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snapped headstock...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by dereksilloway, Jun 2, 2007.

  1. I apologize if this has been discussed somewhere else. If so just send me a link. My guitarist just snapped his headstock on his rather hard to come by Westone Pantera guitar. I know that this can be fixed but how? Ive never done this before but I dont think it'd be too hard. Detailed instructions would be awesome. Thanks in advance.
  2. He says on there that he uses hide glue. Im not really famaliar with this (though im sure you can get it at any crafts store or similar) but is that really preferable over a good wood glue, or does it not really matter? I was always to understand that you would want to use wood glue to fix a break that isnt under alot of amounts of stress.
  3. a headstock is under a tremendous amount of stress. All of the string tension is focused there. Hide glue is usually preferable because it has good strength and no creep
  4. Nelson Guitars

    Nelson Guitars

    Aug 14, 2006
    Novato California
    Custom builder
    Hide glue is also reversable and repairable.

    A picture of the break would be in order. Is it simply a crack, or splintered? Can you (are you willing to) thin the current peg head and veneer both sides? That would require a re-finish as well, but will do a fantastic job of strengthening a now compromised peghead. Granted, it will change the Pantera look, but function comes before form in my book.

    Greg n
  5. I can get a picture up tomorrow showing the break. He is prepared to do whatever he has to to get it back in working condition.
  6. Heres the picture of the break.
  7. ahh, it looks like it broke right along a glue line.
    My suggestion:
    get those strings off it right now,

    then take it it to a good repairman, but baring that,

    1.) remove the tunners
    2.) scuff up the part that you want to glue
    3.) using a good glue (hide, or regular wood) glue it together, being sure to have it clamped enough
    4.) after the glue has fully cured, remove the clamps
    5.) plane off about 1/8" or more on the back of the peghead, then glue on a new piece of wood that thickness.
    6.) Let the glue FULLY cure
    7.) cut the wood flush with everything else
    8.) refinish the back to match
    9.) reinstall tuners
  8. Nelson Guitars

    Nelson Guitars

    Aug 14, 2006
    Novato California
    Custom builder
    That's better than I thought. When you said the peg head was broken I thought it was at the neck joint. The break in your picture can be easily mended.

    If it is on the old glue joint, then you will have problems with the new glue bonding. If there is clean, fresh wood then I reccomend Hide glue and some strips of inner tube wrapped around to apply pressure. Your biggest problem here is finding a way to clamp it tight without allowing it to slide around, clean up the excess glue and not leave marks on the finish. The inner tube will help with the pressure but will keep you from being able to clean up the excess glue. That is one reason to use the hide glue. You can clean it off with warm water after the joint is set. Be careful that the pressure from the inner tubes doesn't make the joint move as it dries. Even if you "dry fit" it and the joint stays aligned, as soon as you apply the glue it can grease things up pretty good and you could be left with a mess.

    A simple solution to the alignment issue is to find a dowel or a bolt that fits the tuning peg hole exactly. Cut it to length and insert it into the hole that the crack goes through. That should keep things nice and neat while you wrap the inner tube around the head.

    I don't think it will be necessary to veneer the face or the back at this point given the type of break this is. Trying to match the paint would be difficult at this point as well. The repair I suggest above would be clean but not invisable. It will just have to become part of the history of the instrument. A badge of honor if you will.

    You really get one shot at this. If you are not comfortable please send it to someone who is experienced with this sort of thing.

    Greg N
  9. 4StringedFreak


    May 26, 2007
    on someone related note..how hard would it be to change a headstock? i have a bass with a rather dumb looking headstock..is there anyway i could make a new one without having to make a new neck?
  10. I'd probably use a couple of dowells in there too--might be best to take it to a pro -- better yet, a couple of pros to see how they might fix it before you make the leap.

  11. I wouldn't. About the only thing you can do that won't potentially cause undue headaches and/or ruining the neck would be a slight modification to the shape. beyond that, don't muck with it too much... you can't just saw off and graft on a new one unless you have a complete understanding of the neck's contruction...otherwise, you'll screw up the workings of the trussrod assembly for starters, and it'd just plain no be as stable as the original.

    *these comments directed towards novices. an expert luthier could, with a modicum of work and planning, make such a change.
  12. Oh, and if that Pantera is such a personal-prized instrument, I suggest you have a pro fix it. It's not a bad break, but you're better off if you have doubts.
  13. Hes going to have it done professionally because of his attachment to it. Thanks for all the info though and I appreciate the detail.
  14. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jan 27, 2021

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