Gibson les paul custom 2004 neck finish crack?

estefan

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Hi guys,

two years ago I bought a beautiful used 2004 custom shop les paul custom, which still inspires me everytime I play it.

At the time, it had a a finish crack (a line) along the fretboard, starting from the nut, up to end of the first fret.

I was told by a luthier, who checked the guitar with a black light, that it is most likely finish crack due to improper guitar stand, and that it’s nothing to worry about.

Recently however, I noticed that new crack lines appeared on back of the neck.

Weather here is generally humid, but I keep the guitar in it’s case.

What do you think, are those new cracks something I should be worried about?
 

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efstop

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Looks like typical lacquer cracking to me.
 

PageSide84

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Hi guys,

two years ago I bought a beautiful used 2004 custom shop les paul custom, which still inspires me everytime I play it.

At the time, it had a a finish crack (a line) along the fretboard, starting from the nut, up to end of the first fret.

I was told by a luthier, who checked the guitar with a black light, that it is most likely finish crack due to improper guitar stand, and that it’s nothing to worry about.

Recently however, I noticed that new crack lines appeared on back of the neck.

Weather here is generally humid, but I keep the guitar in it’s case.

What do you think, are those new cracks something I should be worried about?
I wouldn't accept that. Return it to Gibson for a refund.
 

Dogbreath

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It looks to me that these are just finish cracks. As lacquer dries, which can take a long time, it shrinks and gets more brittle. Cracks like these are normal and are more common when there are extreme fluctuations in temperature. If there’s a crack in the wood it would follow the wood grain. These cracks do not follow the grain.
 

workerunit

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Its called lacquer cracks.

Sometimes people pay extra for that on certain guitars.

Don't like lacquer cracks?, you may want to stay away from Gibson guitars, almost all are finished in lacquer and sometimes that lacquer is mixed so it dries brittle and cracks.

BTW, I like your guitar and most likely it will have many more finish cracks in the near future.
 

grumphh

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That is a neck break.
The way the cracks come from the back/side of the neck and meet the binding/fretboard and run along the binding is just how many breaks look.
Never mind that it is obvious that some force has tried to shift the nut.

I'd sell it at 150$ below market price to the first guy who claims that this is "only a lacquer crack" - let him take the loss :cool2:

If you didn't drop it (or the case with the guitar in it), then someone else has, because what can be seen in the pics is not something that happens without an external force acting on the guitar.
 

estefan

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As far as I know the guitar has not been dropped, but I did not buy it from the first owner, so I can’t be sure 100%.

Here are some headstock pictures.

Headstock logo also had/has some cracked finish.
Maybe that’s also a clue that the guitar was under extreme temperature changes before I bought it?

I have a Gibson Les Paul Studio, which is in the same room as Custom, all the time, but not in guitar case, and it does not have any lacquer cracks.

As for the truss rod nut, maybe it’s too tight and it’s adding extra stress, thus causing extra lacquer cracks?
 

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moreles

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Thgose are likely just finish cracks, but they are in no way normal. No, guitars with nitro finishes do not crack like that on their own,m though such cracks, like mishanbdling of guitars, can be common. Those are almost certainly caused by a whack to the peghead. That causes the wood in that notoriously weak spot to flex, and the lacquer cracks. It's possible that the wood beneath could have hairline cracks as well, but I doubt it because I don't see any displacement or widenening anywhere. But you can't tell from pictures. But normal finsh cracking? No. That being said, if there's no indication of damage to the actual neck, this is, IMO, a nothingburger.
 

grumphh

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As far as I know the guitar has not been dropped, but I did not buy it from the first owner, so I can’t be sure 100%.

Here are some headstock pictures.

Headstock logo also had/has some cracked finish.
Maybe that’s also a clue that the guitar was under extreme temperature changes before I bought it?

I have a Gibson Les Paul Studio, which is in the same room as Custom, all the time, but not in guitar case, and it does not have any lacquer cracks.

As for the truss rod nut, maybe it’s too tight and it’s adding extra stress, thus causing extra lacquer cracks?
I stand by what i wrote - the cracks we can see are the result of wood moving far more than normal neck wood moves under different climatic conditions.
I think it is most likely because the wood was subjected to some outside force (a drop or a fall) that made the wood crack in that area.

As for the truss rod: If your neck is adjusted to the relief/straightness you like, the truss rod is NOT to tight. If the neck can't handle the pressure from the truss rod, then the neck is structurally unsound.

Sorry but as i see it there is something not structurally right with your guitar, whether this is something that will eventually result in the headstock snapping off or if it will not progress any further i can't tell... But i'd treat that guitar with extra care.

Or just sell it to one of the people here claiming those are only laquer cracks :laugh2:

Oh yeah, afterthought - the headstock logos have been crappy on Gibsons ever since the mid 80's - deteriorating lacquer around the logo is the true sign of an authentic Henry J. era Gibson - no far eastern copy has ever convincingly been able to accurately mimic that...
 

rogue3

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I was told by a luthier, who checked the guitar with a black light, that it is most likely finish crack due to improper guitar stand, and that it’s nothing to worry about.
i think this is a reasonable assumption, given the location. You had a pro go over it, and he gave his professional evaluation. The only thing weird here is the location, and it fits the guitar stand theory. Does it stay in tune well? (a sign of stability under tension). Did your pro check/ adjust the truss rod?


Recently however, I noticed that new crack lines appeared on back of the neck.
This is something to consider, if your eval. is accurate.
Given there was already finish cracks,it seems to me they do progress over time,especially with nitro once they have started. Has the truss rod been adjusted recently? i assume you had a set-up done when you got the instrument.

When you drop a nitro guitar,the lacquer cracks. I have a nitro tele that did just that, at the point of impact.But tele's are also indestructable. It was still perfectly in tune when i got home. But Gibson's and that headstock.

That being said, i have a Les Paul (1989) that i had a couple incidents. Slipped out of the strap, it dropped 2 feet?, onto the bottom strap button, but cracking did not occur(for sure there is a lot more plasticizer in my Gibby's).In fact nothing occurred in that incident.

I also once had said Les Paul slip off guitar stand,and take a hit behind the neck about the fifth fret. Wet sand/refinish at that divet for the fix. No headstock issues.

I also used to get a vibrato effect by flexing the neck of the same guitar( upper bout and headstock) . I did this only on stage for that little bit extra effect when winding out a Marshall half-stack,overdriven,and pushing the guitar into feedback harmonics.It is a glorious effect. It was worth it for those shows.No issues. I did not continue to do this in the subsequent years. playing at home with that guitar.

All is well over 30 years later with the Les Paul i am referring to. It was my workhorse playing live back then, and both incidents had no issue with a cracked headstock. If it was, when i did the vibrato thing, a weakness would have revealed itself.

Gibson's are really pretty robust, but a direct hit on the headstock is where a catastrophe occurs. Your headstock shows no sign of this? .

I do believe some headstocks flex more than others...this is the Gibson design. I learned this in my *vibrato* experiments long ago. And yes everyone, i do not advise anyone to do this.:io:

all in that particular piece of wood...all are different.

Still, was it a guitar stand? did it take a hit at some point?(i believe it did). Both seem reasonable.

Is the neck a future issue? Mine is not. It took some abuse. It is one of my finest sounding Les Paul's , despite proof on the back of the neck it DID take a hit, all is well 32 years later.proof of time.good luck in you decision.

Finally,i have an all-nitro tele that has finish cracks...small ones,everywhere on the body. it has been perfectly taken care of,yet there they are.Nitro cracks.
 
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tigerflame

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So, after examining the pictures of the headstock I'm going to say the cracks are probably from the truss rod being completely maxed out. There's no reason that much of the rod should be sticking out. That will probably have to be addressed at some point.
 

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