How to (not) break your headstock

Discussion in 'Gibson Les Pauls' started by goby, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. goby

    goby Senior Member

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    I've been noticing that several LP's for sale have headstock repairs, and that it appears that breaking a headstock is a danger of owning a Les Paul (maybe all guitars?)

    So as a beginner who keeps his LP out, how do you avoid breaking a headstock? Is it something that I need to worry about?

    Thanks,

    Anthony
     
  2. Ziggy Stardust

    Ziggy Stardust Senior Member

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    Don't drop it on the floor etc.
     
  3. GeeJay

    GeeJay Senior Member

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    If it falls off a stand and onto the floor, then there's a likelihood the headstock will break or at least crack. Although some folks have better luck than this.

    I do leave mine on the stand when I'm not playing it, but always take the lead out when I'm done for a particular session, so I don't trip over it and pull the guitar onto the floor.

    Les Pauls are quite prone to headstock breakage because of where the wood has been machined away for the truss-rod and the grain carrys on in line with the neck.

    Other angle headstocks can be vulnerable, but as they are often scarf jointed onto the neck, the grain in the wood helps and in any case, glue is often stronger than the wood.

    What we need is mahogany that is grown around a 15 (or is it 17? I forget) degree corner, so that the grain follows the line of the the neck and the headstock..

    If you really want to avoid breaking the headstock, you should keep it in the case. On the other hand, you could buy one that has already been broken, then you don't have to worry about it...

    That reminds me, just where is that Peter Green burst again?...:)
     
  4. LoKi

    LoKi V.I.P. Member

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    Buy a Norlin. Problem solved, and yet everyone 'hates' the volute and the maple neck, right? :D

    Busted neck/headstock makes for an exceptional deal. My friend just got a 2000 Les Paul Custom for $300. The repair is usually stronger than the original neck was on its own *if done properly* and on an ebony guitar for example, a complete repair+refinish of the neck is CHEAP and again if done well, nobody will be able to tell it has been repaired.

    Look at some of BCRGreg's work. The man is a genius when it comes to neck/headstock repair.
     
  5. Alligatorbling

    Alligatorbling ★AstroCat★ MLP Vendor V.I.P. Member

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    Keep it in the case while your not playing it, don't lean it up against the wall to go answer the phone... strap locks are a good idea, also don't decide to show it off to your drunk buddies....avoid situations that it may tip over, get dropped, bang into something , don't unplug it and run to answer the phone with it strapped on only to whack it on the door frame... lol, the list goes on and on... just use common sense and you should be alright lol
     
  6. 61LPSG

    61LPSG Senior Member

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    Buy a Kramer, or a Fender...:naughty:
    Seriously though, a one piece mahogany neck is much more likely to break,and the transition from neck to headstock is the Achilles' heel. Just be VERY careful with it. Take all the advice the others said, and never lean it up against an amp or chair, etc. If you move it from extreme cold to warm, or vice versa, let it acclimate slowly. Open the case for a few seconds, and close it. Wait a few minutes and repeat. This will help prevent the finish from cracking, or checking on a nitro finish.
     
  7. 61LPSG

    61LPSG Senior Member

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    Oh, and WELCOME to MLP:wave::wave:
     
  8. lp59aholicDon

    lp59aholicDon V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    Loki, This man , is not a cure, I have seen Norlins that even had huge valutes back there that had headtock repairs , Ask Greg and Roman if that lunk of wood back there did anything to save from one?
    If its not in your hands or a very secure stand, like a Hercules, then should be in your case , dont let drunks handle your Les Pauls or other Gibsons .
     
  9. goby

    goby Senior Member

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    Thank you for all the replies. I will be careful to not do something really stupid. I appreciate the "scientific" reason why I see LP's with broken headstocks.

    Thanks again,

    Anthony
     
  10. Roman

    Roman Master Luthier V.I.P. V.I.P. Member

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    In my years as a repairman, I have seen MANY les Pauls break the headstock IN THE CASE.

    The guy thinks it is safe and the case gets knocked over, He doesn't even notice it got broken till the next time he pulls it out.

    Newer cases are better but the older cases lack padding in the headstock area. Some T shirts or socks under the headstock saves the day!
     
    BrazenPicker likes this.
  11. loneguitar

    loneguitar Senior Member

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    The only sure way to not break it is to keep it in the case when you're not playing it
     
  12. AS90

    AS90 Senior Member

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    :applause: Brilliant :rofl:
     
  13. les strat

    les strat Senior Member

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    Yep. LP's can break ina case as well if it drops/falls.

    Hang it high on the wall when not in use. I use String Tree hangers. Nitro safe and there when I need it to jam.
     
  14. lp59aholicDon

    lp59aholicDon V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    Ah It aint a diving board either, Dont try any half gainers , ect off it into the pool :rofl::rofl::rofl:
     
  15. Samantha

    Samantha MLP Cub Reporter V.I.P. Member

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    you really got to be carefull, especially moving around in small areas, gibson headstocks are more prone to breaking becasue the grain of the headstock id cut at a 13o angle to the straight flow grain of hte neck anf this makes it easier to break fender guiatrs are less seceptable to headstock breaks because the grain of the headstock is parralel with the neck grain running straight.

    some guitar companys including epiphone cut their headstocks seperate from the neck of hte guitar at a straight orentation and the angled edge that attached to the neck at a 13o angle to ensure the same look and string pull of the normal style headstock but give the grain of hte headstock more strength you can tell if this is done on your guitar by looking at the neck near the headstock look for a verry curved long line across the neck in a big U shape this means that the heasstock was cut seperate from the guitar.

    you can also look at the back of the headstok and examin the grain to see if it is angled and you can see endgrain or normal straight grain but it's a bit harder to tell this way.
     
  16. coldsteal2

    coldsteal2 V.I.P. Member

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    I guess you could wrap your head with Kevlar
    and resin (that turns into something as strong as steal)
    but probably would look and sound awful
     
  17. MusicWarsVet

    MusicWarsVet Junior Member

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    Thanks for all the info about this prob, folks... I found (and joined) this forum because I'd already done what Goby feared might happen to HIS Les Paul... [​IMG] It's in the shop now, and the tech told me he sees these all the time - and that I'm fortunate because it's a long, clean crack that runs with the grain. I'm especially glad to hear that it will be stronger after the repair.

    BUT... was this preventable? Maybe, if I never used it. It was sitting on my Hercules stand as I was teaching, strap and locks on, and the strap caught in the wheel of my swivel chair as I swung around to another computer. Whack, straight down on its face! Horrorshow! Lesson? Shit happens, I guess.
     
  18. LiveOak

    LiveOak Senior Member

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    +1 on all of the above, it's what I do with my LP. Get the straplocks ASAP! I dropped mine last year while tuning up at a gig and luckily it landed on a carpeted floor and no damage except I shat my pants LOL! Put straplocks on her the next day!
     
  19. Last

    Last The Cleaner Premium Member

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    One thing to note:

    If you Do break your headstock absolutely resist the urge to try & dry fit the pieces back together (like a puzzle).

    If you leave it alone & take it to a Luthier they will have a much better shot at getting a seamless repair.

    Often you only get one good shot at refitting it back together, it's best to have glue/epoxy on it before you try to fit it back.

    I know I'd be freaked out & would be the first reaction to "fit" it back to see the damage & how it may look repaired.

    DON'T!
     
  20. 155

    155 Senior Member

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    not that Im gonna drop this but hopefully its a little more stout then standard mahogany!
    [​IMG]
     

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