This instructable will show you how to repair a broken guitar neck and, depending on how severe the damage, how to do some minor cosmetic repair.  The guitar in question for this example is an Epiphone Les Paul Studio.  I actually bought this guitar about a year ago for the very purpose of practicing neck repair - as it already had a broken neck.  I fixed the neck about 9 months ago (and you can see the results of that fix in this series).

Fast forward to the arrival of a new puppy... long story short, another broken neck (the old fix held up though!!!) and a chance to create a new instructable.

In the case of the Epiphone, they are great, affordable guitars... And with these broken neck ones (depending on the nature of the break), these can be a great deal for someone with the time and tools to fix them.  And if you happen to bust the top off your Gibson ES335, that can be fixed too!

Step 1: Anatomy of a Broken Neck

Gravity, headstock geometry and thin wood can lead to a frustrating situation!  The pics show how a clean break can occur... 
<p>hi do u have to take the strings off the guitar before gluing it back on??? and also would the steps of fixing it be the same if the neck of it is not all the way of please get back to me soon I need to fix it </p><p>thanks </p>
<p>You don't HAVE to take the strings off. But they need to be totally loose and out of the way. I'd recommend taking them off and putting a new set on afterwards. What do you mean when you say the neck is not all the way off? If you could post a few photos, that would helpful in figuring out the best way to fix it. Thanks!</p>
<p>would regular whit glue work? As you seem to say it would, but it would be messy</p>
<p>I believe u should use wood glue because it will hold better and I see people say that all the time I hope this was helpful </p>
<p>I assume you're talking about the bottom of the line, old school white glue like you used for grade school art projects. It is advertised as being strong as the wood... but I would probably recommend getting small bottle of a glue formulated specifically for wood (I use the Elmer's products... and there are many others out there). A small bottle will cost under $5 (US) and is a good investment for this kind of fix.</p><p>Having said that, if it's a clean, even with the grain, large surface area break (like the example in my article) and the pieces match up together and it's not on a highly stressed neck (like a 12 string acoustic) and all I had was the bottom of the line white glue, then I MIGHT give it a shot. If it was a nasty break perpendicular to the neck/across the grain or across a small area of stressed wood (like the tuning key slots on a classical guitar), then I probably wouldn't want to risk it. </p><p>As far as being messy, you only need to cover the surface of the wood and you don't need very much to get good coverage - remember you're squeezing/clamping the parts together after that. So all the extra glue that oozes out was too much glue. There should be SOME oozing and the thing to look for is consistent oozing along the entire seam so you know there's even coverage across the gluing surface. If you go back to the article, you'll see I use a small brush to smooth out the glue and get it deep into the grooves of the wood.</p><p>I try to get the major blobs off after I hand-tighten then joint - you can use paper towels or even a small piece of paper (the heavier stock the better) to scrape off the big stuff. The after I get the clamps in place, I'll do the final &quot;wet&quot; clean up with moist paper towels. The more wet cleanup you do, the less you'll have to deal with dried glue later on.</p><p>I'm still going to recommend you get an actual &quot;wood&quot; glue for your guitar. The cheapest of the cheap might work just fine and I've used it on many wood projects in my youth and it held up fine when/if I applied the glue properly. I just wouldn't want to see someone go through the trouble of the fix and the glue not hold up... You would probably find out before you even got all the strings up to pitch.</p><p>Good luck and let us know what you end up doing!</p>
<p>i just got my acoustic guitar (brand rouge) last sunday and it fell and it cracked from the nut to the bottom two tuners in a v/u shape and i had to loosen the strings to prevent it from cracking anymore what do i do i am scared this is my first guitar please help</p>
<p>Man, what a sad start with your new guitar :-( </p><p>Can you post a couple of pictures so I can get a better idea about the damage? </p>
<p>This is my Parkwood 360M that had a heavy glass mirror fall on top of it. This was a very bad break, going through one of the tuning instruments. Its not pretty, but now I can continue to play my guitar. Thanks. J</p>
<p>Congratulations on the fix! Hopefully this will be the only time you'll ever need to do this :-)</p>
<p>I broke the headstock off my seagull 12 string. Would the same process apply for a 12 string? I am concerned about the amount of tension on the headstock with a 12 string.</p>
<p>Yes, the same rules apply for 12 string guitars. As with any of these repairs, just give that glue plenty of time to cure before you start adding strings/tension. I have three Seagulls (including a 12 string), how did yours break? Post some pics when you get done! We love to see success stories here!!!</p>
I am so stoked I found this how to, I recently broke the headstock on my pre Gibson Kramer pacer custom ll and got really bummed out. So I thought I would post this with pics so here they are.<br>With it being double trussrod neck is the repair the same and would it destroy the intonation.<br>Thank you<br>Stu in Ga
<p>That should be an &quot;easy&quot; one. I think the break is so far away from your truss rod(s?) area you shouldn't have any problems with that at all. Just take your time on the glue job and you should be fine. Post some pics when you get done!</p>
Would gorilla glue for wood be fine to use
Well there's a little difference in the wood glues. In Cabinets and millwork I use Titebond III or Elners Exterior Wood Glue (Gel/No Run formula). For Luthier work.....add Smith's All Woid Epoxy in the mix. The difference in the Smiths is gonna be better Sound resonance and transference with instruments; which is something you dont have to take into consideration with Cabinets and Furniture. Titebond and Elmer's are naturally going to take stain and finish better as far as cosmetic aspects are concerned, but you can cosmetically adjust once expoxy is used also.
Titebond also makes a &quot;Hide&quot; Glue that I would recommend for use in Luthier work.
<p>Hide glue may not be good for these types of repairs. Do a search on specific uses of hot vs cold hide glues - they are differences. Traditional violin makers used hot hide glues because it can be taken apart for repairs if needed. But it depends on the forces the joint is being exposed to. For the neck repairs we are talking about in this Instructable, I recommend sticking with PVA (white, green, wood) glues or epoxy (maybe).</p>
By the way, be very careful with gorilla glue, it has it's uses, but when you use it correctly by applying dampness to parts being repaired it will use either the moisture you pretreat with or in the atmospere and expand like a son of gun, whick will literally break the piece you are trying to repair worse than it was.
<p>Yes, I think Gorilla glue is fine. I've used it on a few projects in the past - but I personally prefer the Elmer's wood glue products just because of how it behaves for me. In reality, I don't think there's really much difference between the various wood glues. All of the modern wood glues are stronger than the wood, so it's a mute point as far as strength goes. Don't use hide glue though, it's not meant for that kind of joint. Good luck!</p>
<p>I broke the headstock off my seagull 12 string. Would the same process apply for a 12 string? I am concerned about the amount of tension on the headstock with a 12 string.</p>
<p>I have an acoustic thats broken at the headstock. I have two questions; </p><p>1) Is the wood glue better than an epoxy? Is there a reason I shouldn't use epoxy?</p><p>2) I can fit it back together, however it looks like I'm missing a piece of the wood on the back of the neck, so when I fit it together there is a piece missing. Would a wood filler work here? Or would that be too weak? I'm more concerned with getting the guitar to work (stay in tune, not rebreak, keep intonation) than looks, so I just want what will make it strongest here. I've attached a photo of the missing part</p><p>Thanks for your Instructable and help!</p>
<p>This might be a little beyond the tools and experience you have... But for that big of a void, I might consider going hard-core and use a router to give you a clean straight opening and then use a filler piece of maple (or whatever). That would be a lot of work and getting it to line up perfectly straight would be a challenge. But it would give you the most solid repair and might look better cosmetically. Plus since you would be filling the void with wood, it would match the physical properties of the neck better than a filler. Plus it gives a better &quot;wow&quot; factor when you show people how you fixed it!</p><p>Keep in mind that the void is on the side of the neck that will experiences &quot;pulling&quot; forces and not compression. I think as it stands, you could glue the glue-able sections and maybe get by and have it never break again. But the neck might get noticeably more flexible and have less tuning stability. It could even bend enough (and not break) to alter the intonation. So I'm leaning toward the wood insert the more I type this out. </p><p>The thing about all the wood glues is that they are stronger than the wood. So, in general, your glue choice will not be the weak link. The prep work and glue application CAN make a difference. So I would focus on making sure everything lines up tight. </p><p>I think TheCabinetmaster brings up some good pointers. My only thought about the Smiths is if it's that solid/hard, then it won't flex like wood due to temperature and humidity issues - so it COULD be a concern and potentially not shrink/expand with the neighboring wood and eventually come loose (and perhaps pull out a little more wood with it?).</p><p>BTW - what make of guitar is this?</p>
You can use Titebond III and it would work really well. In your specific application though, I would use Smiths All Wood Epoxy, it is a 2 part system. I suggest Smiths because you are repairing an acoustic and because you have some wood missing. Smiths has a better sound transference than Titebond and Smiths also has better filling properties, which will help in your application on the missing piece. It cures super hard. <br>Good luck to you on it. You'll do fine.
This is broken neck of my yamaha. What should I do? Complete the break and repair it or just put glue into the crevice and clamp it... And what glue should I use. Please help.
If you can open it up a little, you can use a syringe designed to use with glue and it should be fine. I wouldn't complete the break if it was mine (not on an instrument, furniture maybe), you need as much natural fibers/grain to remain in tact if possible. <br><br>As far as glue, Titebond III (it is water resistant and a great wood glue). Or Smith's All Wood Epoxy, which is a 2 part catalyst type. Both you can use in a syringe to apply inside your defect.<br><br>Hope that helps you a little.
Well now its fixed and if it wasn't for this page I would have never done it... Thank you so very much for the info.
<p>Hey that turned out nice! Congratulations!</p>
Hi,<br>I bought a new guitar yesterday, it got knocked over today and snapped off the headstock. What should/can I do?
<p>Bummer! Well, since you just bought it yesterday, I would actually suggest you call the store first and see if they will help you somehow. Otherwise, you'll need to go through the repair. What kind of guitar is it? Any photos?</p>
It's a standard Valencia guitar. It was in the soft case which was supplied.<br>
<p>I just realized I didn't answer you back after you posted the pics. It's a shame you have to fix your new, pretty guitar, but I think it will turn out fine using the steps in this Instructable.</p>
Thankyou so much for your advice. I will give it a go fixing it following your instructions. Will update as soon as possible. Cheers.
<p>This is my LTD.</p><p>Can i fix this by usint this guide?</p>
<p>Is that the Paramount series? I had a black one with a Bigsby on it a few years back. Prettiest guitar I ever owned! Wish I still had it... Anyway, yes, this guide will be exactly what you need to do. It's the exact same kind of break as in my example. I normally wouldn't suggest this - but since it's all black lacquer, you could potentially use black automotive touch-up paint to fill in the hairline cracks when your done. I use it routinely on any of my guitars that have teeny-weenie chips in the finish. You just want to fill the void, not &quot;paint&quot; it on. I'd love to see how it turns out.</p>
<p>the neck broke clean off my guitar...sigh..I got dowels ..to fit accordingly..drilled to holes in each side..used carpenters glue..which cleans up with water..left guitar upside down over night so gravity could do its work..next day could barly see the crack..I was so relieved..its a heirloom and now it plays just fine..</p>
<p>Congratulations! Can you post some pictures? </p>
Please help me <br>My guitar has a small crack<br>And it is quite hard to play the guitar now<br>Cud u please tell me how to repair it??
<p>It's hard to tell from the picture, does the crack terminate under the fretboard? I'm guessing you don't want to remove the fretboard. In that case, you can try &quot;injecting&quot; glue into the crack as far as you can. Several of the comments below talk about that. But basically squeeze the glue in and clamp the joint. I'd like to hear how successful anyone has been with that. Let me how this turns out!</p>
<p>Unfortunately I knocked over my ELP onto hard linoleum and the headstock broke almost identical to yours. I spent $14 getting everything required to fix it and it's drying now. Thanks for the guidance. :)</p>
<p>Very cool! I'm glad you were able to fix it. The example I used is still holding up fine after several years and it's the exact same as yours.</p>
<p>Hello! really awesome guide, I was just wondering, my new dean also has some damage, any way I can fix it since its pretty small</p>
<p>Was it always like that? From the pic it looks like it was fixed before and that's the crack from the previous break? Or did this just happen? Let me know...</p>
<p>it happened a week and a half ago</p>
<p>Successful?!!!!!!✓!!!!I'm playing it now and it sounds great!I have my guitar back finally!!thank you!</p>
<p>Congratulations! That was fast! I'm super excited that you were able to fix this! And thank you for posting pics - that should be an inspiration to others...</p>
<p>excuse me sir can I fixed this guitar ? please pm me thanks and please help me to fi it </p>
<p>That's a nice clean break. You should be able to just follow the steps in my instructable. I would suggest that you NOT try to do anything to hide the crack - if you do it correctly, the crack should be barely visible. Good luck with this - post some pics when you get done!</p>
<p>yes sir :)</p>
<p>someone knocked over my hardcase that had my guitar inside,I thought nothing of it til I opened the case to play.i almost hyperventilated.The headstock was cracked and gaping, so i unstringed it and inspected it.I've been hoping this is diy-able.I love this guitar,got it this summer, it plays real nice.Its a Fender and has a smooth mahogany finish.Was wondering how i'd be able to fix it?</p>
<p>do i need to remove the bottom and top tuner?since the crack reaches there from the front.Its not cracked in the back though.</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm just a compulsive DIYer that plays guitar and tries to fix just about everything around the house and garage. Sometimes I even succeed!
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