View Full Version : If it wasn't for bad luck

Memphis Mike
07-07-2006, 11:46 PM
I'd have none at all. I set my Gibson ES 335 in the chair on the patio tonight to go fix something to drink and it slipped and fell on the concrete and cracked the head stock.:(

I think I can glue it with some epoxy but it just reduced the value of a 3000 dollar guitar to next to nothing.

Sometimes I just want to scream.

07-07-2006, 11:51 PM
Condolences, Mike. It's not about the money, it's more like an injured child, eh. :(

07-07-2006, 11:54 PM
On the bright side, look at some of the great axe players prized guitars. Willie Nelson,SRV? It's now entirely yours.

High C
07-08-2006, 12:01 AM
Oh crap! I'm sorry to hear it, Mike. A few nights ago I dreamed that I tripped on a colleague's cello that was sitting on a chair and broke the neck. I saw it happen once, I guess the image stuck.

There are luthiers who can do a fine repair job on that neck. Unless it's a clean break, you might consider letting a pro look at it.

Memphis Mike
07-08-2006, 12:06 AM
Yeah, It's mine alright...now. I'm just hoping the epoxy will hold. It's cracked in such a way that the glue joint will have to support the tension of the strings. If it doesn't hold, it's firewood I guess.:(

The head stock, neck and body of this guitar are all one piece. No way to repair it correctly. In other words, you just can't replace the head stock and the neck.

I think I can glue it myself, JT. That's all a luthier could do with it. It's not a clean break. It's split right behind the nut. I think if I inject the split with epoxy and clamp?

07-08-2006, 12:12 AM
Sorry to hear that dude. :(

High C
07-08-2006, 12:13 AM
...you just can't replace the head stock and the neck.

Ouch....I hear that epoxy is good, strong stuff. I imagine we've all worked with it. Careful clamping, not so tight it squeezes all the glue out, and patience to let it cure a good while before putting tension on those strings.

Good luck. :(

Memphis Mike
07-08-2006, 12:18 AM
Maybe Bruce Taylor will show up in the morning with some advice.

07-08-2006, 12:36 AM
Sounds like a drift is in order.I was just hoping to make light of the situation tho.Sorry about that happening. I suppose a steel drift would change the sound but hey,you might invent a new sound like none other.

Tommy Bahama
07-08-2006, 12:37 AM
MEM Mike,

I have a Guild D-35 that has the Gibson head stock issue of wanting to crack on the backside below the nut...due to thinness and string tension. The first time that it gave out, my luthier buddy injected epoxy. That lasted about a year. The second time, he made about 3 routes of 1/2" long by 1/4" to 3/8" deep and set in hardwood cleats...it's been hanging in for about 8 years now. This is a work guitar and is never idle. He did a good job of blending in a dark color laquer over the repair so that it is hardly noticable.

Gotta love those Gibson hollow bodys...I know it hurts. I'm waiting to prang my 5 year old Tele B-bender so I'll stop fretting over it...

Memphis Mike
07-08-2006, 12:43 AM
Thanks guys. I'm going to try to get a picture of this on. Maybe with some help from you guys, I can get it fixed myself. Being out of work right now, I can't afford to take it to a pro.

Memphis Mike
07-08-2006, 01:04 AM
Here it is.:(




Paul Girouard
07-08-2006, 01:13 AM
DUDE that not good :( Could you find some sex nuts in stainless and do a flush sort of thru bolt or two , with a allen like head? Along with the epoxy in the joint . It would be tricky but what else you got to lose? The right looking bolt setup even in chrome plated bolt just slightly over sized hole for the sex nuts .

I'll see if I can find the type bolt I'm talking about, sex nut might not be the trade name / right name . I'll post a photo ,if I can find one, of the setup I'm talking about

What is it with gittar players , you all clumsey:D .

Like this http://www.topscrew.com.tw/pic/047237159/sb_03_01.jpg

Site http://www.topscrew.com.tw/e/047237159/next-01d.htm

07-08-2006, 02:04 AM
That appears to have cracked along the grain of the wood from what can be seen in the photos. That being the case it should glue up just fine, and last forever, tho as you say, the value is diminished.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
07-08-2006, 03:17 AM
Ouch - bad ouch.

The good news is - it can be fixed, this accident has happened to many many Gibsons - I've seen it on Les Pauls, SGs, 335s and 330s.
If you go looking at secondhand gibbies you will often see evidence of repairs in this area.

Almost nothing, short of a fire, will put a stringed instrument beyond repair - my uncle was a top violin repairer and had a rogues gallery of horrors - Double Basses seem to be particularly prone to disasters I saw one which had been dropped out the back of a bus - it got fixed.

If you are not an experienced repairer - take it to a pro, don't rush into a bodged repair.

07-08-2006, 05:31 AM
Sorry to hear it Mike. But take your time. Study it carefully but don't fiddle with it too much. Be sure you know exactly how you want to make the repair before you start messing with it. Maybe get some similar stock, find a way to break it, and repair that a time or two before going on to the real thing. A sloppy repair because your gut says you've got to fix it now will only cause heartache in the long run.

Good Luck.


07-08-2006, 07:19 AM
That's a very common break for Gibsons (And other guitars with angled headstocks) Send it up here and I'll fix it for you. You can pick it up at Polo. I'll have George Youngblood take a look at it to make absolutely sure that what I'm gonna do is the best possible solution. (World famous guitar restorer/repairer who owes me a favor)

Leon m
07-08-2006, 07:48 AM
Damn Mike ,that hurts...I'd go with Lefty...Can't beat that offer.

Phillip Allen
07-08-2006, 08:39 AM
I was going to offer help Mike but Lefty has a much better offer
can you post pics of the break?

Memphis Mike
07-08-2006, 08:54 AM
Phillip, you must have missed the pics. Go back and look.

Lefty, why not epoxy? And if not epoxy, then what?

Wild Dingo
07-08-2006, 08:59 AM
Bad luck there Mike... but seems Dougs got a great offer for you take him up on it nothing like getting someone like Youngblood to have a gander... sure to have a geat job of a fix done!


Hows the job hunting going along mate?

Phillip Allen
07-08-2006, 09:00 AM
okay...saw the pics. Thanks, The stress seems to be shear in nature...so why not epoxy as it is not part of the resonating part of the insturment?

Memphis Mike
07-08-2006, 09:36 AM
OK, I just read up on it and apparently epoxy is too thick to provide a really tight glue joint and will probably harm the finish. It's suggested that Hyde glue or Aliphatic glue be used. I've never heard of Aliphatic glue.

Bruce Taylor
07-08-2006, 09:54 AM
Missed this thread.

This topic has come up on the forum before. As others have noted, it's a problem w/ Gibsons. At the time, I posted some pics of a splined Gibson headstock repair. I'll dig 'em up and post them again.

And if you like I can scan the article from American Lutherie and send it along to you or Lefty.

I haven't checked the net, yet, but I'll bet there are lutherie websites that describe this repair.

"Aliphatic resin" is a trade name for yellow carpenter's glue (the term means very little and was actually invented to differentiate the stuff from its notorious white cousin).

High C
07-08-2006, 09:55 AM
OK, I just read up on it and apparently epoxy is too thick to provide a really tight glue joint and will probably harm the finish. It's suggested that Hyde glue or Aliphatic glue be used. I've never heard of Aliphatic glue.

Interesting, hyde glue is an old fashioned glue, hardly used any more.

I've sent my friend Jimmy Foster www.fosterguitars.com an email and to see what he thinks is the best choice of glue. Jimmy is a master luthier who I've played with a few times. He build incredible hollow body guitars that cost a lot of $$$.

Memphis Mike
07-08-2006, 09:58 AM
Thanks Bruce. Although I appreciate Lefty's offer, I doubt if I ship the guitar to him considering shipping costs and the fact that I probably can't get up that way this summer. Thanks, anyhow Lefty.:)

Send any info you have to me, Bruce.

Bruce Taylor
07-08-2006, 10:02 AM
Ebony splines:


I'll see if I can find the original article in my pile of stuff.

Bruce Taylor
07-08-2006, 10:07 AM
Interesting, hyde glue is an old fashioned glue, hardly used any more

Luthiers use hide glue a lot (many will use nothing else). I use it where I want to avoid "creep" (e.g. bridges) and where I might want to take the joint apart. I also use it for rosette mosaics, because I like the way it allows expansion when wet.

However, to make good use of it requires some special equipment and a fair bit of practise. It's not really an option for a first repair effort.

Mike, you might want to take Lefty up on his offer.

Phillip Allen
07-08-2006, 10:08 AM
Mike, a professional repair should minimize the loss of value...that investment now will pay off in the future.

07-08-2006, 10:11 AM
I see that you already figgered out "Why not epoxy?"...
Here's another question which might be important.... Is it an adjustable truss neck? (Probably)
My Gibson EB-0L had the same break, and I fixed it with yellow glue and carefully made cork lined clamping cauls. One of the real tricks is to make sure that any fractured splinters are in their proper location when clamping up, otherwise the joint will not close up properly. You also don't want to remove any of those splinters, as that will leave a void. which in effect will translate to the joint not closing up properly.

Phillip Allen
07-08-2006, 10:15 AM
one of the best clamps I've found for compound curves and other irregular surfaces is a length of surgical tubing wound tightly around the parts...use care and make sure the parts can't ooze against one another...

Bruce Taylor
07-08-2006, 10:23 AM
is a length of surgical tubing wound tightly around the parts

Not in this case (tubing's great for attaching binding's, tho').

Custom cauls, as Lefty says.

Memphis Mike
07-08-2006, 10:27 AM
So, a yellow carpenter's wood glue like Tightbond?

Memphis Mike
07-08-2006, 10:36 AM
Here's an identicle break on an SG and how it was fixed.



Bruce Taylor
07-08-2006, 10:43 AM
I'd be more comfortable w/ ebony splines, as described by Hideo Kamimoto in his classic repair book (which I don't have at hand).

I found the Richard Beck article, and can scan it, if you're interested. As I suspected, he glues the splines with West System #105/205. I'd probably use Titebond...but I'm NOT an experienced repair luthier.

Maybe High C's friend will weigh in. In the meantime...take it slow. In the past, I've rushed into repairs and regretted it later.

Memphis Mike
07-08-2006, 02:58 PM
Thanks Bruce. I don't like the idea of routing the neck. At least it's something I don't want to do myself.

And thanks for the email. I'm going to give it some thought. I may even take it on to a pro.

It's not like I don't have another guitar I can play right now. I've got three others so there's no need to rush but it's like Meer said. I've got a wounded baby.:(

High C
07-08-2006, 04:03 PM
Patience, Grasshopper.

I'm still waiting to hear back from Jimmy Foster.....

07-08-2006, 04:22 PM
I'm sure it is covered under your homeowners ... but man that IS a shame ... nice boxes, those 335 ... big fat sound.

Memphis Mike
07-08-2006, 05:02 PM
Well, I called around and the general consensus is about $250.00 for a professional repair and $750.00 to have the neck replaced by Gibson.

I don't think that would make my deductable, Brad. If something like this is covered.

Thanks, JT. I'm waiting to hear what your friend says.

07-08-2006, 05:11 PM
If you have replacement value for contents, it would.

It's worth an ask to your agent. Seriously.

07-08-2006, 05:44 PM
How great tho that you can fix it temporarily and have Gibson replace it later on down the road.Would the replacement restore the original value to the guitar?

Lew Barrett
07-09-2006, 01:07 AM
And thanks for the email. I'm going to give it some thought. I may even take it on to a pro.(

Now you're talking. Do some research. Everything will come out OK.


Memphis Mike
07-10-2006, 12:43 PM
Thanks for all the help people and especially Bruce.:)

I couldn't let her set any longer and carefully glued and clamped the break with Titebond. I didn't feel comfortable routing the neck and adding ebony splines but may have to at a later date.

I'm going to let her set a couple more days before I re-string. Then I'll know if it's going to hold or not.

It's a good repair and hardly noticable and with a little cosmetic work, won't be noticable at all.

High C
07-10-2006, 01:01 PM
Good going, Mike. I haven't been able to get in touch with Jimmy Foster, maybe he's on vacation.

It sounds like the repair you did won't hurt your ability to do the more drastic things in the future if it doesn't hold.

Crossing fingers....