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Guitar headstock snapped?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by crispygoat, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. crispygoat

    crispygoat Guest

    Aug 22, 2006
    London, Ontario

    Not too sure what happened, it is my friend's guitar. We're wondering if there is anything we can do to fix this? Nonetheless, we are going to the music store tonight but was wondering before hand.

    The guitar is a discontinued Gibson BFG; therefore, I don't know if a replaceable neck would be worth the $$.

  2. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    Don't take it to a music store - find a GOOD luthier or repair shop and they can fix it better than new. My repair guy tells me that this is very common with Gibsons - there is not a lot of meat around the truss rod hole, so it is quite weak. Even dropping the guitar in the case can cause this.

    This is the "best" kind of break - along the grain with a lot of surface area to glue and clamp. Don't worry - it can be well fixed - but be sure you take it to the right person.
  3. The most common snap on a gibson.

    +1 on take it to a good luthier.

    The repair will not be too expensive, and once the glue cures, that area will most likely be stronger than before.
  4. I repair several of these a month, and have for 25+ years. Gibson headstock repairs are one of the luthiers bread and butter jobs. That one doesn't look real bad. A quality structural repair should cost $100-150. It's almost impossible to do a good cosmetic repair on those stain/sealer type budget finishes.

  5. 60bass

    60bass Supporting Member

    Apr 24, 2005
    Charlotte, NC

    Welcome to the Gibson's achilles heel. Gibson's and some Epiphone's both have head angles set at 17 degrees. When the guitar is on its back, it contacts the ground at the top of the headstock and the bottom of the body. If they get knocked over, guess what part takes the shock? If you guessed the headstock, you're correct. Unfortunately it's also the smallest part of the neck.

    Add the fact that you have a cutout for the nut and a big rout for the truss rod and you get a recipe for dropping disaster. Sometimes just falling over in the case will cause the headstock to snap like that. I've broken two SG's and one Les Paul like that over the years.

    These are almost always repairable and any qualified Luthier should be able to repair one. Most Luthier's have seen these on Gibson's over and over again as it's a common and known problem. Your resale value will take a hit but you still will have the guitar in playable condition.

    Hope this helps.
  6. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I too have done a lot of similar repairs. That one looks easy. The trick is to use the right glue for the job, clamp it up properly and give the glue a few days to cure before stringing it up again. Done right, the glue joint will be stronger than the wood itself. A good repair guy will know what glue to use and how to do it correctly. Find someone who has done this type of repair before. Your average music store tech who only sets up the action and intonation or solders in replacement pickups isn't the best guy to go to.

    It shouldn't be very expensive. I did one on a guy's acoustic guitar not long ago and charged $60. We were both happy. I had the glue and proper clamps available and the experience so it wasn't a big thing.
  7. I owned an EB-0 and an EB-3 that snapped in exactly the same place.

    The second time I fixed it myself. No big deal.....
  8. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Yep, very repairable. I saw one fix job that was done so well, you couldn't even tell it was ever broken! And it was stronger than it was before it broke.
  9. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    It's the tech or luthier who is going to do the work that is important. If you take it to a music store it is important to find out exactly who is going to do the work and how much experience they have. If at all possible, ask to speak directly to the man who is going to do the work.
  10. droskobass


    Oct 8, 2007
    Montreal, Canada
    Former Part-Time, Non-Commission Employee MOOG Audio
    I have a guitar with a similar injury. but it's not too valuable and I'd like to try to fix it myself.

    What kind of glue do you guys recommend?

  11. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    I am not sure what the luthiers would use (Check the Stew-Mac site), but at LEAST the "aliphatic resin" type wood glue from Home Depot or a lumber yard. It is yellow in color. The parts need to be fitted back together in perfect placement and clamped in place while the glue dries.
  12. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I prefer the 2 part boatbuilding glue that used to be full of urea formaldehyde. Borden's still makes one. Check places that sell boatbuilding materials.I wouldn't use epoxy. Some guys like Titebond and other carpenter's glue. I don't trust it for that type of glue joint.

    One I used to be able to find that was great was called UF 109. I consisted of a powder in one container and liquid in the other. One was the glue, the other the catalyst. Incredibly strong and it won't creep like carpenter's glue. It has be used above 60 F and left clamped for at least 24 hours.
  13. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    that's actually a fairly easy repair job for someone who knows what they're doing.
  14. Blind Rat

    Blind Rat

    Apr 23, 2009
    I would have that fixed in no time I use Tite Bond.
    I have about three of that type of repair each week.
  15. Hi.

    A broken headstock? Gibby was the first thing I had in mind when I read the thread title ;). I wonder why...

    I don't have nowhere near the expertise or volume of repairs that the other luthiers/repairmen here but I have repaired about a dozen of similar breaks in the past. About 1/3 of them Gibsons.

    I use "normal" moisture proof PVC glue and have used that for the past 20 years. No problems.

  16. Foamy


    Jun 26, 2006
    Sac Area
    Titebond - darker shade too.
  17. David S

    David S

    Apr 4, 2004
    I have an early 80's Cort V, that the headstock broke in the same place (like every Cort V!)

    I repaired with tightbond about 15 years ago. I just got pissed one day because nobody even semi local would/ could fix it, so got out the stuff and glued it myself. First time I put stings on it, was a little scarry..

  18. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    do not use titebond!! it softens in even moderate heat (like in a parked car) and will creep, giving you this!

    those who do it right use hot hide glue.

    +1 to it being a fairly straightforward and easy fix, but only the first time. fixing a badly-done glue job is a nightmare.

    it's not a big deal, but you really have just one shot to get it right.
  19. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    Exactly why I use the urea formalehyde glue. It doesn't creep, withstands heat, even boiling water, and is very strong. It's the only glue the US Coast Guard approves for wooden boats. You're right-you only have one chance to get it right. You must do a dry run first to make sure your clamping arrangement works.

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