Nitrocellulose Lacquer FINISHES

Nitrocellulose was the go-to choice of guitar lacquer on all guitars until modern 2k poly lacquers were invented which began taking over in the 70s. Therefore, this choice of lacquer will give you the closest emulation of a vintage instrument's finish. This lacquer is best known for how it 'ages' over time. Nitrocellulose lacquer is a lot softer than modern poly lacquers and was traditionally sprayed on much thinner. This causes it to chip and flake away easily. It doesn't protect the wood as much as modern lacquers, making it far more easy to dent. If instruments received a lot of playing over the years then it is common for the paint and lacquer to 'erode' or rub away from sleeves or sweat which would eventually lead to exposing the bare wood underneath.

These are the characteristics that have made nitrocellulose finishes very popular over the years for players that prefer their instruments with 'character' or 'a story to tell' but as with everything, it is purely down to personal preference.

As with our modern finishes, you can opt for a Nitrocellulose finish in any clear or opaque colour you like. It will be mixed here at Sims, by hand, using our eyes as the best guidance to reach as close to your desired colour as possible.



We also offer different stages of ageing for Nitrocellulose finishes as a further custom option.
We have 3 preset ageing options, each of which are aged to a storyboard so that each aged detail has a tangible reason and history behind why it exists. These are the stages of ageing that we offer for our Enfield Avenger basses, so they can be adapted in any way to suit your instrument's features. Alternatively, you can make up your own ageing storyboard and we can age your instrument to your own specifications!


A vintage instrument that was acquired by a budding LA recording studio in its early days, during the 60s. The studio has since become world-renowned and this bass has remained a trusty steed ever since. It has featured on some, thousands of records but has never left the premises long enough to see a gig.

There is wear around the contour of the upper bout from where arms and sleeves have polished through the finish over years of playing. There are a few dings around the lower bout where the instrument has knocked against some of the studios wooden furniture and some wear on the edges of the headstock where it has also knocked against furnishings, stands and cymbals.

Having spent its long life as a studio instrument, it has almost always been played whilst sat down, so with little need for a strap. It has very minor buckle rash but it is visible where the standard playing position is. Light plectrum scratches and thumb rest marks are most visible in line with the neck pickup and are lightly visible in line with the bridge pickup. There are screw holes and slight indentation where the original thumb rest and pickup covers once were.

There are also signs of light oxidation on the hardware from years of different players sweat after passionate takes and hot summer days. After thousands of string changes and adjustments there are signs of wear where the string ball ends lie beneath the bridge.

The neck shows light signs of wear after years of playing, as to be expected, but there are no significant dents or disfigurations and no fret wear.


A vintage 60s instrument that has played many shows from sweaty underground venues to large festival stages. This is a true work-horse instrument that shows significant cosmetic wear and tear but has still been cherished over the years by its loyal owner. Everything has been kept original and old-school over the years aside from the pickups. 

Heavy evidence of wear and enthusiastic playing on the body and headstock. The front side of the body has been worn down to the bare wood around the pickguard area as it has been predominantly played with a pick. It is also evident where the strap has rubbed against the areas around the strap buttons, after years of energetic stage performances. It has been left on a stand a lot which has caused the bottom of the body's nitro finish to react with the stand - a common problem back in the day.

The back of the body shows heavy wear and buckle rash from belts and stage costumes (that have changed in fashion) over the years. There are burn marks on the corner of the headstock where cigarettes used to be placed when playing.

It has recently been refretted with replacement 2.4mm frets and done properly so that it does not show the fret tang ends. Upon doing this it was also expertly levelled, crowned and polished so it now plays like butter.

Hardware is in good condition for its age but shows signs of wear and rust from sweat and humidity over the years. However, it has been perfectly maintained and cleaned down after each gig so that everything works as it should.

To keep it 60s correct you can have a brass earthing strip between the bridge and back pickup. Please express this in the 'Ageing Alterations' text box of form.


A vintage, early 60s instruments that passed hands a few times in its early days before finding a young, aspiring musician that soon started their long and highly successful career. This instrument has since seen almost every arena and large stage, worldwide. Extensive touring for long durations has led to heavy wear & tear and various on-the-fly modifications.

This instrument has literally been thrown on and off stage for years so countless scratches and dents are present. Around 50% of the nitro lacquer has worn through to the wood and there is evidence of UV light damage which is mainly noticeable where the pickguard has been removed. The finish is also worn around the strap locks where the shoulder strap has rubbed against the body after years of lively shows and rehearsals, not to mention the serious buckle rash on the back side. The lacquer has cracked from dramatic temperature changes caused in the hold of international flights.

During the bands first major tour this bass was left on stage under direct sunlight for one too many times, to the point that the pickguard began to warp and shrink, pulling all the screws inwards as it went. Discovering this only moments before showtime, there was no other choice than simply sawing the rest of the pickguard off above the control panel. This now shows the difference in UV damage where the pickguard once was.

This bass was knocked off of its stand by the bands clumsy vocalist during a rehearsal in 1972 which broke the headstock clean off. The neck was then swiftly replaced by the only just available, B neck (optional). This neck has remained ever since but has seen its fair share of wear. There are cymbal and stand dings all over and the finish has worn through on the back. It has however recently been refretted with replacement 2.4mm frets and done properly so that it does not show the fret tang ends. Upon doing this it was also expertly levelled, crowned and polished so it now plays like butter.


When enquiring about our Spray Shop services there are a few options to think about that may not have crossed your mind. These will alter the price of your quote based on the time and resources required.

  • Do you want the headstock, neck and/or pickguard painted too?

  • You can take the guitar apart and send it unloaded which will save you money as it saves us time.

  • We can strip the old lacquer for you in preparation for the respray or you can strip it yourself before sending to us. However, please bare in mind that if this is not done professionally that we will only be able to half the stripping charge due to the preparation needed to achieve a the factory style professional finish that we always aim to deliver.

  • Having your guitar or bass refinished can also be the perfect opportunity to have other custom work or alterations made such as pickup swapouts, hardware changes, neck profile, body shape recontouring, routing etc. If this is what you desire then we can also provide the new components if necessary or you can send them, along with your instrument for us to fit. This could save you money and many complications in the long run!