I recently repaired this headstock and I used titebond with which I have always had great results. The join was as perfect as you could ask for. As you'll see from the pictures the headstock was totally detached from the body so there was little surface area for reglueing. I made a quick little jig to pull the pieces together, and it worked great. The customer wanted to keep costs down so I didn't do a spline job to avoid the refinishing touch up and so forth. The join fit together so great I had full confidence in it.

     Well it came back this week the join failed due to day of playing the guitar outside and leaving it in the hot sun. So now that all the little wood fingers in the joint are coated with glue should I heat up the mating pieces and reglue?  Should I epoxy it back together?  The customer wants to avoid the more costly and proper way of doing it and time is of the essence. He has a gig on Saturday.

 I plan on adding some wooden dowels through the joint internally irregardless. The joint luckily still fit together like a puzzle piece.


Prethanking all.

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honestly it is not a good repair I mean I would have passed it up ,right through the nut slot with out anything to glue to. this looks like all end grain and end grain and glue are tricky, epoxy wouldn't hold either in my opinion .../// Dang ... summer sun and new glue even old glue is also not a good combo it could loosen and pop right off like it did .personally id offer the money back or Fix it some other way ...///

It held for about three months. I firmly believed it would hold, and probably would have. We just can't resist up here in the Northwest getting out in the sun when it finally arrives.

Thanks Frank,


I think he should get another guitar for Saturday. Speaking personally, I would never have let it leave my shop without spines installed . I would put it back together, install the splines, and tell the guy there are no guarantees that it will hold.


This looked odd until it was (re)finished... Splines are nice too.

I would tell this customer that he would likely not have this back within that time frame.





I'm with STG and Kerry, particularly on the time-frame.  Too many times I've been overly-sympathetic to the customers schedule over my own... and it never, ever turns out well.  

If someone "needs their guitar by the weekend", my new mantra is to have them borrow one from a friend, or simply rent or buy another another guitar.  If they don't understand why "it takes so long", I'll tell them why until their eyes glaze-over.

In fact, I'll generally overestimate the time any given job takes. It (a). gives me some cushion and (b). makes for a happy customer when (or, if) the job is done beforehand.

The other side of the coin is that makes room for the 'quickie' set-ups and such, which *should* be done fairly rapidly.

GTS.has the proper way this Guitar should have been repaired the first time. I would not repair it anyother way. It never pays to do a quick fix on a guitar for anyone you always look stupid .Bill.'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Thanks all. You've all said exactly what I told the customer  the first time through. Especially the time frame thing.

We'll see what he wants to do.

I made some mock butt joints today with the endgrain sized with glue to try and simulate the contamination with and with out re-enforcement pins. I'll put them to the test tomorrow and see how the glue and epoxy holds just for fun.

Take care. 

For that kind of break, when the customer wants it the cheap way, I go straight to the epoxy shelf. It usually holds but I do warn the customer that it's possible it would break again because it's not done the proper way.

But in your case, now that the break is contaminated I would tell the customer : considering you don't want to spend the right amount of money for that break, I can try a last thing but if it fails then the neck would be lost and you'll have to leave with it. And I would try to scrap and clean the break as much as I could then go for epoxy.

There's an old saying that among fast, cheap, and good, you can never have more than two.  If you are lucky.  Your customer's wishes and the reality of this repair have parted ways.  It's about as bad a headstock break as you can get. 


You don't seem to understand that an end grain fracture is not "a join as perfect as you could ask for" no matter how well the pieces fit.  For starters, only a crappy piece of wood would break like that.  The joint will have a minimum of strength.  A backstrap will barely extend beyond the break.  You might get it to hold with a spline.  You might get it to hold with a couple of dowels going in from the headstock face.  I personally would not take this job unless I could make a new headstock and scarf it onto the neck.  That might be difficult, since the truss rod might be in the way, depending on where it ends and how deep it is.  It would be costly for this guitar.  Most likely I would decline to do the repair and send the guy to you.


I like your impromptu jig, though.



I'll add my veto to taking on this job. Don't even think about putting your hands in this can of worms. Tell the customer he needs another guitar for the gig, and tell him that if he wants to keep this guitar, he'll have to pay for a neck replacement. This neck break is not repairable with any chance of it holding together for very long.



Just my two pennies, I simply do not see enough mating surface to ever make this a successful repair, although I do like STGuitarworks idea. For me, new neck, but cost would have probably out weighed the value of the guitar : >( In most instances, if the customer doesn't want to spend the money for a proper repair, it will come back and bite you in the fanny. I would imagine at this point the customer is enjoying his/her nice new guitar by now : >)

The backstrap that STG showed will not give this break enough support.

It doesn't require a new neck, but a good repair would be a new headstock and require R&Ring the fretboard and refinishing the neck, which is probably worth more than the guitar.


The OP could try doweling.  But be sure to emphasize that this is a desperate attempt to save the life of the guitar and is not in any way guaranteed.  The problem for a repairman in doing things like that, which most eventually learn from hard experience, is that your reputation goes out the door with every job, regardless (not irregardless!) of the client's understanding that you made no promises and did the quick and cheap job at his request.  Soon other people mention to you that they saw your "repair" and snigger about it.


If the guy plays professionally, he really needs a different guitar.  One that he can expect not to come apart at the gig.


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