Nitrocellulose Finish

Tom Bradovich

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Jul 24, 2021
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I see that PRS is using a nitro finish on all guitars as of 2020, so my incoming S2 McCarty Thinline will have that finish. I know that PRS recommends a quality furniture polish, not guitar polish for nitro - but what about cleaning before the polish? Will the PRS cleaner be OK? Anything to avoid? I've read somewhere that necks finished with nitro can get sticky. Any of you experienced this? If so, any fix?
 

LSchefman

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I can vouch for the PRS cleaner. I use it on my nitro PS and Core guitars. I've had great results with Virtuoso polish. It's nitro-safe.

I have 5 guitars with PRS nitro; the necks don't get sticky on any of them, even in summer. There are lots of formulations of nitro, it's not one universal type of finish.

My Gibson necks were always sticky in summer, but they used a different formula.

The problem with furniture polish is that there are a zillion brands and kinds, and you don't know what works or doesn't until you try them. Not worth the risk.

I should also mention that Bodia's suggestion of just using a damp (not wet) microfiber towel, followed by a dry one, using a light touch, will never harm the finish, and usually is all I need to keep the guitars shiny and new looking.
 

Moondog Wily

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I just used the PRS guitar cleaner on my 2021 WL 594 Hollowbody (with nitro) last night and it did a good job. I have used it on all 3 of my 2021 PRSi (all nitro) and have not seen any problems, but I have owned all of them less than 6 months and they have been cleaned only a couple of times during that period. I do wipe them down with a very soft microfiber cloth after every play.

Have not felt any real stickiness on the necks, but am tempted to take the surface finish off for easier slide. Have not found the balls to do that yet on these beauties ;~((

What about cleaning the micro fiber cloths?? I have read over the years that you should not wash them with detergents and fabric softeners due to chemicals and remnants from those products getting built up in the micro fibers, ultimately causing scratches and problems on fine surfaces. Any thoughts on that anyone? Just wash in water? As we all know, not all microfiber cloths are created equal, and the good ones aren't exactly throw away (or repurpose) cheep!
 

SinSir

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I just used the PRS guitar cleaner on my 2021 WL 594 Hollowbody (with nitro) last night and it did a good job. I have used it on all 3 of my 2021 PRSi (all nitro) and have not seen any problems, but I have owned all of them less than 6 months and they have been cleaned only a couple of times during that period. I do wipe them down with a very soft microfiber cloth after every play.

Have not felt any real stickiness on the necks, but am tempted to take the surface finish off for easier slide. Have not found the balls to do that yet on these beauties ;~((

What about cleaning the micro fiber cloths?? I have read over the years that you should not wash them with detergents and fabric softeners due to chemicals and remnants from those products getting built up in the micro fibers, ultimately causing scratches and problems on fine surfaces. Any thoughts on that anyone? Just wash in water? As we all know, not all microfiber cloths are created equal, and the good ones aren't exactly throw away (or repurpose) cheep!

See what PRS does to us! Six months in and we can't even afford microfiber cloths! Junkies.. lol

I wash the cheaper ones in my washer. The type in the packs, on cold water, and air dry. I haven't tried to wash my nice ones in the machine but I have by hand.

.
 

Tom Bradovich

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OK, thanks for the cleaning tips. I'll have to skip the champagne - never been a big fan ;). Regarding a sticky neck, a friend loaned me his old Japanese copy SG once, and playing that thing was like trying to slide your hand through glue. Which is why I wanted to actually play a nitro finished McCarty before buying, but I'm probably worrying about nothing. I also thought about removing the finish from the neck, but that thought lasted about a nanosecond.
 

Alnus Rubra

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OK, thanks for the cleaning tips. I'll have to skip the champagne - never been a big fan ;).

Works with any chilled beverage in a glass bottle, it’s the condensate that you’re after!;)

I was hoping some others would chime in. I’m pretty sure some here use pro grade car polish to alleviate any stickiness.

Maybe someone can remember who it was that said this.
 

bodia

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Works with any chilled beverage in a glass bottle, it’s the condensate that you’re after!;)

I was hoping some others would chime in. I’m pretty sure some here use pro grade car polish to alleviate any stickiness.

Maybe someone can remember who it was that said this.
Yes, I have used car polish on a few of my necks. Works well. @dogrocketp is a big proponent of this, as well. I have also used Scotch-Brite on a couple of them with good results. Good thing about that is you can get that shine back with a buffing.
 

Simon Says

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I have 2020 Custom and no issues with nitro so far, non sticky. No problem since I got it in February. I had a hard time choosing a stand for it but finally decided to just **** it and went with Gravity stand for 3 guitars and all is tip top 2 weeks in, no nitro was eaten or hurt
 

SinSir

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Yes, I have used car polish on a few of my necks. Works well. @dogrocketp is a big proponent of this, as well. I have also used Scotch-Brite on a couple of them with good results. Good thing about that is you can get that shine back with a buffing.

I agree. I prefer the scotchbtite in feel and asthetics, when done right, but wax works well too. I've even done a hybrid of the methods.

OP I wouldn't worry about it much until it arrivess and you spend sometime with it. As said earlier nitro can be mixed many different ways. It was one of the reasons Paul gave in a video for the change. He was talking about different mixtures allow for the finish to behave differently now and over time.
 

Crunch

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Dec 1, 2020
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I had a S2 Mccarty thinline with a nitro finish in blue recently. I sent it back because of some paint flaws. However, the finish seemed very well cured (IE not sticky or tacky). The Gibson LP studio I bought however is somewhat sticky and even emits a somewhat strong odor. The Mccarty had no odor at all. I have a new S2 vela sitting in a box right now waiting to be opened. So I guess I'll see on that one.
 

Jrlamont

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Aug 30, 2021
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I see that PRS is using a nitro finish on all guitars as of 2020, so my incoming S2 McCarty Thinline will have that finish. I know that PRS recommends a quality furniture polish, not guitar polish for nitro - but what about cleaning before the polish? Will the PRS cleaner be OK? Anything to avoid? I've read somewhere that necks finished with nitro can get sticky. Any of you experienced this? If so, any fix?

Be very careful with nitro finishes and ALWAYS put yours back in the case when finished.

I have a les paul covered in nitro. It was a limited edition very special run and paid close to $6k for it. I placed it in the guitar stand for a few days and the paint melted where the stand was touching it. Make sure you find "Nitro-safe" stands. Gibson wouldn't cover it in warranty and I ended up paying $3k to have Gibson strip it down and refinish it completely. So... lesson learned be VERY careful with Nitro finishes.
 

Slowhands

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I've owned a bunch of Gibsons over the years (mostly SGs but a Les Paul here and there too and some others) and they all use Nitrocellulose lacquer finishes. For many the cleaner / polish combo of choice is virtuoso cleaner and virtuoso polish. It's designed specific for nitro and will not damage it. I've used it on all my nitro guitars, it's fantastic. It is a bit on the pricey side so I've used regular cleaners (or more often a damp rag) most of the time but when it's time to really clean and protect it I go to my stash of Virtuoso. The virtuoso has some level of UV protection included too which helps the nitro avoid fading. I use it on my custom shop SG which uses red analine dye which is infamously susceptible to fading and even though I have on a stand (nitro safe, always check!) it hasn't faded at all.

I have no afiliation with Virtuoso and don't make any $$ off it if you buy it from them and I don't know if we're allowed to share links so I'll just suggest searching for virtuoso guitar polish and go from there.
 

LSchefman

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I just used the PRS guitar cleaner on my 2021 WL 594 Hollowbody (with nitro) last night and it did a good job. I have used it on all 3 of my 2021 PRSi (all nitro) and have not seen any problems, but I have owned all of them less than 6 months and they have been cleaned only a couple of times during that period. I do wipe them down with a very soft microfiber cloth after every play.

Have not felt any real stickiness on the necks, but am tempted to take the surface finish off for easier slide. Have not found the balls to do that yet on these beauties ;~((

What about cleaning the micro fiber cloths?? I have read over the years that you should not wash them with detergents and fabric softeners due to chemicals and remnants from those products getting built up in the micro fibers, ultimately causing scratches and problems on fine surfaces. Any thoughts on that anyone? Just wash in water? As we all know, not all microfiber cloths are created equal, and the good ones aren't exactly throw away (or repurpose) cheep!

I use the microfiber cloths linked below, and put them in the washing machine after using cleaner or polish on "delicates" using just a little bit of a mild detergent made for baby clothes. The microfiber is very absorptive and very soft, and the edgeless design means no swirl marks from the stitching that's on the edges of most towels.

I've mentioned this before. I once did some experimenting seeing how long it took to build up a haze (which is simply caused by micro-scratching the surface) rubbing various materials on a clear plastic CD cover, on the theory that paint is a type of plastic that's also susceptible to scratches.

With soft pure cotton T-shirts or diapers, it only took a few rubs, and the haze started to build up. Took a lot longer with a typical microfiber towel. With these blue ones I really couldn't see a haze, and after a few minutes I gave up. I suppose eventually some hazing would have shown up.

I only use polish if it's absolutely necessary, because it works like sandpaper - it removes finish. It should be used to remove swirl marks, button scratches, etc., and not just to shine the guitar up. For that, use the cleaner.

The PRS cleaner doesn't have grit, and no skill is involved in using it. I use almost no hand pressure when I use it.

Part of the skill in using a polish, on the other hand, is knowing (a) which grit to use (polishes all have fine grit). Always use the finest grit. If the finest polish won't remove a scratch, start with a heavier grit and work your way up from a finer and finer grit to the finest grit, until a gloss is achieved. And (b), very light hand pressure for a longer time will result in more shine than heavier pressure for a shorter time. The idea is to let the polish do the work, not hand pressure.

https://www.griotsgarage.com/produc...ss+towels+set+of+6.do?sortby=ourPicks&from=fn
 
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