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Thread: The Gibson No.6069

  1. #1

    Default The Gibson No.6069

    Hello I have the above mandolin. It’s in very good shape except ..... the head is split from the top down about 3”. Do I repair, leave alone or other?

    Thanks for help/advice in advance.Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    We see this seam separation from time to time on the old Gibsons.
    It should be repaired with what is called hot hide glue.
    This will have to be done by someone who has considerable experience with antique instruments. Ask them to use the hide glue. If they will not, take it somewhere else.
    If there is not such a person in your area, find the violin repairman for the nearest symphony orchestra.

  3. #3

    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    I have a similar issue with an early three point Gibson F 2. The headstock was broken off, but the wooden strip in the head itself, is rotted out and is in much worse shape than yours. My understanding is that this was pear wood and I'm afraid it may need to be completely replaced, at least in the headstock area. It appears more stable in the rest of the neck. I'll be interested in hearing folks thoughts. I have yet to figure this one out!

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  4. #4
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    I think the OP's can simply be glued.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  6. #5
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    The strip was chemically dyed wood very likely not pearwood, but maple and the "rotting" is result of the dying process.
    Frank Ford has article on frets.com solving exactly this issue. I believe he used CA and used dowel right across the headstock end near top tuners to stabilize the headstock separation. (I haven't seen that article for 15 years so look it up...)
    In the case of the broken F2 headstock I would go for CA instead of HHG. I would clamp the halves to flat surface (masked with cling film or similar) at exact alignment of the parts (so it will fit the neck again) and flood the gap with thin CA. While still held against the flat surface I would drill two or more holes for dowels (1/4 or slightly bigger) and glue in dowels. After that I would glue it back to neck and perhaps reinforce the back with backstrap overlay. Then do whatever final touches needed.
    Adrian

  7. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  8. #7
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    In the first example it appears to be epoxy glue he used. In the second he didn't say what he used to glue. The crumbly black veneer isn't going to provide good gluing surface as needed for HHG so epoxy looks like a good choice. I would prefer the CA as it tends to soak and strengthen crumbly material and even somewhat fill the crack where wood is already missing. The final strength of repair is achieved by the reinforcement, not the glue line.
    Adrian

  9. #8
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    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    When rotten or decomposing wood comes into the picture, I believe in replacing it with new wood.
    Yes, that can mean a lot of work.

    If it's a $5000 instrument, it's worth it. If it's a $500 instrument, it might be time to replace the instrument or hang it on the wall as art.

    I think a simple re-glueing job will probably be all that is necessary on the OP's mandolin.

    As far as the F-2 with the rotten head, I would save the inlay, and save the sound parts of the peghead if possible. I would replace everything that is rotten.

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  11. #9

    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    Thank you all. Unfortunately, I don't know if it is a $5000, $500 or $5 instrument. It was my Dad's so it's priceless to me. I think I will take rcc56 and others advice and find a professional.

    If you don't mind, I have one more question. Should I remove the strings between now and when I find this professional to repair. I'm not sure if they have any side pull that might cause the problem to increase.

    Again, thank you all for the information.

  12. #10

    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    If you are interested in knowing the value post pictures of the instrument and label and look inside toward the neck for a number on the block at the end which is known as the Factory Order Number. Someone here can probably give you an estimate of value.

    If you are not playing it then it would be a good idea to slack the strings somewhat till you get it repaired but not so much the bridge falls out.

    It is worth fixing especially if there is no other damage or problems. It is fairly safe to say it is over the 500 dollar number. How much depends on model and condition.

  13. #11
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    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    That is most likely a model A-1, made circa 1906. A very early production line Gibson.
    If the finish is clean and original, the original tailpiece is present, and the repair is well executed, it would fall somewhere in the $1000 to $1500 range.
    Yes, loosen the strings most of way. Leave them only tight enough so you don't lose the bridge. I would not play it at all until it has been repaired.

  14. #12
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    When rotten or decomposing wood comes into the picture, I believe in replacing it with new wood.
    Yes, that can mean a lot of work.

    As far as the F-2 with the rotten head, I would save the inlay, and save the sound parts of the peghead if possible. I would replace everything that is rotten.
    In thes case of A it is just the thin lamination that became crumbly and can be saved and in the case of the f-2 headstock one could just measure exact thickness of the lamination and remove it, clean the surfaces and add new lamination of same thickness. Refitting of the headstock to neck may be harder with the new lamination sticking out but doable. But I would prefer just gluing it back together as the lamination has no or very little structural role against string tension. I would concentrate on srenghtening the break at nut. Making new headstock on old neck that will not stick out like sore thumb is not simple job and I would avoid it whenever possible.
    Adrian

  15. #13

    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    Thank you!

  16. #14

    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    The photo of the tuning machines looks like they are in "like new" condition.
    Question for the experts - is this a three piece neck and peghead? That gap in the photo seems to go deep towards the peghead cover wood.

  17. #15
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    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    In the case of the A model above, the center lamination goes all the way through the peghead and is covered by the black face plate. I believe that this same lamination extends through the entire length of the neck on at least most of the instruments that have a visible stripe.

    In addition, all of the early A models that I have removed the fingerboard from had a wedge shaped piece of hard wood embedded in the center of the neck. This was Gibson's method of reinforcing the neck before they developed the truss rod. So, these necks are actually in 4 pieces-- two outer pieces with a center strip in-between, plus an embedded wedge that can only be seen when the fingerboard is not present.

    At least some of the plainer A models do not have the center stripe. The details of Gibson's designs and assembly practices varied often, depending on the model and the year of build.
    Last edited by rcc56; Dec-03-2020 at 10:54am.

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  19. #16

    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    Adrian is, I think correct in the dynamics: the string forces pull the parts together and the main thing is having the two halves stay in the same plane, so glue should be sufficient. Ford’s surgery seems a little excessive, and certainly splitting off a piece of headstock just to bury a dowel... If one did want to put a dowel in, wouldn’t just drilling in between the hardware from one side be easier to disguise than breaking the whole thing?

  20. #17

    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    Thanks very much for the conversation. It's not my goal to hijack this thread so I'll stop posting on the F-2. I've been pondering whether or not I needed to exactly what HoGo and rcc56 suggested and replace the damaged section. I'm inclined to repair the headstock break first, then repair the inlay issue, but when I get to restoring this one, I'll be sure to post and ask for thoughts. Ironically enough, the the headstock is broken off, the scroll remained intact!

  21. #18

    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    Thanks for all the great feedback. I've found someone locally that I believe can fix the issue. @Ginridge, good luck on getting everything fixed with yours.

    I thought I would add a few pictures for those interested. Poor old girl is still in her original case which is in much worse shape than she is and I'm not the best photographer.
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    Again, thanks to all for the help!

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  23. #19
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    Don't separate it from the case.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  25. #20

    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    That is a beauty! Your father would be proud that you are fixing it.

    From the bridge to the tail the top grain looks like a one-piece top to me. From the bridge north - not so much...
    I love that top.

  26. #21
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    Default Re: The Gibson No.6069

    That inset wood strip in early Gibson necks was referred to in Gibson drawings as "NCI" - "ebonized veneer" - "mahogany." I don't know what they dyed it with...
    R

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