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Old February 16th, 2017, 05:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Holland, Michigan
Posts: 2
SG Gold Series 2017 problem

I am new as of today on the forum so first and foremost, hello! I look forward to being a part of the Gibson/SG owner family here!

I purchased a 2017 Gibson SG Gold Series in Alpine White and it arrived at my house right as I was leaving for work on 2nd shift yesterday (02/15/17). This is my first ever Gibson though I have played dozens. I was so excited I couldn't eat all day. I got home at 1:45am and pretty much wailed on that thing until 5am the same morning, so we'll say for over 3 hours straight I played it right away.

Before making my purchase I read all the ins and outs of Gibson care because of the nitro finish. I opted to not risk using a 3rd party guitar strap or stand and instead used the nice leather one provided and just rest it in the case when not in use. Before I even took the guitar out of its case to inspect it fully, I washed my hands twice. I placed the strap fat/logo side on the neck strap nut and the skinny side on the tail/bridge nut. After playing, I removed the guitar strap. I noticed on the neck nut there was a caramel/latte discoloration all around it on the finish and very lightly near the side and rear by the tail end nut. I took the microfiber cloth they provided me, used warm water to lightly dampen it
and used mild soap per the Gibson manuals recommendation. No luck. I had a bottle of Ernie Ball Guitar Polish which I use for my acoustics and lightly tried to buff out the area. Still no luck. Worried, I headed to the various threads and forums about nitro care and treatment and decided after many yes and no responses that I would lightly apply a pure Naphtha "syraight-run" fluid to the affected area. Zero luck on that too.

Needless to say I am absolutely devastated. It is especially noticeable on the crisp white background and I've not owned the guitar for 24 hours. I reached out to both guitarcenter where I ordered it and to Gibson but have not gotten a reply yet. I am aware that anything but the highest quality leather can bleed but I figured for certain Gibson would have had some sort of test performed before pairing them with their nitro guitars, especially white.

A little bit of background about me and on the night of, I wore a light blue shirt and blue jeans that have been washed and in my wardrobe for years. I am not a smoker, have never been, nor do I live in a smoking environment and I even signed a non tobacco user health insurance clause through my work for insurance purposes. I did not eat or handle any food prior. I work in a manufacturing environment that only handles washed and cleaned USA made aluminum. I run 3 industrial band saws and I do not interact with any chemicals, dyes, or other colored/acid compounds. I played my guitar with a brand new packaged Kirlin guitar cable and a brand new Orange Micro Terror 20w head with the accompanying Orange PCC108 speaker cabinet that was taken out of the box the day prior. I stood up the entire time I played and do not own or use any leather or stained wood furniture.

The chances that anything besides tannin or similar leather tanning chemicals could seep into the guitar in the environment I was playing in 3 hours time is very slim. I realize nitro is a porous lacquer by nature but the guitar was in my hands, in the case, or on the strap around my shoulders. The only other thing that had any contact with it was a Dunlop Ultex pick. I DO NOT want a refund. I do not want to rob Gibson and I'm willing to accept whatever outcome customer service offers me. I would like suggestions on how to remove a deep stain in nitro, even if it means paying for said service or similar experiences or knowledge about the matter. I would like any ideas on how to isolate a test where i can prove to myself and guitarcenter or Gibson that the leather is bleeding into the finish (not sure if there's a bleed resistance method/test for leather). I've read a few places that people don't trust Gibson leather straps but they never suggested why so I guess I was my own guinea pig.

That being said, less than 24 hours later my gorgeous $1400 Gibson is now probably worth 900 (generous estimate) through no fault of my own so you can guess that I'm pretty bummed. I love Gibson and I would not mind a replacement if all goes well. This guitar plays like a dream and aside from the missing poker chip this is the best SG package I've EVER played. This post is not intended to disparage Gibson in any way however I'd like to use this post to make people aware of the issue I experienced and hopefully be able to use this going forward as a cautionary tale, maybe not so much for the Cherry Burst, Heritage Cherry, or Ebony finishes where you never notice, but for people thinking about getting a bright colored nitro finish. Any feedback is appreciated and I'm open to hearing similar stories or suggestions about how to handle approaching customer service or tackling the issue from home or through 3rd party. Thanks in advance guys!


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Old February 17th, 2017, 12:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the group! All I can say about this is that when you have a nitro finished guitar, it is going to age and get it's bruises. Nitro is very delicate and sprayed on very thin to allow the wood more musicality. It is all part of the mojo. If it is a great player, I wouldn't sweat it

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Old February 17th, 2017, 05:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi and welcome to this place.

I recently bought a high quality leather strap for one of my guitars and small leather bits went all over the place when I opened the packaging. It's what you get with good leather.

I just ran my fingers up and down the strap until majority of bits came off. The guitar I am using it on is not nitro and dark cherry. Some bits did come off near the strap buttons, but they easily wiped off.

I have never had marks from leather straps on my nitro guitars, however, I have had little dark rings from Planet Waves straplocks I mainly use. As Yost said, you will get bruises and marks as guitars age. Your guitar will show those marks more because of the colour.

If the guitar plays and sounds good, I would just accept it, however if you are as you say devastated then try for a return. You may not have much luck as you contributed to the mark.

Good luck

BTW new guitars will depreciate the moment you walk out of the shop; most guitars losing up to 30%
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Old February 17th, 2017, 10:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm sorry your so disappointed with the situation, but if you want a guitar to look new for a longer time, you have to go with the poly finish. A friend of mine recently refinished his Strat with nitro and he is excited that 6 months later it looks like it's 15 years old. That's just what those finishes do. I have a couple of black Gibsons that showed the marks you're talking about in the first week I owned them. That's life!

Guitars are for playing, I hope you can bond with yours and enjoy it.
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Old February 18th, 2017, 03:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Seems clear to me that the OP views the finish reaction with considerable disappointment. I can't say I'd feel otherwise or that I would find a finish reaction which arose within hours of the guitar's arrival (presuming no evidence of misuse) to be acceptable. I'm a former cabinet maker, I've sprayed many wood projects with "nitro" lacquer, and though it's probably not the most durable finish known to man, nitrocellulose has been applied to instruments, cabinets, furniture, and other wood items for many years and suffers little from contact with non-abrasive materials other than certain solvents and alcohols. The rapid deterioration seen in this case should not, IMO, be okay. It's difficult to believe any manufacturer would consider this issue to be normal product wear.

Unless the guitar exhibits some extraordinary playing qualities you can't live without that compensate for the cosmetic issue Levi, I'd contact the vendor, maybe take photos of the damage, and arrange to return the guitar.
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Old February 19th, 2017, 03:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Holland, Michigan
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Hey guys, OP here, thank you for the feedback. I contacted my local guitar center, the guy I talked to owned a few Gibsons and described a problem he's both experienced and dealt with in the past that aligned with mine. He offered to get me an exchange for a brand new one but said my guitar could not be repaired without a repaint. So the option I chose was to get a new one. I am mixed about swapping it out but I'm hoping the new one arrives with the same nice qualities my old one did.

I am well aware of and also looking forward to the finish aging overtime. I have no qualms with a patina developing over time. I have no problem with the paint looking worn as it's a sign of a well played guitar but as Mikey H so elegantly explained, having a large blemish within hours of owning the instrument is not what I had in mind.

It would be another thing if I used a 3rd party item with the guitar, but I only used the Gibson strap provided. Out of precaution, I bought 2 bottles of castile soap and plan to run the new strap a few times through a gentle wash cycle. I'm also aware of a brand of straps made out of hemp/burlap but most of them have leather ends so that doesn't really help much. I'm also considering just attaching cotton wraps around the thick end where the backside of the leather and body meet. If any of you are aware of any brands of straps that might deter this problem in the future, I'd love to be in the know. Thanks again for your input!
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Old February 19th, 2017, 11:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think manufacturers ought to know if their products are living up to expectations. Hopefully after hearing from customers who may have had issues with new Gibsons they'll take steps to learn how to correct any defects. They can't address materials or manufacturing shortcomings they never hear about. I hope the replacement turns out to be a great guitar that you'll treasure Levi.
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