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Fender Finishes over the years?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by tplyons, Jul 5, 2005.


  1. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    We all know Fender used Nitrocellulose at one point, polyurethane now along with polyester on the MIM's. When did Fender make all the changes and why?

    Especially want to know what they used on my '78 P.
     
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Hey,

    The swichover from Nitro to Poly happened in 1968. Your 70's is a poly finish, except for the headstock, which does have nitro, to preserve the condition of the decal.

    I believe the change happened for several reasons...colorfastness & hardiness of Poly finishes and also the fact that the paint manufacturers were moving to Poly (mostly for cars, which is where fender and gibson originally got their colors).

    I tried to do a quick look up in a few reference books I have, but couldn't come up with anything more than that.
     
  3. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Okay, just wanted to see because my finish is really soft for poly.
     
  4. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I used to think that, until I had a nitro finished guitar...which is much more prone to damage...I think the Poly that was used in the 70's is thinner than the finishes of the 80's that I grew up with, which were a much thicker 'candy coat', giving that impression. I have a 73 Precision that I don't think is any more delicate than my 90's era stuff, but it has so much wear and checking, it's hard to tell.
     
  5. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Well, my short thumbnail is doing a number on the finish right above the thumbrest, I can feel it digging in.

    Some guitar polishes are reacting pretty badly causing major fogging of the finish as well. I have swirls from one finish and it looks like it's melting other places. All pretty minor but it's starting to bug me.
     
  6. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I have a sunburst, and get fogging too. I don't use any polishes any more on it...I on occasion use 'lighter fluid' (naptha) to clean it, but not very often, and usually not to great effect. I've kinda resigned myself to the fact that the bass is a glorious, beautiful mess.
     
  7. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Would naptha harm the finish?

    I've been using Dunlop 65 on everything and this is the first problem I've encountered, and the Gibson polish is creating horribleness on this thing. Lucky it was a small area.
     
  8. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I've been told that it doesn't, and haven't had anything happen when I do use it. I'm sure there are some people here who can tell you for sure, but it was a local tech here who suggested it to me for removal of long term grunge.
     
  9. pedroferreira

    pedroferreira

    Feb 10, 2003
    Portugal

    I have a 78' Jazz sunburst and it happens the same with mine :crying:
     
  10. gilbass

    gilbass

    Jun 15, 2005
    fife scotland uk
    hi guy`s, might be able to help here.There is a couple of reasons for the fogging and soft finish,it could be either of these,the first is what is known as the the finish being soft,this is caused by the catalyst in the poly finish not going off properly,once this happens the finish can never go hard,the way to test is with your thumb nail.The second reason is a great bit of fender folklore. In the mid seventy`s fender would finish loads of instruments in natural over ash,this was the most popular at the time.When big back orders came in for other colours, mostly sunburst, they would flat sand the finish on the natural instuments and spray them sunburst, they looked fine and went out to customers but very quickly suffered from fogging and the sunburst would wear off really quick. Check out any sunburst jazz between 74-78 they all seem to suffer from this,and when the sunburst wears of there is a perfect satin natural finish beneath.
     
  11. pedroferreira

    pedroferreira

    Feb 10, 2003
    Portugal

    Really???

    My finish has some dents (some of them big) and I’d swear that it had a finish underneath!!!
     
  12. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Definately sounds feasible. Looks like there's a natural finish under my black where it's worn away.
     
  13. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    That's pretty cool...but I don't think my sunburst has this...there are places were I'm through the finish, and no sign of clearcoat.

    It makes sense to me...knowing fender's history with paintjobs (like those old custom colors that are painted directly over stock colors).
     
  14. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I know a vintage fender snob(much love implied, he's a great guy!!) who uses a Maguiar's automotive wax to clean, protect and conserve his instruments. I cannot remember the specific number(Maguiar's Professional products all have a number). This guy is currently out of the country so hopefully someone will chime in with the specific information. He's got some big dollar pieces, he also PLAYS these instruments and I am confident he knows what's good for them.
    By the way I had an 83 Jazz that I treated poorly. I rode her hard and put her away wet more often than not. The paint was tough as nails!!
     
  15. The short answer to your question is that Fender simply used what was state of the art at that particular period in it's history.
    They used automotive colors and products. (Dupont)
    In the early days Nitro was the finish of choice, (in the automotive industry) so it made perfect sense to use that technology.
    If you research when the paint manufacturers launched new products, (i.e. Duco to Lucite) in the Automotive industry, you should see a pattern of Fender utilizing these new products shortly thereafter.
    Hope that helps.