Finish Crack LPC Headstock

Overture

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I was changing strings on this guitar this evening when I noticed a sort of "bubble" around the bottom of the washer on the low E tuning peg. Took the peg off to investigate only to find out it seems to be some sort of crack in the cleat coat or something. My best guess is maybe the tuner was installed too tight at some point at the factory, or maybe the finish wasn't fully set before the tuners were installed? I should say I don't care at all, it is what it is. The Guitar is almost 2 years old, having a VERY early 2020 serial number. It was new to me in January of 2021.

IMG_3955.jpeg
 

ARandall

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Those tuners are notorious for overtightening. Plus as the front is mechanically attached to the tuner it then bears some of the shear pressure of the string tension too. The bushing style are much friendlier to the nitro as they are separate to the tuner and cannot be torqued.
 

endial

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^What AR said.

Not terribly uncommon either, sadly. There've been dozens of these postings throughout the years here. Ancient (Gibson) guitars, and newer. A characteristic of lacquer finish.

Edit: *And overzealous tuner-tightenings.
 

Peter M

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I should say I don't care at all, it is what it is.
Yeah, and since the washer conceals it, who should really care? The Felix Ungers of the guitar world might use a lacquer pen or something to try to blend it...but again, it's hidden anyway.

Strum on. :acoustic:
 

Dilver

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A lot of Gibsons from the early 90s had a problem with the finish on the headstock bubbling. This looks like overtightening of the tuner nut. A good tech could drop some nitro on it, have it melt into the existing finish and then scrape and sand it back level. Or, you could just leave it and say it’s Murphy Aged just in that spot.
 

Peter M

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^ I'm Oscar waiting to try it! Hurry up man...
 

Overture

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I’ve already got a spot of finish transfer on the back of the neck on this guitar from another Paul too. It’s crazy how fast that happened given how little I use the stand in question that caused it.
 

PRSWILL

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My Taylor 810CE has this as well. It's a weak spot in the finish as there is most likely untreated wood in the tuner hole and over time, the humidity cycles in your home will leave moisture under the finish there an eventually the clear coat will lift a bit. This is just part of the patina in my book and has no effect on the tone.
Living in Minnesota, we deal with these things all of the time. I have a whole house humidifier/dehumidifier system and It's still a challenge to keep the place in balance.
 

grumphh

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This is like guitar gangrene - eventually the headstock will wither away and die, and you'll have no other option than buying secondhand Steinberger hardware - but face it: You didn't buy an LPC in order to have a headless guitar, so there is only one thing you can do. Put it out of its misery before it is to late...
 

Overture

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My Taylor 810CE has this as well. It's a weak spot in the finish as there is most likely untreated wood in the tuner hole and over time, the humidity cycles in your home will leave moisture under the finish there an eventually the clear coat will lift a bit. This is just part of the patina in my book and has no effect on the tone.
Living in Minnesota, we deal with these things all of the time. I have a whole house humidifier/dehumidifier system and It's still a challenge to keep the place in balance.
Yeah i'm up in Cold Lake, Alberta. I have a small humidifier for my studio room but I have to monitor it like a hawk to stay between 40-60% Humidity.

Luckily I'm one of those people that likes natural wear and tear on a guitar. When I noticed it I was like "huh? nice!"


Does it affect the tone or playability?
Yeah, it's basically unplayable now. Might as well donate the guitar.
 

Darkscience

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My 99' Les Paul Standard has this, the finish did not crack up like your picture but I can see the outline and the finish is white and hazy in that spot. On my guitar this happened on the High E string, I do believe overtightening to be partly responsible in my case, (the whole headstock has typical finish ageing so not 100% sure).
 

jimmer_5

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Thankfully I have only seen this on one of my Les Pauls. There were spots like this around several of the tuners on my Lou Pallo Signature LP. Sadly, from the pictures I've seen, it appears that most of the 400 pieces of the Lou Pallo Signature were plagued by this particular defect. As others have said, it happens when the tuners are overtightened and the finish bends down until it cracks or separates.

My guess is that when the Lou Pallo Signature run was made, there was an inexperienced employee that installed the tuners on those 400 guitars, and they overtightened most of them.

A good luthier could probably fill that areas with nitro and blend it in, but it may still be somewhat visible. In the case of my Lou Pallo signature, I discovered the issue right when I bought it and the seller gave me a discount that covered the cost of the finish repair. The finish was separated but not broken off. My luthier injected superglue under the finish, lightly sanded and buffed it all out to make it match, and installed a set of vintage style Tonepros Klusons with conversion bushings (slightly larger press fit bushings that fill the larger hole left by the Klusons with the nut that screws down around the post). These new tuners don't screw down on the headstock face and essentially eliminate the chance of the finish cracking around the tuners again.

You'll want to double check the size of your peghead holes, but these are essentially what I used:


And some vintage style Klusons - these are double ring, but you get the idea:

 

The Nighthawk

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Here's an example of over-tightening damge on my Epiphone Noel Gallagher Supernova Sheraton. The only flaw on an otherwise great guitar. The input jack nut has cracked the lacquer. Been like it for the 15 years I owned it and never got worse (or better).
 

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Daniel.S

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Here's an example of over-tightening damge on my Epiphone Noel Gallagher Supernova Sheraton. The only flaw on an otherwise great guitar. The input jack nut has cracked the lacquer. Been like it for the 15 years I owned it and never got worse (or better).
It’s poly, so different animal
 

Malchik

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Alternatively the machine head wasn't over tightened and the wood just expanded. For example, every LPC eventually starts to finish crack around the MOP inlay.
 


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