Which finish would YOU choose?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Gbass75, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. I'm having a custom P-Bass built (as evidenced by some of my other content)...

    The first go at the bass was finished in oil (as I wanted a "natural" look)... and the completed instrument was STUNNING, but turned out to be much heavier than I could ever play in a bass. The builder understood, and is now building a second bass.

    He wrote to me today, asking if I wanted to go with an oil finish again or would I prefer a clear amber nitro finish... and, you know what? I'm not sure!

    So, the question for you is this... if you were having a custom bass built, which would you choose -- oil or nitro -- and why?

    Thanks everyone!!!
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    If the grain is pretty I would go with oil. It's understated and beautiful on the right piece of wood. If they can do the nitro in a "semi gloss" that would be my next choice. Mirror finishes on wood grain don't do it for me at all.
    gebass6 likes this.
  3. Awesome Sauce

    Awesome Sauce Already tired tomorrow

    Dec 21, 2011
    NW Chicago 'burbs
    I vastly prefer real oil finishes to anything else; a very thin wiping varnish is a close second. That said, I hate everything about nitro, and most other, lacquer- from the application process through the upkeep. Just can not stand the stuff.
    gebass6 likes this.
  4. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    I also think that oil finishes look amazing (on the right wood).
    gebass6 likes this.
  5. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Nitro is a temporary finish, fragile and effectively obsolete. The whole "nitro breathes" notion is ridiculous. An oil finish allows the natural grain to be felt on the surface, which appeals to me in the way poly finish doesnt. An oil finish on the neck keeps it fast, not "sticky". Go with oil.
    Greener and Awesome Sauce like this.
  6. Going with oil! Thanks, y'all!
    gebass6 likes this.
  7. Almost three months later... here it is!
    I am VERY PLEASED with the oil finish! Thanks for the input!!!
  8. Greener


    Jan 23, 2014
    Boy, did you ever make the right choice.
  9. Thanks, Greener! I'm very happy with it!
    Greener likes this.
  10. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    That bass brings back strong memories of the 1970's. It looks like all the obscenely-heavy ash-bodied precisions, and the no-contours body reminds me of some of the "international" series colored ones I saw at a shop in Collinsville, Illinois many moons ago.

    In short, it's a fascinating looking bass...

    That I do not want.

    (Like a Rickenbacker.)

    Good job, though!
  11. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    That's one beefy slab! What's she weigh?
    basslicks likes this.
  12. Flaked Beans

    Flaked Beans

    Sep 9, 2005
    Jah Wobble Fan likes this.
  13. She's 9.46 lbs... however, I almost don't believe it! It doesn't feel like it weighs that much!
    Jah Wobble Fan likes this.
  14. basslicks

    basslicks Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2015
    If you fought a really big tree with that thing then I think the tree would lose. That is one beast of a bass! I dig it.
  15. It's actually modeled after the slab-bodied precision basses that arrived in England in 1966... hence the name... "Slab66."

    Glad you don't want it... 'Cause you can't have it!!!

  16. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006

    IMO nitro's one positive feature as a finish is that it (like shellac) is easy to re-float or repair if it gets damaged. As a finish, it's far from being obsolete even if it really isn't the best choice of finishes for a guitar when it's compared to some of the alternatives. Truth is, it's probably better suited for something that is kept in one place (with a fairly stable climate) where it is lightly used and well taken care of.

    Musical instruments aren't always similarly fortunate.
    Gbass75 likes this.