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RE: Crack in my guitar!   You are logged in as Guest
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aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: Crack in my guitar! (in reply to duende

quote:

So what can you learn from that experience? Never use that shop again. According to those people we, the builders, should build guitars with cracks right from the start. Then they would sound better?????


Interestingly enough that is not entirely out in left field (as we say here in the US). If the crack was due to internal tension in the wood (not humidity) then said tension would be relieved by the crack and that could actually affect how the guitar sounds, probably for the "better". That being said it would be hard to argue this rational for guitars with cracks in them.

If the crack closes when the guitar is brought up to the same humidity it was at when built, then it's a humidity crack. If it doesn't then it might have been caused by humidity but there is something else going on too. In any case the best thing is to get it fixed.

I do not endorse the notion about slowing drying guitars out to make them impervious to low humidity. I hear this from time to time and certainly have seen some guitars that managed to not implode when subjected to conditions that would otherwise crack a guitar. But they never escape unscathed (frets sticking out, not sounding as good as they should or do when at a more proper humidity level)...Its kind of like letting wolves raise your kid. Might work but do you really want to bet on it?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 13 2012 1:30:27
 
Stephen Eden

 

Posts: 900
Joined: Apr. 12 2008
From: UK

RE: Crack in my guitar! (in reply to aarongreen

There is an argument for both sides for doing the repair now or leaving it until next winter.

Rehumidifying the guitar to close the crack and re-gluing it will work of course and the guitar will have to be kept humidified as you would normally have done, Otherwise it will crack again!

If you wait until the winter to get the crack repaired, the crack can have a spline put into it and then should be better in the dry weather with less care needed, then of course putting it in a humid envoronment would cause the top to swell putting it under a different type of stress.

There are clear pro's and cons to both ways of repairing it. I would tend to go towards the first especially if the split closes easily and also get it done as soon as possible! The guitar will look more natural that way you will have to keep on top of humidity though!

_____________________________

Classical and Flamenco Guitars www.EdenGuitars.co.uk
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2012 13:10:30
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: Crack in my guitar! (in reply to aarongreen

Even if you wait till next winter, let the crack grow and grow until you have to splint it, there is nothing to say that once it is splinted and the guitar dries out again that it won't crack somewhere else. Or for that matter that the splint won't open up. My restoration partner and I are currently doing a massive job on a 64 Fleta that had been very, very well repaired 20 years ago with numerous splints in the top. The current owner did not do a very good job of maintaining humidity and every single one of those splints are open and there are a few new cracks to boot.

The other factor is if you can get a crack to close and you glue it (by bringing it back to the humidity level it was built at, not hyperhumidifying) then the relative skill of the repair person has far less to do with the end result than if you have to have the crack splinted. Its a lot to assume that everyone does a perfect job when it comes to splinting, that is not an easy job and if you want it to look like it never happened, pretty much impossible for 99.9% of the folks out there. My restoration partner is the best of the best. He is a genius and even he sweats when it comes to splinting. It takes him a long time to make them disappear and he'll be the first to tell you that if you can avoid it you are far better off.

aaron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2012 14:40:24
 
Stephen Eden

 

Posts: 900
Joined: Apr. 12 2008
From: UK

RE: Crack in my guitar! (in reply to aarongreen

If you glue the crack after it as been re humidified there is still the threat of it opening again in the dry or even somewhere else. So it's the same in both cases but the probability is less likely after using a spline as the wood has already shrunk it can't shrink forever! isn't that the point of putting guitars together in a controlled environment?

Perhaps the Luthier in who suggested the spline method has alread done this a hundred times because of the amount of guitars imported to that cold dry climate that can't cope and aren't looked after?

_____________________________

Classical and Flamenco Guitars www.EdenGuitars.co.uk
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2012 15:46:22
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: Crack in my guitar! (in reply to aarongreen

quote:

If you glue the crack after it as been re humidified there is still the threat of it opening again in the dry or even somewhere else. So it's the same in both cases but the probability is less likely after using a spline as the wood has already shrunk it can't shrink forever! isn't that the point of putting guitars together in a controlled environment?


In regards to your first point, of course it can crack again. The point is that hopefully you learned your lesson and don't let it dry out. That is the best case scenario no matter what. In regards to your second point I disagree having seen many guitars with splints that need to be redone and in fact am making some pretty good money doing so right now on that Fleta. Which probably was made in high humidity and with wood that wasn't as well seasoned as one might like. Which brings me to your third point, we build in controlled environments to give the guitar as much insurance as we can, knowing that wood is hydroscopic and shrinks and swells with changes in humidity so while it can't shrink forever, it can shrink enough to create problems indefinitely.


quote:

Perhaps the Luthier in who suggested the spline method has alread done this a hundred times because of the amount of guitars imported to that cold dry climate that can't cope and aren't looked after?

Once again, if you don't look after it, no amount of repair is permanent. Secondly the value of a guitar is degraded with visible repairs and a splint is almost always that. I just sold a 41 Hauser for about 60 to 70k (at least) less than it would have gone for had it not had multiple splints in the top. Karl (restoration partner) is working on that one as well and it's a big job that is costing the new owner a lot of money but he's doing it as the old splints are not as well done as Karl can do and his fix will address other issues that need addressing.

I am not saying that you are simply wrong, I am just saying that all of this is a case of how do you want to hedge your bets. Since I don't believe that putting a splint in is going to make any guitar significantly less crack prone that it would be otherwise, and I have seen enough to be pretty secure in that opinion, I believe less is better as long as sound practices are followed. In this case that would be rehumidify the guitar to it's original humidity level, let it sit till it stops acclimating, if crack closes glue it, put in a few small cleats as needed and don't let it happen again.

aaron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2012 17:41:32
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Crack in my guitar! (in reply to aarongreen

quote:

My restoration partner is the best of the best. He is a genius and even he sweats when it comes to splinting. It takes him a long time to make them disappear and he'll be the first to tell you that if you can avoid it you are far better off.


Oh yes, it true. Why violin restorers who can slip in a grain line and make them blend well get paid very handsomely. It can also take literally months to touch up. Guitar owners have it easy by comparison. Cost wise.

I would vote for having crack glued up now and monitoring it carefully. Getting it full of moisture, dirt and hand oils will only make it worse. Chances are it won't open up again if it is cleated on the inside with cleats at both ends of the crack and a cleat or two in the middle.

If it does well then it would get reglued. The reality is that it is wood, it's going to move. If the repairer gets light in side the guitar makes some padded support pillars to fit under the cleats and gets some clamping pressure on the cleat the crack will not spread further or get longer. Whether or not you get it totally closed to the molecule is another story. You want the crack closed as much as possible, but stopped by cross grain cleats at both ends to keep it from lengthening.

A good repair guy can always remove cleats next winter to glue and recleat the crack if it changes. But if you let the crack go now it may rip open and get worse. Of course I don't live in Sweden so local conditions may also play factors I can't understand fully from here in God forsaken California.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2012 18:26:57
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Crack in my guitar! (in reply to aarongreen

An important thing.
The place where the guitar lives is very dry in winter and pretty humid in summer. So splinting can be a negative thing if the guitar gets to humid.

These cracks are typical for places where it gets very dry for a period. They happen in the end of the dry season when the owner gets more "relaxed" with his instrument.

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Blog: http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 16 2012 21:24:03
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: Crack in my guitar! (in reply to aarongreen

quote:

Oh yes, it true. Why violin restorers who can slip in a grain line and make them blend well get paid very handsomely. It can also take literally months to touch up. Guitar owners have it easy by comparison. Cost wise.


Karl is a longtime violin restorer and his background is in fine art. He will be the first to tell you that guitars are much harder. The reason is simply they are not nearly as well engineered and they have no arching compared to fiddles and have a relatively clear finish. He can still make stuff disappear but the number of times I've talked him from throwing the guitar or himself off a bridge is pretty impressive. But so is his work. Here's an example, on the 65 Fleta I sold last year there were two small cracks in the perfectly quartered dark brazilian back. They were almost closed but not quite enough. The finish on those guitars, from that vintage is a homemade amalgamation of lacquer, shellac and who knows what else. Its rather opaque, orangish, crackled all over the place and alligator skinned. Karl put in two or three different sets of splints in the rosewood until we realized that the finish was completely f*cking with us. He then pulled a tiny little bit and realized that the wood was much darker without the finish than it was under the finish. Then he made about 40 different kinds of varnish and laid them out on rosewood pieces that were similar, put them in a light box and let er rip. When he came up with the one that matched, he redid the splints yet again and went to it with the varnish. Even that was tough as he had to add judicious bits of color as he built up the varnish. Once he overshot the mark, which he did not realize until the final rub out. So back to bare wood. It took 4 months. In the end the repairs are completely invisible, you simply can not find them unless you know they are there and are looking very closely. The difference was in the crackle, the newer varnish has a slightly different crackle pattern but it's damn close.

My point is this, unless you have someone who is pushing the envelope of what is possible in restoration, like Karl.... you are going to end up with a visible repair. Better to take care of your guitar than put in new wood. Unless you pull off the fingerboard and steal wood from under it, you are in for a tough time to match spruce under a clear finish.

Anders,
I never thought this was a case of a mistake or less than ideal construction on your part. That crack looks like the guitar dried out, which is out of any luthier's control.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2012 1:32:07
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Crack in my guitar! (in reply to aarongreen

quote:

Anders,
I never thought this was a case of a mistake or less than ideal construction on your part. That crack looks like the guitar dried out, which is out of any luthier's control.


Oh yeah, Aaron. I know that. The guitar is 6 years old was built in a controlled environment with some 45 - 50% Rh and this is what happens when guitars live in cold climates with strong heating. Woodburners or stoves are VERY rough to wooden instruments.
The problem is not what other builders think. They know the game. The problem is what other clients or maybe clients think. The guitar world is extremely histerical when it comes to cracks. Its like death itself... Wood cracks when drying out and thats it and both clients and builders have to live with that.
The solution to this guitar has already been pointed out various times. Slowly humidify the guitar untill the crack closes, fix it and take care of the guitar.

_____________________________

Blog: http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2012 7:13:48
 
duende

Posts: 3051
Joined: Dec. 15 2003
From: Sweden

RE: Crack in my guitar! (in reply to aarongreen

Im going to go to Per Hallgren to hear what he say´s.
i hope it´s not to hard to fix.

Im not into any "fancy" art work making it look new.
just want the crack fixed.

_____________________________

This is hard stuff!
Don't give up...
And don't make it a race.
Enjoy the ray of sunshine that comes with every new step in knowledge.

RON
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2012 7:51:07
 
aarongreen

 

Posts: 367
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: Crack in my guitar! (in reply to aarongreen

Hi Duende
This discussion went a bit further than your initial question. You are much better off taking the guitar to a builder like Per Hallgren. I'm sure you will find that he does a very good job.

Anders

New England, where I live is guitar hell. It gets very dry here in the winter and usually (this winter not withstanding) very cold. Summers are often quite humid so if I'm not running a humidifier in my shop, I'm running a dehumidifier. ( My shop is very well insulated and has plastic between the floor and the concrete slab etc...) New York City is even worse because everyone has forced hot air heat.

So cracked guitars are a part of life here. Interestingly enough though, I'm seeing a lot less than I used to among classical and flamenco guys and that is for one very good reason, people are much more aware of humidity and are taking better care of their guitars. Planet Wave by D'addario has a great product which is an insert you put in the guitar when it's in it's case, kind of like saddlebags. These packets control the humidity in the case and keep it at 50%. They add humidity or remove it either way to keep it there. The inserts last for 3 months. It's ingenious and so far I've not heard one complaint.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2012 12:51:30
 
orsonw

Posts: 1498
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: Crack in my guitar! (in reply to aarongreen

I have a 70's conde with a 5cm crack in the side. I don't know how old or dirty the crack is or how it came to be there (a knock I suspect) but I took it to a luthier (violin maker and guitar repairer) who was able to subtly manipulate and completely close the crack so it was almost invisible. There is already a support bar across the side near one end of the crack and they suggested gluing another support bar across just infront rather than cleating. This guitar had some side supports when built but I thought they were more for classical guitars?

If possible I would be grateful for any opinions from luthiers here, as you are flamenco guitar specialists. I don't know much about guitar making but I understand changing the side in this way should make no difference to sound?

The luthier I am using was highly recommended I suppose I should just trust her!

http://www.luthierscorner.co.uk/Luthiers_Corner_Welcome.html

Have a look in the gallery there are some complete wrecks she has restored!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 14 2012 8:45:48
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: Crack in my guitar! (in reply to aarongreen

Adding a support bar to the side wont change it soundwise and its a good idea because i prevents the crack from opening up some more. So go ahead and trust her.

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Blog: http://news-from-the-workshop.blogspot.com/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 14 2012 15:32:36
 
mrMagenta

Posts: 942
Joined: Oct. 25 2006
From: Sweden

RE: Crack in my guitar! (in reply to aarongreen

Uah! I had to repair a crack on my guitar too. I got it in a dry hotel in Kiruna last winter! I was way too careless.

I keep three hygrometers in my apartment now, and check them regularly.
I aim for 45 - 50% humidity. I bought a humidifier that looks like a white cube. It has a large fan, so it's fairly silent, and it doesn't use as much electricity as the ones that heat up air, but I discovered that having one of those fake waterfalls / fountains on the windowpane actually works more efficiently, and is more silent, and even looks and feels more soothing :-) When it is ultra dry I hang up wet towels in the bathroom and leave the door open, but I live in a 40 square meter apartment, so it's easier to manage than a house. Hope you get it fixed soon!

BTW missed you at uppsala guitar festival! ps. Jag har hört ascoola rykten om en superkvartet! :-D!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 18 2012 12:29:14
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