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  • Gibson Blues King Electro guitar repair

    Blues King Electro in for crack repair This beauty has recently come to the shop for some crack repairs. The owner had a tragic strap malfunction and the guitar fell and landed squarely on the binding of the lower bout.
    Gibson rib crack In this photo you can clearly see the rib crack. It runs from the output jacks at the base all the way to the waist.
    Gibson top crack As you can see, the top of the guitar took a bit of a beating as well.
    Mixing the glue Step one for this repair is to mix up a fresh batch of hot hide glue. I find this to be the best possible glue for crack repairs. It is extremely strong, penetrates deep with capillary action, and is nearly invisible when it drys.
    gluing the crack I use quick clamps with waxed pads to clamp the crack being extremely careful to keep both sides of the crack level.
    tape marks the spot Here you can see I am using painter's tape to map out the locations for the reinforcing cleats that will be glued to the inside of the rib.

     

    Cleaning up the squeeze out inside the guitar Looking on the inside, you can easily see how the glue penetrated the crack. This squeeze out will prevent the spruce cleats from gluing flat on the inside, so I am using an extremely strong magnet wrapped in sandpaper to clean it up.
    This is the result of the clean up. This is the result of the clean up.
    cleats going in guitar And here is what the first round of cleats look like being magnetically clamped on the inside.
    And here is what it looks like from the outside. And here is what it looks like from the outside.
    More cleats The second round of cleats are installed in the same way. I do them in two steps like this so that the powerful magnets don't get too close together and interfere with each other.
    Starting the retouch Time to start the retouch. First I start by cleaning the area, sealing it with hot hide glue and then softening the edges of the crack with acetone.
    color matched drop fill Next I mix up a custom color to match the existing amber lacquer. Then I just start building it up to level the crack. This is the first round of drop fill. I will have to repeat this process many many times as the lacquer drys and shrinks back.
    The Lacquer is all polished up Sorry I miss a few photos of the drop fill process, but this is a close-up of the spot after the lacquer is leveled and polished.
    And this is finished result of the repaired top. And this is finished result of the repaired top.
    Just in case you were wondering how the rib turned out, here it is after touch-up. Just in case you were wondering how the rib turned out, here it is after touch-up.

     

    Thanks to everyone for reading the Gibson Blues King Electro guitar repair post, and I hope you found it enjoyable.  As always feel free to post links to your social media of choice and leave comments below.

  • Martin Backpacker repair

    This little guitar has seen some trauma.  Unfortunately a well-meaning roommate has done more harm than good trying to fix it.  Let's see if I can do a better job. This little guitar has seen some trauma. Unfortunately a well-meaning roommate has done more harm than good trying to fix it. Let's see if I can do a better job.
    Going in order from easy to ugly, this is what need fixing.  First is a simple top crack at the sound hole.  This will get glued and cleated. Going in order from easy to ugly, this is what need fixing. First is a simple top crack at the sound hole. This will get glued and cleated.
    The top is loose from the ribs on the bass side.  No big deal. The top is loose from the ribs on the bass side. No big deal.
    The end block is completely cracked in half and will need  some glue. The end block is completely cracked in half and will need some glue.
    And lastly we have the treble side, which is a complete mess.  This is why gorilla glue should never ever ever be used on a guitar, ever. Gorilla glue is a polyurethane glue that foams up when exposed to too much water.  Worst of all it gets into the wood fibers and makes my prefered glue, hot hide glue, refuse to hold.  No worries though, this guitar will sing again. And lastly we have the treble side, which is a complete mess. This is why gorilla glue should never ever ever be used on a guitar, ever. Gorilla glue is a polyurethane glue that foams up when exposed to too much water. Worst of all it gets into the wood fibers and makes my prefered glue, hot hide glue, refuse to hold. No worries though, this guitar will sing again.
    Nothing that I know of dissolves Gorilla glue, so it must be removed by force.  Some gentle persuasion cleans up the exterior dribbles with little added trauma to mahogany rib.  Nothing that I know of dissolves Gorilla glue, so it must be removed by force. Some gentle persuasion cleans up the exterior dribbles with little added trauma to mahogany rib.
    Now I need to reopen the crack so that I can relevel the two halves of the rib.  I do this with a sharp thin knife. Now I need to reopen the crack so that I can relevel the two halves of the rib. I do this with a sharp thin knife.
    With the crack open I can clean out the remaining glue on the inside.  Some sanding is unfortunately necessary to remove the polyurethane sodden wood. With the crack open I can clean out the remaining glue on the inside. Some sanding is unfortunately necessary to remove the polyurethane sodden wood.
    The hardest part is getting the rib halves to line back up again.  After a bit of wrestling I got it glued back together. The hardest part is getting the rib halves to line back up again. After a bit of wrestling I got it glued back together.
    In order to keep the rib from splitting again at that weakened spot I put in spruce cleats on the inside.  You can think of these as permanent sutures to hold the wound closed. In order to keep the rib from splitting again at that weakened spot I put in spruce cleats on the inside. You can think of these as permanent sutures to hold the wound closed.
    More cleats going in.  More cleats going in.
    While those cleats were drying I fixed the top crack.  Those are powerful rare earth magnets clamping the reinforcement cleats to the inside. While those cleats were drying I fixed the top crack. Those are powerful rare earth magnets clamping the reinforcement cleats to the inside.
    Heating up a fresh batch of hot hide glue to fix the last of the rib and block cracks. Heating up a fresh batch of hot hide glue to fix the last of the rib and block cracks.
    Here you can see the rest of the cracks are glued and clamped. Here you can see the rest of the cracks are glued and clamped.
    With the camps off, I cleaned up the excess glue and did a little filling in the large crack. With the camps off, I cleaned up the excess glue and did a little filling in the large crack.
    This is the final result.  It's all tuned up and ready to play. This is the final result. It's all tuned up and ready to play.

    Thanks to everyone who read the post.  Putting this old Martin Backpacker back together was a snap and I hope you enjoyed watching the progress.

  • Guild neck reset

    This guitar was brought to me because the action was too high and it was hard to play. This guitar was brought to me because the action was too high and it was hard to play.
    here you can see how high the strings are at the 12th fret. Here you can see how high the strings are at the 12th fret.
    This photo shows the neck projection onto the bridge.    You can see here that the neck has rotated so much that the projection is below the top of the bridge.  A neck reset is in order to fix this and get the action back down. This photo shows the neck projection onto the bridge. You can see here that the neck has rotated so much that the projection is below the top of the bridge. A neck reset is in order to fix this and get the action back down.
    Here you can see me using an iron to heat up the fingerboard in order to loosen the glue.  I am using my bending slats wrapped in tinfoil to protect the guitar top from the irons heat.  I should note that there is no water in the iron.  The steam comes later. Here you can see me using an iron to heat up the fingerboard in order to loosen the glue. I am using my bending slats wrapped in tinfoil to protect the guitar top from the irons heat. I should note that there is no water in the iron. The steam comes later.
    I use a sharp knife and various spatulas to free the fingerboard from the top.  once again you can see I am using the steel slats to protect the top from any accidental damage. I use a sharp knife and various spatulas to free the fingerboard from the top. once again you can see I am using the steel slats to protect the top from any accidental damage.
    Now the fret has to come out so I can drill down to the neck joint.  The hole will be hidden under the fret wire when it all goes back together.  I use a soldering iron to heat the fret, so it will come out clean. Now the fret has to come out so I can drill down to the neck joint. The hole will be hidden under the fret wire when it all goes back together. I use a soldering iron to heat the fret, so it will come out clean.
    Here you can see the fret has come out nice and clean and I have drilled a tiny hole into the pocket of the neck joint so I can inject steam to melt the glue inside. Here you can see the fret has come out nice and clean and I have drilled a tiny hole into the pocket of the neck joint so I can inject steam to melt the glue inside.
    In goes the steam!  here you can see part of my neck steaming setup.  On the guitar is a fancy jig to apply a constant pressure to the heel of the neck to encourage it's clean release with a minimum amount of steaming. In goes the steam! here you can see part of my neck steaming setup. On the guitar is a fancy jig to apply a constant pressure to the heel of the neck to encourage it's clean release with a minimum amount of steaming.
    This is a homemade water trap I built to catch any condensed water in the lines before it gets to the guitar and makes things unnecessarily soggy.  Yeah it leaks a bit, so I put it in the paint can to catch the drips and keep it from tipping over.  It works surprisingly well. This is a homemade water trap I built to catch any condensed water in the lines before it gets to the guitar and makes things unnecessarily soggy. Yeah it leaks a bit, so I put it in the paint can to catch the drips and keep it from tipping over. It works surprisingly well.
    A little while later and out she comes clean as can be except for a layer of old hide glue. A little while later and out she comes clean as can be except for a layer of old hide glue.
    All this glue will get cleaned out before the joint has a chance to cool.  After that, the guitar gets to rest for a spell while everything drys back out.  I need the wood moisture to fully stabilize out before I go resetting the neck angle. All this glue will get cleaned out before the joint has a chance to cool. After that, the guitar gets to rest for a spell while everything drys back out. I need the wood moisture to fully stabilize out before I go resetting the neck angle.
    My apologies, I must have forgotten to snap a photo of the neck going back in, but I assure you there was nothing more than a few clamps and some glue.  The neck joint was of course adjusted and refit to raise the saddle height beforehand.  Sorry no pictures there either.  In this photo you can see the new bits of cow bone that will soon become the new saddle and nut. My apologies, I must have forgotten to snap a photo of the neck going back in, but I assure you there was nothing more than a few clamps and some glue. The neck joint was of course adjusted and refit to raise the saddle height beforehand. Sorry no pictures there either. In this photo you can see the new bits of cow bone that will soon become the new saddle and nut.
    The new fully compensated saddle and new bridge pins installed. The new fully compensated saddle and new bridge pins installed.
    All finished.  The new action is back to factory new and this guild is ready to go home. All finished. The new action is back to factory new and this guild is ready to go home.

    Thank you Don for trusting me with this beauty and thanks to everyone who took the time to read this post.  As always feel free to leave questions and comments below.

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