Gibson SG 2017 Standard T - Pelham Blue Lacquer issues

SG-H

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Hi all!

April 2020 was the date I purchased my second hand Pelham blue 2017 SG standard T and what a colour it is!

The guitar came originally with a PCB board but the previous owner had a 6 way switch (all possible tapping combinations) installed with long stem (I know) CTS Pots. I have since put the correct sized 500k pots in the guitar and installed a 3 way switch so I get neck, bridge and out of phase. The guitar, after some fettling, plays and sounds really really good. It’s very light and twangy compared to my 04 SG. The 57 classics are a great contrast to the 490/498 in the 04. Overall I’m very pleased with it!

There is, however, a big negative with this guitar, the finish. When I took delivery of the guitar the finish was immaculate. The previous owner and never taken the guitar out of his house and it had only very light use. Since I’ve owned the guitar, The finish has cracked. It’s worth noting at this point, that as we are in lockdown this guitar hasn’t left my house. It’s also worth noting that I’ve owned several nitrocellulose guitars, including the 04 SG and an early 90s Les Paul custom, which have NO lacquer issues at all.

After fitting a poker chip and vintage scratch plate to the guitar I noticed cracks appearing in the lacquer. I immediately assumed I’d overtightened all the screws and cause myself a world of pain. But on closer inspection, there are cracks all over the body of the guitar including on the head stock. As far as I can tell the cracks are only in the lacquer and are not structural in anyway. I emailed Gibson and sent them some photos and they advised me that this was normal and the guitar was possibly subject to extreme temperature changes. As previously mentioned, I don’t really believe this as I have two other nitrocellulose guitars in the same room under the same conditions! My 04 SG has been owned from new and done countless gigs and house moves and has no issues at all.

On closer inspection of the guitar there are blemishes in the paint where it looks like the paint has run before the lacquer has been applied. Has anyone else had these issues? I think this was Friday afternoon guitar...

I'd upload photos if I understood how?
 

SG-H

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Figured it out, photos attached

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Matt748

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Personally I like the way it looks. It adds character to the guitar.
I say embrace it and enjoy playing it.
 

SG-H

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It does have an interesting look now, but I thought it was supposed to age over a number of years?!
 

Dave

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That looks like it got hit by a rapid temperature change.
Was the guitar shipped to you? It may have been on a very cold delivery truck and then quickly exposed to a higher temparature if the box was opened immediately upon arrival.
 

OldDog

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You can look up what causes cracking in lacquer finish and probably reach your own sleuthed opinion based upon what you have in your hands. I have painted cars in lacquer...yes, I know I'm aging myself. That is extraordinary finish failure. Maybe a temperature shock, but that would have to be extreme. Possibly a repaint gone wrong? Or maybe someone tried to thermally reflow the original lacquer? Or a clear coat floated the base coat?
 

SG-H

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The guitar was delivered via courier. The cracking occurred a couple of months after it was delivered. The guitar is kept in its case with 4 other guitars in a warm room. I am definitely not disputing the temperature shock theory, but I have no idea when it would have been exposed to that extreme change.

Re paint....checked the serial number and the guitar left the factory Pelham blue, but I guess it is possible. Previous owner did not mention that. Is it possible that the lacquer/paint on Pelham blue guitars isn't as durable as other colours e.g. the red ones?
 

Go Nigel Go

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I agree with OldDog, this is an unbelievable finish failure for a 2017 guitar 3 years on. I have seen instruments that were left in cars, stored in barns, carried for years on the trail, and other horrible temperature and humidity conditions. None finish cracked like this. It looks like a respray without proper surface prep, possibly over another varnish or otherwise contaminated surface. I would not be surprised if/when the paint actually starts peeling and flaking off you will begin to see another finish underneath.

I am also looking at how the paint fills the serial number stamps on the back of the headstock. That looks like it has been painted over as well.
 

cerebral gasket

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The opaque finish colors get sprayed thicker than the translucent ones which is why the serial number stamping gets filled in.

Extra thick finish with the combination of metallic color is a recipe for disaster.
 

Go Nigel Go

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The opaque finish colors get sprayed thicker than the translucent ones which is why the serial number stamping gets filled in.

Extra thick finish with the combination of metallic color is a recipe for disaster.
Well, I am not an expert painter and finisher, but honestly this looks like the sort of results I would expect if I did it in my garage. Either way, it's bad. Sadly, if Gibson won't do anything about it, the OP may just be stuck with either learning to love it or fully stripping and refinishing (or having it done). The only good news is that basically you can do no wrong at this point if you were to decide to make it a full custom job and make the guitar of your dreams out of it. The sky is the limit for your imagination. I feel his pain, but when life gives you lemons... etc.
 

Biddlin

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I think I'd have it redone, perhaps by an automotive painter. I am not a fan of Pelham blue unless it is faded and satin coat, like an old pair of jeans.That said, the "instant relic" look is not terrible and if it's a player, I might just leave it alone.
 

PGSG

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oh geez! we are in the same boat! My SG T. Have had mine for four months, but the cracking started a couple months after it arrived. It came from the Maine to California. I have the same checking on the front from pickups down, the bottom, and the back. I'm okay with it since I can't really do anything but I'm keeping an eye on the neck - I'd rather that stay smooth. It does look sort of cool, but it happened SO fast. What's funny is that I installed the 135N's and it was clean, then all this within a month. I didn't crank down hard on any screws either. The same with a poker chip and 5 ply pick guard. Hummmm, interesting! We need a detective to go in and see what was used in 2017, haha.

...in the end; slim taper and 57 classics just make it all good!


 
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laza616

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Dude. First of all, i think its pretty cool colour and i feel sorry for you. This is pretty unlucky, but at this point i would have no regrets to sand it down and get it refinished.....in my case i would get it refinished to alpine white or yellow tv
 

cerebral gasket

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White guitars finished in nitro don't stay white very long and end up not looking fresh when the clear coat yellows from UV exposure.

TV Yellow would be awesome if you can find someone that knows how to do it right. The grain needs to be visible through the color and not be a bright safety yellow or canary yellow.

TV Yellow '58 Reissue LP Junior DC

full
 

PermissionToLand

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Damn, that really sucks. Looks like Gibson screwed something up that year, and it doesn't matter what finish you had.
 

SG-H

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Well, at least it's not just mine! it's safe to say 2017 was not the best year for SGs.

I think for now, I will relish the 'aged' look and see how it goes. A refinish would cost a fair bit, definitely wouldn't attempt to do it in my garage! If I did commit to having it stripped and sprayed I think it would be a toss up between Pelham Blue again (that's actually why I bought the guitar, I'd never seen one in that colour in the flesh before) or Drab Olive Green, which divides opinions.

TV Yellow is really cool and would probably be a close 3rd. In 4th and last place, Translucent Purple, but then I'd have to change all the hardware to Gold and it would look like a Cadbury's chocolate bar.

Any other suggestions for colours, apart from Red, Black and White?
 


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