Is my acoustic toast?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Boomhauer, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer Friend of Leo's

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    I've got a Recording King Dirty 30's parlor that I'm madly in love with. It sounds great (exactly like it's supposed to), it feels great, and it's a pretty handsome guitar to look at.

    Now, last winter wasn't kind to the guitar...Unfortunately, due to the solid "white wood" (poplar?) top, a 1" long crack developed out of the soundhole. I played and played the guitar to the point where pick scratches started scarring up the top, so I put a stick-on pickguard on, which seemed to cover up the end of the 1" crack.

    Fast forward to this year though, and despite being kept in a humidified room, the crack has grown to nearly 8"...close to touching the bridge. And, the crack is starting to split into two cracks now.

    As the title says, is my guitar toast?
     
  2. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    No, it isn't toast by any means, but it needs fixing before it gets any worse. It shouldn't be an expensive repair.

    The top is spruce of some kind, not a hardwood.
     
  3. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Willie Nelson's acoustic. That black area is a large hole, by the way.
     
  4. SpareRibs

    SpareRibs Tele-Meister

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    Hello,
    Drill a very shall hole 1/32" at each end of the crack before it gets any worse. Then it should not travel any further until you can get it repaired.
     
  5. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    ^^^^ :twisted::twisted: Good for metal, a bit (lot!!) excessive for timber cracks
     
  6. SpareRibs

    SpareRibs Tele-Meister

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    Hello,
    I went back and changed it to 1/32" that should be small enough hopefully.
     
  7. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    As good as these RK's sound this isn't the first time I've heard of a crack or separation occurring. How old is it?
     
  8. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer Friend of Leo's

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    Maybe 2 full years...I bought it in November 2014 from Guitar Center as a Black Friday/Scratch-n-dent/display model sale.
     
  9. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I thought maybe if it were within a year the store might do something about it but under the circumstances you're probably on your own. Hope you can get it stabilized for not much cash. I'd consult a repair tech before drilling holes in it though...:eek:
     
  10. Georox

    Georox Friend of Leo's

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    Interesting string spacing
     
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Probably what a luthier would do is open the crack full length with clean edges and then glue in a splint like 1/16" wide.
    It's not likely you can squeeze it shut and hold the whole guitar in with the glue joint, if the guitar has shrunk into its current shape. If the crack runs under the bridge it will be a bigger issue.
    Being an inexpensive guitar you might get a better price on the work if you didn't want it to be invisible, call it some free relic'ing.
    Quick and dirty splinting a crack that's easily accessed should not cost that much and will add some mojo...
     
  12. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, I saved the receipt, and the first crack formed within 3 days of having the warranty expire. Perfect timing, right?

    I'm not too intimidated by the repair itself...I'm armed with Dan Erlewine's book, a whole Internet full of information, and a stout degree of confidence in woodworking. I do, however, know that cracks are usually bad news bears, especially when they form in fully humidified rooms.
     
  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Here's a not very thorough bit of info on crack splinting.

    http://fingerlakesguitarrepair.com/splint-martin-top-crack/

    The approach would vary depending on where the crack is and how long, with a big part of the job being prepping the crack for the glue joint, meaning making the crack wider.
    The above article doesn't go into this, and I forget where I learned it, but if the crack is wide enough you can stick sandpaper on a palate knife blade and run it through the crack to prep the edges for gluing, with a little taper or wedge shape to the crack and the splint, so it's wider on the top of the guitar and narrower underneath, allowing the splint to tighten as you push it in.
     
  14. Linc Gray

    Linc Gray Tele-Holic

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    This sounds like very logical advice to stop a crack from growing.
    Any second opinions on this?
     
  15. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Works on metal and plastic for sure.
    Never tried it with wood.
     
  16. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    ^^^^ I've repaired my fair share of body cracks. I wouldn't do it.

    It the finish satin or gloss? I've found it very hard to do invisible finish repairs on satin, so I would repair is with superglue and polish the top to hide the repair, if it is satin.
     
  17. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer Friend of Leo's

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    Did that this afternoon...also, I closed off the room, and put the humidifier on full blast. We'll see if that remedies the fret sprout as well. I figure, there are ways to conceal tiny holes...maybe a sticker of some sort.

    It is a satin finish...and a sunburst to boot. So, an invisible repair will be nigh on impossible.
     
  18. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    ^^^^ One of the pro repairers/builders might know how to do it, I don't. I just repaired an open seam in the top of my uke, which had a satin catalysed poly finish. I ended up stripping the whole top and appling an oil-type finish.:(
     
  19. Diamond Dave

    Diamond Dave Tele-Meister

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    First, that's not Willie Nelson's guitar. It's a miniature replica. Willie's looks worse. ;)

    Second, DO NOT DRILL A HOLE IN THE TOP OF YOUR GUITAR.

    Third, warranties do not cover damage from a lack of humidification. And if you have sharp fret ends, then you have low humidity, and that's your fault, not Recording King's.

    Fourth, it's not enough to turn on a humidifier. You need to get a hygrometer like Amazon.com: Caliber IV Digital Hygromter by Western Humidor: Patio, Lawn & Garden@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41GqdR07-zL.@@AMEPARAM@@41GqdR07-zL,

    salt test it (http://www.wikihow.com/Test-a-Hygrometer)

    and adjust accordingly. Then, monitor the room humidity. You may need something like a Damp-it or a Humidipak and to store your guitar in a case to get the humidity right (45-50 percent).

    Fifth, if the guitar was really dry, simply humidifying it properly and giving it some time may close the crack up for good, and fix the sharp fret ends. You may want to go to a luthier to have the crack repaired and the sharp fret ends removed. A good luthier will fix the crack so that you won't be able to tell it was ever there. But RK Dirty Thirties are pretty inexpensive so you'll want to weigh the cost of the repair vs. the cost of a new guitar.
     
  20. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer Friend of Leo's

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    Oh jeez, looking at that picture (taken right after I bought it), the crack has always been there...I just didn't see it. :oops:
     
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