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Education about 70´s finish needed

neuroy

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Joined
Mar 10, 2008
Messages
225
Hi,

I was offered a ´74 strat in black. It´s really impossible to tell wether the finish is original or not. I cannot tell for sure examinating the screw holes. Because black is regarded as more valuable, this aspect is interesting for the negotiations. There is no checking to be seen, but I took a q-tip with some acetone and tested in the pickup route ( a very little spot, of course ! ) . It seems to be laquer.

So my question is : are there any confirmed information about the black finish of Fenders ? Could they be laquer or is a poly finish exclusively in this era ? Did they use both ?

Sorry for not showing pics, but I did not manage to photograph the black finish to capture correctly how it looks.


Discussing this with the owner, we came to the olympic white question. Does anybody know how olympic white was finished in the early 70s ? My guess is ( poly sealer /filler in any case , under every colour from sunburst to black and white ) and as colour coat white poly and a clear laquer coat on top. Am I correct or was tha white coat also done with laquer !

Thanks a lot !
 

Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
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14,294
I don't know where the Black is more valuable thing comes from, it's not. Those fenders had a THICK PLASTICY finish called Thinskin. Most refine would be thinner and nicer looking. I would not accept the up charge for Black.
 

garywright

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Aug 17, 2002
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sunburst was the "standard" Fender color ...looking in older catalogs you'll see an upcharge for all other finishes
 

neuroy

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Mar 10, 2008
Messages
225
So Big Al , does this mean that if the finish is laquer , it is refinished ?

The seller thinks it is more valuable, he is aiming for the higher price.

What about the oly white was made ? Any information ?

Thanks
 

chuckNC

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Apr 24, 2012
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'70's Fenders had poly applied thick enough to deflect all but armor-piercing bullets.
 

Progrocker111

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Dec 10, 2003
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I would say the finishes were very different in early to mid 70s vs in late 70s. Especially in late 70s the poly finishes were really very thick, nearly glass-like. The earlier in 70s, the thinner finish.
 

chuckNC

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Apr 24, 2012
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I would say the finishes were very different in early to mid 70s vs in late 70s. Especially in late 70s the poly finishes were really very thick, nearly glass-like. The earlier in 70s, the thinner finish.
My '72 natural ash strat had the "dipped-in-plastic" thing going on pretty good.
 

Dave P

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Oct 13, 2001
Messages
783
I have noticed that underneath the color was a real thick clear poly type finish. The top color seems to be lacquer. It's just all the finish underneath gives it all that thickness. I had a half stripped 75 Strat, I could wipe off the color coat with acetone. The necks were poly finished, but the headstock face had a lacquer top coat.
 

captaincanada

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Apr 13, 2004
Messages
599
Yeah, I think the color and sunburst coats may have been lacquer, with a Fullerplast coat underneath. I have also read that the natural colored Fenders were simply dipped in Fullerplast and nothing else.
 

Dave P

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Oct 13, 2001
Messages
783
Fullerplast was just a wood sealer. The stuff used in the 70's was much, much thicker. On the '75 Strat that was half stripped, when I wiped off the rest of the finish you could see they just sanded down the thick clear finish with a palm sander before shooting the color top coats, it had those little circular sanding marks.
 

neuroy

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Mar 10, 2008
Messages
225
What about the oly white ?

You see a ambered/yellowed coat beeing rubbed off in the common areas. Underneath is a white layer. If both would be lacquer, the top clear coat would have melted into the white. Using lacquer, you usually do not remain different layers.

So my guess: fullerplast , than white poly, than clear lacquer.

What do you think ?
 

guitarguy1962

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Oct 20, 2004
Messages
157
I have noticed that underneath the color was a real thick clear poly type finish. The top color seems to be lacquer. It's just all the finish underneath gives it all that thickness. I had a half stripped 75 Strat, I could wipe off the color coat with acetone. The necks were poly finished, but the headstock face had a lacquer top coat.

So far as I know, there was no lacquer top coat on the 70s polyester finishes. However, lacquer was used in the top of the headstock because the polyester reacted with the decal. You can see this difference on my 74 Jazz Bass, where the headstock has yellowed, but the rest of the neck is white.

 

Dave P

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Oct 13, 2001
Messages
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What about the oly white ?

You see a ambered/yellowed coat beeing rubbed off in the common areas. Underneath is a white layer. If both would be lacquer, the top clear coat would have melted into the white. Using lacquer, you usually do not remain different layers.

So my guess: fullerplast , than white poly, than clear lacquer.

What do you think ?

It's certainly possible, I was referring to the sunburst finish so a solid color could possibly have been different?
 

The Shifter

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Aug 31, 2004
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So far as I know, there was no lacquer top coat on the 70s polyester finishes. However, lacquer was used in the top of the headstock because the polyester reacted with the decal. You can see this difference on my 74 Jazz Bass, where the headstock has yellowed, but the rest of the neck is white.


Mocha is one of my favorite 70s Fender finishes. I have a 73 Tele Deluxe in Mocha. I've found that every Fender I've played in that finish was a lightweight, great sounding guitar.

Sorry for the thread hijack.
 

guitarguy1962

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Oct 20, 2004
Messages
157
That's a great point, Shifter. Although the 70s Jazz Basses have a reputation for being heavy, my 74 in Mocha is one of the lightest basses I've ever played. I think Fender used alder for the Mocha finishes and used heavy ash for the naturals and sunbursts.
 

j45

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Jun 14, 2002
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I believe the Fender thinskin was a new one coat laquer directly on wood made for Wildwood and Dave's. I ordered a custonm color Oly White in 1972 and it was poly to the max.. would not expect any laquer in '74. the headstock face was in fact laquer though...the rest of the guitar was mummified in poly for decades. I do believe a black (esp. if staggered pole) Strat would bring higher money if original. Neck pocket is where you'll find the most clues for originality on a Fender of this era if you are familiar with the correct look. There were a few stamps used and for custom colors also. All custom colors as well as SB wear completely different than the earlier 60's Fender when you finally get through the finish and expose wood. The wood STILL looks like it is covered in poly!!
 

neuroy

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Mar 10, 2008
Messages
225
I believe the Fender thinskin was a new one coat laquer directly on wood made for Wildwood and Dave's. I ordered a custonm color Oly White in 1972 and it was poly to the max.. would not expect any laquer in '74. the headstock face was in fact laquer though...the rest of the guitar was mummified in poly for decades. I do believe a black (esp. if staggered pole) Strat would bring higher money if original. Neck pocket is where you'll find the most clues for originality on a Fender of this era if you are familiar with the correct look. There were a few stamps used and for custom colors also. All custom colors as well as SB wear completely different than the earlier 60's Fender when you finally get through the finish and expose wood. The wood STILL looks like it is covered in poly!!

Was it really Olympic white ? You can see many olywhite s which have extremely yellowed. Poly does not yellow like laquer . Very often you see a white layer where the yellowed top layer has worn through. Usually laquer layers melt together, and this is why there are no different layers to be seen, for comparison the TV yellow . This makes me believe there are different layers of different materials.
 

Dave P

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Oct 13, 2001
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I was looking at my 75 sunburst Strat, it has a typical 1970's thick finish. It has some chips in the finish. The color coat and topcoat do not appear to be very thick, there are weather checks in a couple areas, and the finish on the back has a damaged area where it looks like it was laying on a guitar cable. If it were poly, I doubt the finish would have reacted to a guitar cord, and poly is pretty tough to get weather checks. The patina looks like lacquer.

I do think later on the finishes changed, especially when they tried that water based stuff that they had a lot of trouble with.
 
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j45

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Was it really Olympic white ? You can see many olywhite s which have extremely yellowed. Poly does not yellow like laquer . Very often you see a white layer where the yellowed top layer has worn through. Usually laquer layers melt together, and this is why there are no different layers to be seen, for comparison the TV yellow . This makes me believe there are different layers of different materials.

Yes, I ordered Oly white and I still have my receipt... I've actually posted pics here in the past ...not sure exactly where at the moment. But I custom ordered as inspired by Hendrix's Woodstock Strat. I also have great photos I took of a '61 Olympic white Strat I had years back that had very clear defined layers of wear....yellowed clear and white nitro. Actually three Olyimpic white pre-CBS Strats I've had over the years and the white is very well defined from the yellowed clear on all. i'll dig up some pics
 
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