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View Full Version : Nitro finish and clip on tuners/capos



The Big Kahuna
07-09-2014, 08:23 PM
I was watching a video by Scott Grove the other day (he's an acquired taste, but I like his stuff), and he mentioned that using a clip on tuner or capo with rubber jaws was a Bad Idea™ because Nitro never truly cures, and the clip on can ruin the finish.

I don't know how many ukes have Nitro finishes (I guess some that are looking for a "vintage" finish might), but is there any truth in this?

<edit>

I guess leaving it on a guitar stand could also have the same effect if it's true.

Allen
07-09-2014, 08:46 PM
Some plastics, foams and rubbers will react with some Nito Lacquers. Not all plastics etc. and not all lacquers. You will never know which one will cause you grief until it's done the nasty. So I would never leave a tuner on the peg head more than when I needed it. Certainly not storing it in the case with it still attached.

wickedwahine11
07-09-2014, 08:53 PM
I was watching a video by Scott Grove the other day (he's an acquired taste, but I like his stuff), and he mentioned that using a clip on tuner or capo with rubber jaws was a Bad Idea™ because Nitro never truly cures, and the clip on can ruin the finish.

I don't know how many ukes have Nitro finishes (I guess some that are looking for a "vintage" finish might), but is there any truth in this?

<edit>

I guess leaving it on a guitar stand could also have the same effect if it's true.

Regarding the guitar stand, it is interesting that you mention it - I saw something just today online that said nitro finishes should not be placed on guitar stands because the finish could be damaged by foam and rubber tubing on the arms of the stand...the folks in that forum were discussing making cloth sleeves for the arms and even buying guitar stand "bras" to protect their finish. I have no idea if it is true or an old wives' tale but it is a funny coincidence that you saw the same thing.

One of the "bras" available - I wonder if that does indeed solve the problem if one exists...
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IMR9CUW/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A29ECT9NGGWTED

Interesting, lots of folks use those clips with the feet though (Snark immediately comes to mind) but I have never heard anyone around these parts say it damaged their uke.

Dan Uke
07-09-2014, 09:00 PM
First of all, most ukes are not finished with nitro so most of us don't worry. I use Hercules stands because they state they don't affect most nitro finishes but I don't store my ukes on the stands for more than a day or two.

ksquine
07-10-2014, 03:14 PM
True...Nitrocellulose lacquer doesn't cure. Its a drying finish!! It can be removed with lacquer thinner or repaired with fresh lacquer. The fresh lacquer will melt into the old and leave no witness lines. Its like all one lacquer layer. The finish is softer when fresh but reaches full hardness in a month or so. I'd be surprised if you see a factory instrument that's less than a month old though

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
07-10-2014, 04:02 PM
I don't know the numbers but I know that a lot of ukuleles are finished with nitro cellulose lacquer. I think it can take a couple of years to fully cure (99.9%) and the curing process may be partly responsible for newer instruments not being as open as those with a few years.
On to clip on tuners. I don't use them in the shop because because they scratch the finish. People tend to "twist" them a bit when putting them on and taking them off. I see a lot of ukes that have a cloudy area on the upper bass side of the head stock. Of course you can just leave the tuner on, (which is a pet peeve of mine) but then you risk it leaving a foot print in the lacquer. Personally, I use a Peterson Strobe on my iPad to tune up.

Chris_H
07-10-2014, 04:29 PM
I'm with Chuck on lacquer taking a couple of years to cure. At six months it will be much more cured than at one month, you will be able to see the difference if you look closely, and watch it over time.