Cheap black guitars

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Cheap black guitars

Postby Ryan Mazzocco » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:58 pm

Something I've noticed in the 6 months or so at my new job in the music store; I keep seeing something happening on the inexpensive black acoustic guitars. This is not specific to a brand so I'm not picking on anyone here. I've seen it on Epiphone, Ibanez and Yamaha, possibly Fender, but I don't recall specifically. So, when you deal with many guitars it's not uncommon to come across a few with some problems. But when I keep seeing the same issue on the same types of instruments I really start to question things.
There seems to be an in-proportionately high number of bridges lifting on the inexpensive, entry level acoustic guitars with an opaque black finish. Yes, I've also seen this happen on more expensive guitars, any number of finishes or materials... But in those cases, even cheaper guitars with a "laminated" wood top, it's still usually just the bottom of the bridge separating from the top. However, in these black guitars what I'm seeing is the top layer on the soundboard is coming away from the substrate and lifting up with the bridge. One of two things happen here. Either the top layer holds together and forms a sort of "bubble" behind the bridge or it gives way and breaks the top layer beyond the footprint of the bridge. Either way, these are considered unrepairable for a $200 guitar and we send them back to the manufacturer.
Take the Epiphone DR-100, for example. It sells for $139 and comes in 3 finishes: natural, vintage sunburst and black. I've seen no problems with the natural or sunburst, but this does happen with the black. And it's they same across the other brands.
So, why is the black top more likely to fail? I'm thinking the black tops are made from either a completely different material or the same laminated material as the others with a black layer over the top, (maybe a vinyl or something?) that is not staying adhered to whatever substrate it is on.
Does anyone know some more about this? I'd love to know more.
Thanks
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Re: Cheap black guitars

Postby Simon Magennis » Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:33 pm

I wonder could it be something as simple as back absorbing heat causing some problem?

At the lower end of the market it might be that all the "black guitars" are from the same line despite the brand names - all with the same flaw.
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Re: Cheap black guitars

Postby Bob Gramann » Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:39 pm

For sure, makers don’t use their best wood to go under black paint.
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Re: Cheap black guitars

Postby Ryan Mazzocco » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:02 pm

Simon Magennis wrote:At the lower end of the market it might be that all the "black guitars" are from the same line despite the brand names - all with the same flaw.

Wouldn't be surprising.

Bob Gramann wrote:For sure, makers don’t use their best wood to go under black paint.

Right, but that's what I'm wondering. Is it even black paint? I don't think a layer of black paint would peel up like that. whatever it is, it's hard and thick, like a very thin layer of laminate over the top.
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