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In response to that author's lack of knowledge about wood finishes, I only got one thing to say:

Bob Flexner - Understanding Wood Finishing

I was turned on to this book, and I'm reading through it right now. Flesner has the real scoop on wood finishes, not whoever wrote that article.

As for how the finish will effect the tone, that's debateable. It's especially debateable with solidbody electrics. In an acoustic instrument, the motion of the air inside the instrument and the vibrating of the wood create the tone. If the wood is so sealed up that it can't vibrate, there's a big problem. In electrics, however, the wood greatly effects the tone, but I really don't believe the finish would alter it to the degree that author is claimin it would.

Consider: the body is 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick. It just isn't going to vibrate very much. If the wood is wrapped in concrete, maybe that'd to something to the tone. Any regular finish, though, I highly doubt would noticeably alter the tone.

That being said, I'm a rookie at this. Any of you long-term guys have anything to add?

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Didn't look at the link, but 2nd the Flexner book. As with any of the many perectly good finishing options, properly applying the finish is what counts. A well applied finish should only be as thick as is needed to give an effective degree of protection (both from moisture and light abrasion *note no finish will stop moisture transfer due to humidity, there is a point at which additional thickness provides little additional benifit). Don't buy into too much hype if someone is selling a specific product.

Wood pickgaurd? They can look cool, but Strats have plastic and they don't look too bad either.

Peace,Rich

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nitro lacquer and catalyzed (or pre-cat as the case may be) lacquer are two completely different animals, they are barely in the same ballpark.

That would be like saying...I'm going to give Marine Grade Varnish a try, it dries harder than lacquer and is chemical, mar, and UV resistant.

...which is all true, btw, but do you know what it takes to apply varnish and buff it out?

Professional buff equipment, that's what.

= $$$'s. :D

A completely different set of parameters than standard nitro lac for application and finishing, not even remotely the same product.

Besides, it can do permanent damage to your central nervous system if you don't suit up and respirate properly. B)

Remember those 'this is your brain on drugs' commercials?

Yeah, like that... Catalyzed Lacquer is seriously heavy duty chemical, will totally ruin your guns if you don't clean them religiously, won't buff to a high gloss unless you have a professional pedestal buffing system...you take CL at your own risk. :D :D

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That would be like saying...I'm going to give Marine Grade Varnish a try, it dries harder than lacquer and is chemical, mar, and UV resistant.

...which is all true, btw, but do you know what it takes to apply varnish and buff it out?

Well, there's Marine Grade Varnish and then there's Marine Grade Varnish...the stuff I've been playing around with is rated for marine use, but it's an all-natural, non-toxic tung oil-based product that dilutes with white spirit. Definitely the most environmentally friendly product that I've found.

But I agree it's much fussier than nitro to work with. I'm getting better with working with it (I don't have spray equipment yet, I think that will make it easier to deal with)... and a major disadvantage is that it has a brownish tint to it, which deepens which each coat, so you have to love a brown-toned guitar (probably would look great with a vintage style burst though).

I like nitro but I find it more and more difficult to accept its toxicity--both for me and for the rest of the world.

For the next guitar, I'm thinking of trying out one of the water-based lacquers that Stewmac and LMII are selling.

As for the voodoo part...well, we're talking about electric guitars here. There's just no way the finish has that much of an impact. Anyone who says different is probably trying to sell you something.

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