Vanilla Smell

ivandolz

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I've done a lot of research on this "vanilla" scent and I think I know what it is. I have not read all the posts on this thread but some that I have read allude to the same results I have found. I think it is a combination of the nitro lacquer and the case. The Gibson USA cases that are made in Canada are the cases with the vanilla smell. To prove this, go open the storage compartment inside the case and smell it. It's vanilla. Nitro naturally smells a bit like vanilla as well. My 2012 Trad Pro smells like vanilla because I keep it in the case. My 2015 Traditional does not smell like vanilla because they changed cases that year to the gold cases. If I put my 2015 Trad into my 2012 Trad Pro case, it comes out smelling like vanilla after a few days. I think the nitro absorbs that smell of the case. Just my two cents.
My 2015 traditional came with the gold case... And it had the strong Vanilla smell, as many of my other USA Gibsons.
 

dspelman

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I think those "other threads" established that there's an aldehyde in one of the solvents used in (probably) a glue that has the same general chemical makeup as vanillin, the compound that gives vanilla its smell. You don't want to spend a lot of time sniffing that aldehyde; it's likely bad for your nervous system.
 

islandjimmy

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My 2015 traditional came with the gold case... And it had the strong Vanilla smell, as many of my other USA Gibsons.
I just checked my gold case and it has very little to no vanilla smell. Maybe our cases were made at different factories? My Gibson USA standard issue black case has loads of vanilla smell. And the mystery continues.....:hmm:
 

ivandolz

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I just checked my gold case and it has very little to no vanilla smell. Maybe our cases were made at different factories? My Gibson USA standard issue black case has loads of vanilla smell. And the mystery continues.....:hmm:
It is a mistery for sure...
 

SamMoor

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Hi
I used to work at a music store so I opened a lot of guitar cases over the years. There is a Gibson Smell, a Fender Smell and a Martin Smell (oooooh, the Martin Smell is amazing) and others. They are all kinda vanilly. I believe Martin and Gibson cases come from the same factory in Canada. Oh yeah, and Lakewood guitars are also fantastic.
So I think part of the smell is from the case itself. The woodglues, the plush and probably the glue that is used for gluing in the plush.
Then there is the instrument itself. The wood, the glues, the finishes. I am currently oiling the fretboards on around 50 classical guitars from spain and they come in cardboardboxes. And they all have a distinctive bananaish vanilla smell. Once I'm done with them there will be a hint of citrus added to that because I'm using lemon oil.
 

dexterchops

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I know there are other, older threads, but a friend and I went into a long discussion about it last night and I think we hit some good points and came up with a reasonable answer.
I've heard different stories about that smell... Ooh ooh, that smeeeeeelllll!

1. A dealer told me they actually spray a bit of vanilla extract into the case.
2. Someone posted it's off gassing from the nitro and glue they use in the case.
*Having sprayed lacquer and used a variety of spray adhesives (I build flight cases for a living. Foam and fur lined both use the same adhesive and it does not smell like vanilla in any way) I find this one hard to believe*
3. I heard an urban legend, when Gibson first started making guitars they were nextdoor to a bakery or something and the smell of the baked good would flood the shop with an aroma that would permeate the cases so now it's done for nostalgia purposes

So, here's my theory: Knowing first hand the fumes from adhesives, off gassing lacquers and solvents used for cleaning after applications of said materials, I believe, the cases are indeed sprayed with vanilla but for no other reason than to mask the smell of the chemicals used in production and clean up.
If I remember artificial vanilla is made from a wood product which is somehow connected to the smell that is oozing from our axes. It may be the bodies are soaked with a wood solvent prior to finishing and that is reacting with the finish in a weird way to smell as it does. Or maybe not.
 

kiko

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Its the guitar. I bought a brandnew epiphone LP case for my then new 2014 LP studio. When I openned the case the next day out came that vanilla smell. Wonderful! :)
 

leofender55

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I recently bought a 1961 Reissue ES-330. It was from the Memphis plant and I am the first owner. When I got it and opened the case it had a strong odor, but not vanilla, more like clay. I traced the odor to a fairly large packet of silicone type of material for moisture control that was in the accessory compartment of the case. Every time I play the guitar I leave the case open and the smell is slowly dissipating. The ES-330 is a fantastic guitar. It looks like they won't be made much longer with the situation around the Memphis factory.
 

Have FUN

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I just checked my gold case and it has very little to no vanilla smell. Maybe our cases were made at different factories? My Gibson USA standard issue black case has loads of vanilla smell. And the mystery continues.....:hmm:
Gibson cases are made by TKL in Canada and the case smell nothing. My 2015 SG is in a Gibson / TKL Custom shop case, the vanillia smell come from the Gibson SG


 

Curious George

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I think those "other threads" established that there's an aldehyde in one of the solvents used in (probably) a glue that has the same general chemical makeup as vanillin, the compound that gives vanilla its smell. You don't want to spend a lot of time sniffing that aldehyde; it's likely bad for your nervous system.
Think you might be onto something. Catalyzed lacquer is composed of urea formaldehyde or urea melamine and an alkyd that has some nitrocellulose resin added (to make it handle like normal lacquer). Traces of many aldehydes often contribute to their favorable odors, e.g. vanillin.
 

zamdrang

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Interesting discussion, I have a Peavey Vandenberg that has always smelled vanilla-ish when you open the case and always been a mystery to me. I thought it was coming from the case but idk, I believe is poly coated but not sure.
 

wmachine

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I've done a lot of research on this "vanilla" scent and I think I know what it is. I have not read all the posts on this thread but some that I have read allude to the same results I have found. I think it is a combination of the nitro lacquer and the case. The Gibson USA cases that are made in Canada are the cases with the vanilla smell. To prove this, go open the storage compartment inside the case and smell it. It's vanilla. Nitro naturally smells a bit like vanilla as well. My 2012 Trad Pro smells like vanilla because I keep it in the case. My 2015 Traditional does not smell like vanilla because they changed cases that year to the gold cases. If I put my 2015 Trad into my 2012 Trad Pro case, it comes out smelling like vanilla after a few days. I think the nitro absorbs that smell of the case. Just my two cents.
Goes to show you that a "lot of research" in itself does not guarantee any results. The *type* of research is what counts. Your proof of it being the case (sniffing the compartment) isn't even close to any kind of proof. Yikes.
I don't know why your 2015 Trad does not have the smell. But my 2015 LP Trad (yes with the gold case) does have the smell, as does 5 other 2015 Gibsons (all different models) with gold cases.
I have yet to see one single instance when any objective reason is given that the smell comes from the case. It comes from the finish on the guitar. The case smell is an Urban Legend that just won't die.
 

rockstar232007

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Goes to show you that a "lot of research" in itself does not guarantee any results. The *type* of research is what counts. Your proof of it being the case (sniffing the compartment) isn't even close to any kind of proof. Yikes.
I don't know why your 2015 Trad does not have the smell. But my 2015 LP Trad (yes with the gold case) does have the smell, as does 5 other 2015 Gibsons (all different models) with gold cases.
I have yet to see one single instance when any objective reason is given that the smell comes from the case. It comes from the finish on the guitar. The case smell is an Urban Legend that just won't die.
Yep.

My 2001 Classic has "the smell", but the case stinks of glue. Go figure.

The vintage '61 SG/LP that my uncle just sold, same thing - the guitar smelled like candy, but the case smelled like old furniture.

It's the buffing/polishing compound. Plain and simple.

P.S. my 2002 Epi LP Standard (which I bought brand-new) smells like vanilla, even after I "aged" it, as there is still some buffing-compound in the pickup cavities. The case? Not so much.
 
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Wolfie

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:welcome: OP!

I'm going to toss my hat into the ring and venture that it is the wax they put on it.

I base this on having purchased a pump jar of Gibson brand wax from my friendly neighborhood music store after it came back from a re-fret. No, its not Guitar denter, LOL!:D

It looked so slick and amazingly shiny / glassy I noticed it right away.

My guitar is 35 years old and I was happy with the aged finish it came to me with. So when I opened the case up on the counter it startled me how really beautiful it was. :wow:

Now this part you can chalk up to urban legend if you want, but the owner, of no small amount of experience and who owns many vintage guitars himself, assured me that he and his team have found nothing better for Gibson guitars than Gibson wax.

The only thing he could think of was that Gibson makes their own lacquer formula and no one else does it quite the same way.:dunno:

He has found it doesn't work so well on other finishes including poly, but he has other favorite waxes for those.

After seeing the results I naturally bought some.

That vanilla goodness comes out of that pump can every time i use it! And it continues to shine my Lester like sheet of ice!

So my money is on the wax... YMMV:thumb:
The Gibson pump polish is worth a try. I emailed Gibson & received a reply,
"10/20/08 Thanks for getting back to me here at Gibson. Gibson USA says the "Glans" polish they use does not really have an odor. They believe what you smell is the "Betco Brite" cleaner used just before the guitars are shipped. Thanks. Best regards, Bob Burns" In another reply he states, "Gibson does not sell Betco Brite cleaner. I do not know if this product is commercially available, but you might find the product if you do a Google search."
Doing a quick search I only came up with a lemon scent, a more thorough one might find it in vanilla?
 
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rockstar232007

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I tend to agree & for a few cents it's worth a try. I emailed Gibson & received a reply,
"10/20/08 Thanks for getting back to me here at Gibson. Gibson USA says the "Glans" polish they use does not really have an odor. They believe what you smell is the "Betco Brite" cleaner used just before the guitars are shipped. Thanks. Best regards, Bob Burns" In another reply he states, "Gibson does not sell Betco Brite cleaner. I do not know if this product is commercially available, but you might find the product if you do a Google search."
Doing a quick search I only came up with a lemon scent, a more thorough one might find it in vanilla?
In my MS shop-class, we had two, large buffing wheels, and TONS of buffing/polishing-compound. The whole area around the wheels smelled exactly like vanilla - it's the compound.
 

Reddog22

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I bought a brand new Gibson USA case for an SG and it definately had the vanilla smell without having a guitar in it before. Smelt beautiful.
 

JesseXGibson

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+1 for buffing, ive only owned a few gibsons, but there was only one where the case smelled like vanilla more than the guitar. I also know that’s not what nitro smells like. So just by order of elimination, my moneys on the polishing/buffing compound. Although it is still a mystery, I wonder if Gibson keeps their vacant cases by the buffing wheels...:hmm:
 
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The Ballzz

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I know there are other, older threads, but a friend and I went into a long discussion about it last night and I think we hit some good points and came up with a reasonable answer.
I've heard different stories about that smell... Ooh ooh, that smeeeeeelllll!
Might we assume that said "long discussion" may have included some chemical and metaphysical experimentation and processes, such as "converting alcohol to urine and clear thought into bullshirt?" :rofl: :p :cheers2:

Smell is likely a combination of buffing compound and polish!

Just Teasin' & Welcome!
Gene
 

islandjimmy

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Goes to show you that a "lot of research" in itself does not guarantee any results. The *type* of research is what counts. Your proof of it being the case (sniffing the compartment) isn't even close to any kind of proof. Yikes.
I don't know why your 2015 Trad does not have the smell. But my 2015 LP Trad (yes with the gold case) does have the smell, as does 5 other 2015 Gibsons (all different models) with gold cases.
I have yet to see one single instance when any objective reason is given that the smell comes from the case. It comes from the finish on the guitar. The case smell is an Urban Legend that just won't die.
"Yikes" is right. Wouldn't deductive reasoning lead one to conclude that it might be the case producing at least part of the vanilla smell if a closed compartment inside the case produces the exact quantity of vanilla smell as the open area inside the case? If it is ONLY the guitar finish producing the smell, then how could it permeate a closed compartment to the same degree as the outside area touching the guitar? Also, I can put any guitar in that case, even a guitar with no smell whatsoever, and it will come out smelling like vanilla after a few days.
Nitrocellulose lacquer produces a vanilla like smell, but not always the same. For example, my Rickenbacker has what they call "Rick-o-smell", it's a vanilla-like smell but not like Gibson USA. My Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul has a vanilla like smell but it's more earthy smelling than the Gibson USA models. It has been scientifically proven that one of the scents most attractive to the male brain is the smell of doughnuts, which in my opinion come close to the smell of a Gibson USA Les PAul. I don't think it would be a stretch that a vanilla scent may be added to nitro, the case, or both, in order to make something more attractive to the main purchasers of said item.
 




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