Les Paul neck repair

If you have a string instrument of any kind that needs fixing, a mistake you made in building a new instrument that you need to "disappear," or a question about the ethics of altering an older instrument, ask here. Please note that it will be much easier for us to help you decide on the best repair method if you post some pictures of the problem.
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Jerry Stapleton
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Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:04 pm

Les Paul neck repair

Post by Jerry Stapleton »

hiya! I need recommendations for a crack in the neck of a Gibson Les Paul, the crack is under the neck where the truss rod cavity is, apparently it has been dropped. The crack doesn't go quite all the way through to the top and it is closed pretty tight, I am thinking of stringing it back up and see if the crack will open under tension, hopefully enough to work some hot hide glue in there. I am also concerned about hiding the repair completly, I may have to resort to some kind of inlay to cover it up. could I have some recommendations? I will try to post a pic. Thanks!

Jerry Stapleton
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:04 pm

Re: Les Paul neck repair

Post by Jerry Stapleton »

_DSC0121.JPG
I hope this pic goes through

Michael Lewis
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Re: Les Paul neck repair

Post by Michael Lewis »

This should be an easy repair if it goes right. Remove all the machines from the headstock because you will need to spray matching color after the crack is glued. Use a smooth flat board and waxed paper for a clamping caul on the face, and smaller similar block for the back side. Get glue well into the crack by flexing the headstock gently to "pump" the glue deep inside. If using hot hide glue make sure you warm the headstock to about 100F before applying any glue.

Once the glue has thoroughly dried clean the entire surface of the headstock of any wax or grease. Sand the surface of the crack smooth with 320 grit paper, and make sure there are no low spots in the crack. If there are any they must be filled and sanded level, and here CA gel will do fairly well to fill small recesses and it dries quickly.

Lightly sand with 1000 grit paper over the general area to prepare blending a new coat of finish, and make sure you sand a bit farther than you intend to spray on. Just before spraying the new finish spray some lacquer thinner over the entire area. This will open the surface for the new lacquer to bite int the old surface. Before the thinner has dried spray the color and fade it out well before you get to the unsanded area. If all is good and you can't see the line of the crack you are doing well. Spray another application of thinner to melt the light overspray into the finish. You need only enough to make the surface wet but not enough to run or sag. Usually you need to spray a coat of clear over the repair, as the original finish was done this way. Spray thinner to melt and blend the overspray. Don't over do it. If you do this right it will be pretty much invisible.

color match: black is not just black, white is not just white. Guitar reranch can supply matched colors for specific models, but it will cost you. A good job is worth the effort and cost.

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Ryan Mazzocco
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Re: Les Paul neck repair

Post by Ryan Mazzocco »

Best explanation ever. Seriously, this is getting printed out and hung up on my shop wall. So detailed, yet simply put at the same time. I know I don't get a vote, but if I did I would say this should be archived. Thanks Michael Lewis!

Michael Lewis
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Re: Les Paul neck repair

Post by Michael Lewis »

Ryan, that is a quick overview of the process, and many possibilities can arise during the process to cause a change in procedure. I think you just have to do a lot of finish work and get a feel for it, then you pretty much know what to do when things don't go exactly as planned. Practice makes pretty good.

Mark Wybierala
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Location: Central New Jersey

Re: Les Paul neck repair

Post by Mark Wybierala »

Do a full practice dry clamp first so you can get the clamps and cauls in place without letting the hide glue cool too much prior to having the clamps tight. Personally, I use Titebond (red cap) for this repair because I don't need to worry about the perfect consistency of the hide glue and it cooling too quickly before I get it deep into the crack. No argument that hide glue is awesome if you can use it effectively. I've done this exact repair many times. Gibson used to sell touchup pens with colored lacquer. I don't think you can get them from Gibson any more but you can find them on ebay. The Gibson black touchup pen is usually a perfect match. The stewmac black pigment is not. It is totally possible to do this repair with an invisible result.

Jerry Stapleton
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Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:04 pm

Re: Les Paul neck repair

Post by Jerry Stapleton »

ok, thanks Mike Lewis! the repair went well, in my humble opinion, the client was happy! I will try to post a pic.
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Jerry Stapleton
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:04 pm

Re: Les Paul neck repair

Post by Jerry Stapleton »

well I just noticed, I suppose I should have called this a headstock repair LOL!!!

Michael Lewis
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Re: Les Paul neck repair

Post by Michael Lewis »

It looks good from here. check it in a few weeks to see if the repair shows through as the lacquer shrinks. I generally like to hang these things for a few weeks before final rub out.

Jason Rodgers
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Re: Les Paul neck repair

Post by Jason Rodgers »

Head, neck... call it the throat!

That's some fine work. I hope it "takes," as Michael says.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

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