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Discussion Starter #1
I’m getting my Johnny Marr jaguar refinished and was thinking about buying a “thin skin” jazzmaster that is a really sweet deal.

My question is do they have the same poly sealer and then nitro finish like the Johnny Marr jaguar or are they actually 100% nitro. I don’t want the whole debate on nitro vs poly thing. Just if you buy a guitar that says it’s nitro and like the way it looks when it ages naturally, to me is the whole reason why I would buy a nitro or thin skin as they call it. The poly sealer coat will never let the aging process happen. I have a few custom shop fenders that are nitro and both have the finish starting to sink into the grain of the wood, looks cool.

So are they truly nitro?
 

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The Fender reissue "nitro" guitar I own is checking, grain highly visible, and wearing in very nicely. I would imagine that's about as good as I can hope for. The Thin Skin Jazzys are beautiful instruments, about as close to a vintage Jazzmaster I've ever felt. Some of those colours are fantastic as well as hard to find!

Here is what Fender says:

thin-skin nitrocellulose lacquer, which has a thinner sanding sealer or lacquer undercoat.

Did some more digging. Thin Skin appears to be one of the non coated designs. Pure Nitro!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ok cool. The Johnny Marr jaguar specs say nitro but under the nitro is a fairly thick coat of ploy. I will never see the paint fade or sink into the grain.

The thin skin jazzmaster will be coming from another L&M which I cannot see in person. I can only go by the specs online. Both saying nitro but mine is not 100% true.

What fender reissue do you have?
 

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Ok cool. The Johnny Marr jaguar specs say nitro but under the nitro is a fairly thick coat of ploy. I will never see the paint fade or sink into the grain.

The thin skin jazzmaster will be coming from another L&M which I cannot see in person. I can only go by the specs online. Both saying nitro but mine is not 100% true.

What fender reissue do you have?
I have a 8-9 year old Road Worn Tele in Blonde Nitro. The type of wood also plays into it. JM is Alder, my Tele is Ash, so it'll show the grain more just because. I have a new 60's JM "Lacquer" guitar and it has the poly undercoat with the nitro finish as a comparison. The finish will age/check/yellow and thin out too though, but never like the Tele will. Even with the poly dip, the Nitro finish still ages in ways a poly finish never will.

I could press a thumbnail into the finish on my Tele. However, I would break my thumb before I dented my Shell Pink reissue Strat because it's Poly.
 
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I’m getting my Johnny Marr jaguar refinished and was thinking about buying a “thin skin” jazzmaster that is a really sweet deal.

My question is do they have the same poly sealer and then nitro finish like the Johnny Marr jaguar or are they actually 100% nitro. I don’t want the whole debate on nitro vs poly thing. Just if you buy a guitar that says it’s nitro and like the way it looks when it ages naturally, to me is the whole reason why I would buy a nitro or thin skin as they call it. The poly sealer coat will never let the aging process happen. I have a few custom shop fenders that are nitro and both have the finish starting to sink into the grain of the wood, looks cool.

So are they truly nitro?

On another forum (TDPRI I believe) a long time Fender employee (Custom Shop as well as regular production) has posted that every Fender made since the '50s has a poly sealer undercoat.
 

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On another forum (TDPRI I believe) a long time Fender employee (Custom Shop as well as regular production) has posted that every Fender made since the '50s has a poly sealer undercoat.
I've read that as well, but I personally have a 1964 Jazzmaster that begs to differ. I see lacquer chipping off straight onto bare wood, with no sign of an additional "layer". There might be a dip of some sort they ran them through but there is no evidence of it being some kind of plastic shell like many might imply. This 1964 would fall into the "Heavy Relic" category with a LOT of exposed wood. Maybe it being a sunburst changes that, I dunno. Some Fender guitars do seem to be encased in something, there are photos on the net (so it has to be true), but these thin skins are not that.

I guess it would depend on what one classifies as a "poly base" too. If that's just a skim coat to smooth out the guitar surface and seal in the grain/knots I wouldn't be terribly upset with that (which I suspect might have happened with my 64, if anything). Wood is alive long after it's dead.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah I don’t think since the 50’s fender used the poly to seal the body. They definitely used a sealer over the bare wood but definitely not poly. The poly was a lot faster and easier to apply, it’s basically epoxy. It was also safer and cheaper, that’s why they started using it.

I had a avri precision bass the had a chunk of the finish missing at the neck joint. It was probably a 1/4” think chunk of poly then the white nitro over that. Late 60’s is supposedly when fender started using the plastic poly coating to seal the wood.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have a 8-9 year old Road Worn Tele in Blonde Nitro. The type of wood also plays into it. JM is Alder, my Tele is Ash, so it'll show the grain more just because. I have a new 60's JM "Lacquer" guitar and it has the poly undercoat with the nitro finish as a comparison. The finish will age/check/yellow and thin out too though, but never like the Tele will. Even with the poly dip, the Nitro finish still ages in ways a poly finish never will.

I could press a thumbnail into the finish on my Tele. However, I would break my thumb before I dented my Shell Pink reissue Strat because it's Poly.
Yes the JM is alder so it won’t have the grain that the ash body would have. The finish was definitely checking but in a horrible way, it just kept chipping off even if I looked at it long enough it would start to chip!
 

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The Custom Shops are likely all Nitro, as are the Thin Skin series from everything I've read (thin skins aren't cheap, and have the beautiful body coloured headstock). Other Nitro guitars they make (like the Mexican beauties) are Nitrocellulose over Poly (like mine). Poly smooths out the wood, makes a nice uniform surface for certain finishes, after all this is CAR PAINT! One reason to buy "natural" finished guitars I suppose?

That being said, my Tele was done in the Nitro over Poly process, but the grain shows beautifully, so how thick can this poly layer really be? Although there is a significant amount of finish checking (Road Worn + my main bar guitar) I'm not experiencing anything like you are close to describing, regarding wear. They are (were? did they change em yet?) such an amazing sounding Telecaster. I didn't really like the Road Worn aspect (meh), but the nitro finish, the tone of the guitar, brilliant neck and overall feel, I left with it that day. I had even derided the style, but then I played it....

Nitro applied over poly? I still wouldn't sweat it. Thin Skins will be the closest thing around in this situation, either way. Oh, and what colour is the Thin Skin JM?
 

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The 11th post in this thread includes the info I was talking about that was originally posted by a former Fender employee:

Tele Bodies. Whats under the hood.



Pardon my typos. I've lost alot of brain cells in my day. Could it be the 'Nitro'.

The first Fender lap steel was finished in black enamel. When Doc Kauffman and Leo formed K&F guitars in 1945, their original instruments, including the amplifiers, were finished in a lead based, wrinkle coat enamel. A nice shade of Battleship Grey. That was the only color available. After expermenting with different woods other than pine for guitars, they began using nitrocellulose lacquer. They used what was available to the furniture trade at the time.
The original colors were blonde, sunburst, etc... just like your Grandmas coffee table.

Custom colors were introduced in 1955. Once again they were enamel. The same material they used in the auto industry. The enamel would not adhere to the stearate based nitocellulose sanding sealer. Acrylic lacquers were then developed by Dupont to be sprayed on material other than metal. "Duco colors". In order for the paint to adhere, Fender began using a Sherwin Williams product called Homoclad. It was a penetrating, heavy solid, oil based sealer used as a barrier coat to to provide better adhesion for their guitars with custom colors. It was applied by dipping the guitar bodies directly into a 55 gallon drum, filled with the product. ALL Fender guitars produced after 1955 used this product until 1967, when Fender began experimenting with polyesters an undercoat.

By 1968, virtually all Fender guitar products used polyester as an undercoat, including necks. It's a two part product using Methyl Ethyl Ketone(MEK) as a catalyst. The reason the face of the pegheads were not sealed with polyester, is because type 'C' decals (under the finish) would not adhere to the product. While it is true a few guitars may have squeaked by with homoclad, when homoclad wasn't available, they used a Fuller O'Brian product called Ful-O-Plast. PLASTIC!!! It's obvious to me that those necks or bodies were stragglers, having to be reworked for some reason or another and not shipped after the change.

I'd like to make one thing clear... ALL FENDER GUITARS PRODUCED AFTER 1968 HAD A POLYESTER UNDERCOAT WITH A LACQUER TOPCOAT!!! There is no specific ratio. Enough poly was, and is sprayed to properly fill the grain while preventig a burn through while sanding.

In 1983, Fender began using polyuerthane as a topcoat. It cured quicker. It had better clarity. It had more depth and gloss, and didn't melt when you accidently spilled 151 on it. Fender then discontinued the use of polyester on the necks. Polyurethane is a 2 part product using a catalyst.

Fender has continued to use polyester, polyurethane, nitro, homoclad, and Ful-O-Plast.

Nitro is not a superior finish. An electric guitar doesn't 'breathe' at 120 db.

My first year at Fender I personally painted approximately 46,000 guitars. I like polyester. I like Nitro colors too. But maybe I'll let the players that use poly (ester or urethane) speak for themselves...

Billy Gibbons, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Joe Perry, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Roccco Prestia, Jimmie Vaughn, Nils Lofgren, Vince Gill, Chet Atkins, Tom Hamilton, Lenny Kravitz, Merle Haggard, Don Rich, Darryl Jones, Mike Stern, Larry Carlton, Peter Frampton, Sting, Marty Stuart, just to name a few. More are available upon request.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes fender did dip the bodies in a lacquer to seal the wood in the 50’s-60’s then in the late 60’s they switched to the polyester plastic coating.

The JM jaguar I have was chipped away on purpose by the previous owner. I tried to blend it in by feathering the edges but it just was not possible due to the poly coating underneath. It just looked like a child’s relic attempt.

The jazzmaster thin skin is I’m pretty sure sonic blue. It’s now on hold by someone else!! I’m waiting to hear if it’s sold or not. I go into Mcquade around the first of the week and get them to check the newly used inventory across Canada.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yes I read most of that before. Definitely a lot of good info. I think the jazzmaster is gone. I didn’t hear anything back yet.
 
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