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  •  The EvO:R-Pedia Musicians Tips Section

    Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians so that people that followed can take this knowledge and use it's power.

     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,

    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


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