peg when doing a string change once which annoys me a bit to be honest.

In saying that though out of all my hollowbodies it gets the least amount of play time so maybe that has something to do with it, personally though I'd prefer a thin coat of poly over nitro but that's just me.
 

fabian1137

Electromatic
Jul 26, 2022
14
Sweden
I feel you. But check out the classified sites outside of Sweden. I got my 6120-1959 LTV from a Hungarian music store that was shifting inventory during Covid for a huge deal.


Yeah, I want to talk to my tech next time I bring the old girl in for service about getting some of the super flaky spots touched up, but I'm not sure what's exactly going on with that clear coat and it gives me a bit of a pause.
Nice catch! I regularly check Reverb and Vintage & Rare. Do you have any other sites you could recommend?
 

fabian1137

Electromatic
Jul 26, 2022
14
Sweden
My 2009 6120SSL hasn't got any real issues, yes it feels a bit different then my other poly prolines but I can't complain about it, it definitely has aged a bit more so then the others but I haven't got any cracking or anything like that, well actually the only thing I can say is there is a small little chip under the bigsby when a string slipped of the peg when doing a string change once which annoys me a bit to be honest.

In saying that though out of all my hollowbodies it gets the least amount of play time so maybe that has something to do with it, personally though I'd prefer a thin coat of poly over nitro but that's just me.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm in the market for a Gretsch and I want that "aged" look so I guess something with a nitro finish will be better for me.
 

BuddyHollywood

Gretschie
Sep 11, 2009
494
Venice, CA
My 2011 Duo Jet is finished in nitrocellulose lacquer and it's more poly looking and feeling than an old Gibson. There isn't too much difference in the appearance compared to polyurethane or polyester finished guitars. However, where it's wearing on the edges it has that great nitrocellulose wear as opposed to chipping. 10 years later and it still smells great when I open the case.
 

KuKuKu

Gretschie
Aug 28, 2016
467
Germany
Nice catch! I regularly check Reverb and Vintage & Rare. Do you have any other sites you could recommend?
Here you go:
 

radd

Friend of Fred
Dec 27, 2017
5,860
Santa Cruz
I have only had one neck I couldn’t tame with either micro mesh pads or steel wool and that was a Gibson Les Paul with a super thick lacquer finish on the neck that never fully cured. It was always soft and sticky and could not be sanded….I sold it.

I have no problem with the Poly or lacquer finishes on my recent Gretschs.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
18,715
Petaluma
Hmmm

So long as it’s orange I don’t care what they paint it with and. nobody ever died because of the paint on their guitar. A life in rock and roll……now that’s hazardous to health !!
Perhaps not but the people making them can develop illness and die if that matters. No one's guitar is important enough to unnecessarily endanger someone else. ymmv.
 

BohemianLikeMe

Synchromatic
Apr 18, 2020
703
Prague, CZ
Nice catch! I regularly check Reverb and Vintage & Rare. Do you have any other sites you could recommend?
Sure! For Germany, try ebay-Kleinanzeigen, which is basically German eBay’s classified ads. Then there’s Willhaben.at which is Austrian. I’d also recommend Zinkinf.com which is French, and Gsfanatic.hu which is a Hungarian site where I got my 6120. There’s also the Czech and Slovak sites but they tend to overprice their wares.
 

Falconetti

Gretschie
Sep 18, 2012
392
Bagsville, Oxford UK
Perhaps not but the people making them can develop illness and die if that matters. No one's guitar is important enough to unnecessarily endanger someone else. ymmv.
I just play 'em brother. I try not to extrapolate from my humble situation to the behaviour of global corporations because I know nothing of such things. I have learned to just play my guitar, sing the blues and do my best version of the right thing every chance I get. YMMV
 

fabian1137

Electromatic
Jul 26, 2022
14
Sweden
Here you go:
Thank you! Wish me luck.😅
 

Curt

Electromatic
Mar 7, 2022
52
Hopewell, NJ
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!
I don't know why it was listed that the nitrocellulose is painted over polyester, it isn't it appears to be vinyl ester.
 

Curt

Electromatic
Mar 7, 2022
52
Hopewell, NJ
When companies started using polyESTER it was very thick and never really cured which was a complete tone suck. The polyester that's sprayed now is very thin and cures to a hard finish that's resonate. My issues with polyESTER on arch tops or acoustics is what it does to the wood. Since the inside is completely unfinished and the outside is completely finished it stresses the wood which wants to cup because the polyester doesn't allow the wood to "breathe" where lacquer is porous and allows moisture to flow through.
 

fabian1137

Electromatic
Jul 26, 2022
14
Sweden
When companies started using polyESTER it was very thick and never really cured which was a complete tone suck. The polyester that's sprayed now is very thin and cures to a hard finish that's resonate. My issues with polyESTER on arch tops or acoustics is what it does to the wood. Since the inside is completely unfinished and the outside is completely finished it stresses the wood which wants to cup because the polyester doesn't allow the wood to "breathe" where lacquer is porous and allows moisture to flow through.
That makes sense, never thought about that. If it's possible, could you explain the difference between polyester and vinylester?
 


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