Gibson finish cracking

gimmeatele

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My LPjr double cut in TV yellow did exactly the same after moving to Spain so I knew it was the change of weather, but mineceent all down the back of the neck from headstock to body, but much less om both sides of the body, to be honest I love it.
 

Bob M

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I’m kind of amazed by the tepid dealer response. It sounds like this purchase was not online. If you bought from a local dealer they should have been actively looking to resolve the issues. At the very least provide you a setup to make it playable. Why buy from a brick and mortar retailer if they don’t provide service after the sale?
 

452varmint

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I purchased it online from a well known retailer who has a bricks and mortar shop.
If it was local it would be easier to deal face to face but local shops here just don't keep higher end guitars any more, its all low price high turnover these days.
 

Lonn

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I picked up this 81 V bass recently. Serious checking and flaking.

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schmee

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That looks pretty bad really for a newer guitar. My guess is it is wood that is/was not aged or dried properly. Finish checking can be "normal" in old guitars or if it has been in very cold temps.
I suppose maybe when it was shipped it got very cold? Was it winter?
 

schmee

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Thank you, i believe its still Gibsons problem because they offer a two year guarantee and its still within the two years.
I also informed the dealer of the tuning issue within a week of purchase.
If Gibson installed the bridge incorrectly or the nut needs work i believe Gibson should do it, no ?
I would definitely try to get that replaced.
 

Mr. St. Paul

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This is what "perfectly normal and actually desirable" checking looks like...on a 58-year-old Gibson that has experienced the weather extremes of the Upper Midwest for the entirety of its creation (made in Michigan, first owner was in Wisconsin, it's been in Minnesota since 2013). The checking on your guitar is not normal, and given the tuning instability, either the seller and/or Gibson has to make this right.

checking.jpg
 

kylejf90

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It's always been my understanding that vertical checking is caused by moisture and horizontal checking is caused by temperature. Since you kept in a stable, safe environment I'd say it's an issue with the finish or the wood. the tuning could be a result of the guitar not being stable overall? Just shooting in the dark there. sorry to hear you're having issues!
 

452varmint

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This is what "perfectly normal and actually desirable" checking looks like...on a 58-year-old Gibson that has experienced the weather extremes of the Upper Midwest for the entirety of its creation (made in Michigan, first owner was in Wisconsin, it's been in Minnesota since 2013). The checking on your guitar is not normal, and given the tuning instability, either the seller and/or Gibson has to make this right.

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Thats exactly what i consider to be surface checking and on a vintage guitar i find it attractive and it certainly wouldn't stop me buying.
I have owned a few vintage guitars over the years, only thing i ever did on an old P bass and an old tele was have a luthier shoot some clear over the headstock so i didn't loose any more of the decals.
I own some fairly expensive guitars and i look after them but probably my second favourite and certainly my most played electrics is a humble MIM baja that i cinverted to an esquire, it has some serious cracking in the poly, it actually has chunks of wood missing.
It's just an honest guitar, it was played half way round the world and back and looks like it, i fell for it because it just played right and it feels like part of me.
Its the only guitar that lives outside my guitar room, it just kicks around and is always in reach, for all its damage it is absolutely rock solid and stays in tune for ever.
This little junior hasn't been played, kept in a stable environment and has no reason to be cracking like this and continues to get worse.
It's unplayable due to the tuning instability and i have intension of selling my guitars but it has little vale and one day they will have to go, id rather protect the investment as well as being to use it until then.
 

Boreas

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Looking at the guitar again that made sense so i removed the pickguard and can now see that the cracking runs along the grain the full length of the body, right through the bridge mountings and there are also cracks from the pickguard screw holes to the neck joint which had been hidden by the pickguard.
Even running from the strap button and pickup screws.

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The screws appear to have all been overtightened during assembly, screwed in without pilot holes or screwed into unstable wood but the cracks are definitely from screw holes not the usual surface checking due to "Temperature and Humidity variations"

This could possible explain both the tuning instability and the cracking as the cracking runs through screw holes to either side of the neck joint and the full length of then body through the bridge.

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The screws being to blame would also explain why there is no cracking on the back of the body / neck / headstock.

The crack at the bottom is interesting, it runs through the two lower pickguard holes even though the body is cut away which would seem to indicate a problem with the wood having a pre existing crack / stress or not being seasoned properly as there is obviously a weakness along that line that the screws have individually highlighted through the cut away.

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I think every screw created its own crack. The body is fine. But the grain will swell/shrink differently along the grain. the WEAL points are the holes that were drilled into the finish. When the body expands/shrinks normally, those holes started to crack. Why?? Dunno. Improper application or improper curing.

Again, I do not believe this has anything to do with the tuning problems. Gibson's are notorious for tuning instability at the nut caused by the friction from the break angles. That should be a simple fix, but if the guitar is still under warranty, that is where you want to start. They may have to replace the whole thing.

As far as I am concerned, the GUITAR is fine, but has a thick, defective finish. It is similar to the Squier/Fender neck pocket crack. It does not involve a crack in the wood, just a stress point that was relieved with a finish crack. Structurally insignificant. If this occurred after 30 years or after mistreatment, then I would think otherwise. But this type of checking after <two years, with obvious origins at every hole indicates to me that the finish is defective. Typical age checking is more random. Will this look like nice age checking after 30 years, or will the finish be coming off in big chunks like some 70s/80s Fenders? I would prefer a finish that isn't going to self-destruct, and this is your only chance for any action by Gibson. Once the warranty expires, it will likely be your problem. But it is conceivable that this is all the damage it may incur over the next 30 years if the stress points have all been relieved. No way to predict.
 
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452varmint

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That looks pretty bad really for a newer guitar. My guess is it is wood that is/was not aged or dried properly. Finish checking can be "normal" in old guitars or if it has been in very cold temps.
I suppose maybe when it was shipped it got very cold? Was it winter?

It was winter but i always leave them overnight in the house to stabilise before opening.
I bought a J200 the same week, opened it the same way and its kept in the same room, not a mark on it and tuning has never been an issue.
That said they came from different companies and i don't know how or where it was stored before it arrived.
My gut says if it was climate related it would have checked quickly, this is slow and steady so i think its a timber issue, unstable or not seasoned properly, something along those lines and unfortunately unlikely to stabilise.
Im convinced its a faulty guitar and it continues to get worse, the warranty process is to work through the authorised dealer who in turn contact Gibson, in this case Gibson have said surface checking and the dealer is saying that is all they can do.
I will try them again and if no success i will try and contact Gibson directly but they don't seem to want to work that way.
I don't see how they consider it a satisfactory warranty service if they wont deal with customers directly, they haven't asked for photographs or contact details, just try to tell me it's a desirable finish.
It's supposed to be a quality product from a premium company, if you buy a new Mercedes you wouldn't expect the warranty to cover parking dents but if the paint was falling off your car for no reason you would expect Mercedes to take care of it and do so without hassle.
I have bought around 30 Gibsons over the years, only one was second hand, the courier snapped the headstock and it was a hassle returning it to a private seller so i always bought new for warranty and to save hassle, never had to use the warranty but always glad to have it.
Now it seems to be worthless, if they don't work me it will likely be the last Gibson i buy and that would smart a little because i still have a few to go ..... we shall see....
 

Boreas

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That looks pretty bad really for a newer guitar. My guess is it is wood that is/was not aged or dried properly. Finish checking can be "normal" in old guitars or if it has been in very cold temps.
I suppose maybe when it was shipped it got very cold? Was it winter?

But wouldn't there be some corresponding cracks in the back? I suppose it could have been from improperly dried wood, and the stresses were primarily in the finish and relieved at the holes through the finish. Gibson would likely know, because I doubt this is the only instrument out of a run that did this. But they aren't likely to give out that info.

Perhaps a Gibson-oriented forum might be a better place to post this. Then the OP could contact people with serial numbers close to his and see if there have been other similar complaints around that time frame.
 

Boreas

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BTW, the way many warranties work (at least automotive) is that if you REPORT a problem within the warranty problem and both you and the company have receipts of the complaint, then that specific problem is likely still covered PAST the expiration of the warranty. That may even be a law - dunno - otherwise, companies could just fail to respond to any warranty complaint until the warranty expires. In other words, this issue was reported and documented PRIOR to the warranty expiring. If it gets significantly worse over the next year or two, you may still have a case.
 

schmee

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It was winter but i always leave them overnight in the house to stabilise before opening.
I bought a J200 the same week, opened it the same way and its kept in the same room, not a mark on it and tuning has never been an issue.
That said they came from different companies and i don't know how or where it was stored before it arrived.
My gut says if it was climate related it would have checked quickly, this is slow and steady so i think its a timber issue, unstable or not seasoned properly, something along those lines and unfortunately unlikely to stabilise.
Im convinced its a faulty guitar and it continues to get worse, the warranty process is to work through the authorised dealer who in turn contact Gibson, in this case Gibson have said surface checking and the dealer is saying that is all they can do.
I will try them again and if no success i will try and contact Gibson directly but they don't seem to want to work that way.
I don't see how they consider it a satisfactory warranty service if they wont deal with customers directly, they haven't asked for photographs or contact details, just try to tell me it's a desirable finish.
It's supposed to be a quality product from a premium company, if you buy a new Mercedes you wouldn't expect the warranty to cover parking dents but if the paint was falling off your car for no reason you would expect Mercedes to take care of it and do so without hassle.
I have bought around 30 Gibsons over the years, only one was second hand, the courier snapped the headstock and it was a hassle returning it to a private seller so i always bought new for warranty and to save hassle, never had to use the warranty but always glad to have it.
Now it seems to be worthless, if they don't work me it will likely be the last Gibson i buy and that would smart a little because i still have a few to go ..... we shall see....
I hear you. The only recent new Gibson I bought was a couple years ago. It was a lower priced one, but any Chinese guitar selected at random would have been better workmanship. The finish was orange peeled, there were fine separations where the top met the body (335 type) The fret work was terrible. The binding edge was sharp, not smooth. It was returned immediately.

My previous attempt to buy from Gibson was a Howard Roberts Jazzbox. Brand new. Craftmanship was a lot better, but the Nitro never dried completely. Always sticky. Sold it after a year. My Ibanez Geo Benson is perfect. literally. It's 10X the guitar that Howard Roberts was.

It's disconcerting for sure. I have no faith in Gibson anymore. I sure hope they get this all resolved, because their rep is getting to be crap in a market where the imports are taking over anyway.
 

MickM

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The finish defects on the OPs guitar aren't normal for a new guitar or desirable. Normal is more like a spider web or shattered glass pattern. The dealer and Gibson got paid and could care less.
Maybe if the OP posts this on a Gibson/Les Paul forum somebody might offer to buy it or maybe get some help from Gibson.
Calling that "normal" would be like Fender calling their finish that breaks off in poker chip sizes "normal".
EDIT: Probably a crap job on cutting the nut. Usually the cause of tuning issues.
 

985plowboy

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I had a 2019 Junior. Traded it towards an acoustic, no fault of the Junior.
Certain strings bound in the nut causing tuning issues. Easy fix.
No finish issues.

Something is going on with your guitar that isn’t normal. I’d get on and stay on Gibson until they made it right. Be direct. Be courteous. Be firm. Don’t let up.
 




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