Fretboard shrinkage and/or swelling?

DeWayne Hayes

New Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
21
Reaction score
13
Location
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Hi guys,

Last year I purchased a couple of "Casino 1965 Ltd." models made in Japan for the Japanese market (I got them from eBay, new and unused). One is with a factory installed Bigsby (a la George H.) and the other a trapeze tailpiece (a la John L.). They're wonderful guitars - basically Elitist Casinos with more period-correct tuners and a nitrocellulose finish instead of poly.

The one gripe I have is the fretboard wood on both seems to be inadequately cured before it was used. Soon into my ownership, the spaces between the edges of the inlays and the fretboard became "ridges" as the wood filler around the inlays "pooched" out, becoming proud of the inlays/fretboard. This, I assume from the swelling of the rosewood.

I used a small sanding block and 600-800-1000 grit paper to fix the problem, and made the fretboards utterly smooth. But darned if the proud filler problem didn't return a month or so later. At this point, I don't see the point in fixing it again as the wood apparently still has some stabilizing to do. And my home (where they reside) isn't particularly humid, so that's not the problem. None of my other guitars have this issue.

Just wondering if anyone has seen this on Japanese-made Epiphones before. And if you have any other suggestions ... it may well be that time is the only answer.

Thanks,
DeWayne
 

Paruwi

Kraut-Rocker
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Messages
7,205
Reaction score
8,352
Location
somewhere
I own some MiJ guitars from the FujiGen factory, not Epis, though close relatives (FGN)
gladly none of them have such issues......:hmm:

Can we have some pics ?
 

DaveInSoCal

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Messages
378
Reaction score
490
Location
SoCal
I did notice that issue on my 2016 G-400, the inlays are raised a bit so not completely flush with the rosewood board.
To be honest I'm not 100 % sure if it was that way when I got it since I haven't played it in a while but I think I would have noticed that.
Anyway it doesn't affect the playability much but I can feel it and it sucks!
 

DeWayne Hayes

New Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
21
Reaction score
13
Location
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Hello everyone. Original poster here. Three years later, these two guitars still have issues with the fretboard moving around the inlays. The issue seems to have slowed - i.e., I only have to sand the fretboard to maybe once or twice a year, but clearly it's not rock solid.

Has anyone else noticed this problem with Epis out of Japan? Improperly seasoned fretboards?

Thanks,
DeWayne
 

Noodling Guitars

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2021
Messages
639
Reaction score
727
ouch.... The most I've experienced is the fretboard on some studios and tributes shrinking slightly and becoming just short of being flush with the neck, but not to the point where the inlays were affected...
 

DeWayne Hayes

New Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
21
Reaction score
13
Location
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
It's really strange, because this does not affect the binding or nut or frets, or anything of the sort. It's only noticeable because the inlay edges get "un-flush." I would think if the wood were moving that much, it would be noticeable at the binding. It's almost like the glue under the inlays is moving. It's really weird. Especially weird given that these two guitars are immaculately built - the rival of any Gibson I've owned. Strange that they would have used unseasoned wood.
 

Noodling Guitars

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2021
Messages
639
Reaction score
727
Hrmmm.... now that you put it that way... could it be that the inlays are made with celluloid????
 

Noodling Guitars

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2021
Messages
639
Reaction score
727
I believe the neck inlays are described as celluloid.
Ahhh!!!! That explains it.

Unfortunately that's a problem with celluloid - so it's not the wood moving. Celluloid breaks down over time. Sometimes faster than others. I had a celluloid pickguard on a tele that is basically now disintegrated (it split into multiple pieces). Celluloid also offgasses so if you put it in a case, it could also affect your metallic parts and cause them to turn green etc...

At some point you may need to get the inlays replaced or just have to keep living with this problem. Unfortunately once the decomposing process starts, there's no real way to stop it (short of freezing your guitar or something silly like that).
 

DeWayne Hayes

New Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
21
Reaction score
13
Location
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Very interesting - and that would explain why there are no issues with the binding or frets - it's the inlays themselves moving. How bizarre on new guitars!

At any rate, if it continues this for a couple more years, I'll definitely look into replacing the inlays. Thanks for the help - you just may have solved the problem!
 


Latest posts

Top