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Epiphone Explorer Lee Malia: factory peel off sticker leaves like an halo on guitar top!

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Hello guitarists,

This week I bought an Epiphone Explorer Lee Malia Limited Edition. The guitar is brand new but it’s a fund of store and for this reason I had a deep discount. It was really a bargain, because the guitar is truly gorgeous and I was over the moon! 😉 Everything was ok BUT I had a bad surprise when, arrived home, I removed the plastic/gummy black peel off sticker that in this particular model surrounds the bridge humbucker pot to indicate that it’s splittable: what an horror! 😱
The finish showed a tan circle, a dark halo: it seems like if the sticker itself released some substance to the lacquer or even deeper, but the strange thing is that looking in backlight the finish is glass-like, it’s perfect, so I don’t understand what happened, also because that type of stickers are without glue or any other adhesive, for obvious reasons! Of course I immediately try to rub and rub and rub the area using a light polishing compound, but until now no improvement at all.
Have you already experienced a similar issue with a rubbery sticker -let me be clear about this- put there by the manufacturer?  Another thing: whereas the sticker is black, the back of this item, that is the part that comes in contact with the guitar top, is off-white, so how is it possible that this can darken the guitar top?

If you allow me I could attach some pictures, so maybe it will be more easy for you to realize what happened and what to do in order to try to solve the problem.
Thanks a lot in advance,

Lexicon

 

Edited by Lexicon
grammatical error, I am a foreigner :)

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I don't think I would mess with that until someone that knows exactly what is happening gives you some advice. It would come off with a chemical, but might damage the finish. 

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Ceptorman,

First of all, thanks a lot for your kind reply.  Actually I was also thinking to a damage caused by exposure to light. What I knew is that UV rays usually tend to darken the guitars finish, but in this case the dark spot is under the area shielded by the factory sticker! Really, I've never experienced similar stuff: of course I immediately asked for help to the official Epiphone support but, until now, I had no answer. By the way I don't know what to do: I'm unable to say whether the damage is on the very first layer of the transparent lacquer, or more deeper. As I already said, the finish in backlight is perfectly shiny.  Also, the guitar cannot be changed: the store had only one guitar of that type (fund of store), but I don't think they already knew about the damage: they have tons and tons of guitars, it is impossibile for them to look closer every item. Of course I went back to the store with the guitar to pointed out the problem but they don't know what to do...

Hoping someone could give me some good advice,

Lexicon

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It is odd. You might try some type of cleaner, like Xylol, Xylene, a type of stripper. And use a Q-tip just under the area where the knob would hide it, if the cleaner wasn't a good idea. That or some kind of decal under the knob, or all the knobs, to hide the blemish. A decal under all three knobs might look ok. That or you might have to live with it. Maybe someone more knowledgeable will come along and shed some light. 

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You might ask this question in the Gibson repair and restoration section, may get more views.....good luck, keep us informed.

Edited by Ceptorman
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Ceptorman, I really don't know how to thank you for your ideas. 😎

I will try to ask in that section of the Forum and, meanwhile, I could buy  Xylol/Xylene. Is this the substance you mean? https://www.ebay.it/itm/XILENE-50ml-Xylol-solvente-x-Canada-Balsam-balsamo-microscopia-entomologia/162998987042?hash=item25f37f2922:g:uzYAAOSw~7le~RTk If so, it's cheap and above all it's a small amount: it might be perfect

I won't fail to inform you about the news. 🙂  Thanks again,

Lexicon

 

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Yes I believe that's the same stuff. I use it to clean tools that were used to apply concrete sealer. It's a strong cleaning chemical, be careful with any painted , lacquer, or sealed surface. It does evaporate very quickly. I would use just a drop to see what it does to the surface. I've never seen a small container like that, I only see it for sale in 1 gallon metal cans, so at least you won't have a gallon jug sitting around. 

No need for a lot of thanks....that's why we are all on here, to help. I can use a lot of help to learn to play my guitars!  I just hope it works......Bill

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Ok, the right product has been identified. By the way it's cheap, it's in my country and it could be delivered within one or two days, which is great 😉

Now we just have to figure out if the issue could be fixed by chemical (Xylol/Xylene) or phisical (sunlight, steel wool etc.) means. Or both.

Meanwhile I think I will begin to remove all the plastic protective films and take a look inside the guitar. Oh, and of course to play it.  😍

Soon I'll show some pictures of the inside... 🤓 Let's see how Epiphone has worked this time 😅

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23 hours ago, jdogric12 said:

One way to tell if it's UV discoloration (from sitting in the sun in a shop window for 3 years) is to peek under the pickguard.

OMG, this is a stroke of genius! How did I not think about it before? Thank you: I'll do it now and then I'll post a picture.

In this way, we will know better how to act. Thanks again, nice touch 👍

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7 hours ago, Lexicon said:

Thank you: I'll do it now and then I'll post a picture.

 

Here I am again:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/jjvnpuo8i3mxtlb/Under pickguard_01.jpg?dl=0  

https://www.dropbox.com/s/u6g740e7azzyrb6/Under pickguard_02.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/o8y6cods9keb9j8/Under pickguard_03.jpg?dl=0

Well, it seems under the pickguard the finish is darker, so I think I'm leaning toward the sunlight damage/lightening.

What do you think? What can I do? 🤔

 

Edited by Lexicon

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I believe you found the culprit, sunlight. Not sure what can be done other than leaving it in the sunlight and hope it somehow blends together. Or...put it back together and play the heck out of it, it will send so good you won't notice any blemish 😀

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Well, I actually thought the sunlight darkened guitar finishes, but in this particular case it does the opposite 'cause under the pickguard the color is darker, so here's the explanation.

Another thing: after some back and forth emails with Epiphone Customer Service, they offered to send a courier to have the guitar picked up from my place directly. Their repair technicians  would check the instrument, and if it was not possibile to fix the issue then they would give me another guitar of the same model, BUT since Lee Malia Explorer are no longer in production, there is the good chance/risk that they give me back a different model of similar value. So before starting all this process, I thought I’d take a  preliminary look at the new Epiphone catalogue, so I discovered that, among all the signature models, there is just the Lzzy Hale Explorer, which means this:  https://www.thomann.de/it/epiphone_lzzy_hale_explorer_outfit_aw.htm  that’s almost comparable, but with all due respect I’ll stick with the Lee Malia, both aesthetically and technically  🙂 So we agreed to ask their techs first (looking at my photos, too) what is best to do.

And here end today's news! 😂😇

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That's a great offer from Epiphone, at least they're trying to please you. I really like the look of the Izzy Hale model, the white and gold go well together, but that's just my opinion. Maybe they will refinish your guitar! Best of luck.

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hello, I think I join the conversation a bit late .. but yes , once I saw the shadow under the sticker ..  you can read some text in the external border.  Clear indication of sunburn on paper with different colors 
I don't think there is any solution, as the external layer of paint is burnt.  You can't burn just the  little circle without covering the whole guitar and leave the sticker area in the sun.
If anything , you have a very exclusive model 😆  sunburn  Explorer Lee Malia.  Exclusive paint job by the sun over the years. 

I am surprised how good the rest of the instrument is , considering the slow cooking.

Just play your guitar and have fun with it. 

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Hello Jonathan,
No problem for the delay: "better late than never"  🙂
In the last email with Epiphone Customer Service technicians, they excluded to be able to fix the guitar (besides no longer in production), so I was offered a change with a guitar of equal value (not necessarily an Explorer: important point).

As I've just written maybe there could be the possibility of a change with the Lzzy Hale model, but I find it a little bit garish (expressing a personal view, "de gustibus") so -as you all already mentioned- the best thing is to forget about the damn issue and play the guitar. 

When not in use I expose it to the september sun with a cardboard “mask” on, hoping the sunbathing will improve a little the difference in color, although at best it will take years. 😅
Oh well, I have time, patience… and many other guitars to play in the meantime 😂😍😇

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