There's a hairline looking crack on my sound top. I am not sure whether it is a crack or not, I hope you could tell me that. I'm currently traveling and can't find a good guitar maker to have a look at it.

It starts from the lower bout below the bridge and continues as a straight line up to the rosette, between the 4th and 3rd strings, one wouldn't notice it by touch. It is in parallel with the joint line, more towards the 3rd string. It's a very thin line, almost invisible.

Here are some pics:

Zooming in would be necessary to see it. I should be able to take more photos.

Please share your thoughts.

Tags: Classical, crack, guitar, repair, spruce, top

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Out of curiosity, what kind of travelling are you doing? I.e. Are we talking air travel or a bus trip across the country side, or? What kind of conditions has it seen?

Hi Andrew, It's been an air travel from Europe to middle east. The guitar was covered in a bag and inside a Hiscox pro II case and the strings were loosened. The guitar hasn't seen a big change in humidity.

I have checked the back of the soundboard and the crack is invisible. I assume the crack doesn't have much depth. Would it be a good idea to wait about a year to ask the luthier to see and repair it if necessary?

 Arash, is it possible at all that this is a humidity thing? If so, I would get a sound hole humidifier soon as possible. 

Hi Kerry, I doubt it but it could be. The room that I have kept the guitar had a digital humidifier that kept the guitar in 55% humidity level the whole time. It could have been damaged during the flight, or the time I spent with it outside though it has been sitting in the case the whole time?

I'm currently in a dilemma. As this guitar has a modern construction that is very different to the traditional construction, I am not sure whether to give to a local guitar maker to fix it or wait about a year to see my luthier to ask him to fix it himself. I've heard horror stories from some local luthiers telling me as they were trying to fix one crack, another crack appeared somewhere else... I assume because they dry the guitar for the crack to open up, so they can put some glue in there.

The other thing is, as I can't feel the crack, and when gently taping I didn't get a dull point and it doesn't reflect the light, I keep asking myself whether it needs to be repaired at all? But the thought of it getting worse during the time or the next air travel is killing me.

Where was the guitar stored on the plane? Perhaps this is more a result of temperature change, considering you had it bagged in the case (with the humidifier Im assuming). This might just be a check in the finish. Hopefully anyway.

Dont worry about it too much for now, just continue to keep it stored as well as you can and keep it clean, and get it looked at when you get home. If the crack is that fine, it will be obvious if it does start to get worse at all. Dont let it kill you. Its a guitar - you own it, it doesnt own you.

By the way, I had insured the guitar for the flight, I assume I can't use it anymore? Because I didn't notice the crack when I checked it after the flight.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on this one as well.

hi Guys, Arash, 

If I read this right you may or may not have a crack, which may or may not be in the finish or in the wood, which may or may not be due to Rh and the owner has not indicated that he has any luthiery skills.    

We are shooting in the dark here and none of the advice, however well intentioned or well founded, is going to help the owner in his current situation apart from the advice to take/send the guitar to a/the  recognised specialist luthier or original maker for a physical inspection and assessment.   The reason here is that while the good folk here have offered advice in good faith the owner is in no position to implement  the advice or work out what is what.     

There is no reason not to play the guitar in the meantime apart from the aforementioned advice to resist the temptation to keep fiddling with the crack area and inducing dirt/foreign junk  into the crack  

Air travel around Europe to the middle east particularly if the guitar was in various cargo holds -  pressurised/unpressurised, temperature controlled/uncontrolled,  case exposed to direct sunlight on the tramac (happens with "top load only" or "fragile" instructions) where the guitar goes on the top of the trailer luggage, and baggage handlers.......probably has some bearing on the problem as well.

Take it to someone who knows the instrument and can see it in the flesh.



As always, the voice of reason, moderation and considered thought.  Excellent advice. Bravo, Rusty! 

If I were you I would make some hot hide glue, put it on top of the crack and press with the thumbs, one at the time, on either side of the crack to have the glue "massaged" into the crack using capillary force. Then wipe away the excess glue. Then use super magnets (tape them up, water gives a black round mark!) to make the top flat over the crack, or use something flat wrapped in plastic wrapping with a weigh on top or a clamp through the soundhole for the same reason. Also a long clamp across the top to clamp the crack tight while the glue sets.

Thanks Rodger, this solution seems very good. Will it affect the sound in anyway (this guitar has a very thin soundboard)?

I assume for this solution I don't need to dry the guitar for the crack to open up, right?

No change in tone, maybe better with a solid top! The glue in the crack adds no weight. No need for doing anything else, the capillary force will draw the glue into the crack as long as you get a movement between the two sides of the crack - it needs to be a crack. Hide glue is great for this kind of repair, even when dried you can wipe away residue with a damp cloth with some patience. It's also almost invisible.

One good thing with hide glue is that it shrinks when setting, the crack will seal itself. But make sure you don't have blobs with hide glue on soft lacquer, the glue may pinch the surface and take the lacquer with it when it dries!


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