A few guitar brands, Gibson, for instance, uses nitrocellulose lacquer to finish their guitars. This finish may be easily marred by just touching other objects, particularly when the finish is less than a year old. In this project, I wanted to explore alternatives to surgical tubing used on inexpensive guitar stands, with an eye towards protecting nitro finishes. NOTE – Special thanks to the local band “Jealous Creatures” who donated this stand to The Unbroken String Crew.
The old surgical tubing that originally protected the guitar from the metal parts of the guitar stand was already gone, so some quarter-inch vinyl tubing would be a good cushion over the bare metal. For most guitar finishes, you could just use this tubing and call it done, but I wanted a layer of something really inert in contact with the guitar.
This is a roll of one-inch-wide Teflon plumbers tape, As you can see, I’ve begun covering the vinyl with the tape. There is no adhesive on the tape, only pure Teflon, so those black end caps will hold the beginning and ending ends of the tape in place when we’re done.
The other end of the Teflon tape is wrapped all the way to the end.
Next to the black cap, you can see the overlap in the Teflon tape. To finish the job, I used my fingernail to smooth out the wraps of Teflon. The wraps disappear and the Teflon appears to be painted onto the stand. It’s a little harder to see, but the Teflon wraps near my fingers have been burnished and the wraps disappear.
This project is not intended to be the last word on protecting nitro finishes, but rather is to encourage luthiers and guitar enthusiasts to think outside the box. There is a school of thought that damage to nitro finishes is caused solely by the mechanical pressure on the soft finish, and that this damage can be polished or buffed away. In other cases, some discoloration may occur when the guitar is stored next to leather straps or other sources of chemical impurities, and this damage cannot be repaired without refinishing.