a buddy's '71 goldtop

Big John

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This belongs to a fellow guitar nerd I knew during my Iowa days (but now lives in Austin). It has done gigs ranging from 15 people to 50,000 all over the world. I spotted these pics on his FB and got his permission to post them here. Enjoy. :thumb:



 

kakao

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Ugly as hell, that guitar wasn't treated well ..
 

ARandall

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Thats a great look there. Its a great way of showing the uninitiated/unexperienced how regular gigging can lead to wear. And this is a perfect example of international travel and how it affects guitars.
Gold is also one of those colours that shows off checking much more than the typical tinted colours......again, something a noob wouldn't necessarily know.
 

Ph03n1x

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I had a '77 that I sold last year. It didn't have that kind of checking but I am not even sure if they were using nitro in 77. It had been routed for HBs and I always wished that I had the original minis. Weighed a ton though...
 

grumphh

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I am not even sure if they were using nitro in 77.
They did and that is a vital part of Gibson myth and marketing, namely that they have always used nitrocellulose laquer on their guitars...

...not that they are using the same chemical mixture today as they did 40 or 60 years ago (and those probably differed as well), but still, technically speaking Gibson has never abandoned nitro.


Personally, i am not to fond of the newer "nitro" finishes though, to me they have a "sticky" quality that none of my 70's nitro guitars did have... Perhaps the extra decades of curing are responsible:laugh2:?


...oh yeah, and that is one nice guitar in the OP :)
 

Kris Ford

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Headstock shot?

I'd like to see which style inlay it is for this "71"..
 

Big John

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It's a little out of focus, but it's the only headstock shot I could find on his FB. At least you can make out the pancake body...

 

Mayuiers

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They did and that is a vital part of Gibson myth and marketing, namely that they have always used nitrocellulose laquer on their guitars...

...not that they are using the same chemical mixture today as they did 40 or 60 years ago (and those probably differed as well), but still, technically speaking Gibson has never abandoned nitro.


Personally, i am not to fond of the newer "nitro" finishes though, to me they have a "sticky" quality that none of my 70's nitro guitars did have... Perhaps the extra decades of curing are responsible:laugh2:?


...oh yeah, and that is one nice guitar in the OP :)
As you mentioned, the nitro "recipe" used by Gibson has, indeed, changed over the years for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that Gibson has added a certain amount of plasticizers and other "ingredients" to aid in UV protection, durability, and in shortening the overall drying time so that the guitars can be produced faster. It can be argued that another reason is the use of an electrostatic charge inserted into guitars during the spraying process. The charge causes the guitar body to attract the nitro more efficiently (which is a cost saver because more nitro is being placed on the guitar itself rather than being wasted through overspray).

From what I can tell, the biggest change in nitro used by Gibson came in the early sixties. I can't say for sure, but it seems that over the 80's and again around 2011 (after the Gibson factory was flooded) that more changes occurred.

One thing is certain, Gibson nitro finishes have become, on average, much much thicker. I compared my pristine '71 LP Deluxe to a 2014 Standard and the difference is huge. My friend's 2011 Standard feels "sticky" and rather soft - just as you suggested.

On the other hand, the finish thickness between my '71 and a late model R7 was hardly noticeable at all. The same was true for a '94 Historic vs my '71. This suggests, to me, that Gibson sprays guitars meant for the general populace one way and those meant to appear "period correct" are sprayed another way.

All of this aside, I prefer the early finishes. I like the checking and natural aging that occurs. The goldtop that started this thread oozes with mojo.
 

grumphh

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As you mentioned, the nitro "recipe" used by Gibson has, indeed, changed over the years for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that Gibson has added a certain amount of plasticizers and other "ingredients" to aid in UV protection, durability, and in shortening the overall drying time so that the guitars can be produced faster. It can be argued that another reason is the use of an electrostatic charge inserted into guitars during the spraying process. The charge causes the guitar body to attract the nitro more efficiently (which is a cost saver because more nitro is being placed on the guitar itself rather than being wasted through overspray).

From what I can tell, the biggest change in nitro used by Gibson came in the early sixties. I can't say for sure, but it seems that over the 80's and again around 2011 (after the Gibson factory was flooded) that more changes occurred.

One thing is certain, Gibson nitro finishes have become, on average, much much thicker. I compared my pristine '71 LP Deluxe to a 2014 Standard and the difference is huge. My friend's 2011 Standard feels "sticky" and rather soft - just as you suggested.

On the other hand, the finish thickness between my '71 and a late model R7 was hardly noticeable at all. The same was true for a '94 Historic vs my '71. This suggests, to me, that Gibson sprays guitars meant for the general populace one way and those meant to appear "period correct" are sprayed another way.

All of this aside, I prefer the early finishes. I like the checking and natural aging that occurs. The goldtop that started this thread oozes with mojo.
For the record, i like smooth polished necks, and have in fact gone so far as to smooth out a satin finished Ibanez neck, because i do actually prefer slick surfaces on the back of necks... Poly or nitro, i don't care, i just want it slick :D

My own experience with this "sticky laquer phenomenon" comes from having owned 4 70's LP's, one early 70's SG, and one '96 and one '09 Explorer - where both the explorers had the "sticky feel" going on, whereas the 70's guitars never had that.
(Also i had a '08 melody maker at some point, but that was one of those almost unfinished "worn white" ones - it wasn't really sticky, but otoh it felt like you could rub off the white colour layer with just a little pressure...)

To me this stickyness is especially noticeable in the 09 explorer, because someone did amateurishly sand down the neck before i got it, but left both ends of the neck relatively untouched, and the difference in feel between the painted and sanded areas is huge (the sanded area is really nice), plus that the painted part collects far more grime and dirt than the sanded area.
(You know, that feeling when you run your finger over the laquer and you can roll little black dirt particles from the surface after just a few hours of playing, yuck - eventually i might have to give the ends of the neck the steel wool treatment too...)

None of my 70's LP's have ever felt that way, so there must have been some change in laquer chemistry at a point somewhere between '79 and '96.
I can't imagine it being only the thickness, although that may be a part of the problem as well...
 

HardCore Troubadour

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ok, slight derail, sorry......

I just spent 10 minutes getting lost in Grumpy's page....if you have not clicked his link do so....it will be an adventure in several senses.

:D

now, carry on.....
 

jojo

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Ugly as hell, that guitar wasn't treated well ..
Looks like a goldtop of this age should look,given the OP's description of gigging alot.

I dig it.
 

69 Goldtop

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Nice guitar.
Unfortunately a gold top from this time and before will
check and green without being played at all.
Depends on where its been sitting. The arm wear is honest.
Playing it alot and gigging in cold weather will speed it along.
Heres a 1968 I found and sold a few years back.
Greened /checked and unplayed. Greening under pickguard. Fla. guitar. Bought from original owner.
Lipham Music Comp. Believe it or else, Duane Allman
actually played it in the store. 1969
 

Progrocker111

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but I am not even sure if they were using nitro in 77.
They were (as always), but wit more plasticizers than in early 71. Late 70s finishes dont check in this oldschool way, at least from my experience. :hmm:
 


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