Does a goldtop sound different than an IDENTICAL LP with regular nitro?

bbutler123

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2011
Messages
1,421
Reaction score
893
Regular finish meaning a cherry burst or sunburst. The reason I ask is that I think that the goldtop is paint or some kind of colored lacquer different than the plain nitro finish of the 'regular' guitars. And I think this might sound different.

I know (or am convinced) that nitro finish guitars sound warmer than poly- finish guitars. I would really like to know if anyone has an opinion on goldtops (or black ones too, since that is paint also).
 

Marshall & Moonshine

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2010
Messages
30,573
Reaction score
74,388
If you can repeatedly tell the difference in a blind sound test between finishes, keep those amps turned down, and go get a job with the government. And unless you make 2 guitars from the same block of wood, there are already differences, and it would be vitually impossible to assign the differences to either the finish or the wood composition.
It may show up clearly on some machine, but we only hear it through our ears. Put a different grade of rubber feet on the cab and it could throw the test all out of wack. :)
 

zslane

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
2,807
Reaction score
1,168
Why do we believe that solid-color Les Pauls have a different nitro finish than any other Les Paul?

In any case, I have a strong suspicion that tonal differences due to clear coat material (nitro vs. poly) are either vastly exaggerated or pure myth. And as others have pointed out, no two Les Pauls sound identical even when they are made to look that way. Consequently, I am inclined to regard this question as completely moot on several grounds.
 

rockstar232007

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2008
Messages
18,173
Reaction score
16,855
It only makes a difference if you can actually acknowledge/understand that the finish itself actually has any affect on the overall tone of a guitar? Which it does, but not in a way that would be noticeable to most people, unless they've experienced it first-hand?

When you add anything to the mix (bronze (vintage) or mica powder (modern)), it actually makes the finish "thicker", which in turn will cause it to further hinder the vibrational characteristics of the body. This is more often true in cases in which the entire guitar is covered, but still possible in guitar where only the top is painted.

I've seen/played more than a few refined guitars (mostly GTs) before/during/after the process, and I can honestly say that there was a significant difference in feel and sound from beginning to end.

Now, I don't expect anyone to take my word as the gospel truth, but when you consider all of the factors that contribute to the overall tone of a guitar, it's not really hard to believe that the finish plays a role, even if it's a very small one.
 

zslane

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
2,807
Reaction score
1,168
Now, I don't expect anyone to take my word as the gospel truth, but when you consider all of the factors that contribute to the overall tone of a guitar, it's not really hard to believe that the finish plays a role, even if it's a very small one.

When you consider all the factors that contribute to the overall tone of a guitar, in proportion to their actual observable impact, I am inclined to put things like pickups, electronics, strings, and setup way, way above things like the paint used underneath the nitro. Sure, "everything has an impact," but not everything has equal impact, or even noticeable impact apart from what we convince ourselves we notice (humans are notoriously poor interpreters of complex stimuli).

Besides, the title of this thread is focused on the impact of the nitrocellulose clear coat on Goldtops, not the gold paint, as if there is something special, unusual, or different about it.
 

bbutler123

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2011
Messages
1,421
Reaction score
893
Goldtops have bronze powder mixed in the paint. Other things being equal, they have a brighter sound.
I think you're right. And paint affects the vibration of the wood differently than nitro does. Or else it changes the way the vibrations are able to escape the wood into the air and go to your ear.

Thank you.
 

bbutler123

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2011
Messages
1,421
Reaction score
893
It only makes a difference if you can actually acknowledge/understand that the finish itself actually has any affect on the overall tone of a guitar? Which it does, but not in a way that would be noticeable to most people, unless they've experienced it first-hand?

When you add anything to the mix (bronze (vintage) or mica powder (modern)), it actually makes the finish "thicker", which in turn will cause it to further hinder the vibrational characteristics of the body. This is more often true in cases in which the entire guitar is covered, but still possible in guitar where only the top is painted.

I've seen/played more than a few refined guitars (mostly GTs) before/during/after the process, and I can honestly say that there was a significant difference in feel and sound from beginning to end.

Now, I don't expect anyone to take my word as the gospel truth, but when you consider all of the factors that contribute to the overall tone of a guitar, it's not really hard to believe that the finish plays a role, even if it's a very small one.

I think there's a big difference. This post was to see if anyone else noticed it. A "luthier" once told me that there is a big difference between the sound of nitro and poly finish. He said it is one of the major differences between the tones of Epiphones and Gibsons.

Apparently covering your guitar with plastic makes it sound brighter than covering it with some coating that can "breathe" which sounds warmer, woodier, fuller, more open.
 

bbutler123

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2011
Messages
1,421
Reaction score
893
When you consider all the factors that contribute to the overall tone of a guitar, in proportion to their actual observable impact, I am inclined to put things like pickups, electronics, strings, and setup way, way above things like the paint used underneath the nitro. Sure, "everything has an impact," but not everything has equal impact, or even noticeable impact apart from what we convince ourselves we notice (humans are notoriously poor interpreters of complex stimuli).

Besides, the title of this thread is focused on the impact of the nitrocellulose clear coat on Goldtops, not the gold paint, as if there is something special, unusual, or different about it.
Sorry I was unclear in the title. I don't actually know if there is nitro on a goldtop or not. But I believe there is paint and/or lacquer, and I fear that that paint/lacquer makes the guitar sound thinner. It certainly seems to on mine, but mine is the only goldtop I've played in recent memory.
 

Latest Threads



Top