Acoustic guitars are relatively delicate instruments, but they will often provide long-term service. Unfortunately, the structure can still sustain damage due to frequent usage and exposure to unsuitable conditions. One of the primary problems that you will have to deal with is cracking of the instrument. This form of damage will lower the aesthetics of your guitar and if left unrepaired, it will compromise the structural integrity. Therefore, it is critical to fix the problem as soon as possible. Ideally, you should engage an expert to seal the crack and restore your instruments. However, if the damage is localized, use these simple guidelines to perform the repair.
Assess the Damage
The first step of performing a repair on your cracked guitar is to assess the extent of the damage. The most common problem of this type is the separation of the center seam due to stress. In this case, the two halves that form the top part of the instrument become unglued, leaving an unattractive opening. You will often find this damage in the area between the end block and the bridge. If there is an actual deep crack through the wood making up the guitar surface, you should not attempt amateur repairs. Instead, take the guitar to a luthier for assessment and proper restoration.
Prepare the Guitar
Before you start the actual repair, you must prepare the guitar. Basically, you should remove the strings to gain proper access to the surface of the instrument. Moreover, this will protect your strings from accidental damage. You should also place the guitar on a flat surface with a soft covering. This will limit the possibility of the guitar sustaining more unexpected cracks or surface scratches. You can place it on a towel or blanket.
Apply the Adhesive
Most acoustic guitar cracks can be sealed with good adhesive or glue. However, the timing for the repair is critical because the separation often expands when neglected. Also, if dirt and oils accumulate in the seam, the glue will be less effective. On the same note, avoid running your fingers over the damage before the repair. Doing this will also result in a build-up of oils and limit the effectiveness of your repair. Before you apply the glue, open up the crack a little bit. Simply, reach into the shell of your guitar and press outwards slightly. You can now easily apply the adhesive thoroughly for a long-lasting repair. There are different types of adhesive that you can select for this fix, including epoxy adhesive and water-based wood glue.
Secure the Repair
After you apply the glue, it is important to secure the repair or else the separation will remain. For this step, you will need a clamp. This tool comes in diverse forms and sizes, so you can look for the one that best suits the position and size of the crack. Apply the clamp over the area where the adhesive was applied. This will help the guitar shell regain and retain its original shape. Leave the clamp in the same position until the adhesive dries completely.
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Finish the Surface
When the adhesive dries, the structural integrity of the acoustic guitar should be restored. Unfortunately, the aesthetics will still be compromised due to the excess glue that will remain in the area. Therefore, you should get sandpaper with a light grain and remove the unappealing material. You can smooth over both the area inside and outside the guitar body. When you are satisfied with the results, apply a finishing layer. This will hide any cosmetic flaws that were caused by the original damage or the repair processes.
Causes of Guitar Cracks
It is critical for you to know the potential causes of guitar cracks so that you can protect your instrument and avoid the recurrence of the damage. Low humidity can cause significant cracks because the acoustic structure is made using fairly delicate wood. Generally, the body will shrink due to the dry environment until it eventually fractures. To avoid this, consider using a humidifier in the storage room for the guitar. Naturally, external cracks and scratches will occur due to physical impact. Therefore, invest in a good guitar case and practice caution when the guitar is being used. Finally, ensure that the pickguard on your guitar is properly installed. If the placement is wrong, the feature will exert stress on the body and the shell will be damaged.
Hopefully, the information above has given you a good idea on what acoustic guitar cracks are caused by and how to repair them. It should be reiterated that if you are not comfortable with performing these fixes or if the damage is too extent, it is a good idea to call in professional help. Many times, you instrument will hold special value to you that goes beyond the price of repair. The last thing you'd want is to make things worse.
Your Turn to Sound Off!
have you ever performed a guitar repair? If so, what it and how did it turn out?