UPDATE: Finally got my 1st Gibson. Is this normal?

misanthrope222001

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Hello everyone out there, it's great to meet you all! So I finally got my 1st Gibson; a 2013 Les Paul 70's tribute. My question is this: Is it normal to see what appears to be a seam running the length of the fingerboard just underneath the fret tangs? I realize Gibson does hand scraping and that might be what I'm seeing. It could also be the grain mismatch that is making the "effect" more apparent. The frets seem to be reasonably level with little to no buzz @ .065 bass .040 treble. Truss rod functions effectively and there are no issues with any of the frets around where the neck joins the body. Could this be a re-glued fingerboard? Would that even be worth doing on a 2013 tribute model? I'm less concerned about aesthetics than I am structural integrity + value (I paid an overly fair price for the guitar). Bear in mind that I am used to Fender's so any expertise/wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

UPDATE: I called gibson who confirmed that this is of course one of theirs. The gentlemen I spoke to said he worked for gibson since 2010 and remembers the laminated board fiasco. He said the boards that are laminated but also unbound are EXTREMELY rare. Rare enough that it took a couple years for the sales team to even realize Gibson ever made any unbound laminated rosewood necks. I took it by a local 30+ year luthier who said it looked unplayed and is another believer that, structurally the neck is more solid the way it is. He also said that he would have no problems re-fretting down the road. It plays well with low action and almost no buzz of any kind (kind of used to the general clangyness of strats). The seller offered me a full return/refund shipping and I really think he is just a guitar flipper that didn't know any better. I don't think there was any intent to deceive. All taken into account I have decided to keep the guitar. Small businesses are having a hell of a time right now and I would hate to cost more $ in shipping while risking this guitar being damaged/destroyed during it's return journey; all because I don't care for a single line going down the center of WOOD. I figure hell, "Even the mona lisa is falling apart". If you're still reading thanks for taking the time!
 

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Thrill

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Dont think its normal. Never saw that before on any of my guitars, Gibson or not. As far as I know, they hand scrape the bindings after painting, and yours isnt bound. Hard to say what it is in pictures. Some pics make it look like a crack/split, some a 2 piece fretboard, and some like a finish/paint issue. Ill leave it to someone more knowledgeable to say what it really is.
 

misanthrope222001

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Dont think its normal. Never saw that before on any of my guitars, Gibson or not. As far as I know, they hand scrape the bindings after painting, and yours isnt bound. Hard to say what it is in pictures. Some pics make it look like a crack/split, some a 2 piece fretboard, and some like a finish/paint issue. Ill leave it to someone more knowledgeable to say what it really is.
Thanks for taking a look and reaching out. Hopefully someone will be able to offer some insight. Problem is I got this off Reverb and only have 48 hours I believe to initiate a return if there are issues.
 

Thrill

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For whatever its worth, its not gonna be a truss rod issue, or a fret issue, and it would be really strange for it to be a crack/split in the wood running horizontally across the grain at a uniform height like that. I dunno if Gibson ever did a 2 piece fretboard, if thats what it is. The last picture makes it look like a finish thing, the way its darker at the bottom and lighter on top side of the line.

It might just be a cosmetic thing. Hopefully someone else can give a definitive answer soon
 

endial

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That's a stacked fretboard. Two thin layers of rosewood pancaked/sandwiched together and glued. In desperation after getting busted and losing their confiscated stock of rosewood they had to do something with what they had left. It may not be up to the standards that we're accustomed to for a top-dollar guitar, but I'm pretty sure it's perfectly sound as structural issues go. A bunch of these went out about the same time period. Others will chime in with more info, I'm sure.

Edit: ^ This is to the best of my recollection.
 

misanthrope222001

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That's a stacked fretboard. Two thin layers of rosewood pancaked/sandwiched together and glued. In desperation after getting busted and losing their confiscated stock of rosewood they had to do something with what they had left. It may not be up to the standards that we're accustomed to for a top-dollar guitar, but I'm pretty sure it's perfectly sound as structural issues go. A bunch of these went out about the same time period. Others will chime in with more info, I'm sure.

Edit: ^ This is to the best of my recollection.
Ok, I was mostly concerned that a major repair had occurred at some point. If it's OEM from Gibson, I'm fine with it. Thanks a lot!
 

ARandall

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I think @endial's post has it right. In 2012 they had issue with rosewood, and before they started moving to other woods for some guitars they has 2 piece rosewood boards throughout. The 2013 range would have been released sometime during 2012, during this period.
Most of these boards were on bound necks, so we never see the side profile.
 

endial

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We sure would like to see more pics of your purchase!
 

strayedstrater

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2013 was one of the years they used laminated rosewood (2 layers glued together). The feds confiscated much of their rosewood and ebony due to import violations. So for a period they used substitute woods -- baked maple, Richlite, granadillo, obeche, etc -- and sourced some thin rosewood that they glued together to make normal thickness boards.

My 2013 SG '60s Tribute (built Dec 1012) has a laminated board like yours.

Structurally it's no problem. Tonally it's no problem.

Some people speculate that there may be issues when it comes time to refret the laminated boards. Most of them don't have enough wear to need refretting yet, but I've read a few accounts of people refretting without issues.

They glued the pieces together before cutting them, so they couldn't match the grain precisely. Some match so well you really have to look closely to see the join, others are more obvious.
 

misanthrope222001

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It's nearly new. It was purchased for a guys daughter after she showed a few weeks interest in learning guitar and played a few times (gotta love American kids!). I replaced the truss cover with a less flashy black one. I have hipshot tuners on the way to replace the min-etune system (hopefully I can get 100$ for it off ebay). I'm also torn between installing a pickguard or not. Then I'll look at some new pickups. I'm going for a minimalist rustic, "thrown in the mud" look (the kind of guitar you could imagine Robert Johnson wailing on). I'm happy with the action, relief, and even the fretwork. I've never seen a seam like this on any guitar (been playing since '90) and wanted to make sure this wasn't a hack job. Thanks for the help/advice!!!!
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endial

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Wow! That thing looks untouched!

You might get some good coin for those Dirty Fingers pups too.

Handsome guitar. I like it without a pickguard, personally. I have an "LPJ" that's "almost" a Tribute model that didn't come with a guard. It's the way it was designed in my eyes, so it stays that way. Otherwise, I'm a "pickguard on" kinda guy.

Edit: Plus, Welcome to the forum!
 

timgman

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I'll be solid... rock it and understand it's part of the history of Gibson. It's a bookmark in history! Cool really. tell the snobs to look away lol
 

endial

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All in all, it really is not a "normal" thing per se, so there's that. Like @timgman said to some degree, it's part of its' uniqueness in history.

Enjoy that very fine guitar.
 

rogue3

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... It could also be the grain mismatch that is making the "effect" more apparent. ...

...The frets seem to be reasonably level with little to no buzz @ .065 bass .040 treble. ...

... than I am structural integrity...
The neck may actually be more stable for the extra layer on the fretboard.Laminations(2 ply) make it stronger,if the 2 pieces are put together with grains opposing(seems to be what you see), the fact that it plays so well after a few years = stable neck...from what i have read and remember.nice!
 
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cybermgk

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Ok, I was mostly concerned that a major repair had occurred at some point. If it's OEM from Gibson, I'm fine with it. Thanks a lot!
It may be OEM, but, imho it's a crappy job of doing it. The two pieces are badly matched in grain and size. THere are at least a few tool marks.
 

akuster777

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my old 2013 lpj had that 2ply fingerboard also. leftover from the 2012 models, used up on the 2013 low ends
 

Sinster

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It may be OEM, but, imho it's a crappy job of doing it. The two pieces are badly matched in grain and size. THere are at least a few tool marks.
Very crappy job. Not sure I've seen a two ply clearly noticeable as this one.
 

misanthrope222001

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Very crappy job. Not sure I've seen a two ply clearly noticeable as this one.
Yeah, it's pretty disappointing. I've LITERALLY dreamed of owning an actual Gibson since 1990; and this is what I waited 30 years for. I'm disabled (can't drive) in a smaller town so internet shopping is basically my only option (I got this off reverb for too much). She plays ok even if she does look like a complete moron cut her board in half.
 


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