Repair of a broken Gibson Les Paul neck
Unfortunately I am asked to carry out a repair of a broken Gibson Les Paul neck all too frequently. Maybe nine out of ten neck repairs I carry out are on Les Paul’s.
Why do they break?
The angle of the headstock to the fretboard and the fact that the neck is carved out of one piece of wood, does seem to cause a weakness in the grain structure at the point where the neck meets the headstock. It does
The first of the two images below shows a typical Les Paul neck break. The second image shows the same guitar once the neck has been glued back together. Although this type of break can be very distressing for the owner of the guitar, a good repair can be made and, as the second image shows, the repair is not obvious.
In a small number of cases the guitar head snaps off completely. Here are a couple of examples. I can only imagine what it feels like to open up the case to find that your precious Les Paul has suffered this type of damage.
Repair a broken Gibson Les Paul neck. Can it be repaired?
Fortunately it can. But the repair of a broken Gibson Les Paul neck where the head has become detached is not an easy repair to make. To do it well is time consuming. Simply gluing the two parts back together would not work, at least not for very long. There is not enough gluing surface to make a secure repair and resist the upwards pull of the strings.
To make a successful repair the area around the crack line needs to be strengthened in some way. I do this inserting mahogany splines into the back of the neck, one on either side of the truss rod. To do this I use a router and a jig I made some years ago. The jig allows me to secure the neck whilst I am routing the channels.
Once the splines have been shaped to match the existing profile of the neck, I colour match the splines to the existing neck finish. Depending on the customers preference I may spray over the back of the headstock and spline area to hide the repair.
When a Les Paul breaks in this fashion there is always quite a lot of damage to the headstock facing. So I would repair any damage to the headstock facing as well.
So in brief, this is how I would carry out the repair of a broken Gibson Les Paul neck. I have a made a video which shows in a lot more detail the repair of a Les Paul with a snapped off headstock. You can find that video on my Youtube channel or on the VIDEOS page of my website.
You may have come across this page because your guitar has suffered a similar break. If so, feel free to CONTACT me to discuss having your guitar repaired.