Guitar repair - Advice needed

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Forum topic by isotope posted 03-17-2016 12:30 AM 840 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View isotope's profile


172 posts in 1624 days

03-17-2016 12:30 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip resource guitar repair

Due to what, I’m sure, is improper storing conditions, my acoustic guitar is showing some signs of distress. There is a small crack that has appeared in the top, but what is more troubling to me is that the back panel has become separated from the sides.

I know there are some very talented members on LJ who specialize in guitars. I’m looking for some advice on how to proceed with the back panel. Is this a fix that I can attempt myself? If so, can you give guidance on adhesive and clamping method? Or, maybe a book that would explain an approach to fixing this (or YouTube videos). If not, can you tell me what to look for in a repair shop? Or even better, if you know of a shop in the Boston area, a referral would be appreciated.

4 replies so far

View JBrow's profile


1354 posts in 920 days

#1 posted 03-21-2016 12:01 AM


I have no experience with guitars and being in the mid-west cannot recommend any guitar repair shops in the Boston area, although I am sure there are many very talented artisans there. Custom woodworking shops, woodworking schools, and businesses specializing in furniture repair and restoration would be the folks to contact to get leads that could get you to someone who could possible make the repairs you need.

The lifting veneer on the back of the guitar is, in my limited experience, a tough repair to make invisible.

One thought is to try to work wood glue into the crevice between the veneer and the structural body of the back. However, the problem with this approach is that glue cannot be forced deep enough into the delaminated recesses. Also, the existing glue that formerly held the veneer in place could interfere with attempts to re-bond the veneer. Air pockets are also a likely result.

Using a razor knife the loose veneer could be cut free of the structure, old glue removed as best as possible, and then contact cement used to re-glued the veneer. However, scares from this type of repair would be quite evident.

Perhaps the best approach is the most difficult approach. That is to remove and replace the veneer on the entire back of the guitar. Matching the color and patina of the existing veneer is the challenge of this this approach.

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3131 days

#2 posted 03-21-2016 12:58 AM

[blockquote]Custom woodworking shops, woodworking schools, and businesses specializing in furniture repair and restoration would be the folks to contact to get leads that could get you to someone who could possible make the repairs you need.

These people would have no idea who you would need to find. Call some guitar shops and ask them.

I would not attempt this repair yourself.

-- Gerry,

View McFly's profile


273 posts in 1027 days

#3 posted 03-21-2016 02:43 AM

Probably the last thing you want to hear, but unless that’s a very expensive guitar, a competent repair would likely cost more than it’s worth. That said, you’re looking at some involved repairs.

I’m thinking you might need to separate the top & re-glue and the back might actually need to be steamed and clamped until it can be glued again.

Maybe do a search for a Luthiers forum to get a more specific answer.

View clin's profile


842 posts in 996 days

#4 posted 03-21-2016 05:19 AM

I have no doubt there are some very good luthiers in the Boston area. I’d start calling local guitar shops and ask who they send there guitars out to. Especially those that handle used or vintage acoustic guitars. Pretty quickly you’ll start to hear the same names of the go-to guys in the area.

No way to know if it is worth repairing until you get it looked at. And it makes little difference what the guitar is worth unless you plan to sell it. I’ve got a guitar I spent more than 2X what it was worth having extensive work done on it. It’s a guitar I will never sell, so it’s resale value is meaningless. In the end, what I have is an excellent guitar that I love to play.

I send my guitars to Mike Lennon, who’s now near Tucson AZ. Here’s a link to a story about a repair he did while he was still in Nashville. It’s amazing what a skilled luthier can do. While the work he has done for me was nowhere near this extensive, I can attest to his skills.

-- Clin

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