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  1. #1

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    Hi all,

    I have a USA telecaster built circa 2006. I bought from new. I know its not a particularly expensive guitar and its intended as more of a workhorse, but its still my most loved guitar but the finish is just cracking and falling off. I appreciate its 15 years old but you do see much older ones in good nick. A few years ago it developed large cracks in the finish around the neck, (where it meets the body) which i was told was quite common due it being a pressure zone. I had this glued and kept an eye on it.

    I have just removed it from its hard case which it has been in for about a year (with no strings on it) and somehow a 4 inch arc crack has appeared in the back of the guitar and looks like im about to lose a large portion of the back now too . possible shrinkage?

    i think ultimately im just going to have to embrace the road worn look.

    Am i doing something wrong or is mine just a dud one? was taking the strings off a mistake in storage?

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  3. #2

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    I don't store my guitars with the strings off, but I don't think that would create cracks in the body of a Telecaster. Maybe at the neck joint, but even then... seems unlikely.

    What specific model did you get? I remember sometime in the mid-late 00s Fender was putting lacquer finishes on more models and were famous for using thin layers to decrease the amount of time it would take for any player to wear-in the guitar.

  4. #3

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    A poly finish can withstand an atomic blast, but it's considered cheap

  5. #4

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    It's most likely the humidity in the case. Many pro guys say storing a guitar in a hard case should be avoided. What scares me the most is the pressure on the neck. I've heard many stories that neck got warped caused by it. I mean vintage hard cases are fine because they are so loose inside but modern cases are so tight and it's bad on the neck.

  6. #5

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    An AVRI '52 found at a local GC during the pre-shelter-in-pace period of American history.



    does the finish on telecasters just fall off ?-telepaint-jpg

  7. #6

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    Some guitars' finish is more brittle than others, temperature can wreak havoc on these guitars. There are some that will finish check if you look at them harshly, others can survive just about anything.

    Could be the specific piece of word on your guitar expands/contracts with temperature and moisture more than normal and/or the batch of finish used on your guitar was particularly brittle.

  8. #7

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    Poly can have a tendency to encapsulate rather than adhere. If the wood expands or contracts the poly may fail. You might even be able to strip an entire poly finish off of a guitar starting with one small chip. The photo above looks like that is a possibility.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200
    Poly can have a tendency to encapsulate rather than adhere. If the wood expands or contracts the poly may fail. You might even be able to strip an entire poly finish off of a guitar starting with one small chip. The photo above looks like that is a possibility.
    AVRI 52's are premium Teles. I'm sure they don't have poly finishes.

  10. #9

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    I might be wrong, but I think that Fender uses (used) a poly sealer no matter what they use as a top coat. Maybe full-on custom shop guitars are completely nitro?

  11. #10

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    Some folks are simply more acidic than others. If you perspire a lot while playing and don't wipe the guitar down afterwards, that can have adverse effects on the guitar's finish. I've never seen issues with poly coated instruments, but lacquer is much more susceptible to wear from temperature changes, humidity and perspiration.

  12. #11

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    I had a 10 year old Mexican standard tele that had a big hunk of finish off right by the neck.
    It was super thick poly just busted clean off (and lost!)

    I bought it used that way -- no signs of stress & the guitar showed no other wear & tear.
    Who knows? I figured at the time it might have been a botched repair job . . .

  13. #12

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    I would imagine that a guitar that received a lot of radiant heat like sitting in a sun happy window would wreak havoc on a Fender poly finish. Look how easy it comes off with a heat gun.


  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200
    I might be wrong, but I think that Fender uses (used) a poly sealer no matter what they use as a top coat. Maybe full-on custom shop guitars are completely nitro?
    They use a poly sealer on all models since '68. You can read somewhere online that fender guy posted about it. Fender also used poly sealer before '68 as well. New American Vintage released in 2012 was all nitro but it was badly applied and the pic above must be one of them. I've read so many complains on various forums at the time.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200
    I would imagine that a guitar that received a lot of radiant heat like sitting in a sun happy window would wreak havoc on a Fender poly finish. Look how easy it comes off with a heat gun.

    This guy just peeled the top coat off. There's a ultra hard poly sealer under it. The guy must have thought he'd never do it again. lol

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Gitfiddler
    Some folks are simply more acidic than others. If you perspire a lot while playing and don't wipe the guitar down afterwards, that can have adverse effects on the guitar's finish. I've never seen issues with poly coated instruments, but lacquer is much more susceptible to wear from temperature changes, humidity and perspiration.
    thats really interesting actually. I absolutely destroy strings which i have always attributed to some supernatural acidic sweating through my fingers (form an orderly queue ladies..)

    I can write off cheapish strings over a couple of days if i play a lot, even with wiping down.

    hmmm, its a fender hard case. My apartment (incidentally the tele has been in its case since i moved) has all bills included so perhaps it has been a bit toastier than its been used to in its previous life when i was paying the bills ha

    i'll get a pic up and model number up - looks like it could go the way of that '52 if not careful

    edit - its been in under the bed the whole time though

  17. #16
    does the finish on telecasters just fall off ?-img_20200326_203450-jpgdoes the finish on telecasters just fall off ?-img_20200326_203103_1-jpgdoes the finish on telecasters just fall off ?-img_20200326_203445-jpgdoes the finish on telecasters just fall off ?-img_20200326_203536-jpg

  18. #17

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    Pretty standard fail for a bad poly finish. I've seen it a few times on poly finish guitars, mostly Fenders. Some adhesion failure between the sealer and the finish coats due to chemical contamination, bad finish batch of whatever, or whatever. It is what it is - a cheap money-saving finish that can go wrong once in awhile. There is no fix. Options include:
    -ignore it;
    -remove the loose parts and ignore the rest;
    -remove the finish entirely and refinish the guitar (or not);
    -replace the body entirely with something nicer.

    It's just a cheap plank guitar - I'd remove the loose bits and ignore it.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 03-27-2020 at 01:36 AM.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    Pretty standard fail for a bad poly finish. I've seen it a few times on poly finish guitars, mostly Fenders. Some adhesion failure between the sealer and the finish coats due to chemical contamination, bad finish batch of whatever, or whatever. It is what it is - a cheap money-saving finish that can go wrong once in awhile. There is no fix. Options include:
    -ignore it;
    -remove the loose parts and ignore the rest;
    -remove the finish entirely and refinish the guitar (or not);
    -replace the body entirely with something nicer.

    It's just a cheap plank guitar - I'd remove the loose bits and ignore it.
    ok thanks. Yeah i think ignore is my preference, I just wanted some confirmation really that its out my hands

  20. #19

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    Greta Thunberg was trying to warn us that this is the stuff that could happen to your guitar finish in the areas where entire ecosystems are collapsing. Who's laughing now?

  21. #20

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    Isn't like Fender owner corporation made jeans like 10 years ago?
    What would you expect from them? XD

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by basinstreet
    Hi all,

    I have a USA telecaster built circa 2006. I bought from new. I know its not a particularly expensive guitar and its intended as more of a workhorse, but its still my most loved guitar but the finish is just cracking and falling off. I appreciate its 15 years old but you do see much older ones in good nick. A few years ago it developed large cracks in the finish around the neck, (where it meets the body) which i was told was quite common due it being a pressure zone. I had this glued and kept an eye on it.

    I have just removed it from its hard case which it has been in for about a year (with no strings on it) and somehow a 4 inch arc crack has appeared in the back of the guitar and looks like im about to lose a large portion of the back now too . possible shrinkage?

    i think ultimately im just going to have to embrace the road worn look.

    Am i doing something wrong or is mine just a dud one? was taking the strings off a mistake in storage?
    i have a US tele of the same vintage and it has a few cracks. Haven’t been careless with it.

    Not as bad as yours tho.

  23. #22

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    I quite like that guitar. Maybe I could get it stripped and refinished in a nice nitro.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I quite like that guitar. Maybe I could get it stripped and refinished in a nice nitro.
    The wood looks to be quite well figured. A wood stain would look GR8, and it will not peel off.

  25. #24

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    I thought a Tele was supposed to look like that. I'm still waiting for the finish on mine to crack. It's been three years and not a dent.

  26. #25

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    my '52 reissue had a crack at the neck joint, last time i had to take the neck off, a chunk came off the size of a quarter
    i hate that you can't get to the truss rod without taking off the neck, i think it's soooooo stupid

  27. #26

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    People pay good money for an aesthetically pleasing "relic" finish. Don't sweat it, man. Make sure it wears in a pleasing way.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by tele3
    Vintage released in 2012 was all nitro but it was badly applied and the pic above must be one of them. .

    It was a 2006 model at GC. I remember because the thinner neck profile gave me pause. Yes, they were revised for the 2012 Pure Vintage edition.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by patshep
    my '52 reissue had a crack at the neck joint, last time i had to take the neck off, a chunk came off the size of a quarter
    i hate that you can't get to the truss rod without taking off the neck, i think it's soooooo stupid
    If it didn't have the truss rod adjuster where it is it wouldn't be a 52 re-issue.

  30. #29

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    I have an Ibanez Artcore with finish cracks. I wonder if it will end up chipping off as well...

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by patshep
    my '52 reissue had a crack at the neck joint, last time i had to take the neck off, a chunk came off the size of a quarter
    i hate that you can't get to the truss rod without taking off the neck, i think it's soooooo stupid
    StewMac has a Tele Truss Rod Crank for $8.26 plus shipping. Just need to remove the pick guard. Every vintage-style Tele owner should have one in the case.

    If you kept the quarter size chip it can be glued back.


    Truss Rod Crank for Tele | stewmac.com