Anyone had a broken headstock on a Gretsch?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by new6659, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. new6659

    new6659 Gretschie

    Dec 10, 2018
    Southwestern Ontario
    I recently found that my Les Paul Custom had somehow developed a crack in the back of the headstock. Not a bad one and difficult to pull apart to re-glue it but a bit of a shock to find. Anyone had similar problems with a Gretsch? The Custom is a 1995 so now about 24 years old. This has made me a little cautious about my one piece neck guitars and thinking that scarf neck construction is a better way to go. Any thoughts?
  2. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    My impression is that Gibsin LPs and to a lesser extent SGs are infamous with broken headstock. One piece and steep headstock angle.

    Start around 3:15

    new6659 likes this.
  3. thunder58

    thunder58 I Bleed Orange

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    I never had a guitar with a broken headstock . I heard that repairs are as good as new if not better . But to me a repaired broken headstock is like a car after it's in an accident ....... it's just never the same . I find both to be a tuff sale ( sorry )
    Sorry to hear about your beloved Les Paul . :(
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
    new6659 and Lionpotato like this.
  4. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    The insistence to use mahogany doesn't help either. Good tonewood... when it was a 100 years old and dried in an even climate controlled environment for a couple of decades.
    Henry, Jena, blueruins and 2 others like this.
  5. RomanS

    RomanS Gretschie

    May 26, 2010
    Vienna, Austria
    A vintage Gibson WITHOUT a headstock break is most likely a fake... :)
    Jena, Winterwind, blueruins and 7 others like this.
  6. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    I have two SG's, one with a vollute and one without, guess which one has the headstock repair?
  7. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    TOTALLY! How many maple/vollute necks do you hear about with snapped off headstocks?
    Jena, MotorCentaur, RomanS and 2 others like this.
  8. JeffreyLeePierre

    JeffreyLeePierre Gretschie

    Nov 11, 2018
    Paris, north down Montmartre hill
    Then I guess the problem I had with my SG only increases its value ;)
    Jena, RomanS and new6659 like this.
  9. benjwri

    benjwri Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2011
    Central ON Can
    Had a 6122 re-issue headstock cracked...didn't break right off. Local luthier glued and clamped so it was like new. I could see it but only because i knew where to look.
    mrfixitmi and new6659 like this.
  10. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    There was an Andertons video on YT where the Captain remarked they were getting broken Gibsons in every week, but he could not recall a single Fender with broken headstock ever.
    Ed Roman could be very abbrasive but he sure was right calling Gibson out on it, and that was decades ago.
    Flouswa, wildeman, RomanS and 2 others like this.
  11. j.s.c

    j.s.c Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2008
    Gretsches with headstock crack, nooo!
    This couldn't happen.
  12. swivel

    swivel Synchromatic

    May 13, 2018
    BTW, that 5 second glue, forget what the name is, Cryo iso great for repairing fine cracks. Go to the hobby store and get the good stuff in the 1-2 oz bottle. (keep it in the freezer and it will last forever) It comes in different viscosity's. Very thin is so thin it gets everywhere. But if you use something fairly thin it wicks right into the crack deep and fast. (When used to glue frets in it will go all the way through the fret groove under the fret in about a second. )
    It's harmful to finishes though, so to repair a crack I mask right to the edge of the crack and a couple inches around the repair.
    mrfixitmi and new6659 like this.
  13. afire

    afire Country Gent

    I've only ever had one Gretsch with a (sort of) headstock crack - a '57 Duo Jet. But it ran from the nut to an inch or so along the side of the neck and the fretboard was separated a bit there too. I have the feeling it might have been the result of improper truss rod use rather than collision.

    I've always understood that main factor making Gibsons more prone to headstock cracks is the angle. Gretsches have one piece mahogany necks, no volutes, comparable neck profiles, yet you almost never see one, vintage or new, broken. It pretty much has to be the angle. The only other thing I could think of is that they're taking more meat out for the truss rod cavity.
    Sid Nitzerglobin and new6659 like this.
  14. Scooter127

    Scooter127 Gretschie

    Feb 25, 2019
    An acoustic of mine fell over and just about snapped the head stock clean off. It was trivial to glue and clamp it, but I do woodoworking as a hobby/side business so gluing up wood is something I do often. It repaired so well that you would have to be looking for the damage to see it.

    JeffreyLeePierre and new6659 like this.
  15. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I've only seen Gibbys and Epis with broken headstocks. I went to the old Woodwind/Brasswind in South Bend years ago, and in their warehouse they had a repaired/resale section with nothing but Gs and Es with repaired headstocks.

    Caveat Emptor.
    new6659 likes this.
  16. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    Strange coincidence: I just stated something very similar in the thread "Firebrand repair" two minutes ago. :)And yes, I think you`re right, afire.
    new6659 likes this.
  17. Howard hughes

    Howard hughes Synchromatic

    Mar 22, 2018
    it's really rare to see gretsch with a broken headstock, says a lot doesn't it...
    new6659 likes this.
  18. Sid Nitzerglobin

    Sid Nitzerglobin Country Gent

    Jun 8, 2015
    I've seen a couple Gretsches w/ broken headstocks come through the shop over the past few years, it's certainly not impossible but it seems like you have to try harder for sure. Gibson has at least a 5 to 1 lead in that department in my anecdotal experience.

    My '92 LP Studio had the headstock broken 3 times (well really once, the first 2 repairs of the break just seemed to be subpar and didn't hold up to further stress). After the last repair ~ 10 years ago, it is by my estimation better than new. That's how I met my luthier friend and now shopmate initially so thank you Gibson:D
    loudnlousy likes this.
  19. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    Gretsch headstocks break longitudinal. Ive seen and owned as many broken headstock wings on old Gretsch's as Gibson's snapped at the nut.
    Jena likes this.
  20. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    I love repaired guitars myself, absolute bargains.
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