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Thread: How to repair this broken head stock ?

  1. #26
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    The collector will not realize “collectible” return after the repair is done and indeed may not recover the cost of the repair when trying to sell this but, if he’s a bigger dust collector, it may not matter.
    Mirwa’s method might be a reasonable option, I certainly don’t have the chops to do it.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  2. #27
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    Quote Originally Posted by kkmm View Post
    And the owner really care about cosmetic, he is an instrument collector !!!
    This guitar has a set neck if I am not mistaken.
    If this guy is a bona fide instrument collector then why did he sand the broken joint? At least that doesn't look like a vintage LP. It looks like a recently made one from what I can tell. Regardless, does this customer realize that his guitar is already worth less with this kind of break and that he made it ever worse by his (shall I say) stupidity?
    Jim

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  4. #28

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    The best thing you will ever do for your repair business is learn to say,"No thank you...", and hand projects like this back to the customer immediately. If not, you might as well hand over $500 when they drop it off because it is a common, frustrating mess that you are going to lose money on and create a lot of unnecessary frustration in your life.

    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!

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  6. #29

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Totally agree. Its only in the last few years that I've attempted to develop the skills to say no. Its a difficult learning curve.

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  8. #30
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Quote Originally Posted by grandcanyonminstrel View Post
    The best thing you will ever do for your repair business is learn to say,"No thank you...", and hand projects like this back to the customer immediately. If not, you might as well hand over $500 when they drop it off because it is a common, frustrating mess that you are going to lose money on and create a lot of unnecessary frustration in your life.

    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
    I totally agree with that and it doesn't just apply to the instrument repair business. I've lived this more times than a normal person should. It's hard to say no to business but there is some business you should just run away from.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  10. #31
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I totally agree with that and it doesn't just apply to the instrument repair business. I've lived this more times than a normal person should. It's hard to say no to business but there is some business you should just run away from.
    It crosses a lot of business lines, I used to look at some projects that people would bring in to the jewelry store, bid the estimate really high simply because it was never going to be worth it. It back fired a few times but, now and then the end result made the customer so happy they were in tears. Double edged sword, yes, they were pleased but, the bench guys were deeply annoyed!

    Yes, I swear by the “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!” Theorem more and more as I get older. Yes, I can do my roof. No, I’m not going to!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  11. #32
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Quote Originally Posted by grandcanyonminstrel View Post
    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
    .....perhaps next time I'll remember.....
    Adrian

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  13. #33

    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    A carefully fit, and securely clamped (the important and difficult part) "wafer" glued between the two parts will fix it. Both surfaces must be made flat and the wafer may need to be tapered or who-knows-what to restore the original peghead angle. The neck and original peghead can thus be saved. Obviously, finish work would be involved, but if expertly done, the repair can approach undetectable.

    BTW, when something is so nearly ruined as this one, I wouldn't hesitate to use epoxy if I felt is was needed. (As in, so many gaps that a good joint cannot be had. If a wafer is made and well fit here, epoxy would not be needed, but it could be used as far as I'm concerned.)
    Yes, I had this done to a vintage Tal Farlow I owned with a similar horrendous break. You may have to do it yourself, as it's a pretty iffy job.

    M&M

  14. #34

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    If this guy is a bona fide instrument collector then why did he sand the broken joint?
    Well, he is trying to fix this broken head stock himself, using wrong glue and lack of tools (clamps in this case).
    When that failed, he cleaned up the mess by sanding off the glue !!! That is my good guess.

    Why my good guess? there is a trend here. After he ask me to re glue this guitar, he goes on buying a Baby Taylor with a lifted bridge. After asking me how much I charge for this repair, he went on again and re glue the bridge himself (without removing it) by adding wood glue where it opens, then he used some bricks to put on it, damaging the finish, then went on using some sort of chemical to clean the finish making it even worst. Now he hates to display it !!! He told me he should let me re glue the bridge instead. One mistake after the next. Not surprising if he continue this trend.

    Anyway, I went on to reglue the broken head stock with titebond, clamp for one night, I add two little screws instead of dowels. Then squeeze in epoxy in the gap and above the screws. Once epoxy dried, I sand this area as smooth as I can then spray black paint on it. NOT AN IDEAL FIX as I do not guaranty it will hold under string tension. Not a lot of work either. He is OK with this. Please note I do this not because of the money, simply because a friend trust me on what I said (Of course anyone can glue it but no guaranty it will hold, cosmetic will not be perfect). Being retired, I am not too busy except playing music and do some repairs for fun (not as career). I have said NO in a few situations in the past when the repair requires skills that I do not have.

    Today, I tune it one full step below pitch, so far so good. Tomorrow will tune to pitch. If it hold for a long time, that's a miracle to me.

    LAST NOTE: I wish the suggestion about using the head stock of the new neck method some in earlier. I would follow that.
    Not too late, but I am tired working on this guitar. No fun at all.

  15. #35

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    I like to clarify my situation: I am not in the instrument repair business. Over many years I looked for "broken instruments" and repaired them so they get back in good or excellent playing condition. Then I sold them usually at a small profit and went on look for more. I spent hours just for learning and practicing, not to get paid accordingly.
    Things changed as friends spread words that I can fix instruments and they bring them to me, money has never been the reason I accept a project. I don't have to look for broken instruments anymore. They are brought to me.
    And experts in this forum have taught me tons of things. I am so grateful that I got valuable inputs here.

  16. #36

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Quote Originally Posted by grandcanyonminstrel View Post
    The best thing you will ever do for your repair business is learn to say,"No thank you...", and hand projects like this back to the customer immediately. If not, you might as well hand over $500 when they drop it off because it is a common, frustrating mess that you are going to lose money on and create a lot of unnecessary frustration in your life.

    Just because you can do something does not mean you should!
    Dis-agree on some fronts, so long as you are honest with a customer or friend and you possess the willingness to give it a go, then why not, treat it not a as a profit making exercise but an exercise in learning to improve on ones skills. In the end it may not be the best job in the world, it may not even work, but...... you have learnt from that experience, that experience leads into other work.

    Steve

  17. #37
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    It sounds like this guy is using the term collector as a way to maybe get girls. “Yeah, I’ve got this great collection of (not particularly collectible) guitars, baby. You gotta come see them!”
    Just because you have a bunch of not properly maintained, average mid road guitars hanging one the wall collecting dust, does not make you a collector, it makes you an accumulator.
    You should see my kitchen knife collection!
    My barware collection, my grill collection, cooler collection, Coleman lantern collection. Who needs etchings?
    You know maybe if I had not collected all those “little” things I could have bought a Halsey Mandolin?
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  18. #38
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repari this broken head stock ?

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Epoxy might creep more than hide glue, probably not as much as Titebond. It doesn't adhere (to wood) as well as either, but it coheres better. In other words, a dried thick layer of epoxy is stronger than a dried thick layer of hide glue or titebond so it is a better gap filler, and that means it is often better when a good fit between parts cannot be had. Epoxy is also better when dissimilar materials must be joined; like wood to carbon fiber, woods to metal, etc.

    One of the main reasons epoxy it frowned upon in instrument repair is that it is often unexpected and difficult to deal with for subsequent repair people when epoxy is found in the normal joints of instruments. When something is broken rather than separated at a glue joint, bits of wood are missing, we cannot attain a good fit, a choice must be made to repair or replace, we need a good gap filler (or other good reason) why not use epoxy? If the part is re-broken and must be attended to later it is going to be a bad situation regardless of how it was repaired and in the mean time we've made something playable out of something ruined.
    If you go with epoxy use Thixo.

    It is a industrial grade 2:1 professional epoxy glue that absolutely is as strong as you can buy and is completely impervious to moisture. They use it to glue wood boat hulls together in marine - i.e., salt water applications.

    You can get one tube from these guys. The tube contains both components (the epoxide and the diamine) and there is a nozzle that mixes the components 2:1 as you squeeze it out.

    Oder a few extra nozzles or figure out how to eject the two components into a different containers -- it can be done -- I did it.

    Then when you want to glue something mix the components 1 part diamine to 2 parts epoxide by weight.

    The glue cures slowly -- need to clamp it for at least 12 hours (I used 24 hours on my mandolin neck).

    You can have very high confidence in this product it is probably as strong a glue as you can find and of course no worries about being hygroscopic -- it's not.
    Bernie
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    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

  19. #39
    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Put it in writing, my friend. What the customer "clearly knows" will change when one of his friends says, "My luthier would have..."

    Moreover, I will do almost anything, but one thing I try never to do is do something that isn't "standard of care." The suggested repair methods are brilliant and if it were my instrument I'd do it. But if you're working with a collector who only cares about cosmetic, you can't satisfy him no matter what you do.

    Mind you, I've been using epoxy for decades and am pretty good with it. But if it's for cosmetics, I wouldn't touch it. It's damn hard to get right, harder to make it look good. Wisdom is knowing when to walk away.

  20. #40

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    I finally tune it to pitch today, only to find out that the bridge lifted up when string tension rises and strings go out of tune. Took me a while to find that there is a little latch to hold the bridge in place, the latch can only engage when the bridge lifted a little bit. Then tuning becomes routine. The guitar is now in excellent playing condition. My friend come over to pick it up and is very happy with the outlook, much better than he anticipated. Trust me, if you hang it on the wall, you won't see the repair. And I love to to play it in public as Gibson sounds really good, first one I have my hands on. Turning a broken instrument into an working one (good playing condition) makes me happy. Although I am not happy about the cosmetic. BTW, my friend invites me to dinner this evening and try his many instruments including a Tyros4 (I also play a Tyros3 very often).

    As I understand, collectors collect items they love, sometimes broken ones or ones that are too old and that look not so good (this makes me think of a museum ;-). My friend and I are too old to attract any girl

    The comment by MIRWA below describe my attitude:
    so long as you are honest with a customer or friend and you possess the willingness to give it a go, then why not, treat it not a as a profit making exercise but an exercise in learning to improve on ones skills.
    Anyway, I appreciate all the inputs so far, including the ones telling me "not to". I learned about how different people thinks differently given the same situation. And that makes the world interesting.

  21. #41

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Gibson Les Paul is prone to that exact break. It happens frequently on that model.
    Buy a new neck, not from Gibson, but from someone who makes them without the flaw that Gibson has.
    http://www.edroman.com/parts/necksforsale.htm

  22. #42

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevojack665 View Post
    Gibson Les Paul is prone to that exact break. It happens frequently on that model.
    Buy a new neck, not from Gibson, but from someone who makes them without the flaw that Gibson has.
    http://www.edroman.com/parts/necksforsale.htm
    I dont see how the supplier in the link has a better quality neck than gibson supplies already, the issue is the design is more prone to breakage when dropped or treated to abuse, the issue is also not limited to gibson but every manufacturer/custom builder that uses a headstock with an angle greater than 10 degrees.

    Steve

  23. #43

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    I looked at the Gibson guitar very carefully. If you lay this guitar flat on the ground, strings up, you will find the tip of the head stock will touch the ground and so does the tail of the body. The rest of the guitar kind of hang above the ground.
    It is obvious that if the guitar fall down on a hard floor (with strings up), the tip of the head stock hit the floor hard enough and get broken as it is the weakest part of the electric guitar.
    Not only Gibson, any electric guitar including some thin acoustic guitar has this characteristic.
    A full size acoustic guitar lay down with its entire body flat on the ground. Head stock and neck are above the ground.
    Therefore the same issue may not be that common.
    It is just my observation, I certainly do not want to prove it by action !!!

  24. #44

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    BTW, I visited my friend yesterday, he indeed has 3 Gibsons (including the one I repaired), one Fender, 3 more acoustic guitars (brand named). I love the sound of two Gibsons (one I repaired) , they caught my soul.
    Here is the model that I love (and plan to buy someday).
    Click image for larger version. 

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  25. #45
    Registered User Zigeuner's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    1917 Gibson A-3, '64 Martin A, 2016 Rhodes F5R.

  26. #46

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zigeuner View Post
    Whilst yes it can now support strings, he has IMO too much end grain joining happening now, all those inserts have end grain to end grain joins, it makes for an incredibly weak joint.

    When grafting new wood in, you have to ramp in and ramp out on the ends, this eliminates the weak end grain situation

    Steve

  27. #47
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Quote Originally Posted by mirwa View Post
    Whilst yes it can now support strings, he has IMO too much end grain joining happening now, all those inserts have end grain to end grain joins, it makes for an incredibly weak joint.

    When grafting new wood in, you have to ramp in and ramp out on the ends, this eliminates the weak end grain situation

    Steve
    Totally agree. Any such patch should be tapered to zero so there are no weak points.
    Now I see why those LP's break badly at the nut. Notice the gigantic TR access pocket (especially compared to size of the nut) and how close it is to the nut - the thinnest spot on the neck. That removes roughly half of the wood in that critical area. I've seen that in mandolins as well. The original old Gibson mandolins design is thoughtfull and has the nut way up the headstock and rather small pocket. Too bad that Gibson doesn't follow what was correct before and the new versions are just plain wrong...
    Adrian

  28. #48

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Watching the video, I learned a lot. The outcome looks perfect cosmetically.
    I really admire the pros.

  29. #49

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Someone brought me another electric guitar, Epiphone Les Paul with a similar broken head stock. I told the owner NOT to do anything with it except detune all the strings.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The break is clean, would be an easy task to re-glue it. There will be no need to add any screws or dowels.
    I did some research on the Web and learned that Gibson neck (once piece) design (and Epiphone too) is prone to break this way, right where the slot for accessing the truss rod nut. A scarf joint neck is much stronger.

  30. #50

    Default Re: How to repair this broken head stock ?

    Only a Gibson LP will play like a Gibson LP. Personally, I don't find them comfortable to play -- had a very nice one and sold it ---just didn't enjoy it. But on the bench, they set up wonderfully and there is a personality to them with traits that few other guitars can pull off. You need to be a Gibson lover to enjoy these guitars and there are many. There is a recipe behind these guitars that just works and the loyal fans of the LP would revolt if Gibson went to a scarf joint or anything else. I have known of one that broke while the guitar was in the case and the case was dropped about less than 12" to the ground. But the point here is that you shouldn't drop your instrument. No sympathy for the fella who leaves it leaning against the amp and someone trips over the cord. When you pay that much for an instrument you should take care of it. If you can't or don't want to, buy a telecaster.

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