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jm1971

Black Gibson Les Paul Custom ; Cracks in nitrocellulose finish in neck

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Attached below are 3 close up photographs of the neck of my Gibson Les Paul Custom, purchased brand new in October 2010. The first two pictures show a thin crack just behind the white binding, running the entire length of the neck and the third picture shows the underside of the neck with a smaller length crack, also just behind the white binding.

I have only noticed these cracks very recently and have to note to everyone that :

 

-*I have treated this guitar in particular like the Crown Jewels*

-It only comes out of it's case for gigs and practicing and goes straight back in the case afterwards

-It has never been subjected to any extremes in temperature. It lives in it's case in a nice warm room. The venues aren't very cold at the gigs and neither is the car/van when it's being transported.

-Other guitars I have owned have stood up to far, far more without any blemishes in the finish appearing ANYWHERE, except when they have been treated roughly.

-This guitar gets treated like a new born baby -I even make sure I'm not wearing a belt before I play it for fear of scratching it's ultra delicate finish for God's sake! No bullet belts with this one!

 

I still love Les Pauls and the feel of the necks, but I'm very disappointed with it's inability to stay in tune for long after a lot of string bending, together with the general frailty of the finish. Charvel guitars, just as an example, cost a fraction of the price, have perfect intonation and playability and are constructed absolutely as solid as a rock, with a virtually bullet proof glossy finish to match.

 

I've read a lot about the lack of quality control from Gibson (the vinyl covering on the case my guitar came in also didn't stretch around the contours correctly and had to be exchanged) and with this latest, recent issue with the neck I'm starting to believe what the critics say and that I may have made a serious mistake in spending nearly £3000 on a Gibson Les Paul Custom.

Gibson themselves, as yet, have nothing to say to me regarding the issues I have mentioned, whether these defects are covered under their dubious warranty T's & C's or not.

I think I might be left waiting a long time.

 

To me, this problem is inexcusable for an instrument just over one year old and costing way, way over the odds in comparison to other makes, and I personally expect much more from a company that boasts such legendary status as Gibson.

 

Am I wrong in asking myself sincerely; Why have I really bought a Gibson? Has anyone else had similar problems with their Gibson guitars...?

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Welcome to the forum Jim............Your thread will probably be moved to the "Les Paul" subforum...........Yes, this has happened before...I assume that you have read

 

Gibson's warranty.....You are in the U.K., so, there are different variations on the warranty situation....I'm not a luthier....Member "Awel" had the EXACT same issue

 

with his Les Paul Custom (black)..Look up his threads called "she's there (finally)" from Nov 9th 2011, and, "issue with the neck and binding of my black custom"

 

from Oct 1st, 2011...Simply go to Awel's home page, view his content; specifically "all threads Awel has started"....Read the threads..The issue was determined to be

 

something about the nitro finish being not mixed quite right.....Nitro is a great finish, but, it is rather finicky, both in it's aging, and it needs to be applied correctly...

 

Check out the two threads..........I hope this helps...........From member in good standing, Damian...............Good luck..........

 

I'm aware of at least five instances of this happening.........Gibson resolved the issue for the customer every time...........

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Hi jm1971,

 

I've got the exact same issue as this one with my black Les Paul Custom that was purchased around the same time as you.

 

Did you ever get this resolved?

 

Thanks

Malc

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Hi Malc,

 

No, the issue has not been resolved as yet. To be honest I've been so pissed off with the guitar that I've been playing my 25 year old Charvel ever since and left the Gibson in it's case! I haven't even bothered replacing the string I snapped back in December. Awel had the same problems with his guitar (mentioned below) and they did replace his guitar -but despite this he still seems pretty disappointed with the situation.

Gibson last wrote to me regarding my situation on 1st of February this year. Here's what they had to say :

 

Hi Mr. Mackenzie,

 

Ebony wood goes through the same rigorous selection process as all of Gibson’s woods, and is personally inspected and qualified by Gibson’s team of skilled wood experts before it enters the factory. Inside Gibson factories, humidity is conserved at 45% and temperature at 70 degrees. This insures all woods are dried to a level of equilibrium, but wood is wood and probably will react to the environment it’s kept in long after it leaves the factory, it doesn’t mean that the wood is defective, because it’s doing exactly what wood does.

We will suggest you just keep the guitar and enjoy the instrument let say for a period of 3 or 4 months and see how the situation evolves, after that, we would like to check the guitar in our installations in The Netherlands; it would be an inspection process without guarantee of repair or replacement because of the reasons and argument we mentioned before.

 

Best regards,

 

Marcelo Pineda

Customer Service

 

 

-I'm still contemplating what to do next...! Have you taken any pictures of your guitar yet?

 

Thanks,

 

James

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Hmmmmm [confused][rolleyes]](*,) (regarding Gibson's response).

 

I have a 1980 LP Custom, with NONE of those problems. Granted, it too has been

"babied," but not beyond what I normally do, with ALL my guitars! It's a nearly pristine...

"Norlin Era" LPC, in fit, finish, and playability...to say nothing, of "TONE!" So,

when they give you some song and dance, about "wood doing what wood does," I have

to think there's something else, going on, there. Maybe the "wood" is fine, but

the adhesive could be faulty, or poorly applied??? Who knows?! Given what you've

said, there's NO reason, any of you guys, should have cracks, as described, and

illustrated, in guitars less than 2 years old. Mine, is 32 years old!

 

I'd take it back, to your dealer (since you're not playing it, anyway), and let them

make it right! That's more than a just a "finish" problem...IMHO. But, I too, am

NOT a "Luthier!" So...??? Still, you don't have to put up with that, from any guitar

manufacturer...and, certainly not, with one that sells at the prices they do, these days.

I LOVE all my Gibson's, but, if all you say, is true...there's no excuse, for that!

 

CB

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.

Sorry to read about you problem.

 

I could see fret end cracks from temp and humidity variations, but to use that for an excuse for the seam cracks you have is rid!culous. There's no way that should be happening to a guitar that wan't abused. BTW, a couple of years ago there were at least three complaints (LP and SG) that showed up on these forums about similar cracks along the neck seams. As I recall, all the posters were from the States - and Gibson covered the problems under warranty admitting the wood was improperly dried - exchanges were granted. Another one was within the last year or so with similar cracks along the body binding of a hollowbody (339 I think) that was replaced under warranty.

 

.

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.

Sorry to read about you problem.

 

I could see fret end cracks from temp and humidity variations, but to use that for an excuse for the seam cracks you have is rid!culous. There's no way that should be happening to a guitar that wan't abused. BTW, a couple of years ago there were at least three complaints (LP and SG) that showed up on these forums about similar cracks along the neck seams. As I recall, all the posters were from the States - and Gibson covered the problems under warranty admitting the wood was improperly dried - exchanges were granted. Another one was within the last year or so with similar cracks along the body binding of a hollowbody (339 I think) that was replaced under warranty.

 

.

 

There's what I was waiting to hear. I like to collect fine English and Italian shotguns, and I have seen/heard similar issues, and some far worse, with improperly dried wood.

 

Even after wood has been properly dried via time and proper climate it can still move and be subject to changes within.

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Hi James,

 

Really sorry to hear that this issue is not moving smoothly for you.

 

Regarding Gibson's response, it is disappointing that the language wasn't better chosen. It seems to just be a rather insensitive speech about wood with a statement of what their process is and it's intentions. This is all fine and good, but as with any process or best of intentions, the execution is not always successful. Errors can always occur which is why the concept of warranty exists so don't be discouraged. I think you have reasonable grounds to push them to look at it right now or you could wait for the 3-4 months that they suggest. It's your choice. The key thing is that you have made them aware.

 

I cringed at the comment "..Enjoy your Instrument.." when it is clearly a cause of much anxiety & frustration.

 

Regarding my own issue, I've attached some pics. I have contacted the same office in the Netherlands and spoke to the same person as you, probably. They have askedthat I send in various details. pics, scans of original invoice, serial # data etc. I'm in the process of gathering that together. I also have a local Gibson premium dealer lined up to represent me. I will get it all sent out and see what the options are.

 

My situation is the same as yours.. I look after my instruments. This one has never been out of a controlled environment. As I have a few guitars, including some more delicate acoustics, I monitor Temp and Humidity constantly. There is a Hygro in my music room which is always around 45-50%. Living in a well ventilated ground floor bungalow in the UK.. this is easy to achieve. But to remove any further doubt, I also store a Gibson R7 Goldtop and a Gibson 335 and they are both perfect, so even by Gibson's own frame of reference, this shouldn't have happened. I have only recently noticed this on mine. It wasn't like this when I bought it, nor was it like this a couple of months ago. I have no idea how bad it's going to get. By my reckoning, the crack in the finish is just a symptom. The join between the fretboard and neck seems to be unstable. It could be ebony shrink, but it could be some instability with the bond between the woods and a shearing force due to truss-rod/string tension has caused a displacement. These would be my biggest concerns.

 

We seem to have bought our guitars around the same time. I wonder if it's worth comparing serial numbers to see if it indicates a bad batch. I'm happy to use my case to support yours.

 

As I said, I am definitely going to follow this through to see what the diagnosis / prognosis is along with my options, but I am still nervous about what the eventual outcome may be. It took a lot of searching to find this guitar. Most new LP Customs are far too heavy, and the Historics have necks like baseball bats. I found it extremely difficult to get the right neck profile and weight combination. I'm not sure if I want a replacement blindly sent out!

 

Regards

Malc

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Both of you guys who posted pix. Those guitars are defective. The moisture content in the fretboard and neck woods was not equal when the guitar was made and once the moisture equalized in the two woods, the differential expansion and contraction was so strong that it delaminated the glue joint.

 

- Jonny Engineer (TN PE#102507)

 

You'll probably get new guitars, so put the screws to 'em. I'll write y'all letters if you need 'em.

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Thanks for your responses guys. -Jonny, I think you may well be right there with your advice. Unfortunately I can only see the problem worsening over time.

I'll be contacting Gibson again very shortly and will keep you up to date.

 

J

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Hey guys, sorry to bump, but I have a Gibson LP Silverburst made around the same time with the same issues, is there anything that I can do?

 

 

 

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Well.... here's a WHY it happens.....

 

The fingerboard is one wood...... Ebony/Rosewood... whatever... and the Neck is Mahogany..... Changes in moisture and temperature make woods swell and shrink... and different woods expand/contract differently.

 

This happened to me on an SG.. Ebony board on Mahogany neck. Fixed by a local Luthier... however it's NOT going to effect the guitar's function.

 

Preventing it...... Try and keep your guitar in a place where humidity and temperature are constant. A climate controlled basement works great.

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Unacceptable!

 

Look at this 35 year old Les Paul. These are the only signs of its age: the checking of lacquer along the binding. Not to mention, this is one those much-hated Norlins!

 

IMG_2575_zps19db0f7d.jpg

 

Cheers... Bence

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Hey guys, sorry to bump, but I have a Gibson LP Silverburst made around the same time with the same issues, is there anything that I can do?

 

 

 

20130707_213049_zps2a162c8f.jpg

 

 

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20130707_213043_zps03c04dcf.jpg

 

Hi Nicktao,

 

In my case, Gibson agreed to have the guitar shipped back to Gibson Europe in the Netherlands, where they were again adamant in concluding that it was a natural process called "finish checking" and duly sent the guitar back to me.

It seems to be just the way they are and I've now accepted this. I was disappointed, but It hasn't affected the playability of my guitar in any way. I still love it -It must cause Gibson a big headache with their customers all the time though. Gibson owners are a fastidious bunch, so I dread to think how much Gibson have had to shell out on Air Freight over disappointed buyers, noticing little hairline cracks appearing in their new guitar's necks!

 

Regarding keeping your guitar in a temperature and humidity controlled environment; you'd have to sit in a basement or special room every time you practiced, which is taking things too far for me. I want to carry it around and use it properly, not just sit, look at and pamper it. That's really for guitar anoraks.

 

I would try and forget all about it and just enjoy the way it plays.

 

All the best,

 

James

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Guest Farnsbarns

These cracks along neck binding are very common, more so on VOS/reissues than on USA models due to he different lacquer mix. It's nothing to worry about.

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WOW! That appears not only the finished cracked but the fretboard is coming unglued from the mahogany neck!

 

I have a number of Gibby's from the sixties that I traveled with and transported in household containers for months without any controlled temperature/humidity. And that's from the U.S. to the Saudi Arabian desert for five years with ambient temperature over hundred F. Then I lived in the San Francisco Area and traveled back and forth on weekends to my home in the snow mountains for skiing! To date, they are still almost like new and only started minor checking the last five years!

 

Most hobbyist consider Gibson guitars precious and are well care by their respective owners. After all, I'm sure the cost in Europe is is not cheap. How can a manufacturer make a decision if they have not physically inspected the defect? Gibson makes thousands of guitars a year; you have purchased one defective product out of thousands! WTF! It's going to cost Gibson and everybody involved in the chain more money just to deal with reviewing if the guitar has a merchantile defect and not caused by other outside conditions. GIBSON SHOULD JUST FIX IT OR GIVE YOU ANOTHER ONE! It's a miniscule risk on Gibson's net earnings. If in the U.S., I'd take them to court and sue for all my wasted time from work, travel, phone calls, and efforts dealing with them. You're right, Gibson won't even show up in court.

 

If the laminated structural beams come unglued at Gibson's factory, you bet Gibson will get the builder to fix it or take them to court. The laminated structural beam manufacturer can't give the same excuse as Gibson gives you! ... "Ignore the cracks; you need continuous climate control and call me back in six months. Please continue to enjoy your factory!" [flapper]

 

...sorry, I'm ranting for you guys. [cursing]

 

I just purchased a new Les Paul Standard... hmmm, will it delaminate, too?

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