Nitro vs Poly Cost?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by pancake81, Jan 9, 2021.

  1. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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    Just curious, what is the cost difference for a major guitar manufacturer to finish a guitar in nitro vs poly? I honestly have no idea, but other than assembly location this seems to be one of the big “differences” between USA made and off shore. Are we talking a huge amount or a mere $25 per instrument when buying by the train car load?
     
  2. Silvertone

    Silvertone Well-Known Member

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    I have no idea but $25 / instrument would be a massive, bordering on astronomical, savings. $0.25 an instrument would be a huge savings. Gibson makes 170,000 guitars a year. If they could save a fraction of $0.01 they would as would any manufacturer. There are many differences between nitro and poly, so I would imagine they are very close in price to actually add as a finish but used for other reasons. Some of those reasons may be marketing hype. I've never tried to use poly as I started building Gibson style guitars and most of the vintage guitars used nitro as well.

    Cheers Peter.
     
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  3. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    I also use Nitro on bodies, but recently I have taken to French polish on necks. It's an extremely thin finish and is shiny without any stickiness. It's also a piece of cake to redo if there is wear or damage.
     
  4. GrumpyOldDBA

    GrumpyOldDBA Well-Known Member

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    Well none of us know exactly? Material costs are involved plus maybe maufacturing time?

    Can poly coats go on thicker easier? Do you need more thinner coats with nitro?

    If more semi manual steps involved thats more labor time right?
     
  5. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    Nitro is difficult because it takes much longer to cure, and time is money when it comes to manufacturing. It's also more toxic and I believe Gibson needs special permits and has to follow certain regulations to spray it. (Although I'm sure the Chinese factories don't have any regulations preventing them from doing it...)

    The biggest reason Gibsons are more expensive is just the fact that they're paying livable wages for their labor, and that Gibsons are marketed as a luxury good. The materials costs are not that significant in reality. Does anyone really think it costs Gibson $200 to make a Maestro? Luxury goods have high markups.
     

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