Advice with repair to Martin D15 acoustic


Hi,
I have a much loved Martin D15
http://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/choosing/guitars.php?p=m&m=D-15
which has 'developed' a major split in the headstock. You can see some pics here:
http://www.richardmaunder.com/D15 /
I'm not sure how this happened - the split isn't visible on the tuning face. I only realised something was wrong when the guitar wouldn't hold tune. Most likely it got knocked over by someone - though I can't see any other signs of damage. It doesn't seen likely this could happen spontaneously - the guitar is about 6 years old.
Anyway I would like to get it repaired and have a few questions......
i) Is a feasible repair - without replacing the whole neck? I think so.... I assume this is non trivial given this is an area of major stress. it's not just a question of someone squirting some glue in and clamping it up. It may required break the split right open to rejoin properly.
ii) I live in Geneva, Switzerland but also regularly visit UK (London area). Do people have any recommendations for someone/shop which can do this (ideally in Switzerland)?
Any idea of approximate cost would be good too. I have in mind about 100 ($150 / Euro) - but this is just a wild guess.
This isn't a super expensive guitar - and the repair won't affect the set of neck so it isn't critical - but I do want it done right as I love the guitar and would hate it to be screwed up by a ham-fisted job.
Any info would be great!
Cheers
Rick
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Rick - A good wood glue is going to be stronger than the wood. Squirt some in, clamp it and you will have a functional repair. If you want a really good repair that would involve making it not noticable then I would consider sending it back to Martin in the states (Pennsylvania) on one of their EU service centers http://www.martinguitar.com/dealers/services.php?state=INAT
Good luck
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Rick:
I own a 1968 D-18 and tho I haven't played it in years, I too wouldn't trust it to just any one.
Suggestion - call or email the Martin factory.
I did a Google and here's a name if found (no recommendation at all):
Marioni Archtop Guitars 3 , rue John Grasset CH 1205, Geneva Switzerland Tel.0041 79 214 1312
website: www.marioni.com
I'd also call around some orchestra headquarters, they might know someone as well. Or least point you to someone one. Check also if there is a music school nearby for stringed instruments. They definitely would have a name or two.
Also, there's got to be a luthier school somewhere in Switzerland or at the very least nearby - Italy or Germany.
Good luck!
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Hi,
I have a much loved Martin D15
http://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/choosing/guitars.php?p=m&m=D-15
which has 'developed' a major split in the headstock. You can see some pics here:
http://www.richardmaunder.com/D15 /
I'm not sure how this happened - the split isn't visible on the tuning face. I only realised something was wrong when the guitar wouldn't hold tune. Most likely it got knocked over by someone - though I can't see any other signs of damage. It doesn't seen likely this could happen spontaneously - the guitar is about 6 years old.
Anyway I would like to get it repaired and have a few questions......
i) Is a feasible repair - without replacing the whole neck? I think so.... I assume this is non trivial given this is an area of major stress. it's not just a question of someone squirting some glue in and clamping it up. It may required break the split right open to rejoin properly.
ii) I live in Geneva, Switzerland but also regularly visit UK (London area). Do people have any recommendations for someone/shop which can do this (ideally in Switzerland)?
Any idea of approximate cost would be good too. I have in mind about 100 ($150 / Euro) - but this is just a wild guess.
This isn't a super expensive guitar - and the repair won't affect the set of neck so it isn't critical - but I do want it done right as I love the guitar and would hate it to be screwed up by a ham-fisted job.
Any info would be great!
Cheers
Rick
You should have seen my D-15 after I got thrown from a parade float. It had an 18 inch crack along the bottom bout. I was just sick when I saw it, not to mention I was bruised and scratched up. I bought the guitar used for $400, and Martin wanted about the same to repair it. Luckily, I have a luthier friend who sent some glue and told me how to fix it. It turned out great, and the injury didn't hurt the sound at all. Eventually, the town I was playing in gave me the full price for the guitar, and I put the money against an OM28V. It's a nice guitar, but given the choice, I'd rather play the old D-15. Good luck with yours.
Cathy http://www.cathycowette.com
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Hi,
I have a much loved Martin D15
http://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/choosing/guitars.php?p=m&m=D-15
which has 'developed' a major split in the headstock. You can see some pics here:
http://www.richardmaunder.com/D15 /
I'm not sure how this happened - the split isn't visible on the tuning face. I only realised something was wrong when the guitar wouldn't hold tune. Most likely it got knocked over by someone - though I can't see any other signs of damage. It doesn't seen likely this could happen spontaneously - the guitar is about 6 years old.
Anyway I would like to get it repaired and have a few questions......
i) Is a feasible repair - without replacing the whole neck? I think so.... I assume this is non trivial given this is an area of major stress. it's not just a question of someone squirting some glue in and clamping it up. It may required break the split right open to rejoin properly.
ii) I live in Geneva, Switzerland but also regularly visit UK (London area). Do people have any recommendations for someone/shop which can do this (ideally in Switzerland)?
Any idea of approximate cost would be good too. I have in mind about 100 ($150 / Euro) - but this is just a wild guess.
This isn't a super expensive guitar - and the repair won't affect the set of neck so it isn't critical - but I do want it done right as I love the guitar and would hate it to be screwed up by a ham-fisted job.
Any info would be great!
Cheers
Rick
Rick,
I see from your photos that you have taked the tension off of the strings. That's good. I would contact Martin and ask if there is a factory authorized repair person in your area.
You have a nice clean split there. Its is feasible you could easily do it yourself but I'd still look for a pro first.
Geezer
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Rick, if you bought the guitar new, it is under warranty from Martin. If so, contact Martin. I expect they will send you to a local repair facility. At any rate, give them the chance to stand by their product.
--
Misifus-
Rafael Seibert
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Hi,
I have a much loved Martin D15
http://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/choosing/guitars.php?p=m&m=D-15
which has 'developed' a major split in the headstock. You can see some pics here:
http://www.richardmaunder.com/D15 /
I'm not sure how this happened - the split isn't visible on the tuning face. I only realised something was wrong when the guitar wouldn't hold tune. Most likely it got knocked over by someone - though I can't see any other signs of damage. It doesn't seen likely this could happen spontaneously - the guitar is about 6 years old.
Anyway I would like to get it repaired and have a few questions......
i) Is a feasible repair - without replacing the whole neck? I think so.... I assume this is non trivial given this is an area of major stress. it's not just a question of someone squirting some glue in and clamping it up. It may required break the split right open to rejoin properly.
ii) I live in Geneva, Switzerland but also regularly visit UK (London area). Do people have any recommendations for someone/shop which can do this (ideally in Switzerland)?
Any idea of approximate cost would be good too. I have in mind about 100 ($150 / Euro) - but this is just a wild guess.
This isn't a super expensive guitar - and the repair won't affect the set of neck so it isn't critical - but I do want it done right as I love the guitar and would hate it to be screwed up by a ham-fisted job.
Any info would be great!
Cheers
Rick
*****************************
Around these parts, all local musicians travel out of town about an hour to take their busted and damaged instruments to a guy who has built an excellent reputation in stringed instrument repairs and modifications.
Ask around, ther may be a similar type of fellow near where you live.
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Hi,
I have a much loved Martin D15
http://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/choosing/guitars.php?p=m&m=D-15
which has 'developed' a major split in the headstock. You can see some pics here:
http://www.richardmaunder.com/D15 /
i) Is a feasible repair - without replacing the whole neck? I think so.... I assume this is non trivial given this is an area of major stress. it's not just a question of someone squirting some glue in and clamping it up. It may required break the split right open to rejoin properly.
ii) I live in Geneva, Switzerland but also regularly visit UK (London area). Do people have any recommendations for someone/shop which can do this (ideally in Switzerland)?
The area where that split exists is indeed subject to quite a stress. I'm not sure about this but I thought I recalled at one time hearing something in the neighborhood of 700lbs of stress when tuned. Glue certainly would hold it, if properly applied. Many guitars have glued up necks and headstocks so the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. I'd be more concerned with being able to get a good glue coat inside the split so as to get a good bond. If you can open it up some and get a good squirt inside, certain that the entire surface of the split wood is coated, then you should be able to clamp it up and wipe off the excess that squirts out.
I've damaged guitars before and I've repaired some of them. The repairs have always lasted and have always been nearly invisible when done. That said, when my custom built electric took a dive off a guitar stand and chipped a piece of mahogany out of the neck, I sent it back to the luthier who built it for repair. This guitar cost a good amount of money and I didn't want anything but his hand involved in fixing it. It's all in what the guitar is worth to you.
Doubtful the Martin warranty will cover this - it's not a defect in workmanship or materials. I think I'd send the pictures to them and inquire about repairs. They may refer you to a local luthier (closer to you), or they may request you send it in to get the neck sweated off and replaced.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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On 6 Apr 2006 12:19:45 -0700, "Rick Maunder"

You might ask in rec.music.makers.builders if you haven't already.
Mike O.
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If it was mine I'd take the tuners off, pull it apart completely[1], remove any loose splinters[2] and glue it back together with thin wood glue, clamp firmly and leave for a few days.
[1] While this may show at the front, it will make the repair stronger.
[2] Otherwise it might not go back together properly.
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Don't do it yourself. Bring the guitar to a repairshop and they'll fix it without seeing that is was cracked. I've don ethis with my 12 string and they can fix these cracks quite easy.
Good luck.
Hi,
I have a much loved Martin D15
http://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/choosing/guitars.php?p=m&m=D-15
which has 'developed' a major split in the headstock. You can see some pics here:
http://www.richardmaunder.com/D15 /
I'm not sure how this happened - the split isn't visible on the tuning face. I only realised something was wrong when the guitar wouldn't hold tune. Most likely it got knocked over by someone - though I can't see any other signs of damage. It doesn't seen likely this could happen spontaneously - the guitar is about 6 years old.
Anyway I would like to get it repaired and have a few questions......
i) Is a feasible repair - without replacing the whole neck? I think so.... I assume this is non trivial given this is an area of major stress. it's not just a question of someone squirting some glue in and clamping it up. It may required break the split right open to rejoin properly.
ii) I live in Geneva, Switzerland but also regularly visit UK (London area). Do people have any recommendations for someone/shop which can do this (ideally in Switzerland)?
Any idea of approximate cost would be good too. I have in mind about 100 ($150 / Euro) - but this is just a wild guess.
This isn't a super expensive guitar - and the repair won't affect the set of neck so it isn't critical - but I do want it done right as I love the guitar and would hate it to be screwed up by a ham-fisted job.
Any info would be great!
Cheers
Rick
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Thanks for all the replies. I did contact Martin with the pics a while back - they weren't very helpful - which was quite dissapointing - but I guess this is their 'budget' guitar. The certainly weren't interested in considering it might have been a weakness in the original material - to quote:
"Please be advised, headstocks normally do not just crack. Also, as this guitar was made in 1999 this type of occurrence is not considered defective material workman ship or material."
They didn't have any recommended repairers or dealers nearby...just the main dealer in Switzerland which is miles away (plus my German is non-existant and French pretty bad - I need someone I can discuss face to face....)
The crack does move - I noticed it at first as I was trying to tune the guitar and the crack was (of course) just opening up. So I guess I (or the repairer) could load the strings a bit to open the joint and insert glue, and then release and clamp closed.
Anyway it doesn't sounds like it is a major job and if done right should be as strong as new....?
While I'm a reasonably comptent woddworker I think I will leave it to a pro - thanks for the tips on finding one.
Cheers
Rick
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There are a number of ways to repair a crack on a headstock. Frank Ford's site, http://www.frets.com , shows several (look at the big index page). He usually uses hot hide glue rather than aliphatic resin glue (e.g., white woodworker's glue) as hide glue doesn't creep. For this kind of a break, he has in the past done 'backstrap' overlays of mahogany which run long-grain mahogany past the crack. It's not simple but it offers great strength and durability post-repair.
mh
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On 6 Apr 2006 12:19:45 -0700, "Rick Maunder"

I did a similar repair on a guitar. The split was about the same. The guitar that I fixed was an inexpensive youth size unit, so I felt nothing ventured, nothing gained. I don't know if I would have attempted it myself on a Martin.
Mine broke cleanly so I, glued it ( is used epoxy, but today I would probably use hide glue) and cross pinned it with two dowels (1/4" maple). Fixed it about twelve years ago, and it has been through two sons and continues to play and hold tune fine. In fact, because it is small, the boys used it as a traveler, so it gets fairly rough treatment.
Frank
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Rick Maunder wrote:

Rick,
What you have is one of the most common cases of headstock damage... so common it has its own name: airline break, so named because it occurs often when airline baggage handlers throw the case (and, obviously, guitar) around. It doesn't take a direct blow to the headstock; it's a result of the torque of the collision between the case and whatever stops it. A friend with a DM had the same thing occur and the guitar tech looked at it and called it for what it was in a heartbeat. The break in NOT coverd by the Martin guarantee.
The repair is simple for a qualified person. You really have to look for the repair on my friend's guitar. It's close to invisible. If I were in your position, I'd take it to a good repair person and let him or her have at it. I don't recall the price of the repair, but I believe it was under $100.
Norman (It Really Ain't That Bad) Draper
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Sounds reasonable - though how it happened I still not sure. I must confess it had been out of case stood against a wall - but it couldn't have fallen very far as it was in a corner next to a sofa. Our cleaner might have knocked it over and not told me....
As the thing had been fine for 5 years I can't really blame Martin for not covering this sort of problem. I did think they could have been more helpful about how to get it repaired, if was feasible etc....
Thanks anyway
Rick
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Sofa gets shoved over, jams headstock against wall, sofa gets replaced, nobody notices ...
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