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Stratocaster, refinish or leave it as it is ?

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  • Stratocaster, refinish or leave it as it is ?

    Hey guys, i have this beautiful 2018 american special stratocaster in sonic blue, bought it new and intend to keep it forever, HOWEVER, i didn't expect the paint to be this sort of thick plastic coating (polyurethane) which i now reckon will never age (at least not like the vintage strats).

    I'm considering a NITRO lacquer refinish (professionally done), and i'm aware i'll be devaluing the instrument, just wanted to know what are your opinions on this because it's always good to see things from different perspectives and i might be missing something worth considering.

    PS: i've played for years with my father's 70s sunburst strat and i love it, this is why i got a strat with big headstock in the first place, it's supposed to be my definite/number one guitar


  • #2
    I also don't like those thick plastic-y feeling poly finishes.

    Some poly finishes are ok, like my older Deluxe Nashville Tele has. (sunburst)
    It's poly but seems thin-ish, and doesn't feel like the whole thing was dipped in plastic.
    Being poly it will never "age" like nitro, but I'm ok with that.

    If you are keeping it forever, then sure, strip it and have a nitro finish applied.

    Only caveat would be, if you go for a transparent or semi transparent finish, like a sunburst,
    you might be surprised at what is hiding under that solid color. (good or bad)

    If you have it refinished in a solid opaque color, then it won't matter what the wood underneath looks like.

    FWIW I stripped a cheap pawnshop Strat type guitar for the same reason. (thick plastic finish)
    It ended up being plywood, so I did a solid opaque finish.

    Good luck whatever you decide!
    If it ain't broke I'll fix it until it is...

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    • #3
      I wouldn't refinish it.
      I would instead trade it for a reissue that has the nitro finish.
      GL,
      T


      "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
      Terry

      Comment


      • #4
        Have fun removing the old poly. Not easy.

        It would be much easier to buy another body and finish it how you want. You can get generic strat bodies as low as $45.

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree that refinishing is not the way to go. The easiest thing might be to get another body, either prefinished or finished to your specs, and then rebuild the guitar with that. That way you will still have the original body along with whatever value that has.

          Comment


          • #6
            If it's just the "too shiny" thing that bothers you (I don't like it either). You can take a Scotch-Brite pad and carefully scuff the finish a bit. Then, give it a light buffing to taste. It will take some time, but will dull the finish enough to make it look much like a nitrocellulose finish. I've done this on a few Epiphone Les Pauls and they look much better, IMO.

            Edit: Here's an example of one.

            https://imgur.com/gallery/9uV56
            Last edited by The Dude; 06-22-2019, 12:28 AM.
            "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

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            • #7
              There is a plethora of boutique replacements bodies out there in infinite nitro colors if you look. You could also sell your new USA body for decent money. I guarantee someone wants it. Not everyone has the same asthetics...
              Last edited by olddawg; 06-22-2019, 12:39 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by The Dude View Post
                If it's just the "too shiny" thing that bothers you (I don't like it either). You can take a Scotch-Brite pad and carefully scuff the finish a bit. Then, give it a light buffing to taste. It will take some time, but will dull the finish enough to make it look much like a nitrocellulose finish. I've done this on a few Epiphone Les Pauls and they look much better, IMO.
                This works. But you have to use the "fine" scotch bright pad. The white one.

                But I think it's the "age to yellow pea green" thing that the OP is wanting. Something the catalyzed finish is never going to do.

                Have you seen the finish on some of the "distressed" guitars coming out of the Fender custom shops? I swear they look like they were done in a couple of coats with rattle cans. It's pathetic. You can actually do a very good job with rattle cans, but these look like two coats of hardware store Krylon straight to the wood with two coats of spray can lacquer on top left unpolished. Shameful.
                "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

                "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

                "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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                • #9
                  Oh yes. I agree- the fine Scotch-Brite pad. And, best to start on the back till you get the hang of it and see what it's going to do. Don't be afraid, you can always buff it back smoother. That polyurethane finish is thick. I also added a link above, so you can see the effect of doing this. As I said, I have done this myself and am quite happy with the results.
                  Last edited by The Dude; 06-22-2019, 01:03 AM.
                  "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    thank you all for the replies, you gave me a lot to think about ! I should have also mentioned that i want to keep it sonic blue, it's the finish that bothers me

                    Originally posted by galaxiex View Post
                    I also don't like those thick plastic-y feeling poly finishes.

                    Some poly finishes are ok, like my older Deluxe Nashville Tele has. (sunburst)
                    It's poly but seems thin-ish, and doesn't feel like the whole thing was dipped in plastic.
                    Being poly it will never "age" like nitro, but I'm ok with that.
                    I also got a tele with poly finish but at least it is possible to see the wood grain, so i imagine it's either not as thick or simply transparent

                    Originally posted by big_teee View Post
                    I wouldn't refinish it.
                    I would instead trade it for a reissue that has the nitro finish.
                    GL,
                    T
                    There's one issue with my father's guitar, i has the three bolt on neck wich is sort of unreliable, 4 bolt is the way to go

                    Originally posted by mozz View Post
                    Have fun removing the old poly. Not easy.

                    It would be much easier to buy another body and finish it how you want. You can get generic strat bodies as low as $45.
                    I wouldn't be removing it myself, this would be done by a professional who's proven to deliver good paint jobs, he quoted me 150 and 3 months to get it done (He's friends with a friend of mine who plays for a living).

                    As for the generic strat bodies, i would need to check the quality differences between mine and aftermarket

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by brunobliss View Post
                      I wouldn't be removing it myself, this would be done by a professional who's proven to deliver good paint jobs, he quoted me 150€ and 3 months to get it done (He's friends with a friend of mine who plays for a living).
                      If you have good reason to believe in this guy that's an amazing price for Sonic blue with nitro finish over existing or after stripping. A Warmoth body (alder, Sonic blue, nitro) would be about $390 US!!!

                      The original paint on the vintage instruments was enamel (a vague term that could mean a lot of things actually) made by "Duco" (?) I think that was the name. And then plain nitro on top. Enamels of different types have their own age and discoloration properties. And then lacquer has it's own. I seriously doubt that one could hope for a vintage correct finish that would age like the original being applied by anyone now. JM2C.
                      "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

                      "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

                      "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well i been giving this a lot of thought and after considering it all i might leave it as is, maybe in the future i'll just end up getting my own custom shop strat and make it right. For now i'm keeping this all original <3

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well there are still options. Maybe in five or ten years when it has some scratches and dings, the "new guitar smell" has worn off and if you find it's not becoming a really expensive collector model you could "distress" it and spray on a coat of amber tinted finish to get close to that sickly green color everybody loves Sure, it's fake mojo, but it still looks cool.
                          "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

                          "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

                          "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Chuck H View Post
                            Well there are still options. Maybe in five or ten years when it has some scratches and dings, the "new guitar smell" has worn off and if you find it's not becoming a really expensive collector model you could "distress" it and spray on a coat of amber tinted finish to get close to that sickly green color everybody loves Sure, it's fake mojo, but it still looks cool.
                            knowing myself very well, the idea won't go away until i do something about it only time will tell

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by brunobliss View Post
                              Well i been giving this a lot of thought and after considering it all i might leave it as is, maybe in the future i'll just end up getting my own custom shop strat and make it right. For now i'm keeping this all original <3

                              Oh, now that's real nice guitar porn
                              If it still won't get loud enough, it's probably broken. - Steve Conner
                              If the thing works, stop fixing it. - Enzo
                              We need more chaos in music, in art... I'm here to make it. - Justin Thomas
                              MANY things in human experience can be easily differentiated, yet *impossible* to express as a measurement. - Juan Fahey

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