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Problem with finish on Martin 000-28EC

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:48 pm
by wanderingyankee
I bought a used Martin 000-28EC about 10 mos ago. I had a luthier tune it up for me soon after purchase and never had any problems.

I keep her out of the case on a stand in my Living Room with 4 or 5 other guitars.

As I said....never had any problems...that is until yesterday....

I noticed on the back of the neck a white/translucent mark. On closer inspection it was apparent that air had seeped between the finish and the wood underneath. This mark wrapped around the neck to where the fretboard and neck are joined around the 10th fret. Here the finish had some cracking to it. I was able to very gently peel away this plasticky finish to reveal the wood underneath.

It was the weirdest thing I've ever seen! I've owned loads of guitars over the years and have never seen or heard of this kind of thing happening.

I called 2 luthiers seperately. Each suggested I bring it in right away. They both wanted to strip this "old" finish off the back of the neck and re-finish it with an older vintage style nitro cellulose. I then called Martin. They said it was more of an asthetic issue and unlikely to cause any structural problems if I did nothing about it.

I've had vintage guitars over the years that have had the neck finish worn off (probabaly years before I acquired the guitars) and obvioulsy it was not a problem.

Re: Problem with finish on Martin 000-28EC

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:58 pm
by birddog
Sorry about your luck with that Yank.
I would go with what Martin said, if the neck is Mahogony I wouldn't worry about it and Martin is probably right but I'm not familiar with what type of wood the neck is on those.
Then again I suppose it depends on wheather the edge of the finish bothers your fretting hand when playing.
I know if it were me I wouldn't worry about it and if and when it did bother me I would do the work myself.
Some guys want to stay away from finish work, its not hard and putting a nice finish on wood is rather rewarding.
Lots of info on the net about it.

Wally

Re: Problem with finish on Martin 000-28EC

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:04 pm
by guitarslim101
Yeah, it shouldn't cause any structural problems. There is a chance that the rest of the finish will peel off in a similar way eventually, but there are all sorts of reasons that it peeled like that. I'm curious, though, did it peel where it is contacting the guitar stand? Some of the rubber used on guitar stands does not get along with certain guitar finishes.

Re: Problem with finish on Martin 000-28EC

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:33 pm
by wanderingyankee
guitarslim101 wrote: I'm curious, though, did it peel where it is contacting the guitar stand? Some of the rubber used on guitar stands does not get along with certain guitar finishes.


Nope. The stand contacts the neck behind the 7th fret. The peel began near the 12th to 10th fret.

My guess is this is related to a change in local humidity conditions. The guitar spent it's first five years in the English Countryside about 2 hours north of London. Very wet, rainy air up there. All that moisture expanded the neck...for a long time.

I bought the guitar last summer and then moved to Madrid, Spain - very dry conditions. I suspect that as the neck has adjusted over the last 6 months to drier conditions, the wood contracted and lost contact/adhesion with the finish at this part of the neck.

I've never heard of this happening before. I'm mostly curious to know if anyone has ever heard of or experienced this firsthand?

Re: Problem with finish on Martin 000-28EC

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:29 pm
by birddog
"I bought the guitar last summer and then moved to Madrid, Spain - very dry conditions. I suspect that as the neck has adjusted over the last 6 months to drier conditions, the wood contracted and lost contact/adhesion with the finish at this part of the neck."

You are probably right with your assesment, and if thats the case I would keep and eye on the rest of the guitar, the neck can take this but the body and top may not.
May be wise to keep it in the case with some sort of humidifyier to be safe, I know you must have given quite a piece for it.

Wally

Re: Problem with finish on Martin 000-28EC

PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:58 pm
by Neal
If you feel this happened due to the dry in Madrid, then your fret ends would be poking you first, before the finish went bizzaro. Weird, but if it doesn't cause problems, I'd probably leave it.