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Rick Andrews and other experts answers guitar repair questions
For almost one year, guitar luther Rick Andrews answered your guitar repair questions. After recieving over 500 questions we put together the most popular questions and answers. Today, we are involving other great guitar builders and will continue to expand this area in the future. This section will no longer be interactive but you should find most of your guitar building and repair questions have already been answered in this section.

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We are now stocking and selling electric guitar kits. By establishing a working relationship with two manufacturing plants we now offer many electric guitar kits. Some of the styles include the Telecaster, Stratocaster, Explorer, Flying V, Les Paul, PRS, and the Warlock. More will be added every couple months. If you are looking to find an inexpensive alternative to purchasing a new guitar you might want to consider a guitar kit from your friends at EvO:R.

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  •  Truss Rod Damage.
    Hey Rick,
    I just purchased an older Optek SmartLight Model 30-C guitar via the internet, from a private party. The body is in near perfect shape. It even still has some of the backings plastic protective film cover still attached. I was surprised to see there were no strings on the guitar. And upon closer inspection of the neck, I found that there are several cracks (the width of a hair) that run virtually the entire length of the neck (2nd fret up to the end of the neck).

    The neck has 21 frets with a 3/4" area at the end that has no frets. Here's the fret by fret crack pattern, in hopes that you can better diagnose the problem...

    1st Fret: Clear 2nd Fret: Cracked, just below 3rd string 3rd-5th Fret: Cracked, between 3rd & 4th string 6th-8th Fret: Cracked, directly under 3rd string 9th-10th Fret: Cracked, between 3rd & 4th string 11th-15th Fret: Cracked, between 3rd & 4th string - and also directly under the 5th string 16th-18th Fret: Cracked directly under 4th string - and also directly under the 5th string 19th-21st Fret: Cracked directly under 4th string - all the way to the end of the neck

    As you can see, the cracks essentially run the length of the neck, and on either side of the center of the neck. There is also what appears to be a 'surface' stress like crack in the body's 'cut-away' on the 1st strings side (as opposed to the 6th), where the neck joins the body.

    And so, I was wondering/guessing... "Is this typical neck resulting damage from an over torqued truss rod?" It almost appears as if the entire length of the truss rod tried to bulge through the center of the neck, in an upward manner (guitar layed flat on it's back) - causing the necks wood to separate or come apart, resulting in hair like fissures (cracks).

    Have you come across this situation before? What can be done to repair it? (filled and sanded?) How much would this typically cost to repair?

    Thanks much,
    Parker

  • Ricks Answer
    You raise a good point about the possibilty of the truss rod being overtorqued, however there is another clue you gave here that would almost disqualify that thought. You mentioned the crack begining in the body at the lower cutaway where the neck joins the body. Truss rods even when overtorqued would not cause that.
    There could be a number of things here to cause all this.
    It could have been badly damaged in shipment, car wreck or even left in high summer temps in the trunk of a car. Now that will damage a guitar more than anything I've seen yet. The crack at the body really gets my attention. Someone may have used it temporarily as a weapon holding it by the neck. When swung like a ball bat when the body hits something the shock would be delivered to the neck where it was held in hand and would split the wood with the grain and also pressed hard enough sideways against the body wood to start a small crack there too.

    My suggestion would be to squirt clear industrial strength super glue into all the cracks. Hot stuff glues at hobby shops will be fine. It nees to be the water thin type so it will flash into the cracks. That should stop the cracks from getting worse and the glue will buff out clear like laquer. Otherwise if it does not hold up then a new neck. That could get costly. The body has to be worked on too. If it is a bolt on neck design then you can get a replacement fairly cheap but if it is a glue in neck the body would have to be touched up after the neck removal. That is all a lot of work and that is when you consider what the guitar is worth.

    Also back to the truss rod . . . it would only bulge toward the mid area of the neck as it does not press upwardly at the ends of the neck. One thing to remember to do is loosen the rod completely and see if it apears to let the cracks close any. This would suggest that the rod is pressing hard enough to open the cracks. Be sure and get the glue to rush into the cracks very quickly as deeply as it can go into the cracks. Stringer 'er up and play it a while and watch it closely before doing any major cosmetic repairs. If it don't hold then you didn't waste a lot of time or money. If it holds true for a fairly long period of time then you can decide if it is worth the cosmetic repairs to hide the cracks. Sure sounds to me like the guita got a hard lick sideways. Someone may have even fallen off the stage while playing. Believe me I've seen a lot. Hope this helps you.
    Rick Andrews
    Andrews guitar



  • String height question on fretless bass.
    P Bass Problem.
    I recently replaced the neck on my 74 fender p bass. It had a fretless neck that had quite a few dead spots. I thought I would try a might mite m2919 replacement neck which is also fretless and is made to be an exact replacement. The problem I am having is the the E string is very colored with 2nd or above harmonics when played open. The E string plays nicely when other notes are played. I also had problems with buzzing until I raised the strings significantly at the bridge. Unfortunately, the replacement neck which should have been an exact fit was 1/16" wider than the old neck where it attaches to the body and about 1/16" taller than the old neck. I carved out the opening for the neck and seem to have a solid mounting. The new neck is also taller which is why I had to raise the strings at the bridge. I have installed some medium gauge strings, the same kind I was using prior to replacing the neck. I appreciate any thoughts you may have. thanks,Br> Tim

  • Ricks Answer
    Well Tim,
    It sounds like you have solved all the problems except for the open E harmonics. One question would be did the new neck come with the nut already in it or did you have to put the nut in? If you had to put it in, did you use the old one off the old neck? If so, then I suspect that may be the problem especially consodering the fact that it only happens in open E which is of course the only time the nut is involved at all.

    Most people don't think about that. The only time the nut is ever involved in the notes is when strings are played open. Any notes made on the fret board are always controled by the fret being pressed against thus the nut is not doing anything other than keeping the strings spaced apart but nothing regarding the notes, only in open playing. That sort of eliminates the fretboard and the bridge from any harmonic problems considering it only happens in open E.

    Sometimes when the nut slots are filed across the nut to cradle the strings the very front edge of the nut slot is still very sharp and the string can get secondary and thirdary, hehe, vibration against the nut itself added to the string vibration and that is a mistake I have made several times. It is best to go back and take the slot file and right at the very front edge of the nut, file a tiny angle downward at a 45 degree angle rolling the edge slightly.

    Same for guitars folks- for those who else may read this. That way when the string leaves the nut slot and is open it has a tiny bit of release from the rolled edge and does not vibrate against the nut itself right on the sharp edge. Don't roll that edge back but a tiny microscopic amount because if you do it will mess up the sclae and intonation, just enough to clear the sharp edge of the nut and stop that secondary vibration. This holds true for all the strings. The low E string has more flex than the smaller diameter strings. Please nobody tell Gibson, Fender, PRS, or whoever OK?

    Gotta keep my guitars playing better. hehehe. Remember now, don't over do it. Try this and see if that solves the problem. Let us know if this works and get back to me if that does not solve the problem and we'll go another further OK?
    Rick Andrews
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