Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Sydney Australia
Re: need help with vintage guitars
Well, that depends...... have a look at a bunch of really old strat necks - they yellow because Nitrocellulose lacquer ages under UV light, the finish "checks" as the lacquer hardens and can't expand and contract at the same rate as the wood substrate does, and because the Nitro finish is fairly thin, it rub through where there is the most contact with the player's fingers - you can certainly duplicate the wear patterns just by looking at some good examples, then carefully sanding through the lacquer using reasonably fine paper - you can duplicate the yellowing with Nitro lacquer tinted with honey coloured wood stain, and from memory Fender accelerate finish checking by blasting the finish with compressed air (as compressed air expands rapidly out of the nozzle, it gets VERY cold, hence causing the lacquer to shrink rapidly, and crack in long, usually perpendicular to the woodgrain, cracks) - there is a quicktime video floating around showing how Fender "relics" a guitar - no idea where though.
Have a look at some Fender "Heavy Relic" Strats and Teles - there are plenty of pics around - the only not so convincing thing about these is how abruptly the point at which the finish wear ends on the back of the neck - on really old Fenders it is much more subtle and gradated than that.
And, experiment before committing yourself to doing any of this to a valuable guitar!