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Discussion Starter #1
I am currently looking at a used guitar on ebay that indicates there is some small lacquer checking happening on the guitar finish close to the fretboard. From what I've read up on checking, it seems that it happens due to exposing the instrument in extreme temperature conditions. If checking is already happening on the guitar, is there a way to prevent the checking from spreading any further? (i.e. NOT exposing the instrument in various extreme temperatures :tongue:) Or will the checking continue to get progressively worse over time despite taking the utmost care of the instrument?

I hope my post makes sense to you, I apologize in advance if there is any confusion. I will try to elaborate in any of my further posts should the need arise.
 

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For very small checks in thickish lacquer I have sucessfully applied lacquer thinner (i.e. acetone or ketone) with a hypodermic needle. Very carefully feed a tiny amount into the check and it will feed along the crack by capillary action, softening and 'glueing' the crack shut. I've also heard that watery cyanoacrylate (crazy glue) will chase along a check. Really, though, once checking begins, it's hard to.....check. And the method only works with lacquer. I'm not certain I'd try it on nitrocellulose finishes, without trying it on an inconspicuous area first.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The particular guitar in question is a Gibson SG, to which I believe they have nitrocellulose finishes.
 

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What kind of guitar and what year? Poly finishes won't check and newer nitrocellulose laquer has plasticizers mixed in to inhibit checking. Checking, when new, is not yet a crack, so it can't be filled. A newly checked guitar will feel perfectly smooth to the touch and checking will not be visible at some angles. After several years slight cracks may appear along check lines as the finish shrinks.

If a guitar is prone to checking you can try to avoid rapid temperature changes, especially cold to warm, but there's no guarantee it won't check further, and no big deal if it does IMHO. It does'nt seem to hurt resale value and might even enhance it for some buyers who are desperately trying to get their new guitars to age rapidly. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey Lester B., thanks for the information. I'm currently looking into a 1998 Gibson SG-X model. I've been GASing for one for quite a while, and there's one up in Carribean Blue, though my preference is still for the Coral Pink one :tongue: There was one in mint condition on ebay, but it was selling for way beyond what I could afford or would have been willing to spend. My second choice is the blue finish, and one just happened to pop up.
 

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Hi Cross. I'm not sure what year Gibson started puting plasticizer in the nitro but I have never seen a guitar with temperature checking that didn't cover the entire guitar. If it's only occurring near the fretboard it could be due to stress rather than temperature. That's where body meets neck meets freboard. Could be three peices of wood finally reaching a consensus! SG's are great but have notoriously weak neck joints. Just make sure the wood is good before you jump on it.:rockon:
 

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right...my old Yamaha Dynamic acoustics have checking over every square inch of the body. I think it looks pretty cool, and actually, some guys pay more for guitars that have been artificially aged like that.
 

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Lester B. Flat said:
SG's are great but have notoriously weak neck joints. Just make sure the wood is good before you jump on it.:rockon:
So much so, in fact, that some have been known to break their SG, and then the repair is stronger. This is due to the neck pickup rout being so dang close to the stubby little dovetail. Mine (my son has it now) has a crack on the treble side which has been there forever, no serious consequence.

sneakypete said:
right...my old Yamaha Dynamic acoustics have checking over every square inch of the body. I think it looks pretty cool, and actually, some guys pay more for guitars that have been artificially aged like that.
My Guild D-55 Qstik got frozen years ago when our van carburetor iced up (remember carbs?) at 45 below on the Oilberta prairie. The finish went into check overdrive. The only side-effect was a looser tone, and now it looks like a venerable old warhorse.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Lester B. Flat said:
SG's are great but have notoriously weak neck joints. Just make sure the wood is good before you jump on it.:rockon:
This has me worried, although judging by the seller's photo (see link below) of the neck, it seems that it could be somewhere between the 7th to 12th fret. Upon further inspection of the description as well, the seller mentions the lacquer checking is by the dots of the fretboard, so maybe it's not as bad as I imagine it might be?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=020&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3APIC&viewitem=&item=300082740348&rd=1&rd=1
 

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I'm guessing it's just stress between the fretboard and the edge of the paint. My custom shop SG has the same thing between the 15-19th frets. Seems like it's just from the stress of strings, truss rod and normal playing on the notoriously bendy SG neck. Here's a pic:

 

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And don't worry about this "weak neck joint" stuff. Yes, if you drop it, it will be more likely than a Les Paul to break. Or the headstock will break off (as it will on a Les as well...). That's just the nature of SGs and you learn to live with it. Just don't drop your guitar, which I'm imagining you try to avoid with all of your guitars anyway.
 

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SG=strap locks...lol

Always hold an unattended guitar by the base of the neck!

And yeah, just enjoy an SG, wowie neck & all. Great guitar, one of the coolest designs ever, appearance-wise.
 
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