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Simbah2019

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Jan 21, 2019
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8
Second Music Man Neck Joint Finish Crack Disappointment ):

Hey guys, I’ve bought this brand new Cutlass Stealth Black and always kept it in my house.

Guitar was extremely well taken care of, I love the neck, sound, etc etc...

A few days ago I was cleaning it and noticed two finish cracks on both sides of the neck. I could only post in one side.

Same darn thing happened with my first Music Man (Luke III BFR).

Music Man states that it’s just cosmetic, and they can’t fix it.

I do know it’s cosmetic, but these are expensive guitars. I’ve had many bolt on neck guitars (some expensive as well), and never had this problem.

I was wondering if many had the same issue and what you did about it.
 

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daneford

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Aug 8, 2009
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I've had the same thing on most of my ebmm's, as well as on several other bolt on guitars. I've found it's fairly common with bolt necks that are well fitted/tight in the pocket. In short, it's basically a normal occurance. As I understand it, paint and wood expand and shrink at different rates, which leads to cracks.

What did I do? Nothing. I continued to play them. Probably not the answer you wanted to hear, but not much can be done.
 
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Clyde

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Oct 26, 2019
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32
Sorry. I’m sure that’s disappointing to see. Are you controlling the humidity where your guitars are? I think this often happens when there is a tight neck pocket fit (which people often demand and use as an indicator of build quality). An increase in humidity causes the neck to expand just enough to cause the finish crack. No structural problem though. Still, I know it’s a bummer. It’s too bad there isn’t an easy fix for it.
 

Simbah2019

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Jan 21, 2019
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Nope, because this has never happened with my other guitars over the years (Fender, Ibanez, Charvel, Gibson). These guitars never left my house. I guess that if I want to keep playing Music Man guitars, I’ll either have to get one of those guitar humidifiers(wondering if they’ll work), or bite the bullet.
 

Sweat

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This will happen from time to time with all bolt on neck guitars. Wood expands and contracts, when it expands it may cause pressure and the small finish cracks can occur. Not a big deal and certainly does not effect playability or build quality.

If you say it has not happened with other brands you have owned then your lucky. I have had it on a PRS, a Schecter and a Fender.

Never had it on a Gibson but never owned a bolt on Gibson. I have owned many EBMM and a few have had this, not a big deal to me and when I sold them with the small stress cracks did not effect that either.
 

johnnyboogie

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Common issue like all the above commentators stated.

Hasn't happened with any of mine, MM or Ibanez, but it's probably because I'm in Greece. Constant summertime over here. Pure luck I guess.
 

DrKev

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What Sweat said. I totally understand your concern, and yes it's disappointing when we first notice it, but it is really nothing to worry about.

It's pretty common on any brand of guitar with bolt-on necks, sooner or later it'll happen to just about all of them. The tighter the neck join the more likely it is to happen.

This is an issue that crops up on just about every guitar forum for as long as guitar forums have existed so feel free to web search around and take an average of what everyone says. FWIW, This is what John Suhr said about on another forum back in 2012

Neck pocket cracks are about the most common thing to happen to a neck pocket if there is a snug fit to the neck. No bolt ons are immune. They are not always there but can happen from a drop in the case, shipping or if the wood shrinks or expands. Even in a home with well maintained climate sometimes the humidity can go hair wire. No amount of home humidity control will stop it. Especially during the winter.
A luthier can apply some water-thin super glue with a hypodermic applicator which might help stop it spreading. But I have never felt the need to do that to any of my guitars over the years.
 

Anacharsis

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Aug 31, 2018
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I've never had this happen, and I live in the U.S. Midwest with 2 EBMM guitars, 4 Strats, and 7 other bolt-ons - so I guess I will count my blessings. I do keep them in their cases and run room humidifiers during the winter, but I was never very confident in that being effective. Bummer, and I will keep an eye out with my EBMM guitars.
 
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Simbah2019

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Jan 21, 2019
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8
Well, I just was not lucky with Music Man I guess. Weather and humidity never affected any of my guitars. Always kept in their case, 74 Degrees 24/7. They never leave my house (just for setups but now I'm doing them).
I worked out a deal with the retailer and will be able to exchange the guitar. I'm on of those "OCD" types when it comes to my instruments. This forum is awesome by the way, lots of great information shared from players.
 

tbonesullivan

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I haven't had this happen on any of my EBMM basses and guitars while they were in my care, though my used Luke III showed up with cracks on both sides. The neck pocket isn't very tight though, however I think rosewood can be very reactive to moisture and temperature, so it probably swelled up at one point.

Also, some people are kinda rough when handing a guitar neck, so even though the 5 point neck joint is very stable, sometimes that can cause cracks too.

In this case, it looks like a moisture / temperature problem.
 

Simbah2019

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Jan 21, 2019
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The guitar was kept in the case at 74 F while not playing. Never left my house after I bought it. I still don’t understand because I’ve always handled my instruments with the utmost care, from storing to picking it up etc etc... It just happened.
 

QuietSpike

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Coachella, CA
I’ve had this with my EBMM guitars. My starry night Val has a bad crack. They are stored in a humidity controlled room, and leave the room when gigged (which is often).

I do some neck bends (no trem on Val), and I blame that. ��
 

RSG

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Nov 22, 2018
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I've never had this happen to me - on a MM or other brand - but I've owned some that came to me that way. I wouldn't say it's common, as over the past 30 years I've owned more guitars than I care to remember and I'd say less than 10% of them had neck pocket cracks.

I'd say to anyone that doesn't have them (and doesn't want them), adjust the neck screws a few times a year. During a string change, back out the screws a little and then tighten them back up just enough for stability (don't go gorilla grip on them). It may not prevent cracks completely but it should relieve some tension during the expansion and shrinking phases.
 

Clyde

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Oct 26, 2019
Messages
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The guitar was kept in the case at 74 F while not playing. Never left my house after I bought it. I still don’t understand because I’ve always handled my instruments with the utmost care, from storing to picking it up etc etc... It just happened.

At 74 F, the humidity in your house may be 20% at points in the wintertime and 80% in the summer. That’s a huge difference and it’s what matters. The actual amount of fluctuation will depend on where you live.
 
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