Please help me fix my Black Beauty! Cracks in the poly around the nut

cgm

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I just traded for a Les Paul Custom Black Beauty with bigsby, I posted a NGD thread HERE. Now that I have had a chance to take a real look at, I am wondering if I should be worried about the finish on the neck.

If you click on the pics, big hi-res versions should open up. Thanks in advance for any advice.

Oh... another piece of fun. When I removed the strings, the nut just fell off.



I am pretty sure that all of this happened when a previous owner used too much force getting the nut off. Besides this crack, the rest of the guitar is practically mint.

Here are a few more shots of the neck and back of the guitar. My only concern is the part i mentioned earlier.




So here are my questions:

1) Should I be all that concerned about the cracks and missing poly around the side of the fretboard? The fretboard doesn't seem to be moving. I don't really notice it when playing.

if so, can I just sand down the loose poly, re-paint if necessary, and then touch up the poly? If this is the best solution, is it a total pita, or is this a reasonable project for an amateur? Is this the type of question I should be asking in the Luthier's Corner of mylespaul.com?

2) If it looks like I should fix the poly on the neck, should I wait to glue on the nut?

3) If the nut is already off, is this a good time to try a tusq nut? This guitar has a Bibgsby, it seemed to keep a tune well enough. the slots on the nut seem to be cut a little big for the strings.


Here are a few more pics of the guitar because it is pretty:


 

Brians Evil Twin

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1) Should I be all that concerned about the cracks and missing poly around the side of the fretboard? The fretboard doesn't seem to be moving. I don't really notice it when playing.
That looks like the neck is fractured.

if so, can I just sand down the loose poly, re-paint if necessary, and then touch up the poly? If this is the best solution, is it a total pita, or is this a reasonable project for an amateur? Is this the type of question I should be asking in the Luthier's Corner of mylespaul.com?
It's a PITA, and if you don't have the tools and the experience refinishing guitars, not advisable. More importantly, you should have a luthier look at the neck fracture before you do anything.

2) If it looks like I should fix the poly on the neck, should I wait to glue on the nut?
At the factory, the nut goes on before the final clear coat.

3) If the nut is already off, is this a good time to try a tusq nut? This guitar has a Bibgsby, it seemed to keep a tune well enough. the slots on the nut seem to be cut a little big for the strings.
A good a time as any. The slots may be cut big to keep the strings from binding with the Bigsby, so a properly cut Graphtech or Tusq nut would be a good idea.
 

cgm

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That looks like the neck is fractured.


It's a PITA, and if you don't have the tools and the experience refinishing guitars, not advisable. More importantly, you should have a luthier look at the neck fracture before you do anything.


At the factory, the nut goes on before the final clear coat.


A good a time as any. The slots may be cut big to keep the strings from binding with the Bigsby, so a properly cut Graphtech or Tusq nut would be a good idea.
Crap... I really hope the neck is not fractured. There isn't any movement anywhere. I kind of took a risk on this figuring that if the fretboard was starting to de-laminate, it could be fixed by injecting titebond (or whatever glue is recommended) into the space and then clamping it down.

Would my repair start the same way as this guy? http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/custom-shop/121780-neck-crack-repair.html
 

Indyclone

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I don't see any sign of a neck fracture... maybe the fretboard was lifted away from the neck with the nut was taken off.

I'd fill it with some superglue, and sand it down if it were uncomfortable to play... otherwise, I'd just leave it.
 

workerunit

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Crap... I really hope the neck is not fractured. There isn't any movement anywhere. I kind of took a risk on this figuring that if the fretboard was starting to de-laminate, it could be fixed by injecting titebond (or whatever glue is recommended) into the space and then clamping it down.

I am not sure about a neck fracture. Have a luthier look at it. If the fretboard is delaminating you could heat up some titebond until it is really runny and see if you can work it into the delamination and then clamp the fretboard against the neck for 12 hours or so.

Does the truss rod work??
 

cgm

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I don't see any sign of a neck fracture... maybe the fretboard was lifted away from the neck with the nut was taken off.

I'd fill it with some superglue, and sand it down if it were uncomfortable to play... otherwise, I'd just leave it.
Honestly, it seems fine to play. I just want to make sure it doesn't get worse if I leave it. The guy I got it from swears that it has been like that for a while. He said he got it looked at by a pro, and it is fine... but then again, he was also trading guitars with me... I hope he was being honest, but I want to double check to see if there is anything I should do. Collectively, you guys around here seem to know just about everything there is to know about Epis. I trust the advise of the forum, especially when there are a few different members who all say the same thing... Does anyone else have any input?

If I don;t feel comfortable with a repair, I also have a really good luthier, so I might have him take a look at it. I don;t have much money to throw at this guitar (unless I have to), and after checking out the thread I linked in my last post, I feel as if I wouldn't have much of an issue making the repair if i need to. I am more worried about the color matching on the neck and not messing up the binding. This guitar is a 97, the binding has yellowed quite a bit. This will be tough to match.
 

cgm

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I am not sure about a neck fracture. Have a luthier look at it. If the fretboard is delaminating you could heat up some titebond until it is really runny and see if you can work it into the delamination and then clamp the fretboard against the neck for 12 hours or so.

Does the truss rod work??
There is no movement in the fretboard, but I i refinish the poly, I would likely od what you are suggesting and using titebond. Would I want to get a small syringe? Then again, where could I get a syringe?

I haven't messed with the truss rod yet... either tonight after my wife goes to bed or tomorrow during my kids' nap times.
 

workerunit

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There is no movement in the fretboard, but I i refinish the poly, I would likely od what you are suggesting and using titebond. Would I want to get a small syringe? Then again, where could I get a syringe?

I haven't messed with the truss rod yet... either tonight after my wife goes to bed or tomorrow during my kids' nap times.

I think you can get a syringe at maybe a Petsmart or animal feed store??
 

harpman54

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I don't see any sign of a neck fracture... maybe the fretboard was lifted away from the neck with the nut was taken off.

I'd fill it with some superglue, and sand it down if it were uncomfortable to play... otherwise, I'd just leave it.
+1 on this idea. I really don't see evidence of a neck fracture. Glue the nut back on with the least amount of superglue and then don't worry about it. The bit of chipping at the side of the headstock/fingerboard probably happened when the previous owner tried to replace the nut and didn't do it correctly.
 

Brians Evil Twin

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Don't use superglue on the nut. One or two small drops of Titebond or regular wood glue is all you need. If the fretboard is delaminating there must be a reason, removing the nut would not do this. I'd take it to a reputable luthier.
 

cgm

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Don't use superglue on the nut. One or two small drops of Titebond or regular wood glue is all you need. If the fretboard is delaminating there must be a reason, removing the nut would not do this. I'd take it to a reputable luthier.
Now if the fretboard was delaminating, I would see movement, right?
 

mechtech

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Looks like a massive amount of glue was used, with ensuing problems.
In the future, couple of dabs of wood glue is enough.
And if a nut doesn't come out easily, score around it before removal. That is, take a sharp tool/knife and follow the nuts edges to stop ant cracking from going further.
 

cgm

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Looks like a massive amount of glue was used, with ensuing problems.
In the future, couple of dabs of wood glue is enough.
And if a nut doesn't come out easily, score around it before removal. That is, take a sharp tool/knife and follow the nuts edges to stop ant cracking from going further.
All of this makes sense, and if I were to remove a nut, this is the steps I would take... In this case, the nut just literally well off once i removed the strings.
 

harpman54

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I mentioned using the least amount of superglue on a nut. I'll stand by that and the many nut replacements, and guitars, banjos, and ukuleles I've built or repaired. Take a look here for a real second opinion as well: Best nut glue: Wood glue, superglue, or....? - TalkBass Forums

Save the Titebond for neck breaks. The thin film of superglue you get with the least amount will secure the nut, and a few easy taps will remove a nut when needed.
 

cgm

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Update:
The truss rod moved fine... almost without resistance. I put a capo on the 1st fret, held down the low E at the 12th and measured clearance at the 6th fret wire. When I started, I had .006 clearence. I was not surprised by this at all. I took my time and made a few small adjustments to the truss rod and when it was all said and done, I had .010 of clearence at the 6th fret. We sill see how it settles after a day or so.

I am going to do what I can to set this up, but i think I will bring it to get looked at as well. I can't tell if the fretboad is moving slightly... I want to have a pro take a look at it so I don't have to worry about it.

Now on to my other issue: A floppy bigsby bar. It will not stay in the "playing" position.

I tried the simple solution, tightening the nut, but that was a temporary fix.


Here is a view of the parts after taking the nut off.

Do i want to put some sort of a lock washer in there, or is it likely that the little red disks need to be replaced? They seem to keep the metal from rubbing against metal and provide some friction. If it is likely that I should replace the disks, is there something form home depot that could work? Maybe some thin felt? This is my first bigsby experience... i was blinded by the black and gold when I made this trade!
 

Barcham

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From the picture, you already have two lock washers in there but it's possible that they are flattened out and no longer provide much locking pressure. I'd take them over to a hardware store and see if you can get replacements for them.
 

cgm

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From the picture, you already have two lock washers in there but it's possible that they are flattened out and no longer provide much locking pressure. I'd take them over to a hardware store and see if you can get replacements for them.
yah, i was kind of confused about how there were two right next to each other... I was thinking maybe something like this


Then again, I really think the issue is that those washers are too smooth to allow some friction to keep the arm in place. I will try a new lock washer and replaceing the nylon locknut. If that doesn't get me where I need to be, i will look into other fixes. I will be taking the strings off to investigate the issue along the nut area soon enough.
 

Barcham

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The lock washers in your previous pic are split washers which is what you need in this application. They work by applying pressure when they are tightened. When they compress with time, they no longer apply any pressure and lose most of their locking ability. The washers in your more recent pic above are not what you would use for this, pick up a couple of new split washers and you should be fine.
 

cgm

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The lock washers in your previous pic are split washers which is what you need in this application. They work by applying pressure when they are tightened. When they compress with time, they no longer apply any pressure and lose most of their locking ability. The washers in your more recent pic above are not what you would use for this, pick up a couple of new split washers and you should be fine.

Update on my floppy Bigsby!!! It is no longer floppy. Thanks, Barcham... I just got replacements for the two split washers, the regular washer, the nylon locking nut and the fiber washer. It seems to work perfectly now. just enough friction so it stays in whatever position I leave it in.

Now I am left with the nut issue and the finish cracks in the poly. I placed the brass nut back on and re-strung it. Once the kids go to bed, I will see how the truss rod adjustment worked out.

This guy refinished the neck on his Epi LP. He used wipe on Minwax in very thin coats. 15 thin coats (each was rubbed down with very fine steal wool, then sanded smooth, 15 more thin coats, then wet sanded with higher and higher grain sandpaper. Finally, he buffed it with an automotive swirl remover. Does this sound like a decent plan for the poly?
[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_YPchXzKlk[/ame]
 

Skit

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If you want to fill it in get a small bottle of polyurethane and and a very thin small brush, some different grades of fine wet sand paper and 0000 steel wool. Then carefully fill it in in layers until it's just a slight bit higher than the original finish and then wet sand it down and steel wool it with 0000 steel wool. Polish with some car polish to a gloss.
 




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