Help – my guitar is being eaten!

Problems with nitro-cellulose finishes?

We received this email from a Guitarist reader who is having problems with his guitar stand. It´s a common story, so we thought we´d share it here…

I own a Gibson Les Paul Standard and have noticed the padding on my stand is starting to effect the finish on my guitar body (very barely, noticeable yet). I paid a good sum of cash for the stand and was ensured that it was a good un. Can you point me in the right direction for a stand that won't eat my guitar finish? I'm not wanting to keep it in the case all the time - it´s for playing and looking at, and when it´s on show, I'm the king of the castle. It would be like locking up your pretty girlfriend and not playing with her and showing her off to your envious mates…

The problem you have here is that nitro-cellulose finishes really don't like some plastics and rubbers, and they really hate others to the point of bubbling up completely. No doubt your stand's padding is made of a material that has reacted - thankfully not too seriously - with the cellulose finish. The quick fix is to get a soft cloth, such as a quality polishing cloth, and cover the bits of your stand that come into contact with your guitar. There may well be stands devoted purely to nitro finishes, but it's easier to modify your existing one.

More generally, you'll find nitro-cellulose finishes on the vast majority of Gibson guitars, Fender American Vintage Series and Custom Shop models. The vast majority of new guitars do not use nitro-cellulose lacquer, for example most Fenders, Epiphone, ESP, Taylor and so on. If you're in any doubt, check the spec of your guitar.

Editor-in-chief, Guitars Group