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J45 - Finish Question


uncle fester
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Hi folks,

 

Right on the edge of the soundhole, the finish has a cloudy patch. It's right below the strings, where the pick would hit when strumming down. To me it looks like a patch of top coat has not adhered properly. My concern is over time this will crack and chip away. The guitar is about 6 mo. old.

 

Per everyone's opinion, is this just normal wear due to where it is, or am I looking at something that should not be occurring now and any recommendation on how to address it? Really appreciate any input.

 

Rgds - Bill Roy

 

 

pNZTUNJ.jpg?1psTdCgB.jpg?1

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Hi folks,

 

" . . . right below the strings, where the pick would hit when strumming down. . . "

Mystery solved?

 

What do your other flat tops look like around the sound hole? Are they also nitrocellulose lacquer? There does look to be some evidence of chipping in the photos you've put up. It wouldn't be the first guitar to get to looking like that.

 

lSQa3U1.png

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.

Looking at these photos, is it possible your pick is contacting the sound hole edge when you’re strumming?

 

.

 

It is possible, and is what I was thinking was the cause, but wasn't sure if it was premature for something like that to happen. I'll try the virtuoso polish as mentioned by Sal, but I do think it's the finish.

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It's hard to say what the cloudy spot really is. It doesn't look like a scratch mark (from using the plectrum). A luthier might be able to say with greater inspection of the spot and fix the flaw in the finish in the process.

 

I think you're right, a trip to the luthier is probably warranted. It's not a scratch or a chip yet, it's either discoloration of the top coat, or below it. will bring it to my guy and see what they say.

 

Thank you all of the input.

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I don't build 'em, I just play 'em. But assuming it will not wipe off it is either pick wear, moisture under the finish or the finish itself. I own guitars where the top has lost around half its thickness at the lower edge of the soundhole from pick wear. I have seen them where the edge has been so worn parts have broken off. If it really bothers you can try drying the guitar out a bit or snag some of that Stewmac blush reducer depending on what is causing it. If it is pick wear I have known players to swap out the pickguard for one that brings it right to the edge of the soundhole. Sorry for opening that can of worms considering all the hammering Gibson has taken here for installing pickguards that covered the rosette. Almost as bad as when word got out they were using laminate bridges.

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A 2018? It might be interesting to run the build/stamp date of the serial #, and see just how fresh that lacquer is. From experience working with nitro finishes, one thing it does need is time to cure and harden before working it with any micro wet sanding or compounding. Don't know if that hardening might also allow for it to be more resistant to impact from a pic.

 

Any chance of sharing a pic of the sound hole on your Guild that you used in the goin to the store 2 YouTube?:

 

aSv0a28.png?1

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A 2018? It might be interesting to run the build/stamp date of the serial #, and see just how fresh that lacquer is. From experience working with nitro finishes, one thing it does need is time to cure and harden before working it with any micro wet sanding or compounding. Don't know if that hardening might also allow for it to be more resistant to impact from a pic.

 

 

The finish does not actually cure as no chemical reaction is taking place. It does, however, as you note, take some time to harden. These days though the kinds of plasticizers and such the builder use do cut the amount of time guitars have to sit in the racks drying. If you have ever wondered why a builder like Collings adds such a steep upcharge for a hand rubbed varnish finish is not only because is it more labor intensive but it also takes longer to dry. I do think though that builders may at times use wood before it is ready.

Edited by zombywoof
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A 2018? It might be interesting to run the build/stamp date of the serial #, and see just how fresh that lacquer is. From experience working with nitro finishes, one thing it does need is time to cure and harden before working it with any micro wet sanding or compounding. Don't know if that hardening might also allow for it to be more resistant to impact from a pic.

 

Any chance of sharing a pic of the sound hole on your Guild that you used in the goin to the store 2 YouTube?:

 

 

 

I believe this is the build stamp, and next to it is the Guild. Wise man you are... my take-away is it is self induced. I am still going to bring it to my luthier to have a look, but right now I'm thinking JVI put it best - my DNA is getting over it :)

 

Per ZWs note saying there's pick guards that could cover the edge of the sound hole. Guess I'm more concerned with it being something that shouldn't be happening vs just a self induced effect. After FYP introduced me to the story of of trigger, I'm not going to worry too much about wearing it down... my goal is to wear it down :)

 

 

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Thank you all again for your input. Rgds - billroy

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The finish does not actually cure as no chemical reaction is taking place. It does, however, as you note, take some time to harden. . . I do think though that builders may at times use wood before it is ready.

Yes, I think we're all on board with the idea that lacquer always continues to change- it is arguably one of the more unstable finishes, and those who try to figure out why many old guitars seem to have a more appealing tone often point to the finish having hardened, and the outgassing of the carrier agent used to spray it. The change of lacquer hardness with time can also be a detriment, as it doesn't bond as well to surfaces as well as other finishes. And then, it could be fairly prone to chipping and flaking. For some reason, the maple-bodied J45's made during the Banner years were particularly prone to finish delamination, something I've got firsthand experience of.

 

And yes, I also agree that some builders might feel the need to get their guitars out the door.

 

 

. . . I'm not going to worry too much about wearing it down... my goal is to wear it down :)

Thanks for putting up both photos, and Happy B-Day to your J-45 Vintage, Feb 11th, 2018 (".. and on the 42nd day..")! Yes, I suppose the soundhole could be bound, like Ren F designed into the Guild Orpheum 12 fret:

 

ihlgws3.jpg?1

 

. . . but I think it'd be more fun just to let U B U- just don't get a splinter!

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Yes, I think we're all on board with the idea that lacquer always continues to change- it is arguably one of the more unstable finishes, and those who try to figure out why many old guitars seem to have a more appealing tone often point to the finish having hardened, and the outgassing of the carrier agent used to spray it. The change of lacquer hardness with time can also be a detriment, as it doesn't bond as well to surfaces as well as other finishes. And then, it could be fairly prone to chipping and flaking. For some reason, the maple-bodied J45's made during the Banner years were particularly prone to finish delamination, something I've got firsthand experience of.

 

And yes, I also agree that some builders might feel the need to get their guitars out the door.

 

 

If there is one thing that connects all lacquer it is off gassing and constantly getting thinner. Initially formulas were changed to try and do away with some of the inherent problems such as yellowing, pigment fading and flaking off. Then, of course the EPA required certain changes. I have been told the reason they cannot duplicate a 1930s finish even if they wanted to is that by law they cannot use the same balance of ingredients. If nothing else, the solvents they were using back then are now illegal.

 

My comment about the wood was really about the fact that folks will ascribe a problem to the finish when it may in fact be the use of unseasoned wood. The days when companies like Gibson used to kiln dry their own wood and so had total control over it are long gone. In the 1950s those old kilns were already being used just to store dried wood they had purchased. How many times though do you hear folks say the lacquer on their brand new guitar was so fresh the could smell it when what they may be smelling is the glue used to hold the case lining on.

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seems to me its nose marks from previous "sound hole sniffers", dont worry- keep pickin ! (guitar not nose )

Hahe, , , yes, maybe billroy has a severe mustache treated with a dangerous aftershave bound to attack the nitro. Things like that happen.

 

Regarding lacquer, I still recall the black slimy cakes generated on the neck of my J-45 Std. the first summer now 8 (uuakk!!) years ago.

That was something else - like playing your way through a horizontal grease-pole.

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Btw. wonder if some kind of evaporating moist could work its way inside the lacquer from the (front-part)-X-brace-leg just below the hole.

Not trying pretending to be a scientist here, just a thought. .

 

That is one of the options I mentioned earlier. It may be moisture trapped inside the finish which is more likely to happen as the solvent evaporate. Finishes generally dry slowly so they are usually not the culprit but can turn milky with prolonged contact with moisture. Finding the source is, of course, the key. I guess it could be off gassing from the glue in the case but if so you would expect the milky look to appear on the back first. Something like storing leather straps in the case could be also the cause. Bottom line though, if it bothers the OP he should take the guitar to a qualified repair guy to have a look-see.

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  • 1 month later...

Hey folks - had to dust this one off. I got to a luthier (to fix a different issue, *Ray's divot) and had them look at the finish issue I had under the soundhole.

 

They agreed it was not caused by picks, but was under the surface, looks like it's delaminating. He said it's an easy fix with the nitro finish, but to go through Gibson to find out how to proceed with warranty stuff etc... I've put a claim in with the customer service dept.

 

----

*Tangent story, Ray is the person who recommended the soundhole pickup. I dropped the pick up on the top of the guitar when I was removing it one day and put a divot in the top... hence 'Ray's Divot'. Ray's pseudonym rhymes with 'idblast'. :)

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Hey folks - had to dust this one off. I got to a luthier (to fix a different issue, *Ray's divot) and had them look at the finish issue I had under the soundhole.

 

They agreed it was not caused by picks, but was under the surface, looks like it's delaminating. He said it's an easy fix with the nitro finish, but to go through Gibson to find out how to proceed with warranty stuff etc... I've put a claim in with the customer service dept.

 

----

*Tangent story, Ray is the person who recommended the soundhole pickup. I dropped the pick up on the top of the guitar when I was removing it one day and put a divot in the top... hence 'Ray's Divot'. Ray's pseudonym rhymes with 'idblast'. :)

 

If it is deemed a warranty issue, be prepared to ship the guitar to Gibson and have to wait. They MAY agree to have an authorized repair shop in your area (if there is one in your area) perform the work, but if it's an expensive fix sometimes Gibson will sometimes have you ship it to them, and in my opinion they also do that to discourage the owner from doing that and being without their guitar for weeks/months.

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Hey folks - had to dust this one off. I got to a luthier (to fix a different issue, *Ray's divot) and had them look at the finish issue I had under the soundhole.

----

*Tangent story, Ray is the person who recommended the soundhole pickup. I dropped the pick up on the top of the guitar when I was removing it one day and put a divot in the top... hence 'Ray's Divot'. Ray's pseudonym rhymes with 'idblast'. :)

+1 for the admission- but we also know whose divot that really is, don't we?

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If it is deemed a warranty issue, be prepared to ship the guitar to Gibson and have to wait. They MAY agree to have an authorized repair shop in your area (if there is one in your area) perform the work, but if it's an expensive fix sometimes Gibson will sometimes have you ship it to them, and in my opinion they also do that to discourage the owner from doing that and being without their guitar for weeks/months.

 

I'm optimistic it's not a big deal from what my guy said, but I'll follow whatever process is required. Fingers crossed.

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If it is deemed a warranty issue, be prepared to ship the guitar to Gibson and have to wait. They MAY agree to have an authorized repair shop in your area (if there is one in your area) perform the work, but if it's an expensive fix sometimes Gibson will sometimes have you ship it to them, and in my opinion they also do that to discourage the owner from doing that and being without their guitar for weeks/months.

 

I'm optimistic it's not a big deal from what my guy said, but I'll follow whatever process is required. Fingers crossed.

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