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#1
Hello all. I have a query about my good ol' Les Paul. In a very tragic story that ends with my Les Paul Studio headstock breaking. After looking at it and taking it to a luthier (who tends to know his stuff), it looks like the only way to fix it is by replacing the headstock. The luthier said the repair would run roughly $600-$800 altogether.

I was just wondering, does this sound about right? I expected it to be around this range when I realized the damage, but I'm not exactly a guitar repair genius. I probably wouldn't replace it anytime soon if this is the case, but I just want piece of mind I suppose. I appreciate any insight from you guys. Thanks!
#2
Is the headstock destroyed?

If not, the normal repair is to pit it back together. This happens to quite a few Les Pauls because the headstock angle doesn't fit too well with the natural grain of the wood.

I'm afraid I have o idea what a headstock repair would cost in the USA, but if you have a good deal of the wood still, I would expect a reconstruction rather than replacement...
#3
Got pics of the damage? Also for that price is just replace it. You can find gibsons LP studios for less than that on the used market if your lucky.
#4
I have pics of the damage...but I have no idea how to upload them. The file attachment button says my files are too large.

I am going to just get a new guitar, but this one holds quite a large amount of sentimental value to me, so I'll probably just save a couple of bucks from each check and eventually replace the head in a year or so.
#5
http://tinypic.com/

Upload here, use IMG code.
Tomorrow will take us away
Far from home
No one will ever know our names
But the bards' songs will remain
Tomorrow will take it away
The fear of today
It will be gone
Due to our magic songs

ALL HAIL CELESTIA
#7
Locally by me that's $150 for glue and leveling everything right, another $150-200 to match the finish.

Your luthier is very high.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#8
Oof...

If it's that messed up, you probably are better off getting a new guitar.

Or listen to the expert who posted before me.
Tomorrow will take us away
Far from home
No one will ever know our names
But the bards' songs will remain
Tomorrow will take it away
The fear of today
It will be gone
Due to our magic songs

ALL HAIL CELESTIA
#9
I probably should've mentioned (and you can't see it in the pic), it has broken before. He said it'd be around $220 to fix, but, in less words, he said he didn't want to do it because he was afraid of the risk that the old crack would re-split. He said the only way he'd feel comfortable doing any repair work was with a new headstock, to which he also said just look for a new guitar.

Clear as mud, right?
#10
Thanks again for all the help.
There's about a 98% chance I'm just going to get a new guitar, but again, at some point down the road, I have to fix this because the son of a gun means so much to me. So I just want to know if his assessment of getting and putting on a new headstock as being in that 600-800 range is correct. Again, not looking for solace, just knowledge.
#11
did it break in the same area? undoing a bad repair def adds to the cost/labor involved.

its always worth getting a second opinion too.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#12
The break is a few millimeters away from the original, maybe 5 or so. I'm not saying it isn't worth a second opinion, but I did also find it concerning he wouldn't just take my money due to legitimate fear or it re-breaking.
#13
If it was repaired correctly the first time it will not break along the fault line. That's actually a very clean break and wouldn't be a big deal to repair at all, I was expecting the "handful of toothpicks" type of break.


I'm not understanding what he means by "putting on a new headstock". If he cuts that one off and puts a new one on it's not going to be any stronger than repairing the break that exists currently.
Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
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[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
#14
Well I think he meant that the break is right above the bottom of the headstock, which means a new headstock would eliminate the problem of multiple breaks. I'm not saying he's right or wrong, I won't claim to have that much knowledge.
From what I'm gathering, a second opinion is probably best practice here, but I REALLY appreciate the input you guys are giving.
#15
Definitely get a second opinion. $600-800 is ludicrous.
Quote by SimplyBen
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Quote by Toppscore
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#16
It's a pretty clean break. I'll bet you could glue and clamp it yourself and there would only be a small crack visible. If the previous break was repaired well (and I guess it was because it didn't re-break there) I wouldn't worry about it.

At the very least, take it to another luthier for a second opinion.
#17
Quote by stormin1155
It's a pretty clean break. I'll bet you could glue and clamp it yourself and there would only be a small crack visible. If the previous break was repaired well (and I guess it was because it didn't re-break there) I wouldn't worry about it.

At the very least, take it to another luthier for a second opinion.


Yes, and yes. CA glue - cyanoacrylate. Go to your local hobby store and pick up some of what they have if it has a second activator part; super glue is kind of the same thing, but won't hold as well. I've actually done a couple headstocks and bridges with wood glue, but CA looks better and will actually be almost invisible. Even if you do buy a new guitar this one is worth trying to fix, at least in my opinion.

I wish I took picks of the Ibanez RG horn I fixed - if you know how bad some of their finishes are you would surely appreciate the job I did!
#19
Wouldn't you use Hide Glue or a polyurethane glue for a break like that?
#20
You guys rock. I legitimately went through the five stages of grief over this break, and at the very least you guys brightened my outlook.

I should mention that the original break was actually a...for lack of a better term, a multiple break? The original break happened twice (knocked it over with my fat ass doing laundry and then again trying to tweak my amp). The second time, I got it fixed by a much more talented luthier. The new break (actually not my fault this time, shit karma for past transgressions I suppose) is the one posted. The original "multiple break" was extremely well repaired, and stayed in tact, but does it make a difference to get it repaired? I know I'm an idiot and all, and there is an inherent danger in stupidity, but user error aside, am I just pissing in the wind if I get it fixed with all the past wear and tear, or does that make a difference?

If I went the route of DIY repair, do you guys know of some resources in which I could watch to help myself? I have never done any form of guitar repair in my life, and could use any help.

Again, really appreciating all the understanding and help. Thanks again!
#21
There's an art to re-gluing headstocks. It's not difficult, but if it's not done well, you'll be sorely disappointed. I wouldn't be doing my first attempt to re-glue one on a Gibson.

Just take it to a tech this time round.
Quote by SimplyBen
That's the advantage of being such a distance from Yianni. I can continue to live my life without fear of stumbling upon his dark terror.


Quote by Toppscore
NakedInTheRain aka "Naked with shriveled pencil sized bacon In The Rain"
#22
Personally I think you should buy a Stratocaster and not go near an angled headstock ever again...
#24
Oh yeah, and in the instructables, their headstock was cracked. Yours isn't as bad as the instructables, so it should be easy.
#25
Quote by dazza027
Personally I think you should buy a Stratocaster and not go near an angled headstock ever again...


Strats got their own limitations and problems, anyway its not a problem with angled headstocks. Its shoddy craftmanship by Gibson.

I remember Doug Aldrich from Whitesnake complaining about "how all his Gibsons break so easily" (yet cost so much I would add here).
"I would happily pay you on Tuesday for a hamburger today"

-Poldo (the guy with both hands in his pockets!)
#26
Quote by Exterminatus
Strats got their own limitations and problems, anyway its not a problem with angled headstocks. Its shoddy craftmanship by Gibson.

I remember Doug Aldrich from Whitesnake complaining about "how all his Gibsons break so easily" (yet cost so much I would add here).

Yeah, nah. The amount of wood there is on that one particular joint is so thin, that breakages occur very easily.

But, yeah, I guess Gibson are just shit at making guitars huh.
Quote by SimplyBen
That's the advantage of being such a distance from Yianni. I can continue to live my life without fear of stumbling upon his dark terror.


Quote by Toppscore
NakedInTheRain aka "Naked with shriveled pencil sized bacon In The Rain"
#27
Quote by k-log
You guys rock. I legitimately went through the five stages of grief over this break, and at the very least you guys brightened my outlook.

I should mention that the original break was actually a...for lack of a better term, a multiple break? The original break happened twice (knocked it over with my fat ass doing laundry and then again trying to tweak my amp). The second time, I got it fixed by a much more talented luthier. The new break (actually not my fault this time, shit karma for past transgressions I suppose) is the one posted. The original "multiple break" was extremely well repaired, and stayed in tact, but does it make a difference to get it repaired? I know I'm an idiot and all, and there is an inherent danger in stupidity, but user error aside, am I just pissing in the wind if I get it fixed with all the past wear and tear, or does that make a difference?

If I went the route of DIY repair, do you guys know of some resources in which I could watch to help myself? I have never done any form of guitar repair in my life, and could use any help.

Again, really appreciating all the understanding and help. Thanks again!

agreed, we are ****ing awesome!

ok, so it's a re-break.

loosen the strings and see if the headstock lays back together flush when you gently hold it back in place. if it does, it could be an easy re-glue.

there are a lot of tutorials online, youtube, mylespaul.com, etc. (look at some of BCRGreg's work, that guy is really good, one of the best i've seen).

but i'd get a second opinion on that one, and probably let someone else do it if i were you in this case.

you're in lincoln right? are there any decent shops in omaha you could stop at for an estimate?
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#28
Maybe your luthier feels that as you've had two breaks close to each other, you may have a particularly weak piece of wood by sheer misfortune?

Notice it didn't reopen the original break, but broke in a different place. This reinforces the received wisdom that good repairs are stronger than the original wood. S if you repair it again, it's no more likely to break through having been repaired, but it may be more likely to break simply because this particular neck is prone to breakage...

But knocking over an angled headstock is never a good idea. Store it flat in a hard case, even when you put it down to answer the phone, and you may never have a problem again...
#29
I actually live in Omaha, so getting a finding a few more luthiers won't be an issue.

Also, thanks for the insight Sanny on the angling piece (and everyone really). I learned the hard way that, yeah, I need to set it down oh so tenderly every time I touch the thing.

In any case, you guys gave me plenty of options. Regardless of what I do, you guys definitely helped me out tons. Rock on!
#30
IF you're in the US, get ahold of Greg at BCR (http://www.bcrmusic.com/ ). Have him show you a portfolio of the headstocks he's repaired. The previous break has nothing to do with charging you extra to fix the current one. Greg can either fix the current break (and double check the old one) to near invisibility, or he can coach you in doing it yourself (I'd certainly check his prices before hacking at it yourself). On the opposite coast, Gary Brawer in SF would be my go-to guy.
#31
Quote by Exterminatus
Strats got their own limitations and problems, anyway its not a problem with angled headstocks. Its shoddy craftmanship by Gibson.

I remember Doug Aldrich from Whitesnake complaining about "how all his Gibsons break so easily" (yet cost so much I would add here).


"anyway its not a problem with angled headstocks. Its shoddy craftmanship by Gibson"
This is unmitigated bullshit...
They break at the headstock because of the alignment of the grain of the wood. Unfortunately, whether its shit craftsmanship by Gibson or shit forthought from the tree while it was growing... the fact that the grain runs with the neck and at the turn for the headstock it runs across, creating a natural weak point... Either way, he's broken it THREE times already. He should move on to a fender where at the very least, he wont be breaking the headstock off in a hurry. Perhaps people with Gibsons should learn some basic wood working theory when they get their guitar and just be mindful that due to that design, there is an inherent weak point and therefore treat the guitar accordingly. And being at the price point they are at, that should be a given anyways.
#32
Easy killer. I've already pretty explicitly stated I am an idiot, no need to pile it on. I do believe I stated there is a 98% chance I am getting a new guitar, and I am looking at either Jackson's or Fender's. Partially because I want a new sound, and yes, partially because they lack the weaker cohesion at the point I seem prone to breaking.
#33
Jacksons have angled headstocks lol... I think they have scarf joints though. Just checked my Jackson and yeah scarf jointed so you shouldn't be breaking that too easy. I was getting stuck into that other guy about his dimwitted and brand preferenced fog of delusion re the Gibson bad design BS with the way they do their necks, everyone who ever buys a Gibson knows that that area is a weak point. His comment was just bullshit, he prolly owns one of every single model BC Rich ever made. I wasn't having a go at you. I don't think your an idiot at all lol. I do think your bloody unlucky. One other thing, my Epi LP has had a pretty bad break to the headstock as well (by previous owner) and when repaired well, you never know its there.

Edit : too many Lol's...
#34
Well, good thing I said something about the Jackson then. I haven't actually researched any potential new guitars, well, at all. I am still in the grieving process at this stage.
#35
Get a few clamps, some good glue (I use Tite-Bond).
apply the glue liberally, but not enough to get on the truss rod.
Clamp it and leave it set for 24 hrs.
Viola it is fixed

Repair the finish if you want
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#36
Quote by Exterminatus
Strats got their own limitations and problems, anyway its not a problem with angled headstocks. Its shoddy craftmanship by Gibson.


It's not craftsmanship -- but it is a design issue. There were and are ways to prevent or at least reduce the possibility of breakage (most of which require changing the design slightly), but Gibson itself has painted itself into this corner by marketing the whole design (and the paint) as part and parcel of some mythologically magical creation.

As a result, more Gibson headstocks break than any other.

The second most headstock breaks are due to the jackson-style "tilted pointy" type headstock, which seems to break pretty regularly between the first and second tuners (farthest and second farthest):

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#37
Basically the nub of the issue is to be careful with your instrument. When your not playing with the thing secure it in a rack and use the lock straps or whatever retainer that is fitted, and NEVER lean the thing against a couch, wall, desk or anything else otherwise eventually the mojo gods will smite thee with a broken axe.
#38
Quote by dspellman
It's not craftsmanship -- but it is a design issue. There were and are ways to prevent or at least reduce the possibility of breakage (most of which require changing the design slightly), but Gibson itself has painted itself into this corner by marketing the whole design (and the paint) as part and parcel of some mythologically magical creation.

As a result, more Gibson headstocks break than any other.

The second most headstock breaks are due to the jackson-style "tilted pointy" type headstock, which seems to break pretty regularly between the first and second tuners (farthest and second farthest):

(Invalid img)

Gibson makes their guitars the way they always have if you don't like it don't buy one. I have never had an issue with the Gibsons I have owned, nor have I known anyone that has
So that tells me that it can happen, but typically it does not

Where the Jackson is broke is where they add the piece of wood.

Truth is any guitar can/will break when dropped on the ground regardless of design. Gibson/Jackson/ect don't just break on their own
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#39
Quote by Robbgnarly
Gibson makes their guitars the way they always have if you don't like it don't buy one. I have never had an issue with the Gibsons I have owned, nor have I known anyone that has
So that tells me that it can happen, but typically it does not

Where the Jackson is broke is where they add the piece of wood.

Truth is any guitar can/will break when dropped on the ground regardless of design. Gibson/Jackson/ect don't just break on their own


I've never had an issue with any of the Gibsons I own (knock on wood....some other wood than the Gibsons, please), either. That doesn't mean it's not a poor design and that it isn't one of the most common breaks. One of the clues is that they always break in the same spot.

And yes, it can break on its own. I was at a friend's gig one night, and his guitar player was wailing away. All of a sudden he went very flat. He looked down at his guitar, at his bridge, at his pickups, and then he happened to look at his headstock, which (he later said) looked like it was straighter than he remembered. And then he suddenly realized that it had broken, and that it had tilted just enough forward that it now looked straight. No impact, no anything. And no indication of impending doom. A lot of headstock breaks in shipping, and the headstock doesn't actually touch anything at all. Most will happen when the package goes over flat on its face. Even with the string tension removed, the fact that the case holds the neck immobile but leaves the headstock to "flap," the headstock will break in the same way that a racecar driver's neck can when hitting a barrier; it's a whiplash injury.

Where the Jacksons and other "tilted pointy" headstocks break is *near* the spot where they add the wood. It's not the glue join breaking free; it's the tension of the strings pulling down and in. The glue join itself is not a weak spot in the headstock. It's a bad design. I have a couple of those, and I'm always extra careful with them; they're just delicate. I've seen one break when a guitar player was playfully tapping his drummer's cymbals. Barely an impact at all, and the force of the impact itself was in the opposite direction of the break.



The straight pull headstocks almost never break; it's rare to see a tele or strat-style headstock broken. This one isn't going anywhere:

Last edited by dspellman at Aug 11, 2013,
#40
Quote by dazza027
"anyway its not a problem with angled headstocks. Its shoddy craftmanship by Gibson"
This is unmitigated bullshit...
Woah, slow down buddy. It actually is a bad design that can be addressed with a VERY simple addition.. it's not a guaranteed thing but it definitely helps.










Now here's the ironic part of my post. Norlin figured this problem out in the early 70's and added a volute to a few of his redesigns... but he added it too far up the neck to actually be useful


Endorsed by Dean Guitars 07-10
2003 Gibson Flying V w/ Moon Inlay
2006 Fender All-American Partscaster
SVK ELP-C500 Custom

1964 Fender Vibro Champ
1989 Peavey VTM60

[thread="1166208"]Gibsons Historic Designs[/thread]
Last edited by Flux'D at Aug 11, 2013,
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