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FDP Forum / Fender Bass Guitars and Bass Amps / Article on Fullerplast

Next 20 Messages  
iammr2

Lower Slobovia

Pass me the onions..Yeah, the green ones
May 23rd, 2009 07:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

Every year or two I'll refurb my basses a bit. Was getting ready to do this, doing some reading, refreshing, and researching and came across this article on Fullerplast on Fenders. It's a bit lengthy but see what you think.

Fullerplast

Ken
Contributing Member

USA

May 23rd, 2009 08:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

yeah wow. If true, this might debunk some long held thoughts about how old Fenders ability to "breathe" add to their tone.

bAss-Flyer
Contributing Member
******

Atascadero CA

A P-bass ... to go please.
May 23rd, 2009 09:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

Interesting

feathertoad

usa

May 23rd, 2009 09:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

Unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bo
Contributing Member
***

Colorado / USA

no belly cut big enough
May 23rd, 2009 09:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

I always thought this was common knowlage among fender guys. Not a dirty little secret as the artical states. Also Fullerplast as with all primers and varnishes are flat sanded before the nitro is sprayed. If 4 coaots of sealer are sprayed at 2mils per coat those 8 mills are sanded back. I sprayed 2 identical 2 tone bursts over alder last week. These are prototype Strat style guitars. The first guitar recieved a coat of vinyl sealer,4 coats of varnish and was flat sanded, bursted and clear coated. The last 2 coats in a semi gloss finish. The second was guitar was vinyl sealed, then 5 coats of clear. 5 days later I gave it a light scuff a two tone burst and 5 coats of clear the last 2 being low gloss. I've never been a big believer in the Nitro is better than Poly tone thing(but I do shoot nitro all day and do like the look and feel better than poly) but I'm curious to hear the difference in tone between these 2 guitars when they are assembled next week.

(This message was last edited by Bo at 09:15 PM, May 23rd, 2009)

feathertoad

usa

May 23rd, 2009 09:14 PM   Edit   Profile  

Bo
That sounds very interesting. You'll have to give us an update once your project is done

Bo
Contributing Member
***

Colorado / USA

no belly cut big enough
May 23rd, 2009 09:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

"You'll have to give us an update once your project is done"

Not so much a project but my job. I'm the painter

here

ilan
Contributing Member
***

Tel Aviv, Israel

May 23rd, 2009 10:34 PM   Edit   Profile  

"... Fuller for Fuller O'Brien, the products creator, and plast for the obvious PLASTIC"

Why is that obvious? Couldn't "plast" be for "plaster"?

And someone please explain the whole "breathing" thing. Why should a guitar body "breathe"? It seems to me it's more a psychological thing than actual physics. And the "drying" is another thing I don't get. Without a sealer, if you're in a humid area, the guitar will absorb moisture, wouldn't it?

One Drop
Contributing Member
****

Swiss Alps

Sound and Pressure
May 24th, 2009 03:33 AM   Edit   Profile  

This is not news, and has never been a 'dirty little secret' of any sort. Since when has Fender ever shared much information about ANY of their manufacturing techniques?

I think the tone of the article is self-serving and ridiculous, and the writer has added no new knowledge or original research to the the subject, either.

Johnnysonic60
Contributing Member
*

Bucks, England

Johnnysonic
May 24th, 2009 04:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

I'm sorry, I don't buy any of this. Yes, I have seen a plasticky layer between the colour coats and the wood (stained or not) on Fenders from the second half of the 60s. My '66 Blonde Slab bodied Precision and '68 Blonde Telecaater definately had it. You could see it on the 'exposed' parts of the wood as a kind of inpenatrable layer which also prevented the wood darkening with age.

But I have not found this with Pre CBS instruments, sunburst or otherwise and I've owned dozens and dozens. I'm looking at my very worn '62 Sunburst Precision now and its large areas of bare wood. You can feel the (darkened) wood with your hands and there's no plasticky barrier I can see or feel. This has been my general experience with instruments from the early '60s.

The wood on late '50s and early '60s Fender may well have been sealed, but I don't think it was with any kind of thick plasticky stuff, Fullerplast or otherwise.

Just my two pennies worth, but has anyone seem this hard layer on pre'65 instruments?

Cheers

Johnny

(This message was last edited by Johnnysonic60 at 04:24 AM, May 24th, 2009)

Patterson

USA

Walkin' the Plank
May 24th, 2009 06:46 AM   Edit   Profile  

"I always thought this was common knowlage among fender guys."

So did I.

But I must say the vertical stripes in the background make that article hard on the eyes.

Dave W
Contributing Member
*

Texas

20th Century Boy
May 24th, 2009 07:46 AM   Edit   Profile  

This article is bull on so many levels.

First, it's no secret at all that Fender stopped using nitro as a sealcoat back in 1955.

Second, Fullerplast is an epoxy-based sealant, NOT "poly."

Third, all finishes "breathe" in the sense that they exchange moisture with the surrounding atmosphere. Polys, lacquers, you name it. Even pigmented shellac.

And finally, no matter how many nitro fans scream "PLASTIC" as if it were a dirty word, any finish chemist will tell you that nitro and acrylic lacquers are definietly classified as plastic finishes.

A qualified finish shop doesn't need to spread misinformation to get business.

chawesco

USA

May 24th, 2009 08:27 AM   Edit   Profile  

I know regardless my 72 Precision has great tone.
It is worn thorugh to the wood in many areas and I can see no plastic in any of the layers. The head stock of this CAR bass is even darkened to the extreme which I thought Fullerplast didn't allow. ANYWAY, regardless of plastic or not, I think everyone would agree that many of the instruments from the 60's to current have great tone.

uncle stack-knob
Contributing Member
********

united kingdom

May 24th, 2009 09:18 AM   Edit   Profile  

Well,the comedian who wrote the article as if he just discovered time travel or something,says all Fenders from 1963 on were sealed with Fullerplast.
He doesn't seem to have much knowledge regarding the way yellow was produced for the sunbursting process.
Certainly by 1964 the look of the 'bursts started to adopt that "target" look.
They certainly sprayed the yellow after dipping in a yellow stain as well;anyone who has stripped,or owns a stripped to natural Fender from this era will be aware of the yellow stain that has soaked right into the end grain,and is irremovable.
But Fullerplast as a generally used sealer in the pre-cbs years? NO.
I think they started experimenting with poly finishes toward the end of the sixties,and that they were using Fullerplast as a sealer over the yellow stain dip by the midsixties.
Stack-Knob.

Danny Nader

usa

May 24th, 2009 09:27 AM   Edit   Profile  

"The head stock of this CAR bass is even darkened to the extreme which I thought Fullerplast didn't allow."

The headstock of your bass has a coat of lacquer on it to lock the decal in place. That's what has darkened.

If you are going to talk 'plastic' finishes, then you better start looking at a lot of manufacturers. A lot of them. Many companies have such great PR & ad campaigns that players accept synthetic finishes from them & praise the companies for it. Gibson is one of the few companies that use mostly nitro, a plastic finish.

UV cured, poly's of various sorts & modern lacquers are plastic. No problem w/ any of them. As I've mentioned before, a thick gloppy finish of any type is not what you want. A properly applied, relatively thin finish is good, no matter the material. Ask Bo. He's telling you straight.

Danny

uncle stack-knob
Contributing Member
********

united kingdom

May 24th, 2009 09:45 AM   Edit   Profile  

Danny says all good things there.
One thing that came to light as a result of a conversation with the Fuller O'Brien technical people was that Fullerplast itself was a development over time.Their thoughts on early Fender attempts in production to achieve a good workable sealer was that they went through a stage or period of using what we now call "pre-catalysed lacquer".
You can buy that stuff all over the place,its basically cellulose,but it's got more guts in it and it tends to dry faster,somewhat.It's a straight out of the tin thing.
Back to Mr.Funny and his article on the finishes there,he doesn't even take a glance at the acryllics Fender used does he?
I would invite him to show us on here a 1960 Fender with a Fullerplast sealer coat.

I don't think that will happen.
Then maybe he has been finishing guitars with the stuff and is trying to justify the obvious cock-up.

:O) Stack-Knob.

Patterson

USA

Walkin' the Plank
May 24th, 2009 10:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

"And finally, no matter how many nitro fans scream "PLASTIC" as if it were a dirty word, any finish chemist will tell you that nitro and acrylic lacquers are definietly classified as plastic finishes."

Exactly.


Bo
Contributing Member
***

Colorado / USA

no belly cut big enough
May 24th, 2009 10:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

From the artical, "When Fender switched to Alder (from Ash) as it's primary body wood in mid 1956, many books and authorities state Fender started using the product called "Fullerplast" This is a very misunderstood product."

This part kind of confuses me. We use grain filler on all ash and mahogony bodies. Alder bodies and maple necks don't need filler. Why would fender be worried about filling Alder bodies but not Ash bodies? Even after grain filling there are a few bodies that requier and extra varnish coat on the heavier rotery grain.
Basicly you speed the finishing process using a cross linked finish. Weather you use 30 coats of Lacquer or 3 coats of catalyzed sealer your still going to need a certian mil build to fill the grain and flatten the finish!

iammr2

Lower Slobovia

Pass me the onions..Yeah, the green ones
May 24th, 2009 12:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

I don't know jack about paints, laquers, shellacs, etc... That's why I posted the link, to get input on here. No, Fullerplast is no secret. I didn't know what years they used it. Also, I'd never thought of it as the whole body being encased in plastic as that would, like some posters said, effect the breathing of the body. So maybe that is not the case?

"no matter how many nitro fans scream "PLASTIC" as if it were a dirty word,"

I guess that would be me...

"Couldn't "plast" be for "plaster"?"

ilan, I don't know about in Israel, but here plaster is generally a paste made up of a liquid and a solid. That's my impression anyway. I'm sure others think differently or can expand on that.

"Just my two pennies worth, but has anyone seem this hard layer on pre'65 instruments?"

You say you don't buy it but you mention your '66 and '68 as having Fullerplast and your '62 doesn't. The author said it started in '63 and that would fit your situation.

"But Fullerplast as a generally used sealer in the pre-cbs years? NO.
I think they started experimenting with poly finishes toward the end of the sixties,and that they were using Fullerplast as a sealer over the yellow stain dip by the midsixties."

"I would invite him to show us on here a 1960 Fender with a Fullerplast sealer coat."

Isn't that pretty much what this "comedian" was saying, that it began in '63?

Seems like a couple of you guys are quick to go on the attack yet you're lending more credibility to his account with what you're saying. Granted, his is "marketing speak" to make him appear knowledgable and get business. Sounds like an insurance salesman.

Interesting thoughts from those that know their sealants and paints. Thanks for the info. Ok, so now we know it started in '63. Did they quit using Fullerplast and if so, when?

"a thick gloppy finish of any type is not what you want."

Considering the breathability issue is pretty well debunked except for which sealant/paint allows the wood to breath more, Mr. Nader seems to make sense to me here. A thinner finish might allow the body to resonate more/better? Sounds reasonable.


Danny Nader

usa

May 24th, 2009 12:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

Uncle & iammr2 ,

Thanks for the kind words. Think about this discussion the next time someone raves about the finishes on Ricks & Taylors.

"Gloppy' is a technical term.

To reiterate: a properly applied finish is the ticket. Bo is giving a heads up on some of the procedures. There has to be a certain amount of build. Most of it is removed through subsequent sanding & flattening.

I've had some cheap, plywood Strat copies that had a thick, gloppy finish that were as resonant as any guitar I've played. The sound & resonance of musical instrruments is a combination of many factors. Not Just the finish & it's chemical composition.

Danny

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