Exploring Fender Guitar Finishes

Dive into the world of Fender guitar finishes, understanding their types, impact on tone, and how to care for them.

Fender Guitar Finishes


Fender guitars, known for their exceptional quality, offer a diverse range of finishes. These finishes enhance the guitar's aesthetics and subtly impact its tone and durability. Understanding the different types of finishes and how they affect your guitar's look, feel, and sound is key to appreciating and maintaining your Fender guitar.

Types of Fender Guitar Finishes

Fender's repertoire of finishes includes nitrocellulose lacquer, favored in the 1950s-60s, and the more modern and durable urethane and polyester finishes. Different series of Fender guitars use different types of finishes, catering to both vintage enthusiasts and modern players.

Impact on Tone and Durability

The finish of a guitar can mildly affect its tone. Nitrocellulose lacquer is believed to enhance resonance, offering a warmer, more organic sound, while polyurethane finishes, being thicker, might slightly dampen it. However, it's important to remember that the type of wood, construction, and pickups play a more significant role in the guitar's overall sound.

Caring for Lacquer Finishes

Lacquer finishes require careful maintenance. They are sensitive to environmental conditions like temperature and humidity and can show wear over time. This wear is often appreciated for its vintage charm, adding a unique character to the guitar.

Maintaining Polyurethane and Polyester Finishes

These finishes are more durable and easier to maintain. Regular cleaning with a soft, dry cloth and occasional polishing with appropriate products help preserve the finish's appearance and protect it from scratches and environmental damage.


Whether your Fender guitar has a vintage nitrocellulose finish or a modern polyurethane one, proper maintenance is key to its longevity. Understanding the nuances of these finishes will help you keep your guitar in top condition, both in looks and performance. By taking care of your Fender's finish, you ensure that its beauty and sound endure for years to come.