Les Paul Finish Checking (natural or not?)

Discussion in 'Gibson Les Pauls' started by ksms, May 22, 2011.

  1. ksms

    ksms Junior Member

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    I recently bought this '99 Les Paul Classic. It has some finish checking, but I can't decide if I think it occurred naturally or if somebody took a can of compressed air to it.

    It appears on both the top and back. It appears more around the knobs and other typical wear spots (ie, where your arm rests, or where your belt or waist touches the back of the guitar most). It looks pretty natural, but I've heard that the tighter pattern, as opposed to long lines is typical of artificial relic'ing via blow dryer & compressed air... just curious, what do you think?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. cme2n

    cme2n Senior Member

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    who cares?? plug that thing into a jcm 800, dime the volume and rock that SOB out....
     
  3. acstorfer

    acstorfer Senior Member

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    Why would someone bother with the back? At the same time, I wouldn't expect that from a late 90's guitar. So ?????????
     
  4. rockstar232007

    rockstar232007 Senior Member

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    Natural. If someone used the "compressed air" method on it, it would look much worse (like breken glass or spiderwebs).

    As was previously mention, just enjoy it. Some people bay BIG money for that!
     
  5. 92Standard

    92Standard Senior Member

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    I don't see how that is possible as I have a 92 Standard that literally doesn't have a mark or hint of checking and that guitar is 7 years newer than. I'm sure they all don't age exactly the same but I don't see how mine is almost 20 years old and shows no checking at all. Unless the laquer they applied in 99 is far different from what they used in 92. I'm no expert but I just don't see how that much checking could happen in 12 years.

    I have close up pics of mine in my albums if you care to look. Like I said, I could be wrong but it just doesn't seem normal to me.
     
  6. rockstar232007

    rockstar232007 Senior Member

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    Lacquer breaks down over time (solvents gas-off, and organic materials decompose) which causes it to become brittle, which leads to cracking/checking.

    Also, no two finishes are exactly the same. Even if two guitars are sprayed back-to-back with the same batch of lacquer, the finishes will react differently to the environment.
     
  7. rjshare

    rjshare Senior Member

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    could have been caused by:

    poor original application - recoating too quickly for example.
    a poorly executed refinish
    excessive temperature/humidity changes at some point in its life

    the trouble with a used guitar is that you have no way of knowing what it has been subjected to prior to your acquisition of it. whatever has caused it you will either have to learn to love it or do a refinish!
     
  8. TheImmaterial

    TheImmaterial Senior Member

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    Probably got left in the back of a car or a van overnight would be my guess
     
    Kalamazuu likes this.
  9. HOT-BRIT

    HOT-BRIT V.I.P. Member

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    more photos
     
  10. Oranjeaap

    Oranjeaap Senior Member

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    Ive seen worse on 90's les pauls
     
  11. lanniepig

    lanniepig Senior Member

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    I have an '87 Standard and there is absolutely no signs of this on mine. But on the other hand, mine spent most of its life in a case under the original owner's bed. It's almost perfect. Her days of hiding under the bed are over now that she'd mine.
     
  12. spider murphy

    spider murphy Member

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    Is checking present on the neck and headstock as well? Looks like it spent some time in the cold and was brought in and wasn't given time to acclimate before the case was opened.
     
  13. ksms

    ksms Junior Member

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    I don't have a problem with the checking. I was just curious if people had thoughts on whether it might be artificial or not.

    The guitar is at my practice space, so I can't post more pictures that show the checking very well right now. But here are some others of the guitar.

    You can make it out a little bit where your arm rests/rubs in the one photo of the top, but the rest you can't see it. It only shows up at the right angle.

    Anyway, it's a good looking guitar, and I'm not too worried about it. The ceramic pickups have been replaced with covered BBPro's. With the exception of the greenish inlays, I like the look of it a lot.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. glynneCicada

    glynneCicada Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    Man, that guitar is gorgeous. My dream come true. Good score. :thumb:
     
  15. 92Standard

    92Standard Senior Member

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    First of all, that is an absolutely gorgeous guitar!!! Really like the plain top honey burst!!! And I think the checking is cool as it just adds character. I guess it IS possible from what I've read here. I wish my guitar WOULD start checking!!! LOL It has not been gigged but has been played consistantly (jamming with friends as well) the entire time I've had it since 1992. It's almost too new yet!!!
     
  16. sonar1

    sonar1 Senior Member

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    I suppose if the guitar was frigid from a car trunk in cold weather the heat from the guy's arm could be responsible for that pattern, if he started playing it while it was still cold. And the back from his body?

    Nice guitar BTW.
     
  17. dspelman

    dspelman Senior Member

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    No Gibson that I have has a pattern like that. And I have Gibsons dating to 1949. I'm guessing some half-fast relicing technique.
     
  18. 92Standard

    92Standard Senior Member

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    Personally, that's what I think as well. A relicing job. I just cannot believe a 99 would check like that in 12 years. I also had a 1990 Standard that I sold in 2003 (regret it every day) and it too was flawless regarding paint as well. No checking at all. Not even a hint. Like I said, my 92 looks like it did the day I bought it and even I thought it would start to check after almost 20 years.
     
  19. ksms

    ksms Junior Member

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    Yeah, I'm undecided on whether it's "natural" or not, but I tend to think that it either occurred unintentionally or was induced intentionally with unintended results.

    I lean toward it being "natural" in some way though. It is concentrated most in high stress areas for the finish: around the knobs, where the guitar rests against one's body, near contact points for hardware, etc. This either occurred with an incredible amount of accuracy and forethought, or was induced by a "natural" or unnatural shortcoming in the finish. The lines and pattern are too fine to be any kind of razor blade job. So, most likely is either the hair dryer/compressed air method, or some kind of unintended environmental cause.

    Again, I'm quickly growing attached to this guitar and it doesn't really matter. It sounds and plays really nice, and that's what matters most.

    However, I'm still curious if anyone has any photos of checking intentionally caused by the compressed air method?
     
  20. rockstar232007

    rockstar232007 Senior Member

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    Since all of the checked spots are concentrated to areas that come in contact with one's body, that tells me that the previous owner may have been very sweaty, because sweat (or more specifically, the acids in sweat) can cause the finish to break down faster, which in turn causes it to become very brittle.

    Intentionally or not, it looks great to me, and isn't really a cause for concern. So, just enjoy her, she's a beauty. And, don't turn into one of those "OMG, I just got a pinhead sized scratch on my guitar! What am I going to do!?" type of people.:D
     

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