Would crazy glue work?
October 17, 2012 2:37 PM   Subscribe

I have a question about a crack in the body of an acoustic guitar.

I bought an acoustic/electric with a 9volt preamp/equalizer. It is made by some company I've never heard of called Estaban.

I had no intention of buying a guitar today, but I got this one for $35. I'm going to give it to My daughter for Christmas.

All of the electronics work, and it doesn't sound half bad, even with very old strings on it.

My question is this: I got it for $35 because it has a 3.5 inch crack in the body, on top, starting about two inches from the bridge and running south. So basically, it is where your elbow would rest on the guitar if you were playing it.

Do I need to worry about this crack getting longer? Is there anything I can do to keep it from getting worse? I'm not really worried about aesthetics. The guitar is black, and the crack is not very noticeable, I just don't want it to get longer.

I've never had an acoustic guitar crack get longer, but I figured it doesn't hurt to ask.

What do you think?

Thanks as always.
posted by 4ster to Grab Bag (10 answers total)
You need to describe the crack more. It could just be a hairline, it could just be in the finish, it could be deep in the wood, it could be all the way through. All of those things will determine how and if it needs to be repaired.

Finish repair doesn't really do anything. If this is a small crack that doesn't go very deep you could mix some wood glue with some saw dust and fill it in.

There is tons of information on google for doing this type of thing as well. "cracked acoustic guitar repair"
posted by zephyr_words at 2:51 PM on October 17, 2012

Response by poster: Sorry for the incomplete information. I just loosened the strings and felt inside the sound hole, and the crack goes all the way through.
posted by 4ster at 2:59 PM on October 17, 2012

It will get longer if there is residual stress in the wood. If it is a result of the guitar getting hit or dropped, it likely won't get longer unless you stress it with your playing. Depending on the width of the crack, I would fill it with a glued sliver of wood, cut to fit, rather than glue and sawdust.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:02 PM on October 17, 2012

If it is a very thin crack, you might get away with a bit of good wood glue, then clamp the body tight enough to close the crack.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:03 PM on October 17, 2012

Esteban guitars appear to be made by various companies and vary in quality (according to reviews and comments I've seen). You paid a reasonable amount for one with a cracked top. I'd definitely look on the net for DIY repairs as it's not worth getting professionally repaired. Should be fine as a beginner guitar.
posted by tommasz at 3:05 PM on October 17, 2012

I would leave it unless it became a structural problem. At which point, a diy fix might be called for. If the crack is wide enough to see light through, the sliver fill-in is a better fix. If not, cyanoacrylates might do well enough.

Esteban might be a generic brand, or it might be from the infamous Esteban, purveyor of infomercial guitars and spicy latinesque guitar music. Either way, not likely worth getting fixed professionally.

Interestingly, if the crack really is with the grain all the way through the top, the guitar may be a better quality than one might assume. This would indicate solid rather than laminate construction. Not bad for $35.
posted by 2N2222 at 3:12 PM on October 17, 2012

I wouldn't worry about it.

Other questions come to mind: Do you play? If so, then decide if the action and tone merit giving it as a present. Cheap guitars are not always bad guitars, but a bad guitar is not something to give a beginner.

If the action is hard for you to work, then it will harder by factors for a beginner to learn to work.
posted by mule98J at 7:04 PM on October 17, 2012

When you put the new strings on it, you're going to stress the soundboard and that's when you might lengthen the crack.

It might play OK now. Cracks can sit there being stable for a long, long time. It's not ideal though. Over time the wood can separate and warp. A messed-up soundboard will screw up your intonation and over time it will get frustrating to play.

I use guitars like that for "beater"/campfire guitars that I don't mind bringing outdoors or traveling with. If you are a serious player, or giving this to a serious player, you will want one that's sound. If your daughter's a beginner, you can get a great starter guitar without such compromises for only about $100.
posted by Miko at 7:11 PM on October 17, 2012

Clamps for this are easy enough to make. The glue to use for any sort of luthier type work is hide glue. You can get a modern formulation of it for a reasonable price and won't have to mess around with a glue pot (which requires special equipment and, based on everything I've ever heard, is not a lot of fun).

The thing is, this could be due to stress in the wood because to the edge of the pieces making up the top were not being planed straight enough; it could be due to the wood not being dried well enough prior to assembly; it could be due to the guitar being taken from someplace cool and/or damp to someplace hot and/or dry; or yeah, somebody dropped it, or dropped something on it or what-have-you. If it's due to a manufacturing issue and you glue it up tight, the glue will rip fibers off the side of the repair or it will split somewhere else.

If you think the crack is due to shock, you should be able to glue it up by clamping it tight, applying glue to the top and bottoms of the crack, loosening the clamps so the crack opens up and pulls glue into the gap, and then tightening the clamps again. Running your finger over the crack while the clamps are loose will help get glue into the repair.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:32 PM on October 17, 2012

Best answer: It won't impact the sound. Mr. Arnicae (pro musician) says you can fill the crack in with wood putty, but that will change the sound, so he would leave it as is.
posted by arnicae at 7:12 AM on October 18, 2012

« Older Help me recreate this dish!   |   Where to live in coastal Oregon? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.