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Odd finish issue with my J-45....


dhanners623

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My '98 J-45 has developed an odd finish issue and I'm wondering if anyone else has ever seen or experienced it. A thin (perhaps a 2mm or so) line of the finish immediately next to the bridge on the soundhole side of the guitar appears to be starting to crumble.

 

It almost looks as if the bridge is plowing a furrow into the finish, cracking it. A close look at the bridge, though, shows the bridge hasn't moved any and there's no gap or separation on the "butt" end of the bridge. And the guitar's action hasn't changed noticeably. When I take something thin like a toothpick and push down on the finish, it makes a crackling sound.

 

I do plan to take the guitar in to have it looked at, but I was wondering if it was anything that any of you guys and gals had ever seen.

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My '02 J45 Rosewood has done the same thing. It started on one side & eventually ran all the way across the top of the bridge. The finish is lifting away from the wood, while the bridge remains in place. After it lifted to a point, I took my fingernail & gently chipped off the finish that had pulled away. It apparently has now stabilized. Since there's no structural issue associated with this, I'm leaving it as is & from this point forward will call it mojo!

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Im dont know.. I have a room set at a Humidity of 46 % . Im in Alberta... so we do have a Mixture of Climates in this Province....

 

where are the above people from.. That could well be the reason.. Ive myself have not encountered any other Gibsons here of mine doing this.. just this one.

 

Something to learn here.. thanks for your reply...

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I am not saying that anyone is doing anything wrong. I have guitars that i treat very well 99.9% of the time and one mistake can make things happen that are unexpected. I had a super late gig one night years ago and we left everything securely locked in the vehicle. It had reached nearly 90% by 11am and the bridge on my Nick lucas pulled up, the guitar cooke for 3 hours. Hindsight is 20 20 but i was upset about what happened and i have not done it again since.

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Yeah, that picture looks pretty much like what I'm talking about, except my finish is still attached and the "furrow," for lack of a better term, isn't as wide as the one depicted in the photo. The humidity explanation makes perfect sense. Even though I keep my guitars humidified, I live in Minnesota and the temperature and humidity changes from one season to the next can be pretty dramatic.

 

As long as it isn't anything structural, I guess I can breathe a sigh of relief.

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Does it look something like this:

 

2qu4r9t.jpg

 

My theory is: I over-humidified the guitar and when the swollen top shrank back down it pressed the finish against the bridge.

 

Yep, it looks like that, except it extends along the length of the bridge a bit more. I need to head in to the guitar shop next week for another matter, so I'll see if there is anything that could/should be done about the issue. I'm tempted to leave well enough alone, but then again, I worry that once cracks start forming, they could propagate outward and bits of finish could actually fall off, as in the worse of the two photos above. I've not a clue what the fix would be, though.

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Take your inspection mirror (every guitar owner should have one) and take a look at the bridge plate on the underside of the sound board below the bridge. Also get a gander at the braces.

 

What do you see?

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Yep, it looks like that, except it extends along the length of the bridge a bit more. I need to head in to the guitar shop next week for another matter, so I'll see if there is anything that could/should be done about the issue. I'm tempted to leave well enough alone, but then again, I worry that once cracks start forming, they could propagate outward and bits of finish could actually fall off, as in the worse of the two photos above. I've not a clue what the fix would be, though.

This is a tough call, and one which I had thought about considerably with my J45 mentioned above. I can tell you that on mine, the process has taken years, and continues to this day. The portion above the bridge, as mentioned, has now apparently stabilized, but I've recently noticed that a very thin line of finish is lifting below the bridge as well. My own belief is that the culprit is low humidity and a drying out process. I see no structural damage at all, and I'm pretty sure you won't either. I'd be concerned that if you attempt to have the area's finish touched up, the guitar might continue to experience changes further down the road, rendering the touch up almost meaningless. Rather than continually worrying about the humidity issue, I'm just letting the finish do whatever it's going to do. After all, my '66 ES-125T (like many vintage Gibsons) has significant finish checking all over it's body, but remains structurally sound & plays great.

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Took the guitar into my local shop (Hoffman's in Minneapolis) this morning and the verdict is that yeah, it's just a finish issue. An internal and external inspection didn't turn up any structural problems or loose braces. It is basically an issue that can be caused by how the bridge and top react differently to temperature/humidity changes, and it is exacerbated by the pull of the strings, which is normal.

 

The verdict basically was that unless something changes, just to leave it like it is. I can live with that.

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