A lot of people still pine for the days of nitrocellulose finishes on guitars, swearing they sound better and look better. In fact, nitrocellulose was only one kind of finish they used on 50s/60s Fenders, the other was acrylic lacquor, which is more colorfast. Some colors only came in acrylic (like Lake Placid Blue) while others only came in nitro (like Sonic Blue). They were using car paint on guitars, after all, so they ordered what was available because it was cheapest, and Leo was notoriously frugal. Acrylic is actually a better product as it resists fading, cracking and chipping, but that is exactly the opposite of what everyone wants, it seems.
Everyone wants a guitar that will soon like it is 40 years old, even dipping parts in acid to age them. Even our lamps are designed to speed up time. Just about any of our lamps will work to age a nitro finish, although the SG series are the fastest. We are going to be doing some detailed finish tests in the months to come, so stick around. We will always publish the details in the “how to” section of the main website as well, which is probably easier to search.
Those of you relic’ing guitars or just aging them down really do need to take a look. We’ve been testing and working with this for over a decade and have a pretty good idea of what can be done. See our Projects page for actual photos and examples. Wood doesn’t lie.
I’m going to test using some Deft nitrocellulose lacquer, and I’m going to take my personal 2005 US built Fender Precision Bass with factory nitro finish (Highway One model) and subject it to thousands of watt hours of ultraviolet to see if we can induce some aging, fading, cracking, or whatever else happens. I can’t think of a better way to show trust in my lamps than putting my main bass guitar through the gauntlet. It has a small ding or two plus some yellowing of the pickguard, but it has never been through what I have planned. Be sure to bookmark the Projects page (linked above) and check back.