Hello all,

I have a Hagstrom Viking Deluxe which I have owned for 3.5 years. I bought it used from a mandolin player who never really played it, I don't know it's total age, but the guy had it for at least a year or two.

When I bought it, there were two cracks; one in the neck over the white trim used where the fretboard would be visible, and one in the neck/body joint. These have never been a problem in the past; I always keep my guitar in my house or within a couple metres of me to prevent damage. I have a hardshell case when not in use.

About two days ago, I noticed a crack on the body of the guitar (first image). It scares me because it goes from the joint and out into the body, making me worried about structural issues. I am not too concerned about the 'looks' as the crack is invisible if you are not playing the guitar.

Yesterday I noticed the crack seen in the 2nd and 3rd image. As I said previously, the neck originally had a crack in the white trim beside the fretboard, but the crack has expanded into the neck.

I can feel the cracks physically with my fingers. I have not made any truss rod adjustments for half a year now; I made the changes when I went from 12-60 gauge to 11-56 gauge strings. The bridge has been raised and lowered here and there.

I will take more pictures and compare them to see if the cracks are expanding. If they are not, is this something to be worried about? Would it be possible to remove the scratches? I suppose worst case scenario is that the guitar snaps, but how likely is this to happen?

Thanks, link to images below

Those appear to be cracks in the finish and not structural damage to he guitar itself. I wouldn't sweat it, but it will get worse over time and you may want to have it refinished.
Pictures are here:

I'm no expert but none of those cracks look like they're deep enough to be the wood. Simply lacquer and finish cracks (so cosmetic issues). Could be wrong though.
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The cracks are located at the two most critical areas on the guitar, and any crack at those points should be considered serious, even if they are not that uncommon. The problem here is that until the guitar has started to separate, there's no way to tell if the cracks are structural or cosmetic - we can only guess, and based on the fact that they're found at stress points, it is indeed a cause for serious concern.

A skilled luthier can repair most cracks, but in most cases it is going to cost so much that it isn't worth it. In the future I would advise you to avoid buying any guitar with cracks at those points. Cracks can either stay the way they are for the forseeable future, or they will expand.
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I usually buy my instruments used, but make sure they are in good condition. In this situation, the price was right ($500 for guitar+hardshell case), so I accepted. 3.5 years is not a terrible run, worse comes to worse, either.

The placement of the cracks is the most worrisome part to me, as HomerSGR said, and I can only hope that they are only cosmetic. I will monitor the cracks, and see if they get any bigger. Replacing the neck would be both expensive and ruin the guitar for me, so I will try to be proactive on this.

If I see any expansion, I'll bring it to a luthier to take a look at it. Thanks for the replies
I agree, they look like cracks in the finish not the wood. But keep your eye on them. I have a guitar that has a small crack in the neck near the headstock, it is only a finish crack, but I still keep an eye on it to this day.
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I agree, they look like cracks in the finish not the wood. But keep your eye on them. I have a guitar that has a small crack in the neck near the headstock, it is only a finish crack, but I still keep an eye on it to this day.


I have a finish crack on the headstock of my flying V from overtightening the tuner bushings. I keep an eye on it. The crack has extended to the other tuner along the line of the 'ear' of the headstock where the finish is very thin. But the wood hasn't separated or anything like that. I can't think of how a tuner bushing being overtightened can cause the wood to split, especially when the glue holding the ears on is stronger than the wood itself. If the wood was split, it would split somewhere else.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Dec 17, 2014,
That second pic shows multiple cracks coming from ore or less the same area which could indicate an impact there or local stress. I'd keep an eye on it.
Moving on.....
It looks to me as if it has been knocked over and the headstock has hit something fairly hard. What are the chances that happened, and you don't know about it?

It looks to me as if the fretboard might be separated from the neck slightly at the headstock, and the maybe the same thing at the neck-body joint. If it were mine I would be checking it out now, just for my own peace of mind.
It is possible it fell or was used improperly... I live with my brother who is also a guitarist, and many of our guitars are communal. The initial cracks when I got the guitar were very likely from an impact; it's too bad I didn't take a picture of them when I first got the guitar.

I checked it again at practice last night. There were no expansions along the cracks, so I do not think they will be expanding without an impact. The crack is definitely still able to be felt, but I am not worried about the depth. They don't appear to be deeper than the finish, and definitely do not go as deep as the wood. I still will monitor it, and have a good luthier I will bring it to if the problem gets any worse. Luckily, the cracks are not visible from an audiences' point of view, so there is no need to get them repaired if the structure of the guitar is not jeopardized.
The first decent guitar I owned that didn't say "Made in Japan" back when that term meant crappy/junk, was a (then new) 1968 Hagstrom Viking. I played that guitar for many years. I loved that guitar and should have never traded it but back in my early playing days if I wanted a new guitar I had to use my current guitar as part of a trade. When I bought a Gibson SG Standard I traded the Viking and cash for a new SG. I have very fond memories of that Hagstrom guitar.