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Cracks in lacquer on L5 neck


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I bought a 2015 Crimson L5CES (in my avatar/ profile pic) last November which I am extremely pleased with, BUT!, I have noticed some lacquer cracks appearing near the neck heel on the top and bottom side of the fingerboard. One has gradually grown to about 2-3 inches in the last 6 months. I have a 2010 ES 5 too which also has very small cracks in a similar place, but not nearly as long. I live in the UK, so we have high humidity in the winter, but I did buy a dehumidifier to help with the excess moisture problem. To my knowledge normally cracks appear on instruments in overly dry conditions, but if anything the atmosphere here is damp even with the dehumidifier! (I bought a hygrometer too keep track of things too).

 

Is it common for L5 shaped guitars to have cracks form in this place? Structurally the guitar is sound and the cracks are not in the wood itself thankfully, but I just found it odd for this to occur on my 2 L5 shaped guitars. It hasn't happened on any of my other Gibson guitars - ES 175, Les Pauls, SG's, acoustics. My oldest Gibson - a 1997 Les Paul Studio which I have owned since new has no checking/ cracks at all!

 

Both my L5 and ES 5 are fantastic and I am very happy with them, but it's a bit annoying that these cracks have appeared. The rest of the guitar (in both cases) is flawless with no other visible cracks and I have looked after both very well.

 

Any help/ advice is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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I bought a 2015 Crimson L5CES (in my avatar/ profile pic) last November which I am extremely pleased with, BUT!, I have noticed some lacquer cracks appearing near the neck heel on the top and bottom side of the fingerboard. One has gradually grown to about 2-3 inches in the last 6 months. I have a 2010 ES 5 too which also has very small cracks in a similar place, but not nearly as long. I live in the UK, so we have high humidity in the winter, but I did buy a dehumidifier to help with the excess moisture problem. To my knowledge normally cracks appear on instruments in overly dry conditions, but if anything the atmosphere here is damp even with the dehumidifier! (I bought a hygrometer too keep track of things too).

 

Is it common for L5 shaped guitars to have cracks form in this place? Structurally the guitar is sound and the cracks are not in the wood itself thankfully, but I just found it odd for this to occur on my 2 L5 shaped guitars. It hasn't happened on any of my other Gibson guitars - ES 175, Les Pauls, SG's, acoustics. My oldest Gibson - a 1997 Les Paul Studio which I have owned since new has no checking/ cracks at all!

 

Both my L5 and ES 5 are fantastic and I am very happy with them, but it's a bit annoying that these cracks have appeared. The rest of the guitar (in both cases) is flawless with no other visible cracks and I have looked after both very well.

 

Any help/ advice is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

 

 

Hello,

I have a 25 year old L5 CES and a 2 year old L5 Wes Montgomery, and neither of them— so far— have finish cracks in the locations mentioned or elsewhere. Have you considered placing a hygrometer in the guitar case? While excessively dry climates can cause the cracking you describe, I would imagine that excessive humidity, resulting in swelling of the wood, might be able to due the same. However,others more knowledgeable should be able to provide more useful information. The best that I can offer is that a one year old L5 should not have those cracks. In any event, a good luthier should be able to repair the finish, assuming that it is just the nitrocellulose topcoat, and make it look like new.

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Hello,

I have a 25 year old L5 CES and a 2 year old L5 Wes Montgomery, and neither of them— so far— have finish cracks in the locations mentioned or elsewhere. Have you considered placing a hygrometer in the guitar case? While excessively dry climates can cause the cracking you describe, I would imagine that excessive humidity, resulting in swelling of the wood, might be able to due the same. However,others more knowledgeable should be able to provide more useful information. The best that I can offer is that a one year old L5 should not have those cracks. In any event, a good luthier should be able to repair the finish, assuming that it is just the nitrocellulose topcoat, and make it look like new.

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/130368-historic-57-gold-top-is-this-normal/

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I bought a 2015 Crimson L5CES (in my avatar/ profile pic) last November which I am extremely pleased with, BUT!, I have noticed some lacquer cracks appearing near the neck heel on the top and bottom side of the fingerboard. One has gradually grown to about 2-3 inches in the last 6 months. I have a 2010 ES 5 too which also has very small cracks in a similar place, but not nearly as long. I live in the UK, so we have high humidity in the winter, but I did buy a dehumidifier to help with the excess moisture problem. To my knowledge normally cracks appear on instruments in overly dry conditions, but if anything the atmosphere here is damp even with the dehumidifier! (I bought a hygrometer too keep track of things too).

 

Is it common for L5 shaped guitars to have cracks form in this place? Structurally the guitar is sound and the cracks are not in the wood itself thankfully, but I just found it odd for this to occur on my 2 L5 shaped guitars. It hasn't happened on any of my other Gibson guitars - ES 175, Les Pauls, SG's, acoustics. My oldest Gibson - a 1997 Les Paul Studio which I have owned since new has no checking/ cracks at all!

 

Both my L5 and ES 5 are fantastic and I am very happy with them, but it's a bit annoying that these cracks have appeared. The rest of the guitar (in both cases) is flawless with no other visible cracks and I have looked after both very well.

 

Any help/ advice is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/130368-historic-57-gold-top-is-this-normal/

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Similar issues experienced here too...

 

Not always logical... [unsure]

 

Temp/Humidity are inter-related and can cause lacquer issues as well as neck relief etc

 

Nitro has a certain permeability which is where the humidity/moisture plays it's part

 

I just live with it

 

And try not to worry too much.... :blink:

 

V

 

:-({|=

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Ok, here's the L5 checking...and to my horror, just noticed a couple of lines by the pickguard screw & pickup mounting

 

IMG_1636_zpsewioi2yp.jpg

 

IMG_1637_zps8azmnfii.jpg

 

 

 

your guitar in the case all the time? or you leave it on a stand day and night?

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To me, the cracks in the ES-5 pic look normal and expected. Although a bit young.

 

The cracks in the L-5 though, I don't recall ever seeing quite like that, and is that finish flaking off I see?

 

It's an odd situation, because Gibson does not warranty the finish, but I think there is something wrong with the finish on this one.

 

It's all just "opinion", keep in mind. And from a couple pics.

 

The thing to actually do, is get it to a Gibson service rep so they can have a look.

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Gibson does a great job on making nice colors.. But the clear issue has been a long time problem on Gibsons.. we as in a few of the early Gibson Employees at Montana had a talk about that.. back in the early 90s.. I see its never been corrected..

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To me, the cracks in the ES-5 pic look normal and expected. Although a bit young.

 

The cracks in the L-5 though, I don't recall ever seeing quite like that, and is that finish flaking off I see?

 

It's an odd situation, because Gibson does not warranty the finish, but I think there is something wrong with the finish on this one.

 

It's all just "opinion", keep in mind. And from a couple pics.

 

The thing to actually do, is get it to a Gibson service rep so they can have a look.

 

Hi stein. Thanks for your input. The finish isn't flaking off, I think it's just the photo angle...and Gibson never finish the area under the overhanging fretboard on archtops oddly. I've found out where my closest Gibson 'authorised' service department is (only 4 in the UK I discovered!)and have decided to give them a call next week and see what they say about the cracks. I'm scared that in a year from now it will be covered in weather checking - I would hate that as it is such a beautiful instrument. Anyway, I will see what they say and hopefully they will be able to fix the checking.

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Cracking of wood and finish is a much bigger issue with guitars made from solid woods. Your laminated instruments will fare much better as the wood is more stable. Your other problem is related to being on an island in the ocean and an in northern latitudes: You simply have greater temperature and humidity swings than say like here, in California, and so, once again, solid woods will react by moving and crack the lacquer.

 

The only thing you can do is to make sure you do not store the instrument in a closet or room against a wall that faces outside. If you take the instrument anywhere, allow it to warm up in the case for several hours before opening the case, especially if the instrument is going from being cold to warm/hot. Exposure to direct sunlight will often make the wood expand quicker than the finish, and cracks form as a result.

 

A fellow luthier put it best: If you are uncomfortable, meaning you are too hot, or too cold, so is your guitar! So never expose it to any sudden temperature changes, like even a draft from an open door at night, or playing in a cool garage and bringing it back in the warm house is a no-no.

 

I have an L-50, 1954. The top, which is solid, it has many fine cracks in the lacquer, but the back, and sides , which are laminated, are almost devoid of any cracking.

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