Few things in life can compare to the absolute pleasure of picking up a guitar and starting to play. However, there’s always the possibility of a sour note: a cracked, damaged guitar just doesn’t sound right.
Suddenly, the simple pleasure of playing your favorite instrument becomes a frustrating activity as you try to figure out what went wrong with it.
When that happens, the first question that comes into your mind is-” Is guitar repair possible?”.
And you’ll be shocked to learn that a broken guitar can be repaired!
As you gain experience diagnosing problems and replacing parts correctly, repairing guitars becomes easier. It’s possible to take your guitar to a guitar service center in the first place by following a few simple steps, whether it’s a bass guitar, acoustic, or electric guitar.
Let’s look at which types of guitar repairs you can handle yourself and which ones you’ll need help with.
1. Dent/Chip on Guitar
It’s frustrating when you accidentally put a dent on your guitar you have really cherished and taken great care of for a long time. Instead of settling and accepting the misfortune as part of owning a guitar, there are ways to at least lessen or conceal the damage. In fact, you can do these steps at your home. Here are the steps to repair a dent or chip on your guitar.
Preparing the damaged area
The first step is to get rid of the dirt and oil. Guitar polish and a clean towel are both suitable cleaning tools. Acoustic guitar polish comes in several varieties at guitar shops. Still, a basic household wood polish will work just as well.
Add a drop of lacquer to the dent. Small brushes or toothpicks can be used for lacquer application, depending on the size of the dent.
Brushing is necessary when it comes to larger dents. When lacquer dries, it shrinks, requiring a second coat to cover the dent. Once it has dried for a few hours, add another drop and let it sit overnight.
Smoothing/Leveling the surface
A mound of lacquer will rise slightly above the guitar surface upon drying. The mended area can be leveled and smoothed by using a razor blade. After the razor blade process, sand the treated area. Sanding with 800-grit sandpaper completes the leveling process. A rubber eraser can be used as a sanding block to remove the sandpaper marks.
For finishing touches, apply a mirror glazing polish to the surface. You can begin with the #2 mirror glazing compound. Use a clean cloth to lightly rub it to the area. It’s important to apply the compound along with the direction of wood grain and about eight to 10 centimeters from the repair area,
Using the #9 compound, continue the process and finish with #7. When moving to a different compound, utilize a clean portion of the cloth or a separate piece of rag. Once the gloss has resurfaced, stop rubbing. Avoid scratching the guitar’s finish too much, as this will ruin it.
2. Guitar Bridge Reglue
When the guitar’s bridge has come loose from the guitar’s top due to the guitar’s string tensions, a bridge reglue guitar repair is necessary. This is a common fix for nylon-stringed, nylon-stringed, and steel-string guitars.
The best method to avoid this type of repair is to keep your guitar away from extreme heat or cold temperatures. Extreme temperatures might affect the glue that holds the bridge to the guitar’s body.
For example, suppose you leave your guitar in your car for an extended time on a hot sunny day. In that case, the glue beneath the bridge may disintegrate owing to the high temperatures.
In most cases, you can reglue the bridge or take it to a guitar repair shop, but as they say, prevention is better than cure.
3. Input-Jack Crackling Sound
This guitar issue is common to acoustic/electric and bass guitars. This is associated with a bothersome crackling sound whenever you plug the input jack into a guitar amplifier.
You may spot a ‘crackling jack’ by wriggling the guitar cable within the input jack. If you observe that the crackling sound becomes worse as you twist and wiggle the cable, the problem is most likely the input jack.
Corrosion and debris inside the input jack are the most common causes of this problem. You can avoid this by keeping your instrument clean and intact in its case.
You can clean the jack itself and its ports to solve the problem. If this doesn’t fix the issue, you can bring it to a guitar repair shop. The guitar repairer will often clean the jack or replace it.
4. Fret Buzz Repair
Fret buzz is one of the most common reasons guitarists take their instruments to a guitar repair shop. This issue occurs when a guitar string makes a buzzing or rattling sound against a fret wire when being played or plucked.
This can be caused by several factors, the most common reason is due to the action or string height. This happens when the action is too low, uneven frets, or the guitar’s neck is bowed.
If the action is too low, a guitar technician will usually lift it at the bridge while inspecting the neck to ensure it is straight. On the other hand, when a guitar’s neck is bowed or bent, the truss rod, which is the long metal rod under the fretboard, is usually adjusted to straighten the neck out.
An uneven set of frets can be fixed by using a flat file to smooth out the fretboard’s surface. This usually requires a pro-setup guitar service to ensure that all guitar frets are even again.
Re-crowning and polishing the frets are the final steps in the guitar repair process. It’s a lot more complicated than a simple guitar repair.
Fret buzz is inevitable in some cases. But in the event of a bowed neck, it’s critical to maintain your guitars away from extreme temperatures that might cause the neck to bend. Also, be aware of different strings sizes and tunings that can cause minor neck movement.
5. Broken Guitar Neck Repair
A broken guitar neck is one of the most heartbreaking guitar problems that can happen to you. This usually occurs when the guitar neck has been broken from accidentally falling off a stand, dropped during a performance, or sometimes during your flights.
The neck is the most common spot on a guitar to break if it takes a significant impact. This is due to several factors like the weight of the guitar body, string tension, and headstock angle.
In this situation, assuming the neck has a relatively clean break, the guitar repairer’s reglue method is fairly simple. During the reglue procedure, the guitar technician will often use special glue and customized clamps to assure the best results.
If the neck has been reglued previously and failed, fixing it again becomes far more complex. That’s why it’s critical to take your broken guitar to a reliable guitar repair shop.
Pack your guitar in a sturdy flight bag when traveling and secure it firmly when using a guitar stand to avoid this type of guitar repair.
6. Re-Fretting Your Guitar
Fret wear is more frequent on older instruments or guitars belonging to skilled or pro musicians. It happens after a guitar has been played repeatedly. As a result of frequent use, the frets on the fretboard wear out at various spots. This occurs most frequently at the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd frets, where most playing occurs.
There are two major ways to repair extreme fret wear.
As we discussed in the fret-buzz service stage, a professional guitar setup is the first step. A flat file is used to ‘dress’ the tops of the frets, removing any fret-ware. After that, the frets are usually re-crowned by the guitar repairer.
The guitar repairer may have to do an intensive re-fret procedure in case of more extreme damage. In this situation, every fret on the fretboard is removed and replaced with new ones. Only the most skilled guitar technicians can perform this type of repair work.
Fret wear is tough to avoid, especially if you play your instrument frequently. Still, simple actions like choosing a low gauge of string and changing your strings before they become too worn and corroded might help.
So there you have it, our six most common repair jobs, along with some advice on keeping them from happening to your prized possession.
Anything new might be intimidating if you don’t know what you’re doing. We’ve all made the mistake of incorrectly putting a string on the pole. We’ve all made the mistake of cutting a string too short. You’ll become more knowledgeable of the instrument’s parts and settings as you play guitar and spend more quality time with it.
Except for the body structure, guitars aren’t very complex instruments. If you’re interested in learning how to fix guitars, be patient and humble. Being arrogant would not serve you well in this situation, so don’t hesitate to get some advice and help from guitar repair experts if possible.