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Nitro smell or something else?


sunking101
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My early 2019 LP Standard and late 2019 LP Special both still absolutely stink of solvents. They smell like a chemicals factory and if I"m around them my lungs feel sore.....which is more than a bit worrying. 

I've just taken delivery of a brand new ES335 and it doesn't smell even one quarter as bad as my Les Pauls. What gives? Surely the new one should smell the worst of the lot? They're all finished in gloss nitro so why do the two older guitars stink awfully and the new one doesn't? It isn't the cases either because the two LPs are in a rack.

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4 hours ago, Twang Gang said:

I think it is something else.  The fresh nitro smell is akin to vanilla and is not all that unpleasant.  It also fades within a couple of months, even stored in the case.  

No, I dont think it is...  I have worked with fresh nitro and its horrible stuff.. It would more likely be the smell he is referring to than the vanilla smell.. In saying that its unusual for a new guitar to still smell so bad it hurts your lungs.. Maybe that guitar just wasnt allowed or for some reason didnt cure properly?

I actually emailed Gibson once about this and they confirmed that the do add a vanilla scent to some of the cases...

Thinking about it further I also remember reading about the glue they use to glue the fluffy lining inside the cases also has a pretty terrible smell... Thus the reason they use a scent in the first place.

Edited by Rabs
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11 hours ago, Twang Gang said:

I think it is something else.  The fresh nitro smell is akin to vanilla and is not all that unpleasant.  It also fades within a couple of months, even stored in the case.  

Nitro smells of chemicals, not vanilla. It also offgases for years, it never cures. However, some nitro guitars smell more nasty than others and I'm not sure why that is.

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That is strange and I really don’t have an answer. 
 

What I do know is that of the finishes I have experience with, nitro dries the fastest by far. I am aware of plasticizers etc but this does not sound characteristic of nitrocellulose lacquer to me..

 

If the lacquer has that much solvent present you certainly would not expect the finish to be hard enough to contact a surface such as the plush lining of a case without serious damage

 

Regarding the vanilla smell, someone very experienced in the finishing industry could tell you the exact name of the product. At work (custom cabinets) we occasionally use one finisher only for the absolute finest work. His work smells exactly like a new Gibson guitar when he’s done. 
 

I could imagine Gibson adding a vanilla scent as well. I think at least originally, that smell is from a buffing compound or some other finishing product. It is not from the lacquer itself as far as I’m aware. 
 

 

I would first suggest throwing more chemicals at it. Wipe the whole guitar down thoroughly with naphtha to clean any potential residue off any part of the guitar. Naphtha is safe for nitro, as well as the fretboard and plastics of your guitar but acts as a degreaser. Afterwards you’d probably want to oil the fretboard and polish the guitar using products that you consider to smell good

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