A guide to dealing with those pesky wood imperfections.
Let's face it: Sometime during the life of an average acoustic guitar, it will likely develop at least a small crack. You are carrying around a wooden box made of exotic hardwoods measuring anywhere from about .090" to .150" in thickness. That's a pretty fragile thing in and of itself. When you factor in that the strings are applying upwards of 180 pounds of force to the top via the bridge, it's really a wonder that guitar bodies hold together at all.
Cracks vary as much as all other things guitar, but there are some commonalities that can be addressed to give us a better understanding of them and how to proceed with a repair. Since cracks most often occur in the body woods, let's first look at the body, panel by panel.
Most of the worst and hardest-to-repair cracks happen on a guitar's top. One of the most common instances is actually not a crack at all, but a center-seam separation. This usually happens when the guitar is allowed to dry out, causing the two halves of the top to come unglued at the center seam. It most often occurs in the area from the bridge to the end block.
With all top cracks, timing of the repair is critical. The longer you wait to fix the crack, the less likely it can be done invisibly. Also, try and resist the temptation to run your finger over the crack to feel it. This puts oils and dirt from your hand into the crack, which makes it hard to re-glue and can leave a dark line that can't be removed.
If you know that you're not looking at a finish crack and the top is indeed cracked, remove the string tension and get the guitar to a good repairperson as soon as possible. Center-seam separations or other lengthy top cracks can be made stable (if not invisible) without removing the bridge and "overspraying" the top. Overspraying (spraying over the existing finish) is an option if you just can't live with the cosmetic imperfection of a crack, but it should be avoided on any vintage guitar.
Don't try this at home, but with cracks caused by low humidity, we always start by putting a trash bag over the entire body and adding humidity inside the bag for a couple of weeks. This will close up the crack dramatically before we proceed with the repair. We use thin Super Glue for most of the crack-sealing operations.
The longer you wait to fix the crack, the less likely it can be done invisibly.
If the crack has been open for years, the humidity method with the trash bag won't work as well, and a splint may be needed to close the crack. Top cracks are tricky because that's where the most stress is applied, but also because the light color of spruces and cedars most often used for tops makes for a much harder, cosmetic repair.
Since the guitar sides are usually the thinnest woods on the body, and since they are in just the right position to get whacked on something (often while playing), they sometimes get cracked. Even if the sides of a body are braced, a crack can still run right through the brace. I've seldom seen a case where a brace stopped a crack on a guitar.
The sides are the most likely place for a crack to occur when shipping an instrument. Always make sure that your guitar fits in its case well (not loose) when shipping it or traveling by plane. Cracks on the sides are repaired much the same way as top cracks, but repairs will usually look better cosmetically. This is because of the darker color of most side woods and the grain and grain fillers have a bit more going on to catch the eye and mask a crack than a top does.
The backs of guitars probably finish third in terms of frequency of cracks. The backs are usually a little thicker than either the top or sides, therefore a bit tougher. Matters of improper humidity usually don't affect the thicker, harder woods on the back as much. The repair procedure is much the same as the top and sides, but the person doing the repair should be diligent on the interior cleanup of the guitar since the work could be visible through the soundhole.
When it comes down to it, I personally feel that you should enjoy and play your guitar, live with the little cracks and dings that inevitably happen, and not make yourself miserable about cosmetics. If you have a repair that needs to be made, just be sure to get a qualified person to do a good job. Until next time, keep on pickin'!
- Guitar Shop 101: Tips for Buying a Used Flattop - Premier Guitar ›
- 12 Things Guitar Techs Need to Know - Premier Guitar ›
- Acoustic Soundboard: Humidity—Friend and Foe - Premier Guitar ›
- Guitar Shop 101: Using Super Glue in Guitar Repair - Premier Guitar ›
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.