Hey Folks!

Any thoughts on this? I've repaired a break like this before without any reinforcement, but it was a repair on a nylon string guitar. I called my customer to check it's still glued. It is!

But recently, i've been reading some posts about end grain gluing and how weak this joints are. So, now i have some doubts. 

This guitar i'm supposed to glue is a steel string (a cheap one).

Have any of you done this kind of repair without splines or overlays with good results? Do you think it will hold on a steel string?


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It's a goner.


There is no repair for this type of break that I know of. Give it back with apologies ... 

i might do that, this breaks always put some amount of stress on me...

Hi  Mario 

I've repaired two mandolins with breaks like this - fortunately I've never had a guitar with this problem  but I reckon my method would work the same. The problem is how to clamp it when gluing. I solved that by using the tension of the strings balanced by a loop of cord with a piece of dowel inserted. This is used to twist the cord and put  tension on the back of the headstock. Check the pic to get the idea.

I used West system epoxy tinted to match the lacquer. I taped either side of the break to minimise mess caused by squeezeout. That then made it easy to clean up with a little acetone. After the break was repaired I removed the tape before the resin was fully hardened and trimmed any remaining squeezeout flush with the neck. Left the whole thing 24 hours and got a solid repair.

Worth a try maybe, if you can get the two pieces to fit together well.. It's always advisable to do a dry run to check that it will align successfully and also to get the feel of balancing the string tension against the cord tension.



Thank you Dave, that is a very interesting aproach. I already bought a cord to try something like that.

I did something similar with a different guitar with the same problem. But i used nails and rubber bands to fashion a clamping system. But you have to touch up those holes later. I also used hide glue and after a year and a half it is still glued.

I'm just feeling nervous of the fact that i just learned end grain isn't supposed to glue well and about the steel string factor. Do you think a mandolin has more string tension or similar to a steel string guitar? I guess sometimes ignorance is good and makes me feel confident lol

Thanks for sharing Dave. I leave you some pics of that other repair i did. Best,


"Do you think it will hold on  steel string" 

The answer to that, specifically as you say "without backstraps and splines," is a categoric "no".

The information about end grain gluing in an area of structural stress is correct.

If you wish to repair it the appropriate method is embedded splines and a significant backstrap.



What Rusty said.  You've described the guitar as a cheap steel string, so I'd call it a goner.  But with that being as it is, you could turn it into an "instructional episode" by trying all manner of fixes and seeing what the different procedures feel like, how the wood behaves, etc.  

In the end (minus any backstraps & splines) I'm afraid that it's a working laboratory cadaver. 

The only way I would want to repair that would be to cut it back to the scarf in the neck shaft and graft on a new head. But for a cheapie...naah.

If it was my personal guitar I would glue it back together and see what happens.  If it's a customer guitar i would decline because when it comes apart it will take your reputation down with it. 


 I've used a tension cord a couple of times but never though of using strings to counterbalance the tension. It seems so simple now that I see it but it never crossed my mind to use what is already there to clamp thing up. 

If it were mine, I'd spend the time doing the complete back strap repair so I'd have it down if/when something more worth it comes along. 


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