That’s a brand-new nitro lacquer burst finish on one of our columnist’s builds.

Nitro, poly, and more: what they’re made of, and why we love them.

In previous columns, I’ve touched on the subject of lacquer checking and the rise of relic finishes, but I thought a discussion of finishing materials might be in order as well. The terms nitro, poly, and lacquer, as well as other vague descriptions, are often used, and just as often, they’re misused and misunderstood. While I’m not a chemist and don’t pretend to know everything about coatings, I’ll try to outline some basic facts and how they relate to your guitar’s look, sound, and durability. But first, a little history.

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