Best Nitro Refinishers?

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hamletpowpowpow
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Best Nitro Refinishers?

Post by hamletpowpowpow » Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:01 am

Howdy!
I'm looking to build a partscaster. I was really wanting to go with Guitar Mill, but they're quoting me four months turnaround on a refinish job.
MJT is about $200 cheaper and faster - but they only do relic, which I don't like - and their nitro is more fragile than most.

I really want to get the guitar mill body. It's vintage accurate, made from the wood I want, has the weight I want. I really don't want to pay an extra $300 and then wait four months.

Any other places people can recommend who do super high-quality work, reasonable rates, decent turnaround?
I'm in LA, so if there are any local places, that would be even better!

Cheers!

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Re: Best Nitro Refinishers?

Post by YALCaster » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:08 pm

MJT does closet clean finishes as well. Mine came with 0 wear on it

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8CEQtznx7 ... s0dla313ff

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Re: Best Nitro Refinishers?

Post by Scout » Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:40 pm

MJT gets my vote. I personally play all my instruments and the wear and occasional ding,dent, scratch, flaw is life. A custom guitar will never be more valuable to anyone else no matter the condition. But that’s just me. My latest MJT body, on its way.Image

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Re: Best Nitro Refinishers?

Post by hamletpowpowpow » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:35 pm

I appreciate everyone's responses - but I'm specifically looking for non MJT vendors, if anyone has suggestions.
MJT = too delicate for me
Guitar Mill = too slow, too expensive.

Thx!

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Re: Best Nitro Refinishers?

Post by mbene085 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:21 pm

If four months turnaround on a refinish is too slow, I really don't know anyone to recommend. Stripping is labour intensive and a good nitro finish needs decent amounts of idle time between coats. All of the lower-volume, higher-reputation guys I've heard of have longer work queues and/or higher prices than Guitar Mill. MJT lokely found a niche because their thin/easily-aged finish seems to facilitate a high throughput and lower price than competitors.

I do want to comment on that rainbow burst posted above, that is one of the wackiest finishes I've ever seen and I can't wait to see the finished guitar!

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Re: Best Nitro Refinishers?

Post by Telliot » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:08 pm

I think it’s weird to want nitro but don’t want it to wear too easily. Why not just use poly? For the record I’ve had 3 MJT guitar bodies, and one neck refinished by him. He did a fantastic job on all the finishes and will only age it if you want it to be aged. My Tele is an MJT finish and it hasn’t worn at all, or at least very little, and it’s my #1 guitar that gets TONS of play time.
The cool thing about fretless is you can hit a note...and then renegotiate.

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Re: Best Nitro Refinishers?

Post by hamletpowpowpow » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:29 pm

@Telliot: I don't mind it wearing - that's why I want Nitro. What I don't want is it flaking/scratching/getting dented easy, and I've read on numerous threads on here how unusually delicate MJT finishes are.
Telliot wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:08 pm
I think it’s weird to want nitro but don’t want it to wear too easily. Why not just use poly? For the record I’ve had 3 MJT guitar bodies, and one neck refinished by him. He did a fantastic job on all the finishes and will only age it if you want it to be aged. My Tele is an MJT finish and it hasn’t worn at all, or at least very little, and it’s my #1 guitar that gets TONS of play time.
@mbene: Who are these other lower-volume, higher-reptuation guys? That's exactly what I'm asking. If four months is the fastest, so be it, but I'd love to ask around a bit.
mbene085 wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:21 pm
If four months turnaround on a refinish is too slow, I really don't know anyone to recommend. Stripping is labour intensive and a good nitro finish needs decent amounts of idle time between coats. All of the lower-volume, higher-reputation guys I've heard of have longer work queues and/or higher prices than Guitar Mill. MJT lokely found a niche because their thin/easily-aged finish seems to facilitate a high throughput and lower price than competitors.

I do want to comment on that rainbow burst posted above, that is one of the wackiest finishes I've ever seen and I can't wait to see the finished guitar!

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Re: Best Nitro Refinishers?

Post by mbene085 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:01 pm

hamletpowpowpow wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:29 pm
@mbene: Who are these other lower-volume, higher-reptuation guys? That's exactly what I'm asking. If four months is the fastest, so be it, but I'd love to ask around a bit.
I don't think you're unreasonable for wanting a more durable finish than MJT. They do one thing very well, which is worn or about-to-look-worn finishes. If you want something as durable as a vintage Fender finish was the day it rolled off the line, they ain't it.

I realize now that the pricey guys I was thinking of were ones I previously found who specialize in vintage refinishea and don't do partscasters, which is probably why they're so pricey. They deal with instruments that make even our vintage offsets seem affordable.

Two names that came to mind as experienced smaller operation guys are Pat Wilkins a d Marty Bell, though looking at his site now, it seems Marty stopped offering nitro, unfortunately.

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Re: Best Nitro Refinishers?

Post by cmatthes » Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:08 pm

Marty hasn't offered Nitro finishes in well over a decade.

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Re: Best Nitro Refinishers?

Post by mbene085 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:49 pm

cmatthes wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:08 pm
Marty hasn't offered Nitro finishes in well over a decade.
Image

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Re: Best Nitro Refinishers?

Post by Scout » Fri Mar 27, 2020 3:52 am

There’s an old adage : people want their projects to be inexpensive, done quickly, and finished accurately. If you’re lucky you get to pick two of the three at best. It’s not great timing right now but you might consider a local shop that does nitro finishes, they’re out there, it’s wood and paint after all, especially if you want a one color solid finish. Just a thought.

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Re: Best Nitro Refinishers?

Post by Jazzmastervsjaguar » Fri Mar 27, 2020 4:40 am

Marty Bell does offer thin UV finishes. I think it's a good alternative to Nitro. I had my Jag done with his UV thin finish. I knew going in that I didn't want everything vintage correct so this didn't bother me.

It is wearing in a bit but nothing drastic. I'm a basement player so although it gets a lot of use it's mostly me just standing or sitting down in front of my amp. That being said I always use a strap and where the cable tucks behind my strap and touches the guitar you can see the finish already showing a bit of the white undercoat.

I also have had 2 other guitars finished by Mary and both the turn around time and price were decent. I also think he does amazing work. He has exceeded my expectations all three times.

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Re: Best Nitro Refinishers?

Post by Jaguar018 » Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:22 am

Lay's Guitar is another option. I like their finishes, but they take a long time.

My MJT finish is slick. Closet classic. No flakes or anything. So I don't really get the complaints against them.

Currently I have a guitar getting refinished at Rowyco and it's taking quite a bit of time. :(

Nitro = long time. If you really think you'll be able to get anything less than four months I'd be super super super surprised.

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Re: Best Nitro Refinishers?

Post by Telliot » Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:55 am

Jaguar018 wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:22 am
My MJT finish is slick. Closet classic. No flakes or anything. So I don't really get the complaints against them.
Yes, this is my experience as well.
The cool thing about fretless is you can hit a note...and then renegotiate.

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Re: Best Nitro Refinishers?

Post by kingmedicine » Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:29 am

Went on this quest fairly recently (not necessarily a refin, but looking to have a new JM body finished or purchase a body/finish from someone). Guitar Mill was what I ended up going with. Lay's and RS Guitarworks also seem to get pretty good reviews, but the lead times are a couple months still (RS Guitarworks also quoted me a price quite a bit higher than Lay's or Guitar mill). I tried contacting Rowyco Kustoms and Marty Bell as well, but they have both stopped doing nitro finishes. You might have better luck finding someone local in LA (I feel like I see other people's projects here who get good nitro finishes locally from some people)?

For what it's worth, I ended up going with Guitar Mill over MJT for the same concerns you had. I've assembled two MJT partscasters in the past, but had problems with all of them being too fragile in terms of flaking off in weird ways (although these were all metallic finishes, I've heard his transparent and clear ones are a little more durable?). This is my third body (two JM builds and a Tele build) that I've bought and had finished by Guitar Mill and the quality of the work has been excellent and exactly what I was looking for each time (again, all metallic finishes/colors). You're right that the lead time is quite long though...the last two times, it has been a fair bit longer than the quoted lead time as well (I think I waited a little over 5 months for this most recent one). Been worth it in the end each time though.

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