NVGD: 59' Junior - But Really a "Crack Versus Check" Question

WayneLawKid

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I recently decided to upgrade some of my "players grade" vintage to "no issue" equivalents. This included acquiring a 1959 Les Paul Junior. It is a wonderful guitar. All original and overall very clean. Faded like crazy, but still glossy with some checking. Plays amazing, and sounds better than I'll ever be able to do it justice.

One thing that caught my eye upon close inspection today was what initially looked like a continuation of a finish "check" but starts in the area in which heel breaks can occur. The actual finish around the heel is untouched, undisturbed, and blacklight perfectly (the same as the guitar as a whole). The "check" does not follow the grain, which is (in my limited experience) how cracks generally go. There's no indication of movement of the neck/body joint anywhere else. But it is one of those things that eats at your brain when you bought a "no issues" 59' junior. Is it a crack, or just a finish check.

Is there a way to tell? And yes, I'm keenly aware that I'm a cork sniffing asshole and that similar questions have been asked ad nauseam. I just want to know...

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Rogueaverage616

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Yeah i know how you feel, shit like that can surely eat away at your brain huh? Im going through a private similar situation with my 2019 Gibson custom shop R9 60th.It is a new in box Gloss model unplayed.Lives in its case.I pulled it out this summer, maby the room going from humid to air conditioning caused it, but this just litterly appeared out of nowhere.My 2018 R0 and 2016 SG live right next to it in the same room and nothing happend

did your guitar take any bump that you are aware of?

heres my mental PITA
 

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Skit

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I recently decided to upgrade some of my "players grade" vintage to "no issue" equivalents. This included acquiring a 1959 Les Paul Junior. It is a wonderful guitar. All original and overall very clean. Faded like crazy, but still glossy with some checking. Plays amazing, and sounds better than I'll ever be able to do it justice.

One thing that caught my eye upon close inspection today was what initially looked like a continuation of a finish "check" but starts in the area in which heel breaks can occur. The actual finish around the heel is untouched, undisturbed, and blacklight perfectly (the same as the guitar as a whole). The "check" does not follow the grain, which is (in my limited experience) how cracks generally go. There's no indication of movement of the neck/body joint anywhere else. But it is one of those things that eats at your brain when you bought a "no issues" 59' junior. Is it a crack, or just a finish check.

Is there a way to tell? And yes, I'm keenly aware that I'm a cork sniffing asshole and that similar questions have been asked ad nauseam. I just want to know...

yNSiYCP.jpg


SeijoYd.jpg


7MXiVBO.jpg


CWmGuCh.jpg


Uw1YQQu.jpg


dlm6Gcf.jpg


ZRNAT5f.jpg


MnwOpqK.jpg


oM3DHpQ.png


MWBJbXs.jpg
That looks like a crack in the wood.
 

Rogueaverage616

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that looks like checking, unless the guitar took a wack the guitar looks like its in too good of shape to have taken a hit big enough to crack there but ?
 

sws1

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For the life of me, I can't tell.

Maybe it's the lighting, but the heel looks like it has a "soft" edge. It's not as sharp as this one for example:
iv2fod8tbjx8phyagbm5.jpg


Any chance that someone could have worked on the heel? (Again, could be the lighting).
 

WayneLawKid

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did your guitar take any bump that you are aware of?

Not in the few days I've had it! Just unboxed it on Friday. It was packed well in a hardcase. No signs of damage in transit. As for the 62 years before that, not sure! But there are no obvious signs of an impact or drop.
 

WayneLawKid

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That looks like a crack in the wood.

Thanks for the response. Is there actually a way to tell? Or is it just the good ol' eye test. Not knocking that, just wondering.
 

WayneLawKid

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For the life of me, I can't tell.

Maybe it's the lighting, but the heel looks like it has a "soft" edge. It's not as sharp as this one for example:

Any chance that someone could have worked on the heel? (Again, could be the lighting).

Blacklight shows no signs of work to the heel (or elsewhere). The heel glows the same as the rest of the guitar as a whole. Lacquer around the heel (except for the Crack/Check is question) is untouched.

The heel does have a softer edge than some that I've seen, but I think the photos above make it look undefined. Below are a few shots in better light. Looks like a hand-shaped 59' heel to my eye.

IMG_0829.jpg
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Airplane

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regarding the „soft“ edges.. remember these are truly hand made guitars and the juniors were meant to be as cheap as possible in production. so probably not as much attention to details as on the stadnards.
 

fernieite

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Sorry, no help. But just gotta say that that's one seriously hot looking Junior! Congrats!
I love the look of a faded top. :beer:
My 63 lpj has that too.
 

Rogueaverage616

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Yeah i was going to say the same, thats a beautiful Junior, and im going to have to say thats a laquer crack, if that guitar is all original “Witch is amazing by the way” and you recived the guitar and it did not have that crack, and you have no recollection of hitting the guitar against something, or bumping it, and that just appeared, then maby it is a laquer check due to a humidity fluctuation?

like i said, my 2019 Gibson Custom Shop R9, is in new condition, gently played for maby 15 minutes tops, and the guitar had no checking anywhere.As well the guitar lives in its case stored stationary, ...then this past summer i went to pull it out of the case and my eagle eye spotted the laquer crack where the cutout is where the 2 pieces of binding meet...i figured it had to be a humidity and temp fluctuation...as i noticed it after my air conditioner was installed and i started using it, although i recieved the guitar in 2020 of june, and it again went through the same summer conditions, with the guitar living in the same room as my air conditioner, however it survived the summer and fall then a dry winter, a d i even got an humidifier, ...then it went through spring, and then this past summer i find this crap...so it litterly happend by itself sitting in its case.Of course im still going through the same crap as you wondering why and how it happend...did the wood just crack?? Is it the laquer?? I sent pics to LTDAVE whos building me a Gibson 58’ Flying V Clone, and he said i have nothing to worry about that its just a laquer check as the wood swelled and contracted, so i feel better, of course there is still the thing going through my head in that, why my 2018 R0 didnt do it, my 2016 Custom Shop SG didnt do it....then again my 2019 is supposed to have more vintage correct laquer with less plastic in it...your Junior is the real deal, so again maby a humidity and temp fluctuation shocked it?

Maby LT DAVE can come through here and give it a look, pics are hard to justify though
 

none2low

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Beautiful Jr!! Love seeing bursts, but there is just something about a dc Jr that is so perfect.

As far as crack vs checking. I'm gonna weigh in and say it's probably a crack. It's in the exact spot and runs like so many others that I've seen including my own '59 special. The way that the neck pocket and tenon join together seems to apply outward pressure when the neck is flexed.

That said, it's probable not anything to worry about unless you can see movement when pushing down on the headstock.

In reality it has probably been that way for a long time. I say play it, enjoy it, and cherish it for everything it is.
 

3bolt79

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I had my 79 Strat in a stand. I was right next to the guitar, when I heard a”snap”.come from the guitar. The lacquer on the headstock cracked in 4 places. The humidity had been quite high for awhile. The lacquer couldn’t flex enough and it stretched until is cracked. I think that the OP is seeing a finish crack.
 

LtDave32

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The crack doesn't follow thr grain lines in the wood, and it sqiggles in varying paths on the back.

I say its a finish issue, not a wood crack.
 

sws1

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Blacklight shows no signs of work to the heel (or elsewhere). The heel glows the same as the rest of the guitar as a whole. Lacquer around the heel (except for the Crack/Check is question) is untouched.

The heel does have a softer edge than some that I've seen, but I think the photos above make it look undefined. Below are a few shots in better light. Looks like a hand-shaped 59' heel to my eye.

View attachment 570594 View attachment 570595

Those pics make the heel look more normal. Thanks

Nonetheless, you do know that while backlighting can help spot a repair, it can't confirm that something has not been repaired. Virtually every person refinishing guitars knows how to make new nitro glow like old nitro.

Having said that, if you were going to go through the effort of hiding a repair, you'd at least fix the crack.
 

Liam

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I agree finish crack/check, old from the colour of it, and even if it was in the wood, it's kind of inconsequential because it has neatly arranged itself not to have any effect on neck stability under normal string tension. To me this makes it incredibly unlikely to be structural in the slightest, and needs a good dose of enjoying as part of the patina.

Great looking guitar!

Liam
 

bossaddict

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Hard to tell, but I'm in the "finish checking" camp.

Congrats on the Junior!
 

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