#1
So, the guitar is destroyed, but was it my fault? I just had a used guitar shipped to me. On the surface, it looks almost brand new. I decided to set it up and get it playing properly.

First, I completely loosened the truss rod, tightened it until it was snug, then tightened it about another 1/8th of a turn. I put the strings on, and went back and forth between the tuners and tremolo springs, until the strings were at pitch and the tremolo was level with the body. I adjusted the truss rod, with the strings at pitch, an 1/8th turn at a time, until the neck was pretty straight. I measured using a straight edge. I fretted every note and found no buzzes, so I decided to lower the action to see how low I could get it. I measured the action at the 12th fret and found it to be 5/64" for the low E. I turned both trem posts clockwise about one whole turn, with the strings still at pitch, in order to lower the strings. I encountered some resistance but not so much that I had to force anything. The trem was lowered, so I went back to measure the action again, and found it to be like 4.5/64th. I'm not sure how many times I went back and forth before I realized that turning the trem posts didn't seem to be doing anything.

So, I blocked the tremolo, loosened the strings, removed the springs, and took the trem out to reveal a network of cracks spreading from both trem anchors all throughout the cavity. The damage is very extensive.

I didn't do anything that I haven't done at least 20 times before this. Everything I've read would indicate that the truss rod and action are supposed to be adjusted under tension. But, I can't help but think that as I was turning the posts I was just splitting the guitar apart somehow. Like I said, I encountered some resistance, but not like wood splitting resistance, unless I had some sort of mechanical advantage.

I think I would have seen the cracks if they had been there before I started, but I mean it could have just started with one small one, perhaps created during shipping. I'm pretty sure tension was not taken off of the neck when the guitar arrived.

This sucks. I am very disappointed. Did I do something obviously wrong?
#2
WOW. Sucks to be you man. I do all that stuff all the time i will keep in mind to be more careful now. Whenever my guitars get a crack I just clog it full of gap filler but I think Yours mite b a bit to extreme
#3
Normally i adjust the truss rod with slack strings, tune up to check then loosen to make any further adjustments
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#5
Turning the posts shouldn't split the wood. The posts screw into some metal thing in the body (don't know the word, I'm not native English ). It looks like this. You can't really overturn the posts.

The only thing you did wrong (as far as I can tell) is turning the trem posts while the strings are under tension. This will dull the knife edges, making it go out of tune when using the tremolo.
#6
Quote by CreepingDeath13
pics?


The camera's flash makes them a lot more apparent. Seeing them in that light, it seems inconceivable that I could have not noticed them. But, who knows. Like I said it could have started with something smaller.

So, is there anything that I could have done to cause this, without even realizing it? It was used when I bought it, and I would just chalk it up to damage during shipping or a defective guitar for whatever reason, if it weren't for the fact that there is the same kind of damage on both trem posts.

I just want to be absolutely clear so this doesn't ever happen again, if it was something I did.

Also, this happened like a week after I received the guitar, so it's not like it was frozen from shipping or anything like that.






#8
Yeah, that makes perfect sense to me. I just wanted to be extra sure there wasn't some common mistake that makes your guitar explode.
#9
the tube shaped part that the posts screw into could have an open end and you may have somehow lowered it so much that it pushed the wood away
Gear:
Epiphone Les Paul Custom
Ibanez S320 Black
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#10
Quote by Kboth18
the tube shaped part that the posts screw into could have an open end and you may have somehow lowered it so much that it pushed the wood away

This seems to be the logical conclusion, to me.

Edit: I would hardly call this ruined, though. I could easily fix all those cracks with hot hide glue, superglue, and micromesh sanding pads. If you don't have a clamp to fit this situation, then just build one out of wood.
Sincerely, Chad.
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Last edited by Chad48309 at Apr 5, 2011,
#11
I think that the reason you see cracks at both posts is that the person who put the posts in cracked the guitar. The posts should be snug so that they don't move. Therefore, the holes are typically drilled a little undersized. When you press or hammer them in, they could split like it did here. When you tried to tune it, the small crack became bigger. The only way you could have avoided it is to have just hung it on your wall and never strung it up.

I would contact the seller and demand my money back since this was clearly a defective item.
#12
Quote by Rusty_Chisel
I think that the reason you see cracks at both posts is that the person who put the posts in cracked the guitar. The posts should be snug so that they don't move. Therefore, the holes are typically drilled a little undersized. When you press or hammer them in, they could split like it did here. When you tried to tune it, the small crack became bigger. The only way you could have avoided it is to have just hung it on your wall and never strung it up.

I would contact the seller and demand my money back since this was clearly a defective item.

Also probable, but I'd just fix it for minimal cost rather than go through all that.
Sincerely, Chad.
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#13
Shouldnt the sleeves be flush with the body anyways? It would depend on the sleeves used and and how long the studs are if they could be screwed in enough to actually push them out of the body. More likely the crack has loosened things up allowing them to come out of the body. Could be why the other guy wanted to get rid of the guitar. It is not unheard of for all that tension and heavy trem use to create cracks like that. Is it a big thing to fix not really?
#14
Quote by Tackleberry
Shouldnt the sleeves be flush with the body anyways? It would depend on the sleeves used and and how long the studs are if they could be screwed in enough to actually push them out of the body. More likely the crack has loosened things up allowing them to come out of the body. Could be why the other guy wanted to get rid of the guitar. It is not unheard of for all that tension and heavy trem use to create cracks like that. Is it a big thing to fix not really?

Fixing cracks is not difficult. It is time consuming and requires experience, but it is not difficult. Hot hide glue is the best choice for repairing cracks, because it has a low viscosity and can penetrate easily into deep cracks. Hot hide glue should be used to penetrate deeply into the crack and the excess should be cleaned up with water. If you'd wanted to make the crack invisible, superglue can easily disguise a crack through careful application and sanding (it is also easily colored, making it a good choice for repairing cracks across colored finishes). It is important, however, to devise a well-suited clamp for the situation if one will not fit. You can build a clamp from shaped wood and a long, sturdy bolt.
Sincerely, Chad.
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#16
Quote by askrere
musicians are afraid to call customer service

Repair techs don't believe in calling customer service.
Sincerely, Chad.
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#17
^ but in this case are you really coming out on top patching cracks in a guitar, when you can get a crack free one? I'm not doubting your ability, just I rather save the fixing for things that have no other option.
#18
Quote by askrere
^ but in this case are you really coming out on top patching cracks in a guitar, when you can get a crack free one? I'm not doubting your ability, just I rather save the fixing for things that have no other option.

I don't see the point. That would require disputing it with customer service, waiting for it to be sent in (possibly at my own expense), waiting for one to be shipped back to me, and my time is more valuable than that. All of this would typically take weeks, at bare minimum (and possibly longer, due to the cost of expedited shipping). I could have the thing fixed in less than a day, and most of the work is setup time that I wouldn't even have to be present for.

Fixing it just seems to be more sensible.
Sincerely, Chad.
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#19
I think that I can still take it back, and that's what I'm going to do. I appreciate your suggestion to fix it myself. If I had any woodworking experience, and hadn't spent so much on it, I'd probably give it a shot. But, I'd rather not learn in this particular situation.
#21
Quote by noahfor
I think that I can still take it back, and that's what I'm going to do. I appreciate your suggestion to fix it myself. If I had any woodworking experience, and hadn't spent so much on it, I'd probably give it a shot. But, I'd rather not learn in this particular situation.

Fair enough. You gotta do what you gotta do.
Sincerely, Chad.
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#22
Quote by n00bje
Turning the posts shouldn't split the wood. The posts screw into some metal thing in the body (don't know the word, I'm not native English ).

The part that goes into the body is called a bushing
#23
That looks like somehow the factory didn't make the post holes large enough before putting the posts in. What you can do is take a small amount of wood glue and put it in the cracks. Just find a good way of clamping it for 24 hours and leave it for about 3 days before putting tention on it. As far as i can see that shouldn't have been caused by anything you did.
#24
Quote by Nephilim777
That looks like somehow the factory didn't make the post holes large enough before putting the posts in. What you can do is take a small amount of wood glue and put it in the cracks. Just find a good way of clamping it for 24 hours and leave it for about 3 days before putting tention on it. As far as i can see that shouldn't have been caused by anything you did.

Wood glue is an awful solution. No repair tech worth his salt would use plain wood glue or even that liquid hide glue crap. The only two choices are hot hide glue (cooked in a pot), super glue (not preferred for wood/wood solutions, only for finish cracks), or Franklin Titebond (which is the choice glue of master jazz guitar maker Bob Benedetto).
Sincerely, Chad.
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#25
so is hot hide glue better than wood glue for cracks? I have a cracked neck on my favorite
#26
Quote by dlowe102
so is hot hide glue better than wood glue for cracks? I have a cracked neck on my favorite

Depends on the crack. If it's thin and tight, usually in an area of a lot of tension for force pushing into it, then hot hide glue is a good solution. The reason why is because hot hide glue has a pretty low viscosity and can penetrate cracks well while simultaneously clamping well and holding its strength.

Titebond is a good choice if you're gluing a separated fingerboard or something that should have long-term permanency (while still remaining feasible to disassemble; there are certain parts of a guitar that should NEVER need to come apart for a long, long time). While hide glue is traditionally used for attaching things that might have to be removed and reset (tops, necks, etc), that is a very, very hairsplit choice left up to the repair tech. There are benefits to using both, and it depends on how sure you are of your work. Personally, I believe in combing the best of both (though many luthiers only swear by either, not both) and in the case of penetrating cracks, the logical idea is to use hide glue.

On top of these repairs, you can completely seal a seam to a finish with colored epoxy, or clear epoxy for a clear finish. Note that this works best on gloss finishes, and it is difficult to achieve consistency with a flat finish.

Sources:
Sincerely, Chad.
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Last edited by Chad48309 at Apr 8, 2011,
#27
Quote by dlowe102
so is hot hide glue better than wood glue for cracks? I have a cracked neck on my favorite
I picked up a Oscar Schmidt 335 style guitar with a cracked neck for $30. I used regular wood glue and applied it with a medical syringe (w/ a metal needle) into the crack and clamped it. The repair is solid.
#28
Quote by fly135
I picked up a Oscar Schmidt 335 style guitar with a cracked neck for $30. I used regular wood glue and applied it with a medical syringe (w/ a metal needle) into the crack and clamped it. The repair is solid.

Though highly unprofessional. Wood glue grows weak in the long-term, gums up the wood in the area by soaking into it too deeply and never drying when inside the wood's pores (it dries only when exposed to air, not just by cooling like hot hide glue). Hot hide glue, due to its low viscosity, can go down to the very center of the crack and will hold both sides of the wood together very well. For cracks, it will hold long-term very well. It is also the glue of choice when you want a glue that can be removed for necessary repairs, though that has nothing to do with why it is the best glue for cracks.
Sincerely, Chad.
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#29
Seriously im a luthier and have work with the best of them and wood glue is the only propper glue to use on a crack where so much pressure is being applied. Wood glue won't get any weaker over time than any other glue. The reason it seems to break apart is because it is not propperly applied. It works best with the thinest layer possible. If you use a lot of it yes it will break. Frank Ford, one of the best repair men in the country, suggest only wood glue on cracks like this.
#30
Quote by Nephilim777
Seriously im a luthier and have work with the best of them and wood glue is the only propper glue to use on a crack where so much pressure is being applied. Wood glue won't get any weaker over time than any other glue. The reason it seems to break apart is because it is not propperly applied. It works best with the thinest layer possible. If you use a lot of it yes it will break. Frank Ford, one of the best repair men in the country, suggest only wood glue on cracks like this.

Saying the "best repairman in the country" is extremely subjective and cannot be measured. That is poor evidence and would not be considered empirical. I do not subscribe to your school of thought. The higher viscosity and essential chemical composition supports evidence to the contrary. I've also never had any difficulty accepting the better ideas of Dan Erlewine, role-model repair tech since 1963. As you'll see from the informational links I posted from Stewart-Macdonald, my case has already been made for me.

I also accept the word of Bob Benedetto, one of the finer archtop guitar makers in history, who also supports the same view I have given.

Edit: furthermore, you must support your conclusion with actual evidence rather than hearsay. Forgive me if I have trouble taking seriously the word of someone on the Internet who has not only provided no conclusive credentials and who exhibits unprofessional communication skills.
Sincerely, Chad.
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Last edited by Chad48309 at Apr 8, 2011,
#31
Debate is the only way to learn and i'm very open to accepting other means of repairing instruments. I've also talked to Dan Erlewine and he recomende I use wood glue. He may have changes his methods since i have talked to him. I prefer traditional means of repair since it has worked for such a long time. My thought on the fact that Frank Ford is one of the best is the fact that if people are taking there $50,000 pre WWII Martin guitars to him for repair he has to be good. I have personally seen him do a whole neck reset and re-fret in 2 hours as well as major crack repair in such a short time while producing flawless work. I may have come across and egotistical with the working i used and i apologise for any discrepancies i may have caused. I have personally used wood glue on parts that have major stress points like that and have had no problems with the glue joint. I also have seen many other types of glue used effectively but find them a little more dificult to use. Not how much expantion does the glue your suggesting have durring the drying pocess?
#32
Quote by Nephilim777
Debate is the only way to learn and i'm very open to accepting other means of repairing instruments. I've also talked to Dan Erlewine and he recomende I use wood glue. He may have changes his methods since i have talked to him. I prefer traditional means of repair since it has worked for such a long time. My thought on the fact that Frank Ford is one of the best is the fact that if people are taking there $50,000 pre WWII Martin guitars to him for repair he has to be good. I have personally seen him do a whole neck reset and re-fret in 2 hours as well as major crack repair in such a short time while producing flawless work. I may have come across and egotistical with the working i used and i apologise for any discrepancies i may have caused. I have personally used wood glue on parts that have major stress points like that and have had no problems with the glue joint. I also have seen many other types of glue used effectively but find them a little more dificult to use. Not how much expantion does the glue your suggesting have durring the drying pocess?

You don't get much more traditional than hide glue. It's been in use for centuries, possibly even millennia. I have no doubt to the man's credentials, but saying someone is the best repair tech in the world is like saying someone is the best medical doctor in the world. No educated professional would even attempt to make such a distinction, because it is entirely subjective and cannot be measured simply.

When using typical store-bought wood glue, you're not thinking in the 70-100 year long-term. The glue degrades over time, it cannot be helped. Liquid hide glue (the pre-bottled junk that dares to rob the name "hide glue") is comparable to this; most professional luthiers find it to be utter crap with no long-term stability. For permanent joints that should not be moved under any circumstances, Franklin Titebond is the preferred aliphatic glue because of its long-term stability, consistency, and properties of strength. Hide glue has many, many applications though because of the many different ways in which the glue can be used. It has many unique properties from its consistency in shrinking, to its low viscosity, to its ability to be completely cleaned with water (which is of great use during repair). To answer any questions you may have about the chemical structure of the glue, I'd recommend reading this: http://www.frets.com/fretspages/luthier/Data/Materials/hideglue.html

Apology isn't necessary. We simply have different opinions. I would only ask you to back up your opinion on the use of ordinary wood glue by providing something other than anecdotal evidence (which is not empirical and can hardly even be considered evidence). It doesn't matter if it works in the short term or even if it works at all; what matters is why it works and why it will continue to work every time, for the same application, without failure, and what benefits and disadvantages surround its use.
Sincerely, Chad.
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Last edited by Chad48309 at Apr 8, 2011,