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anyone have comments on the differences of the two materials not for just pick guards and other ornamental applications but also guitar picks. Are most of you guys using the acetate for guitars? We will be adding a large variety of materials to our website and any information or suggestions would be much appreciated.

Tags: acetate, celluloid, guard, guitar, luthier, materials, nitrate, pick, picks

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Celluloid nitrate is extreamly flammable. Used on old pickguards.
Yes it certainly is. I was wondering if anyone might have had experience working with both in pickguards any difference or preference. I was always thinking that most guitarists prefer the nitrate for picks but maybe the pickguards it didnt make much difference. Also what typical thicknesses are the luthiers using for most of their work. Also any comments on the difference in properties outside the flammable aspects also.
Neither nitrate nor acetate is very easy to get anymore, thanks to recent transportation safety regulations, but most all the tortoise and ivoroid celluloid, as well as most of the pearloid stuff, was cellulose nitrate - the earlier and more volatile (flammable) version. It's much easier to generate interesting colors and patterns in nitrate than in acetate. I bought a bunch of stuff that was touted to be acetate but it turned out to be nitrate. I thought it looked too good to be true at first, and guess what? It gassed off and shriveled and got gnarly on me. Sigh. If you can get acetate that looks good, bravo! Just be sure it's really acetate. (Or don't worry about it.)

As far as picks, there's precious little difference between the two forms for players. Where you would notice the difference most would be in production circumstances, where there might be a flammability issue in cutting or storage.
Paul,
I was unaware that the acetate was regulated. Are you saying that it is when you say that shipping regulations affected the availablilty of both?
It was my understanding that as far as guitar picks the nitrate was in favor for tonal quality issues but I have not received acetate samples to test out. I keep reading that guitar pick companies switched to acetate because flammability issues but we all know that acetate or nitrate whichever they are I know they are flammable for sure. I know all the celluloid picks out still are flammable so figured they were nitrate. anyonw have specific knowledge the difference as far as feel between the two?
Von
von
Nitrate is famous for being volatile, but acetate is only a bit better. It still burns. But it doesn't spontaneously combust as bad as nitrate.

Both nitrate and acetate were reclassified as flammable substances during the Bush Administration, and subjected to transportation restrictions and storage and handling regulations. Homeland Security Collateral Damage. It means you have to pay fees and jump through more bureaucratic hoops to deal in the stuff, and lots of places like Stew-Mac and CF Martin just gave in and went to other materials, largely inferior ones. Other places - mostly folks who deal in large quantities, but some smaller outfits too, like Axiom and LMII, bless them, just pay the fees and jump through the bureaucratic hoops.

I'm not sure you can be certain about which is which on the market anymore, at least in terms of potential pick materials and so on. As I mentioned before, I got a bunch of what was told was acetate and it shriveled and oxidized like nitrate, which is, I'm pretty sure, what it is. If you're bigtime enough to be able to buy from Delmar, you might get a straight story.

Interesting that Kodak just retired Kodachrome from the marketplace. That was acetate.
I thought the kodak was being purchased and another company was going to bring it back. Just heard something in the news a week or so ago. I didn't realize that that was celluloid.

I know those guys have been working on getting a good substitute for celluloid but me personally i don't think there is a good substitute. I am just a firm believer after all these years that nothing can reproduce that vintage tone of the celluloid. I guess we are stuck dealing with the flammability with it. Do you know how or if the guitar pick manufacturers and even retailers of picks have the same regulations as far as shipping because in my opinion a bag of picks is just as flammable as a sheet of the stuff. I know that scrap celluloid even has more strict shipping issues than the sheet. How do they get around that?
Good question. I really don't know.

From Wikipedia:

As digital photography progressively reduced the demand for film in the first decade of the 21st century, Kodachrome sales steadily declined. On June 22, 2009 Eastman Kodak Co. announced the end of Kodachrome production, citing declining demand. Many Kodak and independent laboratories once processed Kodachrome, but only one Kodak certified facility remained: Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas.

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