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 Post subject: Cracked Heel
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:15 pm 
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Koa
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Location: Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada
First name: Conor
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A customer dropped this off to me for a pickup install. It's the kind of inexpensive 70's guitar that people fall in love with for its mojo but also has a myriad minor problems that should be addressed but also don't need to be to continue being a "playable" and "functional" instrument.

However when I put it on the bench this morning to give it the once over before jumping into the work, I noticed this crack on the heel of the neck. The crack goes all the way through. I can open it and close it by moving the neck. And it looks like the crack has started to run for about an inch on the bass side from the bottom and then its started to move into at least the finish on the side of the guitar, maybe the wood too. And on the back its started to pull the binding off. So I need to talk to my customer. I feel like this issue goes beyond the myriad other minor problems I mentioned at the beginning, that is just leaving this one alone looks like a bad idea that could quickly become an even bigger problem. But maybe not?

If he does want to go ahead and fix this what is the conventional approach? I feel like simply squeezing glue into the crack and then clamping it would be a little mickey mouse, and could cause problems if a person was to ever take the neck off, although I'm sure regular tite-bond would release as easy as anything else that may be holding the neck in. So does the neck need to come off?


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 Post subject: Re: Cracked Heel
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:18 pm 
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Check the neck block on the inside.

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 Post subject: Re: Cracked Heel
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:30 pm 
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Koa
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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:09 pm
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Location: Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada
First name: Conor
Last Name: Searl
City: Duncan
State: British Columbia
Zip/Postal Code: V9L 2E5
Country: Canada
Status: Semi-pro
SteveSmith wrote:
Check the neck block on the inside.


Check it for what?


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 Post subject: Re: Cracked Heel
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:36 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:09 pm
Posts: 581
Location: Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada
First name: Conor
Last Name: Searl
City: Duncan
State: British Columbia
Zip/Postal Code: V9L 2E5
Country: Canada
Status: Semi-pro
SteveSmith wrote:
Check the neck block on the inside.


Oh yeah, I can get a feeler gauge between the neck block and the back of the guitar...


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 Post subject: Re: Cracked Heel
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:02 pm 
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Koa
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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:09 pm
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Location: Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada
First name: Conor
Last Name: Searl
City: Duncan
State: British Columbia
Zip/Postal Code: V9L 2E5
Country: Canada
Status: Semi-pro
This is a strange neck block. It makes me wonder if this would even be a dovetail joint.

My customer is on a tight budget. Is there any harm in getting some glue in between the neck block and backplate, and then getting some glue into the actual crack of the heel and clamping it all up?


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 Post subject: Re: Cracked Heel
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:23 pm 
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Conor_Searl wrote:
SteveSmith wrote:
Check the neck block on the inside.


Check it for what?


Sorry. Make sure there are no cracks in the neck block. Check that the sides/back are not loose and that you can't see any cracks in them. Looks like you already did that.

Don't know the value of this guitar but that often dictates what kind of repair I will or won't do. Mostly I do what the customer wants as long as I'm not going to cause more damage to a valuable instrument. That said I would check the action to make sure the crack in the heel and loose back are not causing an issue. If not then I would glue them and clamp them shut one at a time. Obviously you want to avoid getting excess glue in the neck joint.

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These users thanked the author SteveSmith for the post: Conor_Searl (Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:44 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: Cracked Heel
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:45 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:09 pm
Posts: 581
Location: Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada
First name: Conor
Last Name: Searl
City: Duncan
State: British Columbia
Zip/Postal Code: V9L 2E5
Country: Canada
Status: Semi-pro
SteveSmith wrote:
Conor_Searl wrote:
SteveSmith wrote:
Check the neck block on the inside.


Check it for what?


Sorry. Make sure there are no cracks in the neck block. Check that the sides/back are not loose and that you can't see any cracks in them. Looks like you already did that.

Don't know the value of this guitar but that often dictates what kind of repair I will or won't do. Mostly I do what the customer wants as long as I'm not going to cause more damage to a valuable instrument. That said I would check the action to make sure the crack in the heel and loose back are not causing an issue. If not then I would glue them and clamp them shut one at a time. Obviously you want to avoid getting excess glue in the neck joint.


Awesome, that's what I was thinking too. Thanks Steve.


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 Post subject: Re: Cracked Heel
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:54 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Somewhere inside the joint is loose if those pieces of the heel move independent of eachother...... without getting into the joint anything you do will be a short term fix and make it so it is more difficult to repair in the future.....

The gap between the back plate and block is very typical of cheaper import guitars, the bottom of the block is flat but the back is radiused so they only ever made contact about 1/4" in from the rim. Gluing and clamping here is a mistake unless you fit shims.

Want to know how easy it is to pull the neck? check the FB extension as I outline here.
https://howardguitars.blogspot.com/2018/08/canyou-re-set-yamaha-acoustic-guitar.html

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These users thanked the author B. Howard for the post: Conor_Searl (Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:29 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Cracked Heel
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 8:23 am 
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Conor, Bryan's approach would result in the better fix for sure. What I was talking about is a fix to get a cheap guitar a bit further down the road when the owner doesn't want to spend the money bucks for the good repair. Hope that was clear.

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"Music is what feelings sound like"



These users thanked the author SteveSmith for the post: Conor_Searl (Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:30 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Cracked Heel
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:34 am 
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Koa
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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:09 pm
Posts: 581
Location: Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada
First name: Conor
Last Name: Searl
City: Duncan
State: British Columbia
Zip/Postal Code: V9L 2E5
Country: Canada
Status: Semi-pro
Thanks guys.

Steve I totally understood where you're coming from.

Brian, thanks for chiming in. I'll talk with my customer. He's living on his old age pension and while he loves to play this guitar doesn't have any illusions about its value. He's already expressed his desire for an inexpensive band-aid fix.


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 Post subject: Re: Cracked Heel
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:38 am 
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Conor_Searl wrote:
Thanks guys.

Steve I totally understood where you're coming from.

Brian, thanks for chiming in. I'll talk with my customer. He's living on his old age pension and while he loves to play this guitar doesn't have any illusions about its value. He's already expressed his desire for an inexpensive band-aid fix.



The problem with doing inexpensive band-aid fixes is your reputation. I have no problem handing instruments back to a prospective customer



These users thanked the author Clinchriver for the post (total 2): Conor_Searl (Sun Dec 02, 2018 3:46 pm) • B. Howard (Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:43 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Cracked Heel
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:19 pm 
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Clinchriver wrote:
Conor_Searl wrote:
Thanks guys.

Steve I totally understood where you're coming from.

Brian, thanks for chiming in. I'll talk with my customer. He's living on his old age pension and while he loves to play this guitar doesn't have any illusions about its value. He's already expressed his desire for an inexpensive band-aid fix.



The problem with doing inexpensive band-aid fixes is your reputation. I have no problem handing instruments back to a prospective customer


That is so true and it actually happens a fair amount. On the other hand I'll admit that I sometimes do extra work that I don't get paid for. Very much depends on the customer.

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"Music is what feelings sound like"



These users thanked the author SteveSmith for the post: Clinchriver (Sun Dec 02, 2018 5:47 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: Cracked Heel
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 3:45 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:09 pm
Posts: 581
Location: Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada
First name: Conor
Last Name: Searl
City: Duncan
State: British Columbia
Zip/Postal Code: V9L 2E5
Country: Canada
Status: Semi-pro
Clinchriver wrote:
The problem with doing inexpensive band-aid fixes is your reputation. I have no problem handing instruments back to a prospective customer


I totally hear you, it feels like its a really fine balance especially as I live in a smaller community, and I'm just starting out in this business. I do worry about it. If the guitar was any kind of valuable, or the repair was beyond me I have no problem letting customers know that, and I'll turn the work away.

In this case, I've told the customer that the best way to deal with this is to pull the neck, that way we can see what the real underlying issue is, otherwise we're really only dealing with symptoms. Again he doesn't have the budget for that kind of repair, but loves playing the guitar. So, I've glued the crack, and the neck block (I'd already done this before Brian's advice, which I've noted for future reference) with tite-bond. The customer understands we're just helping the instrument limp along, not really solving anything.

What I've done to help this limp along doesn't seem like anything that is irreversible, (maybe annoying if someone down the line decides to put the work in, but only a little ;)) or potentially harmful (other than letting an existing problem persist) and I'll probably only charge him $20 on top of the pick-up install so I feel like in this case with the customers eyes wide open the benefits of being the guy who was willing to help outweighs the potential negatives.


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 Post subject: Re: Cracked Heel
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:53 pm 
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Sounds like you handled it just fine. Never know, that guitar may last just fine for the guy - hope it does.

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Steve Smith
"Music is what feelings sound like"



These users thanked the author SteveSmith for the post: Conor_Searl (Sun Dec 02, 2018 5:06 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: Cracked Heel
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:45 pm 
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I had a friend bring in an acoustic he'd had for decades. Lots of issues. I spent a fair amount of time making it somewhat playable. I handed it back to him saying to play it tonight and then hang it on the wall. He understood and was grateful.


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