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everogere

Finish - Is it important ?

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have purchased a very nice Fender Jazz bass which is finished in nitrocellulose lacquer and has a road worn finish. Unfortunately 'road worn' is not really for me, if I have the body resprayed in something other than nitrocellulose would it effect the tone/sound of the bass ? I guess what Im asking is, does the type of finish effect the sound. 

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Yes, but not much at all. 

A thick finish (e.g. poly) it will make a small different to the resonation of the wood. 

 

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Posted (edited)

I was thinking more of 2 pack paint ?

Water based.

 

Edited by everogere
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I think there's a list here somewhere of what affects your tone.

Top of the list is electronics, types of timber somewhere below this. I would think that a coat of "lacquer" will make little difference in comparison...

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I don't think it would make any difference at all. The people who claim they can hear these types of things must have incredibly sensitive hearing and must have their ears professionally cleaned out on a regular basis.

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It would affect the acoustic sound far more than what you get through an amp as your ears hear the reflected sound waves off the front face of the body, but even then probably unnoticeable. The pickups work on magnetism so the effect of different paint is going to be negligible. 

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I'd do a little more research before going ahead. All I can say from experience is that all the fenders I've liked best have been Nitro finished and all have had a slightly livelier sound than those with the heavier poly finishes. That may be coincidence but I was sceptical about how a thin layer of paint might affect something as heavy as a bass body or even that the type of wood would affect the sound, but bass bodies do vibrate a lot when you hit the strings and you can feel it as well as hear it. If the body is vibrating then some of that must feed back into the strings via the bridge. I don't suppose the effect is huge but I might contact a friendly luthier or one of the small boutique guitar builders the post in the build diaries and see what they say.

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Hi

Following on from @Phil Starr 's post, I'm one of the regular forum modder / builders he refers to and certainly my personal view is that for a 'standard' 2k finish there would be no perceptable sound difference (assuming the finisher put the pickups back at exactly the same heights as before).

There would, however, be a change in the value - modding guitars and basses almost always result in a drop of value even when the mods are clearly improvements.  I say that not to put you off doing it, but it needs to be a keeper to warrant making the change. 

Hope this helps.

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I'm currently working on two guitar projects. One had its polyurethane removed and sprayed over the other sprayed onto polyurethane. I believe that  it's all psychological. BUT I read somewhere as mentioned above that nitrocellulose finish sounds different to polyurethane finish. Whether it sounds better is a personal preference. 

I think it's important to visually like your instruments but a minor aesthetics change may have a minor impact on the sound.

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My 70s P with heavy poly finish sounded amazing. As did my Road Worn P with thin nitro finish. IMHO, finish makes NO difference to tone. How can it?

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