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This is my guitar and I'm pretty heartbroken about it as it's my favorite and I spend hours playing it every day. I was working to fit a new nut, placed the guitar in its stand and it fell face down. The result is a crack on the treble side starting from the third fret all the way to the headstock. The bass side of the headstock is cracked, but I don't believe the neck is (just finish cracks).

These cracks are tight and the big one traverses the truss rod channel. To be honest, I don't even know how I'll be able to get glue all the way in the crack efficiently. I never thought I'd long for a crack that can easily be opened.

I'm attaching some pictures in this post and the first comment. I'd love to hear some ideas as to how to approach this repair.

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Bass side crack:

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My glue of choice here would be Old Brown hide glue, heated to about 140F. so it runs.  Old Brown so you don't have it gelling before you are done clamping. 

Do a dry run with your clamps.

yes, loosen the rod, but I would not worry that tightening it again will open the crack.

After having some time to feel bad about the whole thing, I'm realizing it's not a bad break. This is the kind of break that wants to close under string pressure, so that's nice.

At this point my biggest concerns are 1) making sure the glue gets all the way in. I'm thinking a pipette or a syringe. 2) making sure the truss rod isn't glued in place. I'm not sure if that'll be a big deal if it happens or not.

Oh boy oh boy oh boy.
There are others more qualified than me to discuss this. I'll make some observations.
Guild made really robust guitars, but was rather loose when it came to wood selection. In this case, we are lucky that the fretboard is pretty robust, because it is holding the thing together.
My question is, what happens when you adjust the truss rod right now? Does the crack open up with added truss rod pressure, or does it have no effect? The concern is that the truss rod may act in opposition to any glue job that you do, making this repair very, very likely to fail again.
I'm guessing that the suggestion from others will be to wick in CA glue and clamp shut. You would need the truss rod completely loose, and might want the nut and washer completely off first. I would wax the threads of the rod before this as well. There will be finish damage, but there is already finish damage, so that really is not a concern.
Good luck, and I'm curious what others have to say.

Thanks, Mark.

Tightening or loosening the truss rod has no effect on the crack. It stays open the same amount. I talked to a friend (who talked to a friend) and it seems that even if the rod gets glued in that area, it won't make much of a difference since the truss rod doesn't do much, or any, work in the 1-3 fret area. That made a lot of sense to me.

I like Mark's idea about the truss rod nut.  In addition to that I might use Titebond original or better yet Titebond extend (sounds like a marital aid product...) and compressed air to blow the glue into the deep areas of the spilt/crack while flexing things and getting some capillary action working for us too.

There is lots of gluing area here so if you get glue most places, clamp well, etc. it should be as strong as the neck prior to the accident.  Also looks like the fret board may also be coming up from the neck, same process, glue with decent open time, compressed air, flexing and Bob's your uncle.

I'm in Howard's camp with this break, hot hide glue.

Heat the area of the neck to be glued with an Infra Red lamp till it's nice and warm. Have a batch of hide glue that's fairly thin ready to go. Float a small cup of really watered down hide glue in your batch of fairly thin stuff. Squirt or dump a bunch of the really watery stuff into the break and work the break open and closed until you see that it is worked all of the way into the split. Follow with a dose of the fairly thin stuff. Quick wipe any drips/ mess and clamp. You will have plenty of time to get this done if the neck is heated, the Red restaurant style lamps work great for this.

Watered down Titrbond could also work but I think a really watery batch of hot hide would wick into the joint much better and with an Infra Red lamp actually give you as much or more open time than Titebond. There is a limit to how much water can go into the Titebond and I don't believe you can get it wicked as deeply into the break as hide glue, even with the compressed air trick.

CA has incredible capillary action and would be a better choice than Titebond in my book but not friendly to the surrounding finish, some is bound to escape from the crack, which is another reason I endorse the Hide glue with it's finish safe and easy clean up. If you go with CA, apply and clamp but after clamping and giving it a few hours, wick in some more CA wherever it suck it in. Mark has some good observations on using CA too.

Plus 1 with Hesh,

Don't bother watering down Titebond, use a syringe (lots of previous correspondence on this type of repair), blow it in, flex it in, rub it into the finer cracks etc.    Clamp the break tightly and when done (wait 48 hours with the clamps off) flood a bit of thin CA into the area to pickup the hairline cracks.  

CA won't bond a void so it's not such a good choice for damage where the joint may not tighten/align fully.   Titebond has a slightly expand and then contract action so it picks up up a bit of the gap and has good wetting of prepared surfaces.  Your finish around the break is a wreck anyway, so don't bother trying to save it by using a benign glue, 

Plenty of open time here with Titebond without the hit and miss dead animal glue approach favored by the traditional  guys.

Not that HHG isn't a good choice, but it's such a crap shoot for those not experienced with it and has no stadardization of glue or glue pots, mixes, lamps and shelf life across the repair industry.  Too many variables to my mind with HHG, but I also suppose one has to start somewhere if using HHG - but probably not with this repair of this guitar.

Regards,

Rusty.

Thanks for noting the problem with CA glue.

One thought - you could put a capo on the neck below the crack, so that while you do your work, it will keep the crack from expanding and pulling open further down the neck. (As long as you don't put on so much force that the capo leaves a mark, of course.)

If not using hide glue, go for the Tightbond Extend. Much more strength when heated. I would thin the glue. penetration is the name of the game here. Also orient the cracks so gravity is helping you work the glue in.

Thanks for the replies, guys (you too, Paul Verticchio).

There's no way I can do this with CA glue. This is a big crack. We're talking about 4" along the neck, plus the headstock damage. It'll be very difficult to get the CA in all that area and clamp it before it starts drying. 

Same thing with hide glue, pretty much. I love using it, but not sure I'll have enough open time to get it everywhere. Thinning it is an option, but it'll have to be thinned quite a bit to give it any sort of capillary action like you'd expect from superglue, and at that point, its strength will be compromised. One thing I could do is heat it up to higher than 145F, maybe 160F, which will give me more open time.

I think Titebond Extend is going to be my glue of choice. I'll wick some hot water in the crack prior to gluing, then get the glue in there with compressed air and Paul's glue applicator. Then get superglue in there after it had sufficient time to dry.

Not absolutely sure but I think I read recently that Tightbond Extend remains more elastic than original Tightbond when it dries. I'm pretty sure it was the extended version that he was writing about but I could be wrong.  Which ever it was, what I read was written by someone that actually worked for the company. His recommendation was to stick with original Tightbond for instrument work.

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