splitting seam on Les Paul maple top

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by wsaraceni, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. wsaraceni

    wsaraceni Supporting Member

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  2. wox

    wox Supporting Member

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    It's caused by humidity changes and the maple top moving differently than the mahogany underneath it.

    It's not uncommon on 70s Norlin pancake LPs where there are more pieces of wood in the body to move around, but usually just results in a finish line down the middle. I would avoid a guitar with an actual split between the two maple top pieces, especially on a newer guitar.

    Suggests that the instrument was not cared for well.
     
  3. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    i have literally never seen that before on a real gibson LP!

    either they picked some really bad wood or did a really bad job of drying it before putting the guitar together
     
  4. wsaraceni

    wsaraceni Supporting Member

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    I thought it was weird too. that's why I posted it here. im not looking to purchase it or anything. but felt it was worth a discussion. but could you fix it? what would need to be done?
     
  5. wox

    wox Supporting Member

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    Not something that could be properly repaired without re-topping the guitar, the cost of doing so would be more than buying a nice, new LP.

    It means removing the fingerboard, removing the neck, milling off the top, gluing a new top, routing the new top, re-binding the new top, reattaching the neck and fingerboard, refretting, and refinishing the guitar.

    If it's stable, you can fill the crack and refinish the top in a solid color, but iI wouldn't bother with the guitar unless it was close to free and I wanted to take on a big project myself.
     
  6. larry1096

    larry1096 Member

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    Yeah, I picked up an Agile super-cheap because it had that same issue, to about that same degree, actually.

    Since the seam still 'felt' closed, and only had a visible gap, I assumed it had been finished that way, and was a construction error. If it had been wood shrinkage, I figured the poly would have split or dipped at the opened area.

    I never figured a way to fix it without, as wox said, retopping it. For an Agile, that wasn't practical, but it sounded and played well, and stayed stable for the few years I owned it.

    Larry
     
  7. brianr0131

    brianr0131 Member

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  8. larry1096

    larry1096 Member

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    Actually, watching a Santana video pointed out one way that could be addressed, although whether it would be 'more attractive' would certainly be in the eye of the beholder. An inlay down the centerline, covering the seam, like the PRS Santana:
    [​IMG]

    Larry
     
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  9. Ron Thorn

    Ron Thorn Gold Supporting Member

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    I’d lay a straight edge across the back to see what’s going on.
    Wow.
     
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  10. wsaraceni

    wsaraceni Supporting Member

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    Haha. I have a Santana with the inlays and I love it. But man that would be horrible on a les Paul.
     
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  11. onemoretime

    onemoretime Member

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    Maker neglected to glue the edges.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
  12. Bob Pollock

    Bob Pollock Supporting Member

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    It happens, this is one of the four lefty 'bursts ever. Serial No. 90136
    [​IMG]
     
  13. paulg

    paulg Supporting Member

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    Goldtop candidate
     
  14. wsaraceni

    wsaraceni Supporting Member

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    is that bridge pickup angled too?
     
  15. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Supporting Member

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    I've seen this before, but mostly, for some reason, on 3-piece tops that look like they've been well-used. It makes sense that too much time in too dry an environment might do that.
     

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