Builders with an eye - help pls

Builders with an eye - help pls

Postby jkstraw » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:23 pm

I was all excited playing my new Tru-Tron 3X tonight...until I saw what looked like a crack in the headstock of my Tiger :shock:

There is nothing on the backside or on the top (i.e. it runs from the bottom of the inlay to the truss rod divot). Can anyone with more experience than me weigh in with an opinion? Freaking out a bit :cry:

Image

another:
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Re: Builders with an eye - help pls

Postby Tbrogit » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:39 pm

You sure its not just a crack in the finish?
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Re: Builders with an eye - help pls

Postby gmchart » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:44 pm

First thing to figure out is the why? Where is the guitar spending it's day? The sun is getting lower this time of year and will travel farther across a room than in the summer. Heater vent? Anything that might be different than before.
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Re: Builders with an eye - help pls

Postby tcsned » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:51 pm

Looks like it's in the finish though it looks like it's going right down the center. Is it right where two pieces of the neck were joined together? It might be that one half expanded or contracted differently than the other side and caused a finish crack. If it's not affecting anything structural then you're ok and it gives your guitar character :)
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Re: Builders with an eye - help pls

Postby jkstraw » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:52 pm

Thanks for the replys! :hail:

I am hoping it is only a finish crack! With respect to why - it is a basement with no direct sunlight but being up in Canada in fall humidity has dropped very quickly in the last 4-6 weeks (I.e. 60% - 40%) - and to be honest I have been playing so much I have kept on the hanger and not in the case (which I do religiously after the snow falls).
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Re: Builders with an eye - help pls

Postby mgbills » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:53 pm

Also, the builder could've built the top cap in two pieces. Which in turn could've contributed to the perceived defect. The line is so symmetrically in the center of the inlay and between the tuning machines. The rest of the symmetry looks near flawless. I can't tell from the photos, but does the finish sag into the imperfection? If so it could be wood/glue separation. Babbling a bit here.

If you don't mind volunteering…who's the builder?

If it is a finish flaw, it can be fixed. Hell, anything with wood can be fixed. But…Wood remembers being a tree! If it isn't killing you to be imperfect, remember the imperfections that grew into Tiger. Tarnished brass. Misalignments in the neck pocket. Blasted out swimming pool for pickups. Atypical alignment of the pickup ring.

I now realize I'm speaking to my own psyche. I fret constantly over dings and imperfections. The prior statements is a mantra I tell myself to reduce perfectionist angst, and may need to be disregarded.
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Re: Builders with an eye - help pls

Postby jkstraw » Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:13 pm

mgbills wrote:Also, the builder could've built the top cap in two pieces. Which in turn could've contributed to the perceived defect. The line is so symmetrically in the center of the inlay and between the tuning machines. The rest of the symmetry looks near flawless.


Here is a pic the builder sent me mid-build - it looks like a solid top cap
Image


mgbills wrote:I can't tell from the photos, but does the finish sag into the imperfection?


It doesn't feel or look like a rough or jagged crack - "sag" sums it up.

mgbills wrote:If you don't mind volunteering…who's the builder?


Danny Ransom is the builder - I have written him as well to get his take. My gut is telling me it is not structural and is likely caused by the dramatic humidity change.

mgbills wrote:If it is a finish flaw, it can be fixed. Hell, anything with wood can be fixed. But…Wood remembers being a tree! If it isn't killing you to be imperfect, remember the imperfections that grew into Tiger. Tarnished brass. Misalignments in the neck pocket. Blasted out swimming pool for pickups. Atypical alignment of the pickup ring.


Ya I have a feeling we are similar that way....imperfections...that I come by through hard fought practice and playing I am good with....the unexplained issues put me in to an OCD-like state :lol:

Thanks for taking a look and giving me a few more ideas on what to look at/for.
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Re: Builders with an eye - help pls

Postby NorthboundRain » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:09 am

Based on the pics I have a few ideas...

The cap is book matched and wasn't completely glued together or has shifted for environmental reasons. I can't tell from the pics how long the seam is but if it runs the full length that could be it.

It could be a solid cap that split down from the inlay. Wood is an organic product and prone to foibles.

Another possibility is that a centerline was drawn in pencil during construction and left slight indentation that is only seen now once the finish has sunken in.

In any case you don't seem to have anything to worry about from a structural perspective, especially considering how overbuild Garcia/Alembic style guitars are. If you can't live with it then a quality repair shop should be able to fill and refinish it but I'd leave it be.
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Re: Builders with an eye - help pls

Postby jkstraw » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:50 am

NorthboundRain wrote:Another possibility is that a centerline was drawn in pencil during construction and left slight indentation that is only seen now once the finish has sunken in.

In any case you don't seem to have anything to worry about from a structural perspective, especially considering how overbuild Garcia/Alembic style guitars are.


Thanks for the ideas - I am pinning my immediate hopes on the "built like a tank theory". It doesn't bother me much and I'd simply have it taken care of in a few years when it is time to do a complete overhaul. I just want to be sure that leaving it alone isn't going to cause me a bigger issue later. Back in the case it has gone to protect it from our crazy dry NE winters!
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Re: Builders with an eye - help pls

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:47 am

You perfectionists should go visit Rosebud in Cleveland. It's amazingly not-perfect up close - stripes in the body layers are like 1/8" off, midi mods were done pretty crudely, etc.

My old P-bass had a 1/4" wide by 3/8" deep chip out of the lower horn under the pickguard from where the dremel slipped while I was routing out a battery cavity... I just colored it in with a sharpie and nobody ever noticed.


This looks like finish settling to me... how does the back of the headstock look? I'm in agreement that the neck was probably built in two halves and the joint just settled a little. Personally as long as its stable I'd live with it - sometimes fixing problems causes worse problems.
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Re: Builders with an eye - help pls

Postby jkstraw » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:04 am

Rusty the Scoob wrote:This looks like finish settling to me... how does the back of the headstock look? I'm in agreement that the neck was probably built in two halves and the joint just settled a little. Personally as long as its stable I'd live with it - sometimes fixing problems causes worse problems.


Back, top, edges, even the front face above the inlay and below the truss rod divot are fine and true. Excellent words of wisdom btw! Thanks!
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Re: Builders with an eye - help pls

Postby mgbills » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:16 am

Now it's morning. You said 3 things. Canada. Basement. Winter coming.

Do you have a woodstove? Here's what I'm thinking...

Basement. Concrete stores moisture like crazy, and so does the soil around it. Even the best sealed basements are not impervious. Unless that beauty is stored in a humidity controlled case, even as an electric it'll pick up moisture in the summer.

Heat. If you have a woodstove, it strips moisture out of the air. That's why we all put a cast iron kettle on the top. If you don't, perhaps you have a dehumidfier built into your furnace. Many homes with basements do. Or HVAC/Heat Pump/AC. Humidity suckers...

This may all be review, and I don't mean to be repeticious or condescending. I have a woodstove in WA, and it's been toasty every evening since mid-october. My workhorses are a Taylor 810, and my Tiger-ized Strat. The 810 gets Dampits in the Winter & goes in that excellenct Taylor case. I did it out evey couple of weeks, and re-wet the dampit. The Strat does pretty well, but in this season it'll need a quarter-tone of tuning a day...and by February a truss-rod adjustment...which will then need to be readjusted when the temperature comes back up.

My point...Dry heat really makes wood move. Especially, if it has been allowed to take on as much moisture as it wants in the summer. Finish really doesn't seal it as you might think, especially if it's Nitro. That may have been a one-piece topcap, that's just separated a tiny bit as the guitar has dryed out. If the guitar is less than 5-10 years old, it may just do this because it remembers being a tree. All those laminations in a guitar of that caliber are beautiful, but they were likey bonded with water-based Tite-bond. De-watering (the displacement of water as the solvent) of the glue, can mean many subtle changes.

I guess what I'm saying is...you may have stored this perfectly every day...and this still could happen. I think Matt Moriarity builds custom humidy controlled cases. But that is only a preventative measure, and no guarantee.

Sorry for the ramble...again.
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Re: Builders with an eye - help pls

Postby Pete B. » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:14 am

fwiw, It looks like that center line was there in the "Before" pics.
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Re: Builders with an eye - help pls

Postby Pfallon » Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:44 pm

Pete B. wrote:fwiw, It looks like that center line was there in the "Before" pics.

Agreed, I can see a line in the before finish pic, although as previously stated, it could be a pencil line in the pic. I would be surprised if the head-plate was 2pc. as that size ebony head-plate is pretty easy to come by
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Re: Builders with an eye - help pls

Postby jalevinemd » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:45 pm

I've never seen or heard of a builder using a two piece headstock veneer. Has anyone?
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