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Gitane D-500 crack

Today was hellishly cold here and I heard a loud crack from my guitar. There is a crack running almost the full length of the top right under the bridge! Is my guitar done, or can it be repaired?
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Comments

  • sockeyesockeye Philadelphie sur SchuylkillNew
    Posts: 415
    It's probably the low humidity rather than the cold that did it in.

    The crack can be repaired but depending on the extent of the damage the cost to have it done by a good repairman may be prohibitive considering the guitar's value.

    Does it still sound/play OK? I would put the thing inside a Hefty bag with a few damp sponges. Put the sponges inside ziplock bags with some holes punched in them. Close the Hefty bag and leave it for a couple days. Once the guitar regains some moisture the crack will probably close up quite a bit. You could do a very simple/cheap attempt at fixing it by just rubbing some Tite-bond (use fresh glue, not the bottle that's been sitting in your basement for 2 years) into the crack. Rub it in so it penetrates the crack then wipe the excess off the surface with a slightly damp cloth. With luck it may hold the crack closed. Then keep the guitar humidified by keeping it inside a closed hardshell case with a soundhole humidifier.

    It might be fine with the above remedy -- otherwise a repairman may need to reglue the top to the braces and/or add cleats to the underside of the top along the crack.

    Hope that helps,

    John
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    It's best to cleat it as the glue in the crack will be a quick fix but over time the crack will just get worse. I would suggest just taking it in and seeing how much it would be to fix. It might not bee too much. Just take the tension off of your strings for the time being and have it looked at as soon as you can. Keep the guitar on an inside wall of your house and if you heat with a wood stove the sponge in a bad might not be a bad Idea.

    Cheers,
    Josh
  • mitch251mitch251 marylandNew
    Posts: 70
    Hey Man sorry about the crack in your top.
    My Dell Arte had the same thing happen 2 years ago.
    From being in a very dry house. It had to be glued cleated.

    These guitars seem to be way sensitive to humidity
    or lack there of. We should all take this as a reminder to keep these things humidified,and in the case when we arent playing them
    Again sorry for your troubles
    Best
    T
  • ShawnShawn Valley Center, Kansas✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 325
    Same thing happened to my D-500 as well, basically a crack running lengthwise with the grain from the soundhole to the tailpiece end. This was before I started using humidifiers. I now use the Planet Waves soundhole humidifiers on all of my Selmer style guitars and it has done quite well. Luckily I learned my lesson before I bought my DG-255 and my Manouche guitars. If I don't humidify the D-500 the crack can open up enough to slip a dime or cent in (ie. not good), but with the humidifier it pretty much closes the gap. Also, the top on the D-500 started to sink in and lose its arch, but with a proper humidifier it has returned to normal and plays great again.

    I also use soundhole humidifers on my Violins, which are both well over 100 years old, and also keep my music room well humidified...trust me, the small investment in good humidifiers is worth the price.

    UltraNovice- Just to calm some fears...as long as the crack runs lengthwise and not side to side the guitar will be fine. In fact, it is ok to have unrepaired cracks on a guitar as long as the crack follows the grain. It's more of an eyesore than something that will complicate the sound and durability of your guitar.
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    I have to disagree that having cracks in a sound board is okay and nothing more then cosmetic. If you don't glue and cleat the crack over time the crack will become unrepairable and/or your top will sag and not be returnable. It will only take time for the the guitar to become unplayable. Deal with it now if you like your guitar or have any hopes of selling it in the future. The D-500 is easy to work on because of the size of the sound hole so most standard repair people will have little problem helping you out. Unlike the ovel hole guitar that many techs wont touch because they are so danged hard to work on.

    All the best,
    Josh
  • badjazzbadjazz Maui, Hawaii USA✭✭✭ Rodrigo Shopis, YL Cholet
    Posts: 127
    On the question of cracks, while it is almost always a lack of humidity, sometimes it can be indicative of either poor joinery and/or improperly seasoned wood. Therefore, in some cases it might be a good idea to check your warranty and see if you can get it fixed under that. It might be worth a shot.

    For instance, vintage Epiphones and D'Angelicos have notorious problems with seam separation due to not the highest quality joinery, while Gibsons of substantially similar design rarely have the same problem; however trying to get those fixed under warranty would probably not be fruitful.
  • sockeyesockeye Philadelphie sur SchuylkillNew
    Posts: 415
    And vintage Gibson flattops always have loose braces.

    In the mid-40s Gibson flattops had a banner on the peghead that said, "Only a Gibson is Good Enough." Some have suggested it should have said "If Only a Gibson Were Glued Enough."
  • djadamdjadam Boulder, CONew
    Posts: 249
    If my guitar room is always humidified at 50% or above and I keep my guitars in-case when not using them, should I bother with the soundhole humidifier when at home?
  • ShawnShawn Valley Center, Kansas✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 325
    Josh Hegg wrote:
    I have to disagree that having cracks in a sound board is okay and nothing more then cosmetic. If you don't glue and cleat the crack over time the crack will become unrepairable and/or your top will sag and not be returnable. It will only take time for the the guitar to become unplayable.

    That is a great point, and I should have stated that in the short term a crack is not a huge problem. It should be noted though that going out and spending hundreds of dollars to repair a crack (which is probably what it will cost) is not always the best option either. I have found that a well humidified guitar with a crack will play just as well and sound just as good years later as long as it continues to be properly humidified.

    For instance, I have been told by many violin luthiers that having the odd crack or two is fine, unless they continue to get bigger. As long as the bracing is not cracked and the crack is not getting bigger and the sound remains o.k. I still would advise to just leave it alone and not waste your money.
  • ShawnShawn Valley Center, Kansas✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 325
    djadam wrote:
    If my guitar room is always humidified at 50% or above and I keep my guitars in-case when not using them, should I bother with the soundhole humidifier when at home?

    It really depends on where you live. I live in Kansas...it's pretty dry here most of the year, so I use quite a few humidifiers. In fact, I use a soundhole humidifier, case humidifier, and room humidifier for each of my guitars, and I actually like the sound of my guitars when the humidity is around 55%, which is a little higher than normal.

    The purpose of a guitar humidifier is simple...

    Sound transmits better through water than it does through air. Just try making a loud noise underwater and then making a loud noise in the air...the sound will carry longer in water. Thus, having a higher moisture content in your instrument actually makes the instrument louder, and with a better tone.
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