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

Previous 20 Messages  
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

Dave W
Contributing Member
*

Texas

20th Century Boy
May 24th, 2009 01:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

Bo -- true, alder doesn't need grain filling, but it sure can soak up finish. The Fullerplast and other products they used on alder over the years were intended as seal coats, not pore fillers.

The genius who wrote this article doesn't even mention Sherwin-Williams Homoclad, another synthetic sealer. Fender apparently started using it in the late 50s. They dipped the bodies into a barrel full of the stuff. IIRC they continued to use it on and off for years, and supposedly the Custom Shop uses it today.

Fullerplast came later, IIRC sometime in the late 60s. It had to be sprayed on. It apparently was only used for a few years.

Either way, I'm confident the guitar body is dead long before it's covered with a suffocating finish. ;^)




Danny Nader

usa

May 24th, 2009 01:19 PM   Edit   Profile  

Fender did not dip bodies into sealers. Wouldn't have worked. Fullerplast is an unsafe material to use. It has health problems associated w/ it.

Fender does indeed use sealers on their instruments. I believe the main reason for them using is, as Bo pointed out, was / is to speed up the process. They would also use less finish material (color & top coats) because of this. So, along w/ speeding up the process a bit it was a way to use less expensive materials for prep. It didn't soak into the bodies the way the lacquers would.

The Custom Shop uses sealers unless that instrument is spec'ed out differently. They use whatever current material matches the 'historical' ones.

The dipping bodies procedure, unless proven otherwise, is a myth.

Danny

Dave W
Contributing Member
*

Texas

20th Century Boy
May 24th, 2009 01:58 PM   Edit   Profile  

I believe Mark Kendrick of Fender has confirmed that bodies were dipped in Homoclad. Not Fullerplast, as I noted above.

Bo
Contributing Member
***

Colorado / USA

no belly cut big enough
May 24th, 2009 02:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

"Bo -- true, alder doesn't need grain filling, but it sure can soak up finish. The Fullerplast and other products they used on alder over the years were intended as seal coats, not pore fillers."

I understand this, but even after grain filling it takes more sealer to fill ash and mahogony than raw alder. So my confusion lies in the fact that while using ash,sealers were not a condition of finishing only after moving to alder(which needs no grain filler and fills with fewer coats than grain filled ash) did Fender start experimenting with catalyzed sealers.

My guess would be that catalyzed sealers were the latest technology and considered a better substraight for nitro(which it is) and Fender would go with the latest technology as any buisness would. Nitro, Acrylic, Enamal, Polyeurthane, UV Cure are all the evolution of finishing systems. High solids Clears that cover in 2 coats and resist fading over years of direct sunlight are the norm in the industry. They apply faster with shorter flash time and cure time and are more durable. Poly or nitro some guitars just seem to sound better than other guitars to different people. I think I stated on another forum that whil I like the look and feel of a nitro finish I'm not about to strip all my poly finishes and refin them in nitro thinking they'll all sound better. Just MHO that a resonate body and solid neck with all componets working together(strings pulling against neck,trussrod pulling against neck and strings, tone transfer through a thin bridgeplate to the body) make for a great sounding(to my ears) guitar. Having poly, nitro, and oil finished instruments that all sound good I put finish = good tone way down the list. These are just My opinions and are subject to debate, afer doing finsh work on wood and metal for 31 years the fact that people still get hung up over the nitro vs poly argument still leaves me scraching my head. Sorry for being so long winded


Danny Nader

usa

May 24th, 2009 02:10 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yay Bo!

Couldn't agree more. My favorite Jazz Basses are two early 1970's era basses. Fullerplast sealer, lacquer topcoats & polyester (Fullerplast?) finished necks. I also have an Ice Blue Jazz that sounds killer!

Wouldn't trade them for anything! Well . . . almost anything!
: )

Danny

(This message was last edited by Danny Nader at 02:14 PM, May 24th, 2009)

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
**

Merrill, Wisconsin

Shoot, Winter's over already?
May 24th, 2009 03:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

I stripped my 64 P bass and refinished it about 4 or 5 times. There was no Fullerplast on the body.

My 68 Telecaster (guitar not bass) was another matter. It had that hard, very thick clear poly on it. No sanding or stripper (I tried 4 types) would touch it.

I ended up taking the finish off with a 3/4" router bit. Just skimmed it over the clear poly.

The poly was damaged when I got the guitar...big chunks were missing.

My 68 Tele bass had been stripped and stained and refinished before I got it. The owner did a great job. It obviously didn't have the Fullerplast on it as it took a conventional stain well.

(This message was last edited by Steve Dallman at 03:03 PM, May 24th, 2009)

Jazzbass66
Contributing Member
********

2 much ain't enough

Do you SEE what happens Larry??
May 24th, 2009 07:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

(This message was last edited by Jazzbass66 at 08:01 AM, May 25th, 2009)

One Drop
Contributing Member
****

Swiss Alps

Sound and Pressure
May 25th, 2009 11:45 AM   Edit   Profile  

FWIW, my '73 Jazz has that thick glossy clear coat under the S/B finishing coats, and you can see where the finish has chipped off in big chunks from belt buckle wear. I've never seen this kind of wear on a pre '68 Fender, but I have on many ones through the '70s, including a '72 P I played today, that was worn to a white undercoat on the front from arm wear, but shipped in the back to the plasticky coat from belt buckles on the back.

WaterOfTyne

Geordie Delta, UK

Nicely Out of Tune...
May 25th, 2009 12:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

My '73J had the glossy coat under the 'burst, too.

Danny Nader

usa

May 25th, 2009 04:22 PM   Edit   Profile  

Steve,

"My 68 Tele bass had been stripped and stained and refinished before I got it. The owner did a great job. It obviously didn't have the Fullerplast on it as it took a conventional stain well."

Couldn't a previous owner have removed the sealer coats?

Danny

Twangmeister
Contributing Member
**

US--Downeast (NC)

Guitar playin' bassist
May 26th, 2009 02:58 PM   Edit   Profile  

Certainly by the end of the 60's they must have been using Fullerplast. I had my '71 Jazz refinished with a walnut stain a few years later and the guy who refinshed it complained about how hard it was to get it to take stain. Taking off the top finish wasn't the problem--he had to do a lot of sanding to get the sealer off.

Bob Holly

usa

Apr 25th, 2019 12:24 AM   Edit   Profile  

I know this is an old discussion, but I do think that Fullerplast was used on the 1960's pre CBS Fender guitars. Now please hear me out, and I will explain why I believe this! I have refinished many vintage Fender guitar bodies in the past, and I used original finish examples as an accurate guide. So where do I start? How about the yellow stain. Some say that it was applied by submerging the whole body in a vat of yellow stain, and this may be true, but when? All of the bodies I have examined from mid 1964 and down do not appear to have been completely submerged in yellow stain. Why do I say this? The exposed wood where the conduit paint stick was fastened is not yellow. Also I have seen multiple yellow drip marks running into the pickup, and tremolo cavities. This tells me that the yellow stain was brushed on, not applied by dipping the whole body. Also you will sometimes see a lack of yellow under the pickguard. Why waste the stain when you wont see it? Kinda like the lack of Red under the pickguard. 1965 and up guitars have yellow stain on every inch of the body. So what does the yellow stain have to do with the Fullerplast? Have you ever seen a custom color guitar that goes from yellow stained wood to desert sand to the color coat? If you stain a guitar body yellow, and then spray desert sand or white primer over the yellow, the yellow will dramatically bleed through into the next layer of paint. The only way to stop this is to cover the yellow stain with something else. Now you can add a few coats of nitro sealer, and this will work, but you will see a thick layer of this translucent yellow sealer, and if you examine the originals you don't really see this. So how do you cover the yellow, but not see any sign of a film buildup/sealer? We all know that Fullerplast is not affected by other solvents. Now if Fender used a very thinned Fullerplast sealer that penetrated the grains, and covered the yellow stain, that would work. This would allow the primer coat to cover the yellow stain with no bleed through as the Fullerplast would not be affected by the Nitrocellulose lacquer. It would also prevent the primers from sinking into the wood grains. Again I have sprayed multiple guitars, and if you do it thin like the originals, the alder grains will soak up the nitro like a sponge, especially without a sealer coat. Now you can say, I am holding my vintage guitar in my hand and I can definitely not see any Fullerplast, and you would be right. You wouldn't see it. It would be so thinned out that it soaked right into the grains, and appears to be wood only. This would allow the primer and color coats to be sprayed on extra thin with less finish work, less product, and a quicker evaporating time. Would this make it so your guitar cannot breath, and ruin the tone? No! It would be very minuscule! People picture some thick nasty plastic undercoat like a reissue strat from the 90's, but it wouldn't be anything like that. Again, you wouldn't even see it. Now after Fender sold out to CBS, the Fullerplast only got thicker and thicker. This is why you can gradually see it get worse on 1966 and up guitars. A few years back a guy on ebay had several early 1960's Fender bodies that had never been finished, (they were some sort of Factory examples). Each body appeared to be bare wood, but at the same time they had some sort of finish that kept the grains from getting dirty. I believe that these bodies were perfect examples of Fullerplast in use. I am telling you this from research, and guitars that I have studied in person. You can disagree and that is 100% okay, but we know Fullerplast was used in the 1960's, and the science is perfect evidence to prove it's existence on our beloved vintage guitars. Start paying attention to the way the yellow stain was applied to early 1964 and down guitars, and you will see that they were not fully submerged. What I am getting to is, not everything you read on the internet is accurate, not even from the pros. When so many years go by, it is easy for information and techniques to get lost. You have to take what info is out there, carefully study the guitars, and see where it actually fits in. And you cannot go by Fender, cause they don't even know what in the hell is going on. Since 1965 they are just another Fender licensed company.

(This message was last edited by Bob Holly at 01:15 PM, Apr 25th, 2019)

Bubbalou
Contributing Member
**********
*

USA

THE LOW END OF UPPER TEJAS
Apr 26th, 2019 01:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have a Nitro Gibson Guitar and Poly Fender Basses. Nitro is pretty but pretty fragile comparitively. I lean toward Longevity of a good hardened poly finish.

uncle stack-knob
Contributing Member
**********
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united kingdom

May 3rd, 2019 10:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

There is a well known picture of a young guy dipping Fender bodies in the dye at the Factory in Tom Wheelers' book--"American Guitars".

Another feature observed that confuses people on this topic seems to be the changes that occurred in production of the finishes with regard to the appearance of say, sunbursts,and notably the lack of translucence that occurs as the mid sixties around mid '64 comes along.
So look at,say,a 1960 'sunburst.
Then look at a 1961 sunburst.
Then look at a 1964 sunburst.
There you will see,usually on good examples the definitive differences in the MATERIALS being used.
The classic comparison is of that between a '60 sunburst with its' fugitive red issue,and a later '61 sunburst with its' very attractive graduated strong pigmented red,being what amounted to red paint rather than the earlier tinted clear.

The loss of transparency in the sunburst finishes
is also very apparent in the yellow,again,the colour is by the mid sixties all but yellow paint
obviously thinned somewhat.But it does not reveal the wood grain characterisics,even after all these years on many or most examples. The reason was surely a typical Fender move to obscure the differences present in the pieces of wood joined to make up the body billets,which happened at the timber mill stage pretty much,the bodies finally getting cut in the most productive way/yield.

Stack-Knob.


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