EBMM Refins to Nitro Lacquer?

EBMM Refins to Nitro Lacquer?

Postby Ben Esparza » Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:32 pm

Have any of you taken the plunge and had your EBMM basses refin'd to nitro lacquer? I'm not sure what EB uses for the body finishes but I wonder if refin'ing to nitro lacquer will improve the tone of an already awesome bass and let that wood sing. I know I can tell the difference on my 73 Fendr Precision Fiesta Red refin. I've got a '94 MMSR and a 2000 MMSR5. Opinions?
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Re: EBMM Refins to Nitro Lacquer?

Postby harleyyy » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:53 pm

I read this post from an apparent builder, and it surely makes a lot of sense to me...

Sooner or later the old poly/nitro thing comes up when there's any post about finishes. There will never be a conclusive result to the debate, in the end it's just a matter of go with what you like personaly. After 30 + years in this game I've come to the conclusion that the differences are at best minimal, especialy at amplified volumes. PRS and Ibanez along with many other makers use poly, Fender used nitro over Fullerplast and so it goes on. Many current nitro formulas contain up to 25% "plasticisers" anyway, so it's quite possible that if you buy a new nitro finished guitar it's finish will not be the same, nor transmit sound the same, as an original nitro finish from the 40's or 50's.
Personaly I've used nitro, poly, acrylic, shellac and oil type finishes over the years, but always as thin as I can possibly get away with. I think finish thickness can be an important, but often overlooked factor. As long as the customer, or myself is satisfied with the look, feel and sound of a finished instrument, then I'm happy. Whether the effect a certain finish has is real or placebo, doesn't matter if it makes a difference to the instruments owner and I'm not going to try and convince anyone that they don't hear what they believe they hear, whether that's some difference or no difference.


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Re: EBMM Refins to Nitro Lacquer?

Postby Rod Trussbroken » Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:18 am

The Sting Rays started off with Nitro in 1976 before changing to polyester and then to polyurethane after that. I don't know why they changed but I imagine it may have been a durability issue? Some of their Nitros also had a Blue tinge to them depending on the angle of view. The current Rays use polyester.

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Re: EBMM Refins to Nitro Lacquer?

Postby hoytbasses » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:50 am

my hunch would be ease of application/polishing. with urethanes and polyester, you blast it and after the cure you polish it...... done!

Lacquer is more labor intensive: shoot 3 coats, let sit, level sand, shoot three coats, level sand, shoot 2-3 more, let sit, polish. .. the resultant finish is durable, but not like polyester or urethanes, the up side to lacquer is it's easily repaired as opposed to either of the other two, which are 2 part finishes .

as for sonic quality, my take on it is whenever you remove the glopped-on factory finish which is crazy thick (purposefully, to avoid rub-throughs, the nemesis of lacquer finishing) and put on a thin coat, there will be some change to the tonal pallette. I'd be willing to debate that the sonic difference between urethane, lacquer, or polyester if they are all applied as thinly as possible would be negligible.

I used automotive urethane on my brazilian rosewood acoustic guitar that I built 5-6 years ago. it was shot like lacquer: thin coats sanded back ..... and i doubt that there would be a difference in the sound quality. it sounds gorgeous! but i have noticed that it's a bit more abrasion resistant than lacquer and it filled pores better as well.

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Re: EBMM Refins to Nitro Lacquer?

Postby Caca de Kick » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:49 pm

Rod Trussbroken wrote:The Sting Rays started off with Nitro in 1976 before changing to polyester and then to polyurethane after that. I don't know why they changed but I imagine it may have been a durability issue?

Not only was laquer more labor intensive, but California Air Resource regulation outlawed laquer in factory production, especially in automotive use. I lived in Cal, and my dad was a painter and said laquers were getting harder and harder to obtain. Eventually different equipment had to be made to shoot it, but came with different restrictions.

But as far as my opinion on refinishing an active bass in hopes of drastic tone change? Um no. I refinished one of my Wal basses in poly because it originally came to me with no finish at all, a previous owner sanded it off. Sitting in my living room unplugged as I usually do while watching TV, I can hear a very-very slight difference acoustically in the tightness of the attack, but that's all. Plugged into an amp, no difference at all before/after. A Ray being active as well I really think would be the same result.
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