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  1. #1
    Eruption Dance The Night Away's Avatar
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    Default Les Paul Question

    I recently picked up a used Les Paul Classic. The guitar is in good shape but I noticed a line in the cut-away. Is this just a paint seam where the maple top and mahogany body meet? My Epiphone Les Paul Elite doesn't have a line like this. Is this anything to be concerned about?

    Here is a pic. The flash on the camera makes it more visible then it actually is. Thanks.

    \m/ VH \m/

  2. #2
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    Yeah I think it's just a seam, I had something like that on my '83 Standard in cherry red. Shouldn't be an issue.
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  3. #3
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    That's gotta be the maple top seam showing through.

  4. #4
    Eruption Dance The Night Away's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. That's kind of what I assumed.
    \m/ VH \m/

  5. #5
    5150 bunnyman's Avatar
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    That is actually the nitro shrinking into the seam between the maple and the mahogany. If your back is a two or three piece back, you will eventually see those seams, as well as the nitro continues to shrink. Why your Epi DOESN'T have this line is that Epis use a poly finish, Gibson uses old-school nitrocellulouse paint.

    Nitro is more organic (made of wood and cotton cellulouse), and it shrinks over the years. Nitro is also somewhat brittle, so it does not like to expand or contract. Eventually, your guitar will have checks and everything else. To me, that is a sign of great patina, and this is something you will NEVER get with a poly-sealed and finished guitar. This is natural "relic'ing", and it is just part of the aging process. Keeping your guitar in a humdity-controlled environment, as well as preventing any sudden temperature changes will slow further checking.

    I am not trying to get a nitro vs. poly debate going, as I happen to like many poly-sealed guitars, as poly is a good, hard finish that will wear well over time. But me being old-skool, I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE nitro-finished axes.

    I do get annoyed with Fender, as they claim a "thin-skin" nitro, when the body is sealed wth a THICK poly sealer, which has been found by some to be thick enough to hide significant imperfections in the body when attempting to refinish a poly guitar with nitro.

    Enjoy your Gibson and all of the beautiful patina to come as she ages.
    Dammit!!! I still smell like cotton candy!!!

  6. #6
    Good Enough SLEEPER5150's Avatar
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    Yep! Bunnyman, you hit the nail on the head regarding the nitro and natural relicing. To me these things that show over time are a badge of honour. it shows it has'nt been babied, and it's a working man's guitar. Yes you will see seams over time, and may eventually even get grain ridges showing through, but it gives the guitar character.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

  7. #7
    Eruption Dance The Night Away's Avatar
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    Thanks again. I forgot Gibsons used nitro as their finish. I will have to check again but I think the back is only one piece of mahogany.
    \m/ VH \m/

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    Good Enough SLEEPER5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dance The Night Away View Post
    Thanks again. I forgot Gibsons used nitro as their finish. I will have to check again but I think the back is only one piece of mahogany.
    What year is it? Mine last one was a '91, and it was a one peice. They seemed to pretty much quit making one peices after that, though I'm sure there's the odd one they did if stocks allowed. They also did the stacked layered mahogany on some models. My friend had one of them from '93. Actually looked kind of cool from the side. Deep red stain on the sides an back, and a cherry maple top like the one Page was using around the Coverdale/Page sessions. His had a Strinbender unit in it.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

  9. #9
    Eruption Dance The Night Away's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLEEPER5150 View Post
    What year is it? Mine last one was a '91, and it was a one peice. They seemed to pretty much quit making one peices after that, though I'm sure there's the odd one they did if stocks allowed. They also did the stacked layered mahogany on some models. My friend had one of them from '93. Actually looked kind of cool from the side. Deep red stain on the sides an back, and a cherry maple top like the one Page was using around the Coverdale/Page sessions. His had a Strinbender unit in it.
    It is a 2001. It looks like one piece. If it is 2 pieces they did a great job matching the grain because I can't see where they would of glued it together.

    \m/ VH \m/

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    5150 bunnyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dance The Night Away View Post
    It is a 2001. It looks like one piece. If it is 2 pieces they did a great job matching the grain because I can't see where they would of glued it together.

    OK- it takes YEARS to show the seams on the back, and I mean like twenty or more. Sometimes it never happens, and the seams showing through is more likely to happen with the cap and the body join than the pieces of the main body. I'm certain someone who builds bodies could explain it better. Usually a Gibson LP is a two piece back, but sometimes three or four pieces, but rarely a one-piece back.
    Dammit!!! I still smell like cotton candy!!!

  11. #11
    5150 bunnyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLEEPER5150 View Post
    They also did the stacked layered mahogany on some models. My friend had one of them from '93. Actually looked kind of cool from the side. Deep red stain on the sides an back, and a cherry maple top like the one Page was using around the Coverdale/Page sessions. His had a Strinbender unit in it.
    There were '93 pancake bodies? I knew pancakes were coming from the Custom Shop for reissues and replicas (like a Pete Townshend or even a Peter Frampton), but I didn't know there were any pancakes as stock pieces. But- Gibson was always famous for using up what they had. Rumour has it that you could have found a '59 'burst neck on some not-so-neato guitars built as late as the early '70s. Maple neck backs from the late '70s made it onto solid-coloured LP Studios. Who know? Maybe there was a stack of pancakes left over from the '70s...

    Pancakes were a Norlin thing in the '70s. Multi-piece bodies are definitely cheaper and easier to produce than one or two piece bodies.

    Yes- I am a bit of a Gibson-phile
    Dammit!!! I still smell like cotton candy!!!

  12. #12
    Eruption Dance The Night Away's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunnyman View Post
    OK- it takes YEARS to show the seams on the back, and I mean like twenty or more. Sometimes it never happens, and the seams showing through is more likely to happen with the cap and the body join than the pieces of the main body. I'm certain someone who builds bodies could explain it better. Usually a Gibson LP is a two piece back, but sometimes three or four pieces, but rarely a one-piece back.
    No one needs to explain anything to me. I wasn't looking for any seams on the back. I was just stating that by looking at the grain of the mahogany on the back I couldn't tell where it would of been pieced together. Usually I can tell.
    \m/ VH \m/

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunnyman View Post
    There were '93 pancake bodies? I knew pancakes were coming from the Custom Shop for reissues and replicas (like a Pete Townshend or even a Peter Frampton), but I didn't know there were any pancakes as stock pieces. But- Gibson was always famous for using up what they had. Rumour has it that you could have found a '59 'burst neck on some not-so-neato guitars built as late as the early '70s. Maple neck backs from the late '70s made it onto solid-coloured LP Studios. Who know? Maybe there was a stack of pancakes left over from the '70s...

    Pancakes were a Norlin thing in the '70s. Multi-piece bodies are definitely cheaper and easier to produce than one or two piece bodies.

    Yes- I am a bit of a Gibson-phile
    Deleted post. Duplicated.
    Last edited by SLEEPER5150; 06.02.10 at 11:57 AM.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

  14. #14
    Good Enough SLEEPER5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunnyman View Post
    There were '93 pancake bodies? I knew pancakes were coming from the Custom Shop for reissues and replicas (like a Pete Townshend or even a Peter Frampton), but I didn't know there were any pancakes as stock pieces. But- Gibson was always famous for using up what they had. Rumour has it that you could have found a '59 'burst neck on some not-so-neato guitars built as late as the early '70s. Maple neck backs from the late '70s made it onto solid-coloured LP Studios. Who know? Maybe there was a stack of pancakes left over from the '70s...

    Pancakes were a Norlin thing in the '70s. Multi-piece bodies are definitely cheaper and easier to produce than one or two piece bodies.

    Yes- I am a bit of a Gibson-phile
    Yeah....at least his was. I'd seen a couple Pancake Pauls off and on around that time at L&M. Not many, but they definately existed....not sure if they fell in the reissue category. At that time he paid around $1.400, and it was a Standard. My Les Paul Standard was a bit of a rarity around that time in that it was a one peice back, and had a gorgeous ebony fingerboard. Most of them were two piece, and rosewood boards. The main reason they stopped making them one piece was because of the restrictions placed on Honduras Mahogany, so they started using more 2 and three piece construction. They are very good at matching grain though. I'll give Gibson that. You look at my SG; It's a three piece, but from the front or back it's undetectable. You can only tell on the side endgrain. On the subject of the pancakes......I remember a few Nighthawks at that shop were built that way as well. Not sure how common it was on those models. I had mixed feelings on those guitars.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

  15. #15
    5150 bunnyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLEEPER5150 View Post
    Yeah....at least his was. I'd seen a couple Pancake Pauls off and on around that time at L&M. Not many, but they definately existed....not sure if they fell in the reissue category. At that time he paid around $1.400, and it was a Standard. My Les Paul Standard was a bit of a rarity around that time in that it was a one peice back, and had a gorgeous ebony fingerboard. Most of them were two piece, and rosewood boards. The main reason they stopped making them one piece was because of the restrictions placed on Honduras Mahogany, so they started using more 2 and three piece construction. They are very good at matching grain though. I'll give Gibson that. You look at my SG; It's a three piece, but from the front or back it's undetectable. You can only tell on the side endgrain. On the subject of the pancakes......I remember a few Nighthawks at that shop were built that way as well. Not sure how common it was on those models. I had mixed feelings on those guitars.
    Nighthawks were just a plain weird guitar. Definitely one of Henry's babies, for certain. As I had said before, you never know what Gibson had reused over the years from their old stuff. The maple-necked LP Studio I speak of? It was a 1988, long after Norlin left.

    I liked the size of the Nighthawk guitar, but that was it. I almost bought one, but all I could think of was how to make it better.
    Dammit!!! I still smell like cotton candy!!!

 

 

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