Hello guys, 

I am a guitar player, not a tech or repair virtuoso, so I wanted to ask for your diagnosis and advise if possible.

I recently noticed a crack along the fretboard from top to soundhole on the cedar top of my classical guitar. See pics

From my research this crack happens when the ebony fretboard dries up and pulls on the top making it crack. You can feel the crack from the inside just a little. The crack does not seem very obvious at first glance as it is not too wide. 

I wanted to know if this crack is structural in the sense that it is imperative that I fix or it is something that can stay as is. 

If this needs to be fixed, I understand it might require some reinforcement from inside, but will it change the sound of the guitar? How much reinforcement, only on the sound hole? From touch, I can only feel the crack close to the soundhole not behind the support that is perpendicular to the fretboard inside across the top. 

Also, what type of results can I expect from touching up the crack on the top?

Can it be touched up so it looks like nothing happened?

This is some kind of lacquer, glossy poly typical of classical guitars , but the color is an orange reddish.

Will this need a full refinish or what is the best way to touch this up to be the perfect touch up?

Here are the pics. 

I'd appreciate your input. 

Oh, also, how much would crack cost to fix without considering the touch up for cosmetic reasons and how much would it cost including a pro touch up/. ?

Thanks a lot!

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IMHO - You should take this to someone to get a hands on evaluation, especially when it comes to cost.

of course, I just do not have a competent luthier where I am at. this is the reason I went to great lengths to find the best forum to as for insight. thanks

It's very hard to tell just from the pictures. A repair person would have to examine the inside of the instrument too, to see what is going on.

It could be more serious than just a crack, the neck block may be starting to rotate. To get a good idea of what's going on, you need a hands on inspection.

It definitely needs repair.


I recorded the inside of the top with my cell phone in HD and to my surprise you can't see the slightest strace of the crack. Everything is in place inside and glued tight.

Where in the world are you, Pete?

Hi Pete.

To speed up the process:

The guitar you have MUST be seen by a repair tech as we CANNOT diagnose the issue without a hands on inspection.

Only then can a tech/repair person give you an accurate evaluation of the issue and an estimate for the repair.

Your profile says you're from Antioch, TN. You're a few miles from Nashville. Tell me again why you can't find a competent luthier in your area (/). You're in the best spot in the country. I'm puzzled.

If you feel you must press for more info from this forum, it would be beneficial to know the make, model and age of the instrument and if it has a Spanish or Western neckblock.  Also, is the instrument properly humidified?

I am no longer in TN unfortunately, otherwise I would have taken it to Glaser who has worked on my electrics and he would have recommended a classical guy. 

In any case, I won't have access to a skilled repairman for several months.

It is a Spanish hand made guitar. 6yrs old. Ebony Fretboard, solid german spruce top, cypress backs and sides.

The guitar has never had a humidifier and I do not know where exactly it has been since I bought used. But it is safe to say it has seen all kinds of weather.

If it helps in any way, from what I saw inside, there is no visible crack inside. It is a long crack but it is super narrow. When I lit the inside of the guitar with the phone's flash, you can see it through but there is still wood in between, kind of like the wood has thinned out a bit and became translucent in the middle of the crack,  but it is so thin that you have to look real close.

I just put a humidifier inside to see if it will close a little or at least not crack any more until I can repair it.

Hope someone can tell me more based on this and the pictures.


Hello Pete, 

Yes, you should have it looked at by a luthier/repair tech in my opinion. 

Another vote for taking it to a pro.

If it makes you feel any better this is not a guitar killing failure and it most certainly can be repaired good as new in the structural sense and if you don't mind the extra cost since finish repairs can be expensive cosmetically it could be fixed too.

I second JB" comment about neck rotation or the long and winding road to a neck reset - not fixing this crack may speed up the time this instrument has before reset time....

You may be correct too as to causation, dissimilar materials moving at different rates.  A humidifier should be in this instrument's future though since it has already shown a fondness for cracking.

You can visually see for sure if it's a crack though the wood or only a finish crack by taking some Naphtha in say an eye dropper and running a bead all along the outside of the crack.  Next wipe up the excess and take your mirror and light and look inside now, if it's wet where the crack should be it's a crack.  Be sure to dispose of the now flammable what ever you used to wipe up the Naphtha properly and sorry to be a nag - safety for you and yours first!

And... you are right again, this is as good a forum as there is anywhere with lots of talented and helpful folks!

Pricing will vary depending on where you are and who you go to.  This is a profession where there is nothing stopping anyone from hanging out a shingle and doing repairs and as such there are lots of low-ballers around as well.  The old adage that one get's what they pay for in the negative sense may apply, danger Will Robinson....



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