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Beyond poor binding job, or something else?


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Hi all,

I bought a used Gibson Custom ES-355 (Shinichi Ubukata) last weekend.  Guitar was filthy when I bought it, so had to strip it basically completely back and give it a good clean.  All good - almost immaculate but one thing caught my eye.

Around the binding on the rear of the guitar is about 10-20cm of what appear to be scrape marks in the finish which can be felt, but appear to be under the clear coat.  I came to the  conclusion that these are scrape marks as it isn't a uniform pattern, like you see on checking, and the binding doesn't seem to be coming away at all.  Even if it was - I doubt you'd see this pattern.

So my conclusion is that this was done by the end of the binding scraper tool, which perhaps wasn't sharpened properly as it was dragged around.  

I wanted to run this past the experts first though.  Do you think this is just a bad binding scrape job, or do you think this may be something different?  Do you think this will remain as-is, or do you think it will get worse around that back edge?  Is it repairable, should I choose to do that?

Cheers all - really is appreciated.  Photos taken with a macro camera so you can see the pattern!








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I guess it could have been dropped, but I'd imagine that would have cracked the finish on the binding.  There is also this same pattern on the other side of the back too.

It's very odd - I've not seen something like it before.  It's clearly not normal checking.  I've not been able to find a comparable example anywhere on the internet either.

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I would guess you are right that it was scraped poorly.  Maybe why the seller let it get so filthy to cover that up before the sale.  Since it is not checking and has probably been there since day one I don't think it will get any worse.  If the guitar plays and sounds great you could repair it, but personally I wouldn't bother, being on the back of the guitar no one will see it, including you when you are playing it.

Edited by Twang Gang
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/24/2020 at 4:36 PM, michaelsegui said:

It is the binding separating from the wood slightly cracking the lacquer 


When you've seen this in the past, is it something that always requires repair, or something that you just leave?  How does it normally play out?

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I’ve usually just left it and consider it a beauty mark or “prestige” as Doc Watson used to say.

On one of my friends guitars I softened the lacquer with acetone, drop filled with nitrocellulose lacquer, levelled and buffed it.

 It turned out fine... but in many cases (especially with nitro finishes) “Better is the enemy of good”

If the binding starts to come lose or really separate then it’s time for more drastic measures and professional attention, but if it was MY guitar I would just leave it and play it 

Edited by michaelsegui
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