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Any idea what this stain is?


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Hi everyone,

After a few years of absence, I've recently been reunited with my faded Les Paul. I opened the case to find a black stain on the top of the guitar! The guitar has been unopened in its case for the entire time and I'm looking for some ideas on what it may be and what to do about it.

 

I've tried a dab of water to rub it off, but no luck. I've sent a picture to Gibson customer service and they seem to think it's a mineral streak. I'll be following it up with a local service centre too.

 

Any thoughts would be much appreciated. You can imagine my pain given how obvious the mark is :(

post-79068-023640700 1465089387_thumb.jpg

post-79068-067772700 1465089673_thumb.jpg

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Does it have any texture e.g. sticky, sandy, bumpy, etc...? If not, it almost looks like a latent, under the finish blemish. Maybe some errant glue or finish that started aging in the dark case?

 

Let me know what it turns out to be.

 

Thanks!

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It's definitely in the wood grain, beneath the guitar's paint/clear-coat.

 

My suspicion is that there was a slight trace of sap left in the wood grain at the Gibson factory, even after the body carving, sanding, and kiln-drying.

Either that or a drib of blood from a woodworker's hand that got wiped-off, but never properly scrubbed off and sanded out.

 

Years later that bit of sap or collection of corpuscles (in the darkness of the case) bloomed a bit of mildew or simply turned a darker colour with age.

 

I wouldn't worry about it from a structural standpoint, nor would I be concerned from an aesthetic one either.

It doesn't look that bad, and it's actually kind of interesting.

 

:)

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It doesn't look that bad, and it's actually kind of interesting.

 

:)

 

I disagree. While it is rather small, it is quite noticeable and uninteresting.

 

I do agree that there may not be much that can be done to fix it unfortunately.

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.

As Gibson said, it could be something in the wood that grew darker with age. I've seen it before.

 

Did it get put away clean? . Or just cased after playing it, and then not opening the case until now?

 

I ask because nitro is permeable. If it was cased after playing, anything left on the surface - sweat, dyed cloths (even the dye in some case linings), can get into the nitro and stain the finish and/or the wood.

 

Don't use liquids/soaps to try an clean it. Only use products made to be used with nitro finishes. I doesn't look to me like you'll be able to get that stain out.

 

 

Related - The other thing to be careful of is the off gassing of plastics. Keeping the case closed for long periods of time is not advisable, because the chemicals off gassing from certain plastics can damage the finish and corrode the hardware. This is more true of vintage guitars/parts, but every once in a while a post comes with questions regarding this type of damage to guitars that aren't that old.

 

 

.

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I disagree. While it is rather small, it is quite noticeable and uninteresting.

 

 

And this is the wonder and the grandeur of the human condition, good sir.

The unbelievable awesomeness and variety of our collective and individual human psychology.

 

 

I barely notice the little snail trail of dark bloom, but when I do, I find it intriguing and interesting.

Like an otherwise beautiful girl with one breast slightly smaller than the other.

Or a traffic cop with a lazy eye.

I find that sort of thing fascinating.

I'm weird, so sue me.

 

 

You notice the little snail trail of dark bloom immediately, but don't find it thought-provoking or interesting in the least.

And that's okay, because your mind is focused on the larger things.

You are a big picture kind of guy.

You are a real mover and shaker, and you get things done.

I admire you for that.

 

Free to be you and me, I guess that's what I am saying;

We don't have to agree to get along.

 

We just need to respect each other's perspective, I guess.

:unsure:

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.

As Gibson said, it could be something in the wood that grew darker with age. I've seen it before.

 

Did it get put away clean? . Or just cased after playing it, and then not opening the case until now?

 

I ask because nitro is permeable. If it was cased after playing, anything left on the surface - sweat, dyed cloths (even the dye in some case linings), can get into the nitro and stain the finish and/or the wood.

 

Don't use liquids/soaps to try an clean it. Only use products made to be used with nitro finishes. I doesn't look to me like you'll be able to get that stain out.

 

 

Related - The other thing to be careful of is the off gassing of plastics. Keeping the case closed for long periods of time is not advisable, because the chemicals off gassing from certain plastics can damage the finish and corrode the hardware. This is more true of vintage guitars/parts, but every once in a while a post comes with questions regarding this type of damage to guitars that aren't that old.

 

 

.

 

I cased it after playing it, then only opened it now. It's a lesson learned I guess. Luckily my other guitar (an Angus SG) has held up without any problems!

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To my guess it's a streak of resin. Carving of tops might reveal that, and it may keep on gradually coming up for a certain period due to sap.

 

Maple and alder are sapwood trees, and heartwood of ash is undesirable. Resin streaks can't be entirely avoided with these timbers, and in my arsenal they clearly show on a Gibson maple Plustop and a Fender alder body.

 

Here are two pics of my Gibson Les Paul Standard Plustop 2012. The price of this guitar was fairly discounted compared to all of her model sisters. When I asked for the reason they told me then at Thomann she had already come reduced in price from Gibson, probably due to the streaks on her top.

 

There are dark marks on bass side and between tailpiece and lower bout, too, but most obvious is a bunch of intermittent dark lines running from the cutaway to the control area. Gibson TP-6 finetuning tailpiece, Gibson Speed Knobs and Schaller Strap Locks are retrofitted.

 

IMG_0623_zpsfueswfxo.jpg

 

Std_2012_zpscbefccd6.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

A timely topic. On the Les Paul Forum, a fellow bought an expensive looking white guitar strap for his all white Les Paul to find that the black rear side of the strap left a black mark in the guitar finish at the left, neck side. The black dye has penetrated the guitar finish. Horrible.

 

My tale of woe is with Qwik Lok guitar stands. I have a bunch of Quik Lok stands; Most of my other guitars are fine but the ES-335 did not like the little rubber back support strip and now there's a faint streak on the back. I put a little soft cloth on the stand now. My Les Paul Custom did not like the bottom loops and there's a small area of yellowing on the binding on the top side only, where the binding contacts the rubber of the loop.

 

These little fold-away stands are great but the choice of material used for the "rubber" pads and loops is clearly wrong. I should note that I've had these things for about 20 years and only noticed the problems with the Es-335 and LPC about a year ago. If you have these things or something similar, please watch-out.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just looks like a darker part of the grain to me, it's not flawlessly picked wood pieces every time i guess, but if you ask me i think it makes it special, and your own personal mark of distinction.

 

I almost prefer some kind of flaw in my guitars, since i consider them an extension of myself, and god knows i'm far from perfect as well so it kind of makes you have a closer bond with your instrument if you get my drift.

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I almost prefer some kind of flaw in my guitars, since i consider them an extension of myself, and god knows i'm far from perfect as well so it kind of makes you have a closer bond with your instrument if you get my drift.

 

I get your drift Macmutt. You're OK with weight relieved LPs [thumbup]

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Yes, I used to think a perfectly bookmatched, dense and even flaming was the most desirable until I got an Epiphone that was just that - perfect, immaculate flaming. But somehow, every time I look at it, it seems unreal and fake. Maybe it is fake?

 

My Les Paul Std Plus top has a flaming that changes depending on the angle you look at it. Sometimes patchy, sometimes perfect. It just looks so much more interesting and real.

 

My partner grows orchids. One had a perfect flower that lasted 6 weeks! After the first few weeks admiring it I then started to think, it might as well be plastic because it was just too perfect and lasting too long.

 

Strange but true.

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Guest Farnsbarns

Yes, I used to think a perfectly bookmatched, dense and even flaming was the most desirable until I got an Epiphone that was just that - perfect, immaculate flaming. But somehow, every time I look at it, it seems unreal and fake. Maybe it is fake?

 

My Les Paul Std Plus top has a flaming that changes depending on the angle you look at it. Sometimes patchy, sometimes perfect. It just looks so much more interesting and real.

 

My partner grows orchids. One had a perfect flower that lasted 6 weeks! After the first few weeks admiring it I then started to think, it might as well be plastic because it was just too perfect and lasting too long.

 

Strange but true.

 

Almost certainly a transfer.

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Yes, I used to think a perfectly bookmatched, dense and even flaming was the most desirable until I got an Epiphone that was just that - perfect, immaculate flaming. But somehow, every time I look at it, it seems unreal and fake. Maybe it is fake?

 

My Les Paul Std Plus top has a flaming that changes depending on the angle you look at it. Sometimes patchy, sometimes perfect. It just looks so much more interesting and real.

 

My partner grows orchids. One had a perfect flower that lasted 6 weeks! After the first few weeks admiring it I then started to think, it might as well be plastic because it was just too perfect and lasting too long.

 

Strange but true.

I have veneered flame maple tops on an Epiphone and a Fender. They have this unreal look often called "too nice" but nevertheless are real as yours is for sure, too. Similar is valid for a Gibson SG of mine with maple body across its flat top and bottom surfaces. The structures clearly run differently at the bevels.

 

A carved solid top like on a Gibson Les Paul can't be perfect due to the lots of wood removed. A veneer loses the offcut caused by cutter width only, and as far as a Les Paul is concerned, will be bent as is over the carved instrument top in the end.

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