Would you consider a Les Paul with a repaired headstock break? (And maybe a cool coincidence!)

FuncleManson

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One thing to remember is that any guitar with a angled head sawn out of one piece of wood is prone to breaking. I have fixed a lot of guitars other than Gibbies, we just tend to think more of them. The bottom line, don't leave guitars out on stands where they will get knocked over and then you never have to ask that questions.
This! A million times, this.
 

Wildeman

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If I equate that money to USD, which the amount looks similar to, 1200.00 for that guitar is a good ( not great) deal. It's actually great if it puts it into a price bracket you can afford, shoot, used Studios are approaching that here, I'd jump on that if you like it, with no hesitation.
Heck, if that was around me for $1200.00, I'd be trying to get it😉
 

Ricky D.

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For 1200 vs 2500 for a similar guitar without the break? With a well done professional repair that you can barely see from a foot away?

That headstock break will never be noticed unless the guitar is being sold.

I think the discount vs. no break is adequate. If I was there, I might buy it myself. But whatever you do, decide promptly. It won’t hang around at that price.
 

Wildeman

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Keep in mind, some of the most famous Gibson's have been broken and repaired, Greeny comes to mind. My own beloved SG Jr has had a headstock and heel repair before I got it over 30 years ago. Don't trip on that, the repair looks good, let some poor guy take the hit so you can save some bread, go git it.
 

Falstaff1960

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That looks like a very good repair job. I would buy that after looking it over carefully to make sure the photos are showing the whole story.

To those who stated they would have no trouble throwing a tele a someone...a tele is my weapon of choice in a bar fight or house break in...and I bet it would still be tune after the fact.
 
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Silverface

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I've been doing tech work since the 1970's own 4 Gibson Les Pauls, several knock-offs and have repaired COUNTLESS headstock breaks.

Put simply - there are two kinds of Les Pauls:
1) those that have had headstock breaks, and
2) those that will

It's almost inevitable that at some point in the life of a Les Paul it will be knocked onto its face off a music stand, slip from a guitar strap, or take some kind of "honest, I DIDN'T DO IT!" mystery fall while borrowed by a friend.

Hell, I've seen them break inside the case when the case takes a forward fall.

"Backwards" falls are usually safer - which seems odd, considering string tension is "forward" - yet most breaks seem to occur during forward falls. If you're nearby and hear that dreaded "SNAP!" sound - yep. it's probably broken.

Yet it's one of the LEAST problematic - and usually easiest to repair - types of damage that can occur.

There are generally 3 types (I realize this may have been covered before, but I want to reinforce the information:

1. Cracks that appear to be only in the finish. On cheap polyester-coated types, this *may* be the case; but on a lacquer-finish Gibson, it's likely not = and yes, you need to pull the headstock forwards while bracing the fretboard - if it starts to open up, it's a crack; if NOTHING happens, you MAY be OK. You'd just have to play it and see if it blows apart!

It will - if it fails - become one of the following:

2. A straight-across, jagged crack, possibly with the headstock overlay the only thing holding it in place.

It's broken - remove the strings; if the overlay is attached VERY carefully lay the guitar in the case with the upper neck/headstock areas well padded but DO NOT PUSH THEM TOGETHER. You will make the problem worse. Try to keep the busted ends slightly separated and well-cushioned and take it to your tech.

If you own a Les Paul (or any high end, professional guitar - but do not have a professional guitar tech doing periodic setups and adjustments - not the dude in the cubby at GC, a REAL guitar tech, either with a shop that's an actual business and all the proper tools or a friend who has the thousands of dollars worth of tools and knows how to use them - anyway, if you do not have a professional tech and you don't have ALL the needed tools for setup, fret work and repairs - FIND ONE. If you are going to play professional quality guitars of ANY brand you need a professional tech with proper tools who can set them up properly and handle repairs.

3. A "long" crack. This usually follows the grain of the mahogany and does not have jagged ends. The overlay may or may not be holding (and in any case where overlays are intact they may have some thin "wrinkles" on the front.

It appears to be the most disastrous type of crack. but is a) the easiest to repair, and b) the repair will be stronger than the neck!

Same rules apply - pad carefully, DO NOT try to fit it together, and take it to your tech.

OK, now a BIT of repair info - but NOT a lesson. In other words - don't try this at home!

MOST of the repair info on YouTube and amateur (and even many professional) websites is WRONG and will weaken the joint:

1. "alignment holes" and matching dowel or metal pins are THE WORST type of repair short of trying to slap it together with library paste. DON'T USE DOWELS - the original wood, properly glued, is MUCHH stronger. There are violin-family instruments where this is done, but a) only on instruments with "split design" neck heels (which I won't explain) AND because they have totally different neck angles.

Here's an example of a botched repair - the alignment might have been OK, but dowels weakened the joint - and, as often seen, it broke again! This was a 1960's ES-175 - and the only solution was to buy a new neck from Gibson (or hand-make one, which would have been far more expensive. but as-is, if the break had been repaired properly the first time it would have saved the owner about $1800

This is looking towards the headstock wiuth the full break in view, and the trussrod cover hanging in place. Think about it - there'a already trussrod hole; then TWO more holes were drilled, with the glued dowels *removing* structural integrity.
Bad les paul headstock repair with dowels.jpg


2. "Splines" - another method that should never be used unless the break has been shoved together by the owner (or inept repairman) destroying any chance of a good joint. ONLY in that type of situation will splines add any strength - if glued together with hot hide glue. But if the break aligns well when handled by a competent tech, a well-fitting, properly glued break will be stronger than the wood itself.

3. "Glue" - Hot hide glue...ONLY.

Titebond and similar aliphatic glues don't dry as hard or penetrate the grain as well. What they DO is handle gaps in joints better, and survive exterior exposure - but it's unlikely that it will rain on your guitar.

There are some premixed hide glues on the market that I have had decent sccuess with - but you MUST check the expiration date, store them in the refrigerator, and heat them (to a warm temperature, like a baby bottle) - this lowers the viscosity and improves penetration into the joint.

The toughest ones to glue are the "90 degree", splintered joints. As long as pieces have not fallen out and the sections will mesh well, you will have a glue joint that is MUCH larger than the neck's cross section - think of taking all the up/down jagged parts, flattening them all out ("think" - don't smash it down!) - the glue joint will actually be 2-3x the cross section.

But fitting/aligning and clamping these joints is the tricky part. It takes tech years of working on junk guitars as experiments/learning tools to refine the technique - and it takes several clamps at different angles to line them up.

The long breaks, with inches of exposed grain, would appear to moist amateurs to be the most difficult - when in reality they are both the easiest to work with and result in the strongest repair. Here's a great example - a "long" break in a 2004 Les Paul Standard it a "++" ice tea burst top, modified with Duncan Seth Lovers and an ultralight stop tailpiece. A friend bumped it and my back w"as turned - all I heard was "snap" followed by his "OH S**T!"

I just laughed and said it was in group 2 now...

It was a very typical long break. I also refuse to hide them - if an owner wants them made invisible I refuse the work, as they could defraud potential sellers. I'd rather have them show an honest, quality repair. So I heated up the glue pot, dumped in some fresh crystals, and tested several clamping plans while it liquified. You don't want to clamp TOO tight or you can squeeze the glue completely out of the joint....there needs to be a thin adhesive film that is actually harder than the adjacent wood.

In the pictures you can see me pull it back a slight amount (which I did to inject glue deep into the crack); The "wrinkle" in the overlay showing how far up in went; The clamps, which were left on for 24 hours; and the final slight "smile" where I touched-up/smoothed the finish, but didn't hide it.

I was playing it that night after buffing the finish. It's one of the most-played guitars in my studio.

It'd never have qualms about buying a good Les Paul with a quality headstock repair.

I hope this post and pictures put your mind at ease about quality repairs - and some of the "bound for failure" repair methods some techs still uyse - despite repeated problems!
 

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StrangerNY

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Looks like a solid, but not particularly beautiful, repair. If you can play it plugged in before buying it, give it a shot. It sounds like the discount is already there compared to the prices you mentioned in the OP.

Worst that could happen is it plays badly and you say 'Thanks but no, thanks."

- D
 

Fiesta Red

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If it were a well-executed repair, I’d definitely consider a neck-broke Les Paul.

As others have noted, proper repair is often stronger than the original design.
 




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