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Author Topic: I broke my guitar :(  (Read 2151 times)

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Offline Laura

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I broke my guitar :(
« on: March 19, 2014, 07:08:36 AM »
Feeling pretty stupid right now... I set it against a wall while I got up to answer the door.  It somehow fell forward onto the strings and snapped the headstock.
I'm really glad this was not my Martin but am still upset.  I like this guitar a lot but have no idea if getting it fixed is going to cost more than it's worth.  Could anyone please give a guess at what this is going to cost me?  I've never had to visit a luthier before and am not sure there is even any around here!
Share my pain - pics attached :



Offline bnemerov

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Re: I broke my guitar :(
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2014, 08:03:13 AM »
Sorry to see this Laura.
From the pics, I'd say you can easily repair this yourself. Since the break didn't go all the way through the headstock, you can remove the strings; gently open the crack just a bit (being careful not to make it worse) and work some hide glue or carpenters glue (NOT epoxy) in as far up as possible with thin palette knife (not really a knife---a rounded-blade metal tool artists use).
Put a C-clamp on it with some padding on the clamp faces to protect the guitar finish...clean up the squeezed-out glue with a damp cloth before it dries. Let sit for a day or two.
Cosmetically, it won't be an invisible repair as a luthier might achieve. But it won't cost much either.

best,
bruce
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 08:07:10 AM by bnemerov »

Offline Pan

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Re: I broke my guitar :(
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2014, 08:35:23 AM »
Sorry to hear about your guitar. Just to add on Bruce's excellent advice, I wouldn't think that repairing this by a Luthier should be terribly expensive. Perhaps it's worth asking anyway, if you hesitate working on it yourself. With Bruce's advice you should be able to get the guitar playable quite easily, though.

Good luck, whatever you choose to do.

Pan

Offline Laura

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Re: I broke my guitar :(
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2014, 08:41:19 AM »
Hi Bruce, thanks for the reply.  You've reassured me a little in that it won't be too difficult to repair.  However.  I don't have a clamp, or glue, or a palette knife and I've never fixed anything before  ::) I suppose there is a first time for everything though...
I've emailed a luthier who is about 2 hours drive from me - I'm waiting to see if he'll give me a quote but with the drive and repair costs - it might be time to get handy and hope for the best!

edit: Thanks for the support at this difficult time, Pan :) Really though, it was so clumsy of me - I hope it doesn't cost too much!
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 08:42:30 AM by Laura »

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: I broke my guitar :(
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2014, 09:11:49 AM »
Really felt for you, Laura.

I know it's closing the stable-door after the horse has bolted, but I would advise getting a cheap guitar stand which you place the guitar on whenever not in use. Then again, I seem to remember you have a small child, so do be careful where guitars are concerned in that respect as well (I used to leave mine out, but after my grandson put a ding in it, I got into the habit of putting it back in the case - which inevitably means you don't play as much...)

Where are you based now? Maybe a fellow-Weenie can recommend a luthier. However, Bruce's advice seems sound and doing the repair yourself might be a viable option.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Slack

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Re: I broke my guitar :(
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2014, 09:37:46 AM »
Hi Laura,

That is a lucky break - and Bruce's advice is excellent.  buying a clamp, glue, and thin putty knife is pretty cheap - but then your luthier friend might not chard much for it either.  Good luck!

Offline Stuart

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Re: I broke my guitar :(
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2014, 09:48:45 AM »
Hi Laura:

Sorry to hear about your misfortune. However, it's not as bad as you might think. What you now have is a modified scarf joint waiting to be glued and clamped--and believe it or not, it is actually used on guitars where the neck meets the headstock. For example:

http://www.petermalinoskiart.com/info_pages/page_how_to_neck.htm

And as it's a common repair, there's quite a bit of info on the web. Search "repair broken guitar neck headstock" and the variants. Here are a couple:

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-repair-a-broken-guitar-neck-headstock/

The following are FYI--for informational purposes. I would do things differently--but they will give you an idea of how it's done on one where the headstock is completely snapped off.





I've seen these breaks repaired so that you can hardly see the glue line, so don't worry. And I've fixed things over the years with the same kind of break.

A couple of tips: Use the right kind of glue. (But don't use too much.) Basic wood glue should work just fine. (Not the stuff the guy in the video uses.) I don't know what's available where you are (you're in the U.K., IIRC), but I would probably go with the original Titebond (not Titebond II or III). I have a couple of shop projects that I built 50+ years ago with basic wood glue that have never come apart, so the enhanced versions aren't necessary. Older instruments were built with hide glue or wood glue and have never come apart either. Newer, hi-tech stuff isn't necessarily better.

To work the glue all the way down in the joint, have someone hold the guitar upside down so gravity can work for you. Use a small brush (like a flux brush for soldering available at hardware stores) for around the edges as far as it will go, but don't force it in. With the guitar upside down, use a piece of thread to work the glue down to the bottom of the break, in the way that you  use dental floss on your teeth.

Make sure that everything lines up exactly  before you clamp--And don't over clamp. This is where experience comes in. You need enough pressure, but not too much. Someone with woodworking skills and enough experience to have the "right touch" would be the person to call on.

If you decide to have it done by a pro, it shouldn't be too expensive as all-in-all, it's about a half hour job, if that.

Best of luck.

Stuart
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 10:04:37 AM by Stuart »

Offline Gumbo

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Re: I broke my guitar :(
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2014, 10:36:17 AM »
but then your luthier friend might not chard much for it either.

Lettuce hope not! :D

Good luck, Laura. Ain;t hope a wonderful thing! I have an old yamaha that fell off the roof of a bus in india, cracking the veneer, and I always smile to see that it survived:)
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 10:37:21 AM by Gumbo »

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: I broke my guitar :(
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2014, 11:16:04 AM »
Laura, I'm not lending you my Ming Dynasty vase anytime soon.

Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using Tapatalk


Offline funkapus

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Re: I broke my guitar :(
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2014, 11:20:19 AM »
On a related note, it's my understanding that most hardshell cases -- even Caltons and expensive flight cases -- are still not very good at protecting against these whiplash breaks that come from the guitar/case falling forward or backward.  So if you're shipping or travelling with a guitar, even if you have a very sturdy case, it's worth considering making an effort to cushion the neck and headstock both from above and below to prevent breaks of the type Laura suffered (sorry Laura, that really sucks).

http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/GenMaint/Packing/packing1.html

« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 11:24:43 AM by funkapus »

Offline Laura

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Re: I broke my guitar :(
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2014, 07:42:01 AM »
Thanks everyone for the encouragement.  I decided to give it a go myself... The wood had contracted quite a bit by this morning when I took it out of the case and removed the strings, as you can see in the first two pictures.  I couldn't get the palette knife into the crack so cut some flexible plastic from a food tray and used that to ease the glue in.  Got more in with the little paint brush.  I'm hoping enough actually went in (and stayed in) a lot oozed out when I clamped it.  Guess I will wait a couple of days, put some strings on and hope for the best.  Here is a whole bunch of giant photos.







Offline Slack

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Re: I broke my guitar :(
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2014, 07:48:48 AM »
Good work Laura, that will probably do it.  What kind of glue? out of curiosity...

Offline Laura

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Re: I broke my guitar :(
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2014, 07:56:17 AM »

Offline Slack

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Re: I broke my guitar :(
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2014, 08:17:21 AM »
Hehe,  Nah, it is perfect.  I was just curious to see a UK wood glue. 

Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: I broke my guitar :(
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2014, 08:27:33 AM »
You must lead an exciting life Slack!

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