Nitro fumes?

Discussion in 'Gibson Les Pauls' started by Markpilip, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. Markpilip

    Markpilip Senior Member

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    I've been a long-time reader and have learned tons from all of you. I've finally got a question warranting my first post.

    I just opened the case of my Billie Joe Armstrong Junior and played it for the first time in a month or so. While playing, I noticed the usual strong odor which I believe is from the nitro finish. I also noticed I found my eyes watering--the aroma was that strong.

    I was thinking it's the fumes from the guitar outgassing, but was wondering: has anybody else experienced this?

    I got this guitar on eBay about a year ago and think it's a fairly early one, as the SN starts with 06 and it has the 3 on a side tuners. The seller told me he found it in a music store where it had been in a case since new and he only played it a couple of times before storing it away for a year.

    It hasn't been out of the case much at all.

    It's a very cool guitar and sounds better with the Duncan Antiquity P90 I put in. Just wish it wasn't making my eyes water so much.

    Am I the only one who's experienced the eye-watering?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. GibsonMarshallGuy

    GibsonMarshallGuy Senior Member

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    I don't know, but maybe keep the case open in a room for a while until the smell goes away. No need to baby it.
     
  3. winexprt

    winexprt Senior Member

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    Nitro off-gassing is quite normal. I cherish that smell 'cos it means I just got a new gitfiddle!

    Leave your guitar out of its case (like I do) and it will dissipate after a few weeks.

    I LOVE THE SMELL OF NITRO IN THE MORNING! :D :dude:
     
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  4. boyscout

    boyscout GAS study patient member Premium Member

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    I've read speculation here that it isn't the nitro that smells, but the glue in the case.

    Either way, keeping them apart for a month or two with the case left open should alleviate the problem.

    There are few reported cases of nitro causing health problems, but it should be noted that in most guitarists (including me) people are inclined to attribute physical and mental problems simply to the fact that we are guitarists. At least we fare better than drummers in that regard.
     
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  5. Markpilip

    Markpilip Senior Member

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    Thanks. I normally leave my Gibsons in the cases, closed, but I'll leave this one open for a couple of weeks and see if the smell goes away. I'm surprised it's still out-gassing after this many years.
     
  6. Markpilip

    Markpilip Senior Member

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    I think it's the guitar. The case has no smell at all, put when I put my nose to the guitar I can really smell it. My 2011 Bonamassa Studio, on the other hand, doesn't have any smell on it at all but the white lining in the case has the sweet vanilla smell that I love so much

    I use that on my wife all the time. Still doesn't always get me out of the doghouse!
     
  7. psychojohn

    psychojohn Senior Member

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    Strike a match near it. If it explodes or goes up into flames, you'll know it's the nitro :laugh2:. On a similar but slightly more serious note related to my response: Looked up nitro cellulose on the internet as I thought cellulose was plant sugar. Can't confirm on deny that, but the nitro part is the same component used in explosive nitroglycerine. Pretty wild. It would suggest the finish on our gibbys is highly flammable.

    John
     
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  8. jc2000

    jc2000 Senior Member

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    Never noticed anything on mine, but now I want to go home and smell it..
     
  9. bobswinea

    bobswinea Senior Member

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    My new LP Trad Pro has the sweet smell of vanilla. Just picked it up new about 2 weeks ago. Hanging in my studio and I can smell vanilla every time I play it. I like it! Funny but the case smells neutral. I am guessing with everyone else it is the finish. No eye watering issues here. Just that each time I finish playing it I have this overwhelming urge for a vanilla milk shake. :laugh2:
     
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  10. winexprt

    winexprt Senior Member

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    :lol: :D

    That 'vanilla' smell is the new nitro. Was overwhelming on my new Trad Plus back in '11. Was there on my 2013 R8 but nowhere near as strong as with my Trad when it was new. My guess is the R8 doesn't have as thick a finish as the Trad.
     
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  11. Eric Smith

    Eric Smith Senior Member

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    So the vanilla is nitro? I thought it was to cover the smell of glue used in making the case. Someone make up thier mind on this one already.

    My Les Paul case has that vanilla smell.

    I just finished a guitar in nitro and it smelled like what one would think nitro would smell like; very paint fumey.

    The glue used in the Fender tweed case for my Tele will make you eyes water. That is an obnoxious smell.
     
  12. The Archer

    The Archer Senior Member

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    If you fart in a paper bag and seal it quickly then close the bag in the case with the guitar the gasses in the fart will counteract the smell of the nitro....without making the guitar smell like farts.

    GIve it a try.
     
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  13. Naukuga

    Naukuga Senior Member

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    The vanilla smell is 100% the case glue. Take your guitar out of the case for a few weeks and smell it, nothing. Put it back in your case overnight and then smell it in the morning. Vanilla.

    Sometimes i'll leave my Gibson cases open in a room for few hours just so i can have that smell in my house.
     
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  14. dspelman

    dspelman Senior Member

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    More than a few, and those health problems can be life-threatening, which is why it's banned in most states. It's mostly the folks that work with it that are affected, but it's both toxic in the short term and carcinogenic in the long term. It outgasses VOCs when fresh (due to the solvents used). When it begins to break down (which usually begins within a couple of years) it begins to outgas its basic components, sulfuric acid and nitric acid. Those components attack, among other things, the metal components on the guitar, hastening the corrosion of frets, strings, pickup wire, covers and screws.

    The "scent" can be caused by aldehydes in the solvents of both the finish and the glues of the case.

    Breathe Deep.
     
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  15. boyscout

    boyscout GAS study patient member Premium Member

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    My reference to health problems was tongue-in-cheek, but thanks for clarifying since there do seem to be small risks I didn't know about.

    I've just done some reading and as you point out most of the risk is to those applying the finish, but during drying and breakdown over time nitro does release compounds that can be toxic.

    To the OP, I read that nitrocellulose dries to the touch quickly, but can take several months to dry completely. (It doesn't "cure", it dries, and can be quickly re-dissolved with lacquer or lacquer thinner.) Maybe yours is fresh off the line?

    I also read that "better instruments" are these days covered with a more-durable polyurethane coating which is more resistant to chipping and cracking. What will the next generation of Tom Murphys do?
     
  16. winexprt

    winexprt Senior Member

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    I have to disagree. I feel it is absolutely NOT the case glue that is responsible for that vanilla aroma.

    I bought my 2011 Trad Plus new in the Summer of 2011. Took it out of its case and sat it on a stand in my living room like I do with all my LP's. And there it sat for months (still there actually). Case went in a closet in another room. My living room had a strong scent of vanilla for several weeks...case nowhere in sight. The intensity of the aroma died down about two months later.

    My 2013 R8 has the same oder of vanilla, albeit to a lesser degree, and has also sat on a stand in my living room for a few weeks now. Its Lifton case is also in a closet a couple of rooms away.

    I literally just picked up both my Trad and my R8 and put my nose to the finish: oder of vanilla. Go figure...:shock:

    The cases smell like vanilla because the off-gassing guitar was in there. Not the other way around.
     
  17. christianpaulanderson

    christianpaulanderson Senior Member

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    Your eyes are watering because it's so beautiful.

    It's ok. No reason to go back to Epiphone.
     
  18. NRBQ

    NRBQ Senior Member

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    You shouldn't be, hell I'm in my 40's and I'm still out-gassing and I didnt' start till my mid 30's.
     
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  19. Markpilip

    Markpilip Senior Member

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    It is a sweet-looking guitar. Although I'm new to Gibson, I've never owned an Epi although I bought my brother a Bonamassa Epi and it's a nice guitar. Plus, no fumes!
     
  20. YoshiJimbo

    YoshiJimbo Senior Member

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    My Les Paul Pro also has the vanilla smell when I open the case. It gives me the munchies. :D
     

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