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Old 02-12-2010, 11:52 AM
pete12string pete12string is offline
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Default Brand new guitar - Top split at seam

I have a guitar that is only about 4 months old. Custom built. Spruce top. Ebony fingerboard. I thought I was humidifying correctly, with a damp sponge in a zip-loc bag with some holes poked in it placed in the case by the headstock, but the fret ends started sticking out past the fingerboard. I didn't think that was a very big deal. I knew they could be filed down, and I thought that maybe the ebony hadn't settled enough before it was used in building the guitar. A few days ago, however, I took the guitar out of its case and played it for about 10 minutes. As I was wiping it down before putting it back in its case, I noticed a split in the top along the seam running from right below the bridge down to the end. The room humidity is about 35%. It was suggested that maybe the humidity inside the case was higher and bringing the guitar out into a lower humidity could have "shocked" it and caused the split. I have a number of other guitars (Taylors, Martins, Nationals) and have never had any problems. Two questions: Does that sound likely that the difference in humidity between the case and the room could have caused the problem? Is a split along the seam on the top of a guitar repairable so that it will be "as good as new", and about how much should that type of repair cost?
I thought I was doing everything right. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:02 PM
Jeff M Jeff M is offline
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The fret ends sticking out is a sign that the guitar was not properly humidified.
Failing that...something inherent in that set of wood/how the wood was aged prior to being used.
What is the actual humididty inside the guitar case? Have you measured it with a hygrometer?

Unless you live in a kiln,, taking a guitar from a properly humidified guitar case to a relatively dry environment for a period of time should not dry it out to the point where it cracks.

From Kevin Ryan's web site, re; humidy;
http://www.ryanguitars.com/NewsandEv...dity_Chart.htm

35% isn't optimal...but it isn't a kiln either.

I also agree with his recommendation to use something like the Plant Waves humidifier rather than a plastic bag with holes punched in it.
They are cheap. Less prone to leaking, Seem to humidify longer.
10 or 15$ to protect a multi-thousand dollar guitar correctly seems like a reasonable investment.
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Last edited by Jeff M; 02-12-2010 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:23 PM
L20A L20A is offline
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Talk with the builder.
There may be a glue problem or something that the builder is aware of, from other owners of his /her guitars.
Get it fixed asap.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete12string View Post
The room humidity is about 35%. It was suggested that maybe the humidity inside the case was higher and bringing the guitar out into a lower humidity could have "shocked" it and caused the split. I have a number of other guitars (Taylors, Martins, Nationals) and have never had any problems. Two questions: Does that sound likely that the difference in humidity between the case and the room could have caused the problem? Is a split along the seam on the top of a guitar repairable so that it will be "as good as new", and about how much should that type of repair cost?
Just from common sense perspective, if you've never had issues with any other guitars in the same environment and are having issues with new guitar, I'd say it's the builder. Otherwise you would see at least some symptoms in other guitars as well.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:42 PM
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Agree that the fret ends sticking out is definitely a sign of low humidity.

Talk with the builder. Usually when a top splits it splits along the grain-line of the wood, not the glue join. So it may be a combination of dryness and the glue used. This is however something relatively easy to repair, and since it split at the original glue line the fix should be just about imperceptible.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:55 PM
pete12string pete12string is offline
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Thanks for the replies! I usually use a Dampit for humidification, but the builder suggested that a sponge in a zip-loc worked good enough. I think I'll go with a Dampit or Plant Waves humidifier in the future. I don't know what the humidity is inside the case... I guess getting a hygrometer that could fit inside the case to check it would be a good idea. Where can I pick up one of these? I've also gotten a humidifier in the room to bring the level up to 50%. I already spoke with the builder and he suggested that it may have been due to the change in humidity between the case and the room - although I tend to disagree with that. Since I never had any issues with any of my other guitars, I am suspicious that it is something to do with this particular guitar. I plan to ship the guitar back for repair within the next week or so. The split is right in the center seam so I'm hoping the guitar can be repaired to "like new" condition.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:00 PM
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Crack could be repaired to look as new. I've seen what Taylors department does with cracks caused by humidity and it;s almost magic.
I think frets will have to be filed and binding repaired.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:12 PM
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D.Kwasnycia D.Kwasnycia is offline
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Get a planet waves humidifier and a small hygrometer for inside the case. Your humidity should be between 40 to 45%. When you say around 35% thatís a give or take and when you get closer to 30% bad things happen. There is a lot of force pulling across the top when it starts to dry out and the best thing for you to do is get some small cups, (disposable) and cut them down to about 1 to 1 1/2 inches tall. Place some wet sponge in the bottom of the cups and place them in the guitar. Two or three will do and bag off the body of the guitar and tie it off at the neck. This should be flat on it's back and then call the builder so he can cleat the area and address other things that may be going on. It will take a couple of days for it to even start to close up depending on how bad it is.
Once ebony has shrunk it does not go back like rosewood. The fret ends will have to be dressed down.
Don't trust a home-made sponge in a bag thing, get the right stuff for your guitar.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:23 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Pete,

You've already received some excellent advice and responses here. As 220V noted, I think that the top can be cleated and repaired so that you will not be able to see the repair. Mostly, I just wanted you to know how sympathetic I am to hear about this problem. I hope all goes well.

The next time someone starts a thread about why are acoustic players so anal about humidity, you'll have something significant to say from your own experience.

Regards, Glenn
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:34 PM
pete12string pete12string is offline
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Hey - Thanks again everyone. A lot of good information here. I really appreciate the replies.

Pete
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:16 PM
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Just to add to what has been said, I'm no expert, but sounds like classic low humidity problems to me.

Check out this video- it addresses your problem with some great tips on what to look for, and a simple possible solution-
http://www.taylorguitars.com/see-hea...t.aspx?id=1004
Click on "Humidity- the Solution"
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:21 PM
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For excellent repair, look up Pat DiBurro....
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:22 PM
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Ted @ LA Guitar Sales Ted @ LA Guitar Sales is offline
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Contact the buider to have it repaired, and get yourself a humidifier and a gauge to help avoid future problems.
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:42 PM
RustyAxe RustyAxe is offline
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There is NO way that the change in humidity going between a case and the room would crack a guitar. Not a chance. People seem to confuse the temperature issue (cold to warm too quickly). 35% RH is unlikely to crack a guitar that was built of properly seasoned wood in a climate controlled environment.

An acquaintance of mine is a well-known (in these parts) electric guitar builder. I approached him regarding an acoustic build, and he flatly refused, apologetically. He explained that he didn't have, and didn't care to invest in the climate control (temp and humidity) that his shop would need to produce reliable and long lasting acoustic guitars. I thought that was very professional of him, really, although I've seen the guitars he's built for himself and would really like one for myself.

I guess what I'm getting at (without pointing fingers at the builder) is that if the guitar was built in higher than ideal humidity conditions, or of inadequately seasoned wood ... the time spent at 35% RH might have been enough of a differential to cause problems.

My cases here are now reading 40-45%, using Oasis humidifiers. I'm adding some sponges in bags to bring 'em up a little.
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:57 PM
pete12string pete12string is offline
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RustyAxe - I'm inclined to agree with you. Especially since none of my other guitars have had any problems. I'll be shipping the guitar back to the builder, and hopefully, the situation can be rectified. I love this guitar - it is a 12 string ladder braced guitar - and I've been playing it just about every day. I really hope it can be repaired and be as good as new. I trust the builder 100% and was very surprised that I had a problem. I own another one of his guitars, and it is fine.

Thanks again for the replies. The AGF is a great forum. Good people.
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