LACQUER vs. POLYMER FINISH

 
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Many times guitars come into the shop for cosmetic repairs. That is, dents, chips, or damage/s to a guitar finish. Some finishes can be repaired or re-colored, but others cannot. Here's some thoughts .......
 
The most forgiveable instrument finish is "lacquer." With lacquer one can remove blemishes, restore colors, remove lacquer cracks and etc. Not only is lacquer (also called: Nitrocellulous lacquer) easy to remove or repair, but for me it provides the best sound for a stringed instrument; however, a shellac or French polish procedure is also considered a conventional finish for a stringed instrument.
 
I assume that on a solid body guitar the material used to finish this type of guitar may not be significant. For me, electricity is the king of sound for the electric guitar. The type of wood used for a solid body electric is another conversation in itself that is not addressed here.
 
The thing about lacquer is that it is time consuming, environmentally concerning, labor intense, and must have cure time. This applies to whether doing a complete restoration or touch up. Thus, it adds up to cost(s) in time, energy, and money.
 
Conversely, using a "polymer" type of finsih, a different procedure altogether, tends to be cost effective, time effective, and production friendly. A guitar finished with a polymer finish can be completed in a day if not hours. A polymer finish is strong, durable, and protective, but it is unforgiving. That is, chips, cracks, or other damage are difficult, if not impossible, to repair. Moreover, it requires the equipment geared to a polymer product.
 
In a future comment more will be said about methods and procedures when working with laquer or a poly type finish. Here, its suffice to say lacquer (water based or nitrocellulous) tends to be a more work-able instrument finish cosmetically and acoustically then a polymer finish.