Epiphone Steel String Acoustic with Broken Neck Gets Nylon Strings, and a Refinished Neck Too!

Valerie was considering trading in her Epiphone PR-100 for a higher-end acoustic. But the guy at the guitar shop said that they couldn’t take it because the neck was cracked, and nobody could fix it. Could the Unbrokenstring Crew alter this outcome?

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A singer/songwriter of Christian music, Valerie’s Epiphone had served her very well, but she was considering something easier to play. She asked if we could also install nylon strings instead of the steel strings.

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I know some of you like the esthetic of crazy string ends, so this pic is for you,

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Overall, this is not a bad guitar, manufactured in Indonesia.

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The offending crack goes WAY into the neck.

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The high E string is a 10 (0.010 inch.)

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The low E is a 0.052 inch bronze-wound string. These are coming off.

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This is certainly not the original truss rod cover, but it fits perfectly!

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In fact, it fits SO perfectly that perhaps the polyurethane was not quite cured at the factory when this cover was installed. We could debate this all day!

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The nut comes off. Here I’m checking for any glue that can be scored before removing the nut.

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Most of the glue is on the bottom, not on the fret board side.

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…and it comes off with little effort.

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Now we need the tuners out of the way.

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Surprisingly, these tuners were securely fastened to the guitar. Many times, these ferrules work loose over time.

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Meet Mr. Crack. On the low side, the crack follows the fret board.

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On the high side, the crack heads off into mahogany land and follows the grain of the wood of the neck.

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The single-action truss rod is not frozen, and works well.

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The brass hex-drive truss rod nut will be completely removed for now.

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A plastic soda straw is partially filled with petroleum jelly. The straw will be slipped over the entire length of the exposed truss rod, to protect the threads from excess glue.

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The straw is slipped over the truss rod. The petroleum jelly will lubricate and protect the truss rod threads after the guitar is reassembled.

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A bit of painters tape holds the straw in place.

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TiteBond is forced into the crack as far as it will go. This is the first clamp.

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The second clamp is added to seal the deal, as they say. Squeeze-out is wiped clean as much as possible.

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The next day, we find the crack is secure.

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A little squeeze-out is seen near the bottom of the crack, which is a reassurance that the glue penetrated to the end of the crack. On a side note, a little glue made it into the truss rod route. The tension of the truss rod should push the fairly-soft glue out of the way. In any case, the neck should be stable at this point.

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High points were leveled out by using the back edge of an Exacto knife as a cabinet scraper. The neck and finger board seam will be invisible.

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The color touch up was done by hand. Layers of polyurethane will be sprayed over the entire neck to give the guitar a nice tactile feel. Everything near the neck is masked.

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Rather than spray the head stock, the masking ends at corners of the head stock and the volute, where the edges can be buffed smooth.

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I think we’re ready for finishing operations!

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Gloss Diamond Varathane is sprayed over the entire back of the neck. The polyurethane is allowed to dry, wet sanded, then sprayed again.

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Four coats were adequate to seal everything. Once cured, the back of the neck is polished with pumice to make it semi-gloss. This gives the neck a nicer tactile feel.

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Now it’s time to clean up the nut and re-install it.

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The three higher string slots were enlarged slightly to accommodate the larger nylon strings, which are in the 0.028 to 0.034 inch range.

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Reassembly of the head stock is done.

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The first time nylon strings are brought to pitch, they stretch A LOT. After the strings settle in, some of this excess can be removed, because it will continue to stretch and alter tuning. Classical guitars with nylon strings use tuners with large diameter barrels for this reason.

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I forgot to mention that these nylon strings were ball end strings from Martin. At the bridge end, they install just like steel strings do.

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Valerie is very happy with her newly-repaired nylon stringed guitar!

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Thanks for reading all the way to the end!

CONTACT – David Latchaw EE
281-636-8626