Ex-wife ran over guitar

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Peter Wilcox
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Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Not my ex-wife, and not on purpose. :)

Head stock broken off and not available. Cheap classical guitar (Alvarez RC12) which unfortunately has a truss rod, but luckily has sound hole adjustment. I'm going to make and attach a new head stock - cosmetics not important but function is. Since it's nylon strung the tension won't be too great.

Before I start, any ideas/suggestions (besides a new neck which ain't gonna happen)?
guitar-run-over1.jpg
guitar-run-over2.jpg
guitar-run-over3.jpg
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

Marshall Dixon
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Marshall Dixon »

Peter Wilcox wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 2:55 pm

Before I start, any ideas/suggestions (besides a new neck which ain't gonna happen)?
I'd cut a scarf joint in the opposite direction to what we see in the pics, avoiding the truss rod.

Marshall Dixon
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Marshall Dixon »

A couple of inlaid reinforcement strips on either side of the truss rod I've seen done. Even where the fracture is clean and the headstock attached. Probably good insurance.

Mark Wybierala
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Mark Wybierala »

Wall clock

Marshall Dixon
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Marshall Dixon »

I just found out that this guitar goes for $199 at Walmart. I'm in the process of making a classical headstock now. It's a lot of work. I don't keep track of my time, and am a sporadic worker. With the truss rod in there it doesn't look like a clean job. If I had to bill my time for this job I'd guess 8 hours (planning, measuring, cutting [slots, holes, ramps), fitting, glue up with re-enforcement strips, finishing and setting up with new strings. Cheap tuning machines are $20 or so. Peg head veneer and wood = $?.

You’ll have to come in with a price considerably less than $199 to make it sensible for him to fix it and that doesn't seem like a lot of profit. But I realize that money isn't everything and that maybe we do things for altruistic reasons. So if the customer promises never to leave it under the wheel of a car ever again, and you fix it... well, looking at the height of the wings of the bridge (they look to be 5 or 6 mm high), it's going to have a thud-like sound. So if that all adds up; altruism, promise to keep it from beneath the wheel, thud-like... talk to the customer about taking down the wings' height. In my experience this increases volume, sustain and responsiveness. Do it incrementally. String it up, take them down 10 percent, then take a listen. Stop when you're down to 2 mm high. This could be a great learning opportunity with instant feedback. Or a lesson never to listen to me again. Because it's entirely possible this would make a better wall clock.

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Thanks for your input Marshall. There's no money involved here - I just do this for pleasure, and it belonged to a friend who gave it to me. I consider myself a wealthy man if my and wife's health hold, what with house and cars paid off, SS and Medicare, and kids have jobs with benefits. If I can fix it I'll give it back to him.

I've fixed the guitar case with screws, Elmer's and duct tape so it closes without too much effort. :)

It has a double action truss rod which ends 1/4" from the fret board end, and extends about 1/2" deep under the fret board, so this limits the angle that I can cut the scarf without the truss rod getting in the way of a clean cut. I'll probably cut leaving some of the damaged wood. I can cover the top with veneer, but the sides of the head stock might be a little ugly.
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Jim McConkey
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Jim McConkey »

Peter, I did an almost identical repair and documented it here nearly 20 years ago. Simply sliced off the bad part and attached a new head. I did have to buy new tuners, but the wood was scrap - cheap repair. First time I'd ever done anything like that, and it turned out great. Have a look: http://www.mimf.com/old-lib/replace_peghead.htm
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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Thanks Jim - great job! I'm afraid I'll get into more work and trouble if I try to remove the fret board and truss rod, especially not knowing what kind of glue was used on this Indonesian made instrument. I'll try a reverse scarf joint first with a few inches of carbon fiber rod to each side of the truss rod. If that doesn't work out I'll try to get the fret board off.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

Marshall Dixon
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Marshall Dixon »

Peter Wilcox wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:11 pm

It has a double action truss rod which ends 1/4" from the fret board end, and extends about 1/2" deep under the fret board, so this limits the angle that I can cut the scarf without the truss rod getting in the way of a clean cut. I'll probably cut leaving some of the damaged wood. I can cover the top with veneer, but the sides of the head stock might be a little ugly.

Japanese carpentry is intriguing. You might get an idea or two from this website:

https://architizer.com/blog/inspiration ... d-joinery/

The idea of a box, or finger joint presents itself if you slice the old neck off square at the nut. Leave the center part under the truss rod and slightly to either side of it intact, cutting two channels right down to the underside of the fretboard to mesh with the headpiece. Keep the outermost part of the neck shaft intact and the new piece a little proud and blend it in.

It would be great to find a junk guitar with a salvageable neck.

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Bryan Bear
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Bryan Bear »

I'm late to the party here but I wonder if you could do a v joint here. Cut the traight parts flush with the end of the fretboard and you should have enough good wood to make the v. The tops surface of the Ved area is missing but you should be able to get clean gluing surface of the v. Then you can fill in the missing wood and cover with a peg-head veneer.
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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Thanks for the suggestions but it's too late. I've already cut a reverse scarf, and started the headstock to fit. It's from alder so not a match, but it's what I had scraps of. Veneer is mahogany cutoff from a back. After I cut the neck I sanded down into the truss rod a bit to give more gluing area. I'll cut the slots and drill tuner holes, then glue it on, shape it to the neck, and put in a couple of CF rods from the slots into the neck for more strength.
neck-scarf.jpg
headstock1.jpg
headstock-fitting.jpg
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Marshall Dixon
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Marshall Dixon »

Peter Wilcox wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:00 pm

...It's from alder so not a match, but it's what I had scraps of...
Nice work!

Have you used alder for necks in the past? The reason I ask is that I harvested some from a neighbor last year with that in mind. I've used it in furniture making and like it's properties. Seems like it would work well for necks.

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Yes, I've made quite a few alder necks, most with alternating alder and walnut stripes, and many electric bodies. I also used it for back and sides in several of my first instruments. It's light, stiff, stable, and very easy to work. But the main reason I use a lot of alder is because I have a literal ton of it as 8 to 12 foot 1X2 to 2X4 offcuts I used to pick up from a wood trash pile of a furniture factory on the way to and from work years ago. :)
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Marshall Dixon
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Marshall Dixon »

Thanks for the info. I like using local woods and just made the acquaintance of an arborist who'll put aside the nicer stuff I'm looking for.

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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Well, it's done, and the headstock hasn't snapped off yet. I rubbed on a little dark walnet/honey amber dye and gave it a couple coats of Tru Oil - not a great match, and the end of the joint is rough where I sanded off some original finish. Found a Stewmac tuner set I got years ago and never used. Made a nut and saddle from the dog's old bone. Strings from a bulk set I bought many years ago. Cosmetically flakey, but it was free, and if it works, that's what I was going for.
finished.jpg
bottom-headsrock.jpg
top-headstock.jpg
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Karl Wicklund
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Karl Wicklund »

I appreciate this, Peter. It’s a particular aesthetic - not the purposefully stressed look some go for, but the beauty of something perfectly functional made from what someone else might toss in the trash. Keep it up!
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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Peter Wilcox »

Thanks Karl. I could have spent a little more time repairing the sanding marks on the neck, used mahogany for the headstock, and should have drilled the tuner holes before I cut the slots as there is some tearout, but it is perfectly functional and appropriate for the quality of the guitar itself.
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Bryan Bear
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Bryan Bear »

Looks like you got it up and strumming again, good on you. have you returned it to the owner yet? I bet it will make even more interest for him given the story behind it.
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Jim McConkey
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Jim McConkey »

Nice job, Peter!
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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Ex-wife ran over guitar

Post by Peter Wilcox »

He's got plenty of better guitars, so doesn't want it back. We've decided to donate it to a fundraiser we're doing for the daughter of one of our jammers, who has cancer.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

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