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NGD...troublesome J45


Alex_78
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Hi all,

two days ago I bought a '16 CS 60s J45 in a renewed shop, cherry sunburst, after having played it against a J35 TV, a southern jumbo, a J15 (good guitar) and a another black J45 from the 60s. It is my first CS acoustic, while I already had an AJ and a Sheryl Crow country and western of the Ferguson era, both excellent.

 

This is the girl:

 

ezelxh.jpg

 

I was very happy until I came back home, yes in the shop I noticed the set up was atrocious, in particular the pins appeared to be tilted forward...then I realised that the pins weren't the problem, all the entire bridge is slightly lifted:

 

2yv9hdc.jpg

 

In the shop I noticed the neck was bent, that is common for unsold instruments that remained on the shelf for years, again that wasn't a problem, when I came home I started to adjust the neck...just....it started creaking noticeably. Also, te nut wasn't turning smooth as my other Gibsons (three electrics and two acoustics) but it moved in clicks. However...I was able to get the relief that I wanted with slightly heavier strings than the stock ones (12-54, even if I like to use 12-56 they weren't available in the shop). Again I was happy of the fast and furious setup until today...I just took the guitar out of the case and found all the strings flat as well as the neck relief returned in the "bent" position. In order to check I re-adjusted the truss rod, but with all these creaking and step turnings I am even more seriously worried, then I noticed that I never turned a truss rod so much, here you can see my Sheryl and this J45 truss rod nuts:

 

15nok1z.jpg

 

This issue wrories me even more than the bridge lifting, even if the shop assured they control temperature and humidity it appears to be the guitar got too much moisture while on display, and right now the truss rod nut looks OK but before regulation it was covered by green oxide. The question for the people of the board is...have I gotten a dud guitar? So far I was happy with Gibson Montana's quality, this is by the way a Custom Shop instrument. What do I have to do? The shop offered his luthier's services to correct the bridge lift, otherwise they are available to exchange the isntrument for one of the same value or more expensive (they won't give me back money however if I chooe the J15, the second best sounding slope shoulders' Gibson they had). Gibson has already declined any wrondoing stating the problem is the shop and its humidity...would you keep it or change it?

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I would change it...without even blinking...in two seconds flat, especially since you own comparable guitars.

 

Mmm no, the Sheryl Crow (aka Country and Western square shoulders) is pretty different from the J45, despite of using the same woods. I regret to have sold my AJ but she was very very far away from a J45, more alike my HD28V.

 

This Cherry 45 sounds...well great, however due to these structural problems I don't know if I should trust it, I might change it for the black one they have in stock but I prefer acoustic guitars where you can see the wood. Also, I won't receive the refund which is annoying, the J15 walnut burst was great too, brighter and without the "singing mahogany" of the J45 but a serious little guitar.

 

In stock they also have a similar cherry J45, signature model of a country and western American singer I don't know, but it costs much more.

 

 

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I assume that by lifting bridge you don't mean that the bridge glue joint has failed, and that the bridge is coming away from the top? Do you mean the top has a belly?

 

If I were you, I would hang on to the guitar until right at the end of the exchange period given by the shop and make up my mind then. If there is a humidity issue, chances are you will have a perfect guitar in a week or two, given you put it in the right environment. Has it been over humidified in the shop? If so, it probably explains a bellying top.. Changes in the neck might also come from the guitar reacting to its new ensvironment.

 

Either way, the guitar is beautiful!

 

Lars

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It's hard to be sure from the photo, but I don't actually see the bridge itself lifting. I clearly see the bellying behind the bridge as you've highlighted it, but a fair amount of bellying is normal in Gibsons, and is actually built into the design. If the neck angle is fine as it currently sits, this may be a non-issue.

 

As for the truss rod, the only thing I can suggest is the following, based on personal experience: With the amount of threads showing beyond the nut, there may be some compression of the wood occurring. I've had this happen on one Gibson (an electric).

 

Using a WD-40 "pen" rather than spray, put a small dab of WD-40 on the top of the nut (adjacent to the exposed threads), and a small amount at the base of the nut (where it touches the washer). Take care not to get any WD-40 on the wood. The nut should now adjust cleanly & easily.

 

Next step - remove the nut. Purchase four or five very small washers that will fit cleanly on the rod. Install as many as needed between the original washer & nut in order to bring the nut even with the end of the rod - this way your wrench won't bottom out on the end of the rod. Now start your relief adjustment over again, and see what happens. In my case, it took a fair amount of adjusting, but everything finally settled in, and the instrument has now been stable for eight years.

 

Hope you get it sorted out, as that is certainly a beautiful instrument!

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Those look like Tusq pins. No clue why Gibson decided to start using those, but I personally think they suck, and they are too small. I had the same issue with them on my J45 Standards where they were tilted like that, replaced them with a set of size 2A pins from Bob Colosi and problem solved. Doesn't look like your bridge is lifting, but again, photographs can play tricks on you without having the guitar to inspect in person.

 

Not really following you on the whole neck thing, but if you're worried or converged about the guitar I'd either have a tech you trust go over it to give you peace of mind, or just simply return it and move on.

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Hi all,

two days ago I bought a '16 CS 60s J45 in a renewed shop...

What is a renewed shop? (Btw- "Custom Shop" is a term carried over from when the custom guitars were made in a separate shop. These days, it more refers to guitars with features that differ from the standard model.)

 

"Bridge lifting"? Looks like top is a little swollen from over humidification. Have you had overly humid conditions? As Lars suggested, you may've rescued it from an overly humid situation, and it may need a couple of days to acclimate. And as Bobouz mentioned, some belly is built into the top. Ps- any luthier worth his salt will allow a guitar to stabilize under proper humidity levels (45-50%) before doing any set up on a guitar.

 

If it does look like the bridge is lifting to you, could you possibly take a pic from the angle shown in this nice photo from Folkway Guitars (?):

 

wMtdn37.png?1

 

It would be good if you had an accurate hygrometer you could put in the soundhole. Also- maybe do the straight edge test, and see where a ruler touches (or doesn't, like on an underhumidified guitar) the bridge when laid across the frets.

 

Tilting bridge pins should not be a death sentence. Yes, plastic pins can distort, but "in two years?" Hmm. A closer look is called for there. And a look at the bridge plate- some qc issue there would not be unheard of.

 

Hindsight- whenever making adjustments to the truss rod, it's a good idea to always count the number of (quarter, or less) turns the nut has been moved.

 

Good luck- looks like a nice guitar.

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I'm guessing the other signature model is a Brad Paisley?

 

 

Yes it's a nice guitar, quite tacky and they want other 600 euros. I think I'll pass.

 

1) What is a renewed shop?

2) "Bridge lifting"? Looks like top is a little swollen from over humidification. Have you had overly humid conditions? As Lars suggested, you may've rescued it from an overly humid situation, and it may need a couple of days to acclimate. And as Bobouz mentioned, some belly is built into the top. Ps- any luthier worth his salt will allow a guitar to stabilize under proper humidity levels (45-50%) before doing any set up on a guitar.

 

If it does look like the bridge is lifting to you, could you possibly take a pic from the angle shown in this nice photo from Folkway Guitars (?):

 

wMtdn37.png?1

 

It would be good if you had an accurate hygrometer you could put in the soundhole. Also- maybe do the straight edge test, and see where a ruler touches (or doesn't, like on an underhumidified guitar) the bridge when laid across the frets.

 

Tilting bridge pins should not be a death sentence. Yes, plastic pins can distort, but "in two years?" Hmm. A closer look is called for there. And a look at the bridge plate- some qc issue there would not be unheard of.

 

Hindsight- whenever making adjustments to the truss rod, it's a good idea to always count the number of (quarter, or less) turns the nut has been moved.

 

Good luck- looks like a nice guitar.

 

1) 5 stars Gibson dealer is enough?

 

2) That is bridge lifting, the pins are higher than the saddle and the surface is not parallel with the top of the guitar. That is a good definition...I just have another guitar with that problem and it's a 2000 Guild JF30-12 that I bought used, in order to control the problem I installed a Dr.Bridge, however this is a new guitar, not a vintage one and shold not have any top bulge, the problem has been acknoledged by the dealer, I would just like to understand if the best choice is to give a chance and repair it or to get a different instrument.

 

Those look like Tusq pins. No clue why Gibson decided to start using those, but I personally think they suck, and they are too small. I had the same issue with them on my J45 Standards where they were tilted like that, replaced them with a set of size 2A pins from Bob Colosi and problem solved. Doesn't look like your bridge is lifting, but again, photographs can play tricks on you without having the guitar to inspect in person.

 

 

I think they are bone, they feel different from the ones used in my SC and the AJ that were clearly plastic.

 

It's hard to be sure from the photo, but I don't actually see the bridge itself lifting. I clearly see the bellying behind the bridge as you've highlighted it, but a fair amount of bellying is normal in Gibsons, and is actually built into the design. If the neck angle is fine as it currently sits, this may be a non-issue.

 

As for the truss rod, the only thing I can suggest is the following, based on personal experience: With the amount of threads showing beyond the nut, there may be some compression of the wood occurring. I've had this happen on one Gibson (an electric).

 

Using a WD-40 "pen" rather than spray, put a small dab of WD-40 on the top of the nut (adjacent to the exposed threads), and a small amount at the base of the nut (where it touches the washer). Take care not to get any WD-40 on the wood. The nut should now adjust cleanly & easily.

 

Next step - remove the nut. Purchase four or five very small washers that will fit cleanly on the rod. Install as many as needed between the original washer & nut in order to bring the nut even with the end of the rod - this way your wrench won't bottom out on the end of the rod. Now start your relief adjustment over again, and see what happens. In my case, it took a fair amount of adjusting, but everything finally settled in, and the instrument has now been stable for eight years.

 

Hope you get it sorted out, as that is certainly a beautiful instrument!

 

 

You can see the bellying as there is the straght certificate on the top, its not the smooth curvature of Gibson Montana top..when I saw this bellying happening usually the rear of the bridge lifts above the front, again I saw this problem on my 12 strings Guild, and usually the correct humidity doesn't solve the problem, the dealer said their luthier has a machine that press the bridge down and they fixed other guitars.

 

Thank you for the recommendation of the truss rod, but as the instruemnt has been purchased two days ago I hope they will solve it, it's not a used instrument I would mess with that. The fact the truss ord is not smooth shouldn't be a concern? Also see the "window" has a notch in the middle, my fear is that the mahogan used on this guiar might be very soft (it's extremely light) and the wood under the truss rod might crack.

 

However thanks everybody for the feedback.

Edited by Alex_78
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You can see the bellying as there is the straght certificate on the top, its not the smooth curvature of Gibson Montana top..when I saw this bellying happening usually the rear of the bridge lifts above the front, again I saw this problem on my 12 strings Guild, and usually the correct humidity doesn't solve the problem, the dealer said their luthier has a machine that press the bridge down and they fixed other guitars.

 

 

Humidity will help with the top but as soon as you string the guitar back up it tends to go right back to its same old used to be. Shops today use some variation of the Thompson Belly Reducer to deal with the issue.

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Aren't the bridge pin holes drilled at something like a 5-degree angle? I know the ones on my J-35 are at a slight angle. I subbed out the pins (which were plastic) with camel bone.

 

As others have noted, there's a built-in belly on Gibsons (it's called a "loaded" top) but that does seem a bit excessive. A "wet" guitar will exhibit other symptoms, too. As it happens, Taylor actually has an informative tutorial on dealing with a "wet" guitar: https://www.taylorguitars.com/support/maintenance/symptoms-wet-guitar

 

My worry is that some of the issues may be built into the guitar and if that's the case, no amount of tweaking is going to fix things. The fixes will be big and pricey.

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Those on the forum will recall this past summer my 2006 CS J45 1964 Reissue’s bridge pulled up. But, that didn’t look anything like the described pulled up bridge in this posting string. Mine was actually pulled off from the guitar at the back of the bridge. Gibson’s authorized repairman in the area contacted Gibson and authorized him to repair it under the guitar’s warrantee. 4-5 weeks later I had it back as good as new.

 

The photo in the picture in this posting string does not show the bridge lifted off the poster’s guitar like my bridge was lifted off the body.

 

However, I suggest that if the new owner is not happy with the guitar and it can be returned then he do so. No reason to have to have doubts about the new purchase.

 

Just my thoughts.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

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Aren't the bridge pin holes drilled at something like a 5-degree angle? I know the ones on my J-35 are at a slight angle. I subbed out the pins (which were plastic) with camel bone.

 

As others have noted, there's a built-in belly on Gibsons (it's called a "loaded" top) but that does seem a bit excessive. A "wet" guitar will exhibit other symptoms, too. As it happens, Taylor actually has an informative tutorial on dealing with a "wet" guitar: https://www.taylorgu...toms-wet-guitar

 

My worry is that some of the issues may be built into the guitar and if that's the case, no amount of tweaking is going to fix things. The fixes will be big and pricey.

 

Thank you for the helpful link! The Taylor's website gave me an idea, I used a ruler and it clearly shows the convexity is higher on the bass side:

 

2qjf28m.jpg

 

On the treble side it looks like the normal Gibson curvature...I'm sending the guitar to the shop, hopefully they will fix it.

 

REgarding the truss rod window is it normal to have that -_- button shape in J45? My other concern is that the mahogany beneath the nut might be yielding...

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Don’t procrastinate, if it isn’t right just return it. You’ll never be happy with it if you’re worrying about it at this stage. I’ve been down that road more times than I care to recall in the past. It’s very pretty, but there are plenty of other pretty guitars out there.

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Don’t procrastinate, if it isn’t right just return it. You’ll never be happy with it if you’re worrying about it at this stage. I’ve been down that road more times than I care to recall in the past. It’s very pretty, but there are plenty of other pretty guitars out there.

I'm with Jinder on this one. Get something that you are happy with right off the get-go and don't look back. If this guitar becomes a bigger problem down the road you'll look back and ask yourself why you didn't simply return it for one with no issues. Just my $0.02.

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Thank you for the helpful link! The Taylor's website gave me an idea, I used a ruler and it clearly shows the convexity is higher on the bass side:

 

2qjf28m.jpg

 

On the treble side it looks like the normal Gibson curvature...I'm sending the guitar to the shop, hopefully they will fix it.

 

REgarding the truss rod window is it normal to have that -_- button shape in J45? My other concern is that the mahogany beneath the nut might be yielding...

 

I guess I had assumed the first thing you had done when you even suspected excessive bellying was the culprit was to use a straight edge and measure down to the edges of the guitar.

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I don't see any fault per se with the guitar. If you can't put a sheet of paper underneath anywhere on the bridge, it's not lifting. Flat tops aren't perfectly flat; some bellying is even desired.

 

I would let a proper luthier check her out, get her set up right, and let him do something about the pinholes.

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Thank you all for the answers, in the end I followed the suggestion to change the guitar as IMO that top bellying is not normal and even worse it appears the truss rod is breaking the neck wood.

 

Unfortunately they didn't want to give me money back so I couldn't get the J15, I added one hundred bucks and go the 2018...I am sorry because this 45 sounded phenomenal and the SJ doesn't have that kind of top/mids "singing" range. Also, no custom shop log (it appears some have it), the woods on the 45 were better looking, but structurally the guitar is sound. I noticed few glue spots inside...am I becoming too annoying?

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Ah ah! I noticed some 2018 SJs have the Custom Shop sticker on the headstock, this one doesn't...evidently they were ashamed!

 

Seriously...the guitar has a powerful bass, worthy of a Martin D28.

 

this is likely the most absurd post ever but thats my opinion which is ,after all , a forums purpose.

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