Another Guitar Headpiece 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.
John E Giarrizzo
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Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

A friend of mine asked me about his broken headpiece. I plan on bringing it to the same guy that did my 12 string in that previous post. But would still like comments from you guys.

PROBLEM !!! My friend did exactly what you all advised me not to do. He tried gluing it himself, and it re-broke. And worse --- he thinks that he used Titebond 2. When I called my repair guy and told him that the guitar was already glued and broken again, his response was, "Oh s**t". He told me to bring it in and he'd take a look at it.

How do you think that this can be salvaged? If it is titebond 2, can it be removed? It is water "resistant". If not, my only idea would be to plane the break down to bare wood, then put a spacer between the two halves. What if the glue is regular Titebond?

Comments?

Thanks again and again.

John
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Barry Daniels
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by Barry Daniels »

There is a product called De-Glue Goo that will dissolve glue residue from the break. That should be a fairly easy break to repair.
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Michael Lewis
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by Michael Lewis »

The truss rod pocket is rather low in that part of the neck. There is little you can do about that.

If the parts fit together well when the glue is cleaned off then hot hide glue should be the best choice, but it there are gaps then that complicates the situation.

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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Vinegar can also be used to remove many glues, including titebond. soak some paper towels in it and lay them over the glue. Give it some time to soften the glue and gently scrape it off. Rinse the wood with clean water and allow it to dry before regluing.

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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by David King »

CA debonder also dissolves Titebond I and II. I use it all the time for removing nuts. It looks like the break is quite close to the original joint so your idea of planing off both sides and adding a shim would work here too. The question is how to prevent it in the future. Splines might be overkill on a $100 guitar but that ought to fix it.

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by Bob Gramann »

A variation on your spacer idea: I got one of these that had been inappropriately repaired several times before it came to me. After I cleaned up the joint (vinegar to remove the Titebond), I refit it and glued it with hot hide glue. That held the joint in proper alignment, but due to the missing wood from the many other attempts, it wan't near strong enough. On either side of the truss rod, one side at a time, I cut the bad joint out and replaced it with a piece of like wood that I carved to match the exposed surfaces after the glue (hhg) dried. I did some cosmetic touch up and covered it all with lacquer to match the original color. The repair was nearly invisible. It won't break there again, but the rest of the neck is no stronger than it was before. It was not a valuable guitar and the repair did not produce any profit, but it made someone happy.

John E Giarrizzo
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

2:37 PM 12/28/2015

My repair guy isn't open until tomorrow, so I thought that I would take a look at it and possibly consider trying this repair myself.

It seems worse than I originally thought. It appears that this second break occurred separate from the first glued repair. Looks like the first repair wasn't perfectly aligned, and there is some of the first break still in place.

I am expecting the pro's cost will be higher than what my friend can pay, so I am seriously considering trying it. Again, I do have some experience in building and repairs.

Also, I contacted De-glue goo. Their response:

<Quote>"DGG does not work the same on water resistant glues as it does on the original Titebond. Instead of turning the glue to a sludge, it turns the water resistant glue into a rubber that can be peeled off. This is not as easy or quick as removing the sludge but it does work and none of the wood is removed in the process. Softening of the glue also takes longer so you may want to cover the glue treated with DGG with plastic wrap so it will stay wet longer. It may also require more that one application."<End Quote>

Thanks again for all the help
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JEG 100_7292B - Copy.JPG

John E Giarrizzo
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

I have decided to do the repair myself (A long somewhat sad story)

I successfully removed the misaligned sliver of wood using vinegar and heat. It took a while, but by slowly wiggling a knife in the joint and keeping wet with vinegar and occasionally applying heat, it finally was separated. I then cleaned all the wood with clear water.

I plan on just regluing together using 315 gram weight hide glue. Never worked with that strength. Have it on order.

Also, once glued together, there are gaps in the black thick plastic like finish that Epiphone used.

I originally thought of filling with black epoxy, but I think that perhaps black burn-in shellac may be better.

Should receive the glue on Wednesday.
JEG 100_7297A.jpg

John E Giarrizzo
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

OK. I successfully glued the three pieces together. I used 315 Gram weight Hide glue. The alignment is nearly perfect, or at least acceptable (I hope).

Next question. On refinishing and drop filling the cracks and voids.

I watched Stew Mac’s video on drop filling. I purchased at my local Woodcraft store "Stick Fast CA Black Flex Glue". In experimenting, it is not real black. A plain bead does seem to harden overnight, but still a little soft. The best results were in mixing with ebony dust. Hardened quick, and was able to sand and polish. I think this would work. Or would Stew Mac's black CA glue work better?

On the attached picture, in area "A", if I push down on "A", I can see an almost imperceptible movement of the very thick finish. Now what? I thought of maybe wicking some thin superglue into that crack? Or does it have to be completely removed? (Area "B" is just a reflection).

On the other solid cracks: Could I sand, and then lacquer over with opaque black? Would lacquer bond to that epiphone finish?

I know this is a lot of questions, and I do appreciate all you guys helping me.

BTW, the reason I decided to do this myself is the shop I took it to was going to just slap the two pieces together with titebond, with the misaligned splinter in place. I told him that I was uncomfortable with that, as there would still be imperfect contact of the mating surfaces, and was also concerned that titebond would not adhere to itself, as he did not plan on cleaning or remove old glue. (He was a little "upset" with me about my questions).

Anyway, Thanks again.
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Barry Daniels
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by Barry Daniels »

Wicking in thin CA may help the flexible crack. This is not a normal thing to do but in your case it would probably be safer to do this than to break it open for repair. The black flex CA glue is a poor choice for drop fills as it does not ever cure hard enough. Black lacquer would be better. It will stick fairly well to whatever finish is there although it will not "burn-in" like it does to an existing nitro finish.
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David King
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by David King »

I've used black CA from Smith and co on a piano and it's quite hard and brittle like normal thick CA.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by Barry Daniels »

The black CA from Stew-Mac does not dry very hard. And any CA labeled as "flex" is certainly not going to be hard enough.
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Michael Lewis
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by Michael Lewis »

The problem I see is there has already been other glue applied. It will be rather difficult to get a really good fit of all the surfaces. It might be easier to make a new headstock and glue it to a freshly cut surface on the neck.

John E Giarrizzo
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

Well, I finally finished the repair. Strung it up with .011-.052 strings, and the repair is holding.

Cosmetically, I filled the voids with lacquer. When smoothing out, some of the cracked finish areas that were raised up were leveled down to the reddish primer.

Since the finish is poly, and it is my understanding that lacquer doesn't bond to it, I roughed it up and put a thin layer of shellac tinted black with india ink. I read that shellac "should" adhere to the poly. Then over sprayed with Behlen Nitrocellulose Lacquer tinted with Stew Mac's Colortone black lacquer pigment.

After stringing up, I discovered another problem. The action is extremely high. I haven't discussed this with the owner, and maybe that’s the way he either likes it, or is accustomed to it, but for me, it is way to high.

The bridge is about as low as it can go. To lower it, I would think that wood needs to be removed from the bridge plate in order to maintain the angle of the string to the bridge pin. But there is a cradle of some sort surrounding the bridge. For the pickup? I think that the depth of the pocket for this would have to be deepened.

I don't plan on changing the action at this point. Just considering procedures in the event he does want it done.
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Barry Daniels
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by Barry Daniels »

Sanding down a bridge is not normally acceptable as it causes other problems. The proper repair for this is a neck reset.
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Bob Gramann
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by Bob Gramann »

I don't know the value of the particular instrument in question, but many of the more modern Epiphones that I have seen could be purchased new for less than the cost of a neck reset. And, a reset on some of the more recent imported models can be complicated by strange glues and joinery.

John E Giarrizzo
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

That's kind of what I figured. This guitar has more sentimental value to my friend than economic. If we had to pay for the time I already have in it --- it is probably more than the guitar is worth --- financially. But you know how we musicians feel about our instruments. Some are priceless. I have a couple of violins and a guitar that I wouldn't sell for millions of dollars --- and several other instruments.

A neck reset is impractical for this guitar. So, the action is what it is.

I think it could be improved slightly by the method I asked about, even though not ideal.

Thanks again for all your help. I really enjoyed this project, and learned a few more things.
JEG 100_7355A5.jpg

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Barry Daniels
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by Barry Daniels »

I didn't realize this was a solid body.

The saddle looks like it could come down some. If the string break angle gets too low you can increase it by making slots for the strings coming out of the pin holes.
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Bob Gramann
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by Bob Gramann »

I sometimes advise my customers to write up a few paragraphs about what makes a particular guitar so special, place the appreciation in a frame, and hang it beside the guitar on the wall. Then use the money not spent on the repair to go buy a much better guitar.

This picture looks like it may have a strange pickup that might be part of the saddle. Make sure you won't be messing that up if you attack the saddle.

John E Giarrizzo
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Re: Another Guitar Headpiece Repair

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

I could write a book :)

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