What Wax For My SG?

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by NMA, Mar 17, 2020.

  1. NMA

    NMA Well-Known Member

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    With much free time coming our way due to the virus, I feel it is time to wax my guitars.

    The problem is I don't know what finish is on my SG. I've noticed finishes seem to change very often on guitars. One year they are lacquer, then poly, then conversion varnish, then nitro...it is very confusing and I don't know what finish is on my SG so I can use the proper wax on it.

    I can tell you my SG is a 2012 Standard and when I got it there was a section on the edge that felt like it was still curing. It wasn't fully set. What finish is that and what wax works best (if any)?

    I use the car wax/cleaner Zymol on my Fenders and Rics and that stuff is the best out there. But I hesitate to use it on my SG.

    What finish do I have and what wax do you use on it?
     
  2. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    It is a nitrocellulose finish. I don't use any wax. Other than regular wipe downs with an old cotton Tshirt, I use Gibson guitar polish or Guitar Nomad polish on my Gibsons. If I have some micro-scratches that are bugging me or I want to bring up a little shine to a satin finish, I use Virtuoso polish, but it is expensive and requires a bit more attention to application. For those wary of using Ronsonol (Naphtha) to clean lollipop residue from their Gibsons, I also recommend Virtuoso cleaner to remove dried bbq sauce etc.
     
  3. NMA

    NMA Well-Known Member

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    Thanks.

    Yeah, a part of me feels that waxing isn't necessary on my SG. I always wipe it down with my polishing cloths and the shine still seems to be the same as the day I bought it.
     
  4. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I used this on my Dean Dime
    [​IMG]
    and it really got great velocity and altitude off of the berms.:naughty:
     
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  5. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Well-Known Member

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    I also use the Music Nomad guitar polish. Fantastic stuff. Nitro safe. And it fixes sticky spots on necks if you ever encounter one that's getting a little tacky. Smells nice too. Their fret board oil is top notch as well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
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  6. arcticsg

    arcticsg Well-Known Member

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    I first wipe them down with naphtha and dry. Then polish with Meguiar’s. Hand apply with 100% cotton T’s or flannel rags/shirts. I like those yellow flannel dust cloths, they’ve always worked great for me.

    Depending on how deep the scratches or swirls are, I’ll use the rubbing compound first, the polish.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    The Gibson pump polish is fine,

     
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  8. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    If you have a Gibson SG, you have nitrocellulose lacquer varnish.
    Same with USA Fenders.

    If you have an Epiphone, you have polyurethane.
    Same with MIM Fenders.

    Simple as that IMHO. (at least I don't know of any variations... there might be some).
    Polyurethane finished guitars need nothing. just wipe them down
    with the same bandana you use to wipe the strings after
    a performance. Polyurethane is an excellent and very practical guitar finish, ignore what any purist might say
    about "lacquer."

    Lacquer finish is 'traditional" which means Gibson has been using Nitrocellulose Lacquer for 125 years or so. (and other makers too)... Fender also
    began making instruments coated in Nitrocellulose Lacquer.
    People have convinced themselves that Lacquer is better
    some how. It isn't true, IMHO.

    I get excellent tone from Chi/Com Epiphones finished in
    poly. I get excellent tone from a MIM Fender Tele, finished in Poly. So I'm convinced that Polyurethate is likely superior. It certainly protects the guitar better, which is
    the point, again IMHO.

    To answer the OP's question:
    On a deep gloss Gibson or USA Fender finish, use Music Nomad's "Guitar One" or else use the Gibson or Fender
    proprietary guitar polish. Once or twice a year is enough,
    unless you have an important gig coming. Dunlop 65 with
    Carnauba wax is also fine.

    On a Gibson 'faded' finish, I like to use Howard's Feed n Wax, which is used by antique dealers. It works great, does no harm and one bottle will last a very long time.
    results below...
    Body Upper Bout@100.jpg
    If you have an Epiphone or other foreign made guitar, they will almost entirely be finished in Poly. They need almost
    NO maintenance. The finish is hard and smooth, and you can buy an expensive bottle of snake oil, and rub it on, and
    then rub it off, and the guitar looks the same. Expensive
    varnish polishes do almost nothing. Neither does anything else. That's the beauty of poly. ...Wipe it down with a cotton bandana, and you're done.

    On my MIM Telecaster which is black black black, I sometimes use windex to get fingerprints and other greasy
    marks off. The guitar is unaffected. Its lovely maple neck
    shows no signs of the ugly varnish breakup that one sees
    on USA Fenders owned by obsessed professional or super star level guitarists.
    Fender_strat_1956_cons_fingerboard_wear_1.jpg
    Worn Fender fingerboards look dreadful IMHO, and ol' Leo thought the same. Polyurethane might
    be the answer. Or it might not. I've had my MIM Tele for
    about 11 years, and played it a lot, and see no signs of that lacquer breakup.
    Snow White & Vox@100.jpg
    Hope that answers your questions:
    Polyurethane coated foreign made guitars need almost
    no finish maintenance.

    USA made Lacquer coated guitars need something with
    Carnauba wax in it, such as Dunlop 65 or Music Nomad's Guitar One.
     
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  9. Chubbles

    Chubbles Well-Known Member

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    I bought 100 perecent carnauba wax in a can from an auto supply shop. I've used on it all my guitars.
     
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  10. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Active Member

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  11. skelt101

    skelt101 Active Member

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    Not so fast, Col! From what I can tell, the only USA Fenders to receive a lacquer finish are the vintage reissues (currently referred to as American Original). But it's been said that, unless dubbed a "Thin Skin", the lacquer is on top of a poly finish, simply to provide a vintage feel. With regards to MIM, that is mostly correct. (There have been limited models in the now defunct Classic Series that featured lacquer.)
     
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  12. NMA

    NMA Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, my American Strat's finish is nothing like my SG's. It seems harder and sturdier, like a shell. It takes my Zymol car wax wonderfully and really gives a blinding, very glossy shine. I don't know what the finish is, but it is definitely different than the one on my SG.

    You can see the finish here. The guitar looks like its encased in a shell of pure gloss.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Chuteboxehero

    Chuteboxehero Well-Known Member

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    Fender American Standard finishes are generally Poly. The only Nitro Fender I've owned was a Highway One strat from the early 00's. It was considerably less expensive than the standard at the time and they advertised the fact that the thin nitro coat would age and wear quickly giving it a vintage look. Turned out to be a fantastic guitar. Wish I never sold it.
     
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  14. RhinestoneStrat

    RhinestoneStrat Active Member

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    My USA Fender that is bedazzled with rhinestones is a poly finish & not nitro. You must be thinking of pre-CBS guitars that prolly used nitro.;)
     
  15. arcticsg

    arcticsg Well-Known Member

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    Modern USA Fenders Standard Strats/Tele’s are wrapped in poly. Starting in 2015 they started using thinner coats, instead of encasing them in a quarter inch slab of poly [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And this is a 2015 when they started to lighten up on the poly. If held at the right angle you can aaaalmost see the texture of the grain. :D

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I was so far wrong on new Fenders.
    Listen to these guys, they know their stuff.

    But I have nothing against Polyurethane anyway.
    My MIM Fender and MIC Epiphone also share that
    hard shell finish. Wipe them down with a bandana
    and you're done.
    SnowWhite Caledonia@100.jpg
     
  17. RhinestoneStrat

    RhinestoneStrat Active Member

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    I wonder what kind of wax will make me rhinestones shine?;)

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    No wax! Gently brush the stones with an old, very soft toothbrush dipped in a solution of mild soap and water. Since rhinestones are usually glued into the settings, you don't want to get them too wet, so place them facedown on a terry-cloth towel to dry.
     
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  19. OldDog

    OldDog Member

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    Automotive chemicals work just fine on guitars including polishes and waxes. You probably really don't need to wax a guitar -after all, it's not like it sits outside with birds pooping on it, but I like the brilliance it adds to the finish. The only "special" chemicals I use are the oil for the fret board, and the lube for the nut.
     
  20. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Well-Known Member

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    None. Just a simple guitar polish of your choice, and a micro fiber cloth.
     

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