headstock repair

How To Repair A Broken Guitar Headstock

Ugh. Ever broke a headstock off a guitar? It’s the worst. Luckily all hope is not lost. Follow these steps and you’ll be back in business in no time.

Quick note – this is quite a difficult repair that I would recommend taking to an experienced luthier to do the repair. However, if you are interested in learning how it is done, read on.

Repair Headstock How To

The first thing that I would recommend is checking out this video:

Step 1 – Access The Damage

The first thing you want to do is access the damage. You can try and glue the headstock back on, but chances are that won’t work. You’ll need a stronger hold than just glue alone.

Step 2 – Glue The Headstock Back On To The Neck

The next step is to glue the headstock back onto the neck. Use some kind of epoxy or superglue. I would not recommend using wood glue, as it will not hold very well and it would be better off just breaking the headstock off again.

Step 3 – Clamp It Together To Dry

In order to make sure there is a strong hold, you will want to sandwich the headstock joint between two scrap pieces of wood and clamp it all together. Let it dry completely.

Step 4 – Remove the Clamps

After the epoxy/glue/superglue has dried and hardened, remove the clamps and sand of any excess glue.

Step 5 – Route Out Channels For Splints

In order to strengthen the repair, you will need to add wooden splints at the crack line. In this step, you will want to make a channel for these splints.

Step 6 – Add Splint

After the channel has been made for the splint, insert one into each side of the headstock. Make sure that they are nice and snug before moving on.

Step 7 – Fill Filler Into The Crack On The Headstock

Fill the filler into the crack on the headstock. You can use superglue, epoxy or wood filler for this step.

Step 8 – Sand

Slightly sand the area after filling it, in order to make it smooth. This will take away any sharp edges that may be causing issues with the repair. It is also recommended that you carve out the ever dreaded ‘glue line’ by hand with a chisel.

Step 9 – Dress Up The Headstock For a New Look

Now that everything is nice and smooth, it’s time to dress up the headstock for a new look. In this step you will want to stain it and do some really light sanding to give it a nice smooth look. You can also add a new veneer to the headstock, if you so desire.

Headstock Repair FAQ

How long to wait before removing clamp from reglued Gibson headstock repair?

I would probably give it 24-48 hours at least. Plenty of time for the glue to dry.

How much does a headstock repair devalue a guitar?

Not too much. It depends on if you can notice it or not. If you’re looking at the guitar in a shop and see the repair, it will devalue it a little. But if you’re not looking for it, or don’t notice it, then there won’t be any real devaluation of the instrument as a whole.

How much to repair broken guitar headstock?

The cost of repairing a headstock depends on the amount of damage that is suffered. The more damage, the higher the cost. However, I would guess it would start in the $200 range.

What glue to repair headstock?

I would recommend a high quality wood glue.

Final Notes

There are many different ways to repair a broken guitar headstock. Most of them take time, usually using an epoxy or superglue. The headstock can then be restored by sanding it down and giving it a nice finish with some stain and light sanding. The end result of any repairs is that the guitar will function as normal again and no one will know the repair had to be done in order for it to work properly.

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