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Taylor 110 with Broken Headstock - Now with 8+ year Update

Recently, my son's cat, Don, had a manic spaz attack and bounded into my son's Taylor 110 (yes, it was left in a precarious position from the start).  The results: The Taylor is now decapitated and Don is currently at the taxidermist rather patiently awaiting his consequences (I kid, I kid). 

I've combed through quite a few threads on this fine forum re: headstock repair so I'm beginning to get the gist of some of the considerations and strategies, but also understand from the many informed comments that the nature of the break shapes the specific suggestions offered, so I've attached a few pics.  As you will see, it's an ugly one.  Not much surface area, jagged and right at the topnut/truss rod; so I'm thinking any repair short of making a new headstock/neck section will be pretty iffy.

A new neck can be had from Taylor for $175 but they will not send it to me directly.  It has to be sent to and installed by an authorized Taylor repair location (at an additional cost), according to the Taylor Customer Service rep I spoke with.  With funds tight, thought I might give it a go myself with the kind help offered by my neighbor who happens to be an accomplished woodworker, though not a luthier.

Would really appreciate hearing how some of you guys would approach this particular break, other than not at all ;)

Update:  8+ years later and still holding strong - see f/u post below for more.

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Well, I wanted to add a belated update and thank you regarding the broken headstock.  Having time over the holidays, I took a stab at repairing the headstock myself.  Though it is not cosmetically impressive (no luthier quality artisanry by any stretch), it seems to be a pretty robust repair, so far.  I essentially followed Russell's approach.  My effort was particularly crude having to use my own limited tools as my woodworker neighbor's schedule was much too busy for him to help.  But I slowly progressed along until I had a workable end result.  Less than $50 in materials (vis-a'-vis the cost of a new neck, which I learned would actually cost me approximately $300 once installation, shipping charges and taxes were added).

So,  a big THANK YOU for all of the advisement and input, even the warnings not to try it, as this kept my expectations realistic.  I learned quite a bit in the process, and gained a greater appreciation for those of you who do this for a living.

That is fantastic, but you absolutely need to include pictures!!

The only pictures of the "completed" project at the moment are from my cell phone, so not very good quality.  Took them quickly to send to my son so he could see his player had been resurrected.  I have a couple of shots in progress from my digital camera that I can post.  I intended to take a fairly detailed pictorial of the progress but just had too much going on to keep the pics going.  The guitar is, ironically, currently at Guitar Center (the only authorized Taylor repair center in my area) awaiting what I was told by Taylor would be a gratis neck reset, but they seem to be backtracking (long story...the neck needed a reset well before the headstock was broken).

I'll get a couple of the pics I do have up in the next day or so...not really anything to be proud of (glue lines, need for more sanding/contouring, etc), but willing to provide pics if it is of interest to others.

Below are a couple of pics

BTW, the pics don't show the pultruded carbon fiber pieces that I epoxied in for additional support, as suggested by Russ.

That looks fantastic, what a great job. When you add in all the time and effort, you probably didn't save any money, but you certainly ended up with a well done repair and a neck that is possibly stronger than it was before.

Thanks!  This pic was a quickie with the smart phone and doesn't reveal all of the flaws, particularly at this angle.  I appreciate the encouraging words, though.

Very true that if the hours put into this had taken away from earnings, it would have been false economy.  In my case, however, it was time that would have been piddled away in less constructive ways, and I enjoy tinkering so much that it was really fun to do.  Half the fun of this sort of project for me is coming up with creative work-arounds when you don't have the ideal tools or materials, which seemed to be the case at just about every step in this project.  Takes longer and the outcome is not as professional, but this is where much of the satisfaction lies for me.

I hope it holds up.  I'm optimistic; and, again, really grateful to the input from all of the seasoned craftsmen on this site that put me on the right track.

Send pictures to Taylor!  If they replaced the guitar of the guy who did the (viral) video "United Destroyed My Guitar," maybe they'll do something for you to replace it with a good neck.  With a Taylor, the reset would be simple when the neck was replaced.

My personal philosophy if I led a big guitar company would be to make repair parts available as inexpensively as possible.  I wouldn't want the inability of musicians to afford top shelf repairs leaving them with repair jobs that look like some of the "nightmares" we've seen as repair jobs--and presenting that to my "public" as the way my instruments present themselves.  

I ride a bike for exercise and many wheel and frame manufacturers offer replacement and repairs at very reasonable prices to keep the user in the game.  They make their profit on the first sale and treat the rest as maintaining the user fan base.

Even the individual builder who made my guitar guarantees it for life to the original owner.  He said if it ever needs a reset or other repair to send it back, he'd fix it.  I haven't needed to ask but I am pretty sure that he'd fix a broken neck for a nominal cost.

I was a kid who couldn't afford much to get and keep my instruments.  To perpetuate this cycle seems counterproductive.  

Larry

Larry,

In the real world, $300 for a finished, drop in (bolt in) neck, including installation & setup is very reasonable. Try to get a run of the mill replacement neck from Fender for that price. I doubt you can.

This guitar was broken because of "neglect". The guy's guitar that Taylor replaced was destroyed by a 3rd party. Really & truly, it was a GREAT opportunity for Taylor to get several hundred thousands of dollars worth of free advertising for their cost of a 400 series instrument, nothing more.

The way to approach these types of repairs is to deal directly with an authorized service provider. They can adjust prices (read: give a customer discount) and do the work for less than what the Factory quotes.

Evan... your repair looks good. I hope it's structurally sound. Good luck with getting it setup correctly at GC.

And remember, when a guitar isn't being played, the ONLY safe place for it is in its case. In 40 years, I've never heard of a neck snapping from a guitar being stored in its case. All other reasons for neck breaks are "owner/user neglect" and is not covered by ANY manufacturer's warranty.

Best of luck,

Paul

I couldn't agree with you more.  I suppose if I could create a viral video that would equate to a marketing opportunity for Taylor, I just might get a new neck. I'm not looking for a freebie, though.  My main beef with Taylor is that they aren't willing to send replacement parts directly to the owner.  I get that they are trying to control the quality of repairs made so as to ensure quality of brand.  The problem with this is that those of us on a limited budget will simply do it ourselves anyway, or not do repair/adjust it at all, arguably resulting in a greater likelihood of subpar Taylor guitars floating around out there.   Let me send you the measurements and, for a reasonable price, send me the appropriate shims, or a range of shims to experiment with and let's move on.  Otherwise, I'm just going to shim it myself anyway, or leave it as is.  If I get it wrong because I don't have laser cut shims, or leave it as is, those who encounter my guitar in the future are simply going to experience a crappy playing guitar with crappy intonation with the Taylor name on it.

Evan,

From the looks of the repair, I think you have a good future in lutherie.  Fantastic work for a first shot.  Someone might find a detail or two that could be improved but you have the ingenuity to create good jigs and tools and work carefully; it came out very well, indeed.  

Kudos!

Larry

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