Applying a nitrocellulose finish to any Gibson acoustic guitar — including the J-45 Standard — is one of the most labor-intensive elements of the guitar-making process. Unlike the polyurethane finishes used by many guitar manufacturers, a nitrocellulose lacquer finish is porous when cured, allowing the wood to naturally “breathe” and mature. Microscopically thin, the finish on a Gibson acoustic guitar first requires seven main coats of nitrocellulose lacquer. After drying overnight, the initial seven coats are then level sanded and given two additional coats. Left to dry for five additional days, the finish is then wet sanded and buffed to its final glass-like sheen. The time-consuming nature of applying a nitro finish has been employed ever since the first Gibson guitar was swathed with lacquer back in 1894. Why? For starters, a nitro finish means there is less interference with the natural vibration of the instrument, allowing for a purer tone. It’s also a softer finish, making it easily repairable. You can touch up a scratch or ding on a nitro finish, but you can’t do the same on a poly finish.
In order to continually improve the design, quality and performance of our instruments and to make use of the best materials at all times, Gibson reserves the right to change specifications without notice. Additionally, because Gibson brand guitars are handcrafted, it is normal for wood grains, finishes and some measurements to vary from those listed on this Web site. As always, the prices listed are the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. Please contact an authorized Gibson dealer in your area for the most current pricing.