Guitar body cracked in half, builder being uncooperative - advice?

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jacklawteyjacklawtey Frets: 149
So, I ordered a rosewood body and neck from a US based builder via. Reverb. He has hundreds of 5* reviews, seemed to do quality work and I was happy to trust him. I pay around £650 for the body and neck, which arrive with dings and he refunds me $60 and I'm satisfied. I then took the guitar and all parts accrued to a company here in Paris to have the guitar assembled, I get it back, great work and I love the guitar. Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, I go away for ten days and return home to this ugly looking crack down the join of the body. This crack wasn't present when I left and nobody has been in my apartment.

See images below. There's an image of a piece of paper with pen marking how deep I can fit the paper into the crack. I have no idea how far the crack extends because of the pickguard etc. 









A few people on a few guitar communities have remarked that it probably needs separating and entirely regluing and although just unsightly at the minute, could turn into a structural issue and affect the guitars playability. 

I opened up dialogue with the builder via. Reverb and after some back and forth, in which he claims there's "no way" the body is separating and that it just needs filling, he suggested I tear the guitar to pieces, ship it back to Miami, Florida (I'm in Europe), have him fix it and post it back to me; something I really didn't want to have to do. However much I appreciated his offer, I countered by suggesting I have this fixed in situ at his cost, he refunded me a meagre $60 (without prior agreement). I sent him a message asking what happens if the repair costs more than that (which, living in a major European capital, it ABSOLUTELY will) and he replies simply saying "Sorry buddy, that's all I can do". SURELY he's responsible for the integrity of his work here and i'm entitled to more than a courtesy $60? I'd understand if it was a crack elsewhere that could viably have come from me damaging the guitar but straight down the join? I've only had the guitar assembled for a few months. 

I'm a total loss here and don't really know where to go. Any advice on the crack itself and also the Reverb proceedings I should undertake would be hugely appreciated. Such a bummer when something you've spent so much money on cracks.. in half. 
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  • prlgmnrprlgmnr Frets: 1413
    At least he didn't offer you store credit in the amount of 4 dollars.
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  • JezWyndJezWynd Frets: 3493
    Could you get a local luthier to break it in two and then reset it? You need to remove pickguard to see how far crack extends but noting the depth it seems a break is likely to occur sooner or later.
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  • earwighoneyearwighoney Frets: 2144
    jacklawtey said:
    Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, I go away for ten days and return home to this ugly looking crack down the join of the body. This crack wasn't present when I left and nobody has been in my apartment. 

    Rosewoods do crack. Did you leave the guitar out of the case during the heatwave when it was over 40 degrees in Paris?  What was the guitar finished with?  Wood cracking when humidity is low is something that does happen, especially for acoustic guitars but a thinly finished rosewood guitar body could be prone to cracking especially considering the heatwave/conditions recently. 
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  • skunkwerxskunkwerx Frets: 2634
    I wonder if it has something to do with the insane heat over there recently? 

    Though tbh I wouldnt expect the join to literally start coming apart. 


    The only easy day, was yesterday...
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  • jacklawteyjacklawtey Frets: 149
    jacklawtey said:
    Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, I go away for ten days and return home to this ugly looking crack down the join of the body. This crack wasn't present when I left and nobody has been in my apartment. 

    Rosewoods do crack. Did you leave the guitar out of the case during the heatwave when it was over 40 degrees in Paris?  What was the guitar finished with?  Wood cracking when humidity is low is something that does happen, especially for acoustic guitars but a thinly finished rosewood guitar body could be prone to cracking especially considering the heatwave/conditions recently. 
    It was in my living room, on a stand. We did hit 43° but surely this level of cracking shouldn’t be happening? It’s gnarly! 
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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 68
    IMHO,
    if this is the JM that was pictured here recently, that looked like a damn fine instrument, brave choice, and it did look like it came out well.
    You have to suck it up I think, you took a huge gamble getting a guitar, in parts, from across the ocean. Luckily it arrived, and it seemed to go together well.
    A solid rosewood body, is not an easy thing to stick together-quite an oily wood, and I would personally not trust a center joint in this situation-at least a 3 peice has a solid section through the neck joint and bridge.
    You left it out to dry over a hot period, and the wood moved. I think you need to give it a few months to settle down, if the crack is not spreading, it could be filled and smoothed, but if it is a structural issue, it needs to be split and re-glued with possibly more suitable glue-but it does need time to settle, and the finish would ned to be applied to prevent moisture and humidity affecting it in the future.
    Basically, I would be hitting it hard to see if it rattles, and taking a close look at the back of the instrument to see how far the crack has spread.
    It is all part of the character of the instrument-in this case an example in a difficult choice of wood-fretboards have a much smaller section, and a much larger surface-so gluing makes better sense for fretboards, less so as a center joint on a 2 inch thick body.
    just my observations, and good luck with it-I dont think you can really blame the builder for giving you what you wanted in this case, and it takes a while for the wood to know it has become a guitar,
    cheers
    andy k
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  • Andy79Andy79 Frets: 97
    Yeah. Kinda agree with the above. Get hold of Reverb. They hold a pot of money for this kind of situation. They may help you out with repair costs without beating up the seller. 
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  • MattFGBIMattFGBI Frets: 1549
    This looks like it’s dried out and shrunk, rather than a failure in the adhesion. What is the humidity in your home?
    This is not an official response. 

    ukqueries@fender.com 


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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 5408
    What earwighoney and MattFGBI said. Shift happens. 

    View the body edgewise, from the lower bout strap button towards the headstock. Are the front and back faces of the body flat and parallel like a Fender or curved and parallel like some Spector and Warwick bass guitars?

    IMO, it might not be a bad idea to, at the very least, slacken off the strings. 
    Be seeing you.
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  • skunkwerxskunkwerx Frets: 2634
    I didnt know about rosewood being less easily glued in applications like this. 

    My only argument for that aspect is why a luthier (who should know this), would take this work on and not advise against it in the first place. Or at least give an indication of the likelihood of this happening for a body made of RW with a centre join.  


    The only easy day, was yesterday...
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  • My feeling (from 25 years of woodworking) is that the moisture content of the wood initially was too high and it was glued with a urethane based glue. 43 degrees or not I think it’s a piss take; if I sold someone a body that cracked I’d be mortified, but any glue ups I’ve done I’ve made sure it was <12% before I’ve done them. Rosewood is not hard to glue. Unless you use the wrong glues or shit technique
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  • BillKatBillKat Frets: 1492
    edited August 12

    This is 4 piece pancake with a sandwich,, and looks like no finish on it? Add to all the travelling that's some risk there.

    If it was mine I'd be slicing it and putting a vertical splice in there. Would fit right in with the pancake theme, though a fiddle keeping the bridge & screw spacing right. A nice satisfying rescue job to do.
    Wouldn't be so happy after the initial expense with a quick glue & fill job, even if the body's flat and finished moving.
    Either way I'd be putting an oil finish at least, not leave all that exposed endgrain, lovely as raw r/w is.

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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 2650
    I wouldn't trust Reverb in the slightest.

    I dealt with a conman who had loads of 5 star feedback and when I reported it, they replied saying they'd look in to it but just seemed to ignore it and do nothing.

    Wouldn't surprise me if the feedback was fake since Reverb doesn't seem to police the site for the protection of honest buyers.
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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 68
    BillKat said:

    This is 4 piece pancake with a sandwich,, and looks like no finish on it? Add to all the travelling that's some risk there.

    sorry mate, I dont understand? the pics above show no evidence of it being a 4 piece, or pancake body? 
    It appears to be a 2 piece ,centre jointed body, and I do agree that the buyer should have possibly been steered away from a centre joint, but who knows how the conversation went.
    There is probably good reason that Fender used pancake / lamination for the Harrison Telecaster, and I think this would have been the preferred construction for a rosewood body, I might be wrong here, but you do not usually see finish applied to rosewood-apart from oil, and I suspect the same issues might arise when attempting to glue grain against grain, as in the centre joint. I think the Harrison also uses a maple layer in the sandwich to avoid RW / RW glue joints.
    If you know more about this body than is being presented-and it is indeed a pancake and sandwich body that has de-laminated and cracked, I think it should be replaced--completely different scenario.
    cheers
    andy k
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  • BillKatBillKat Frets: 1492
    Hi Andy if you have a look at Jack's NGD thread you can see the whole deal there. Link here- https://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/158514/
    Also if you chuck rosewood jazzmaster reverb.com into Google you can find the seller and listings with lots of pics
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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 68
    Hmmm,
    this was bugging me, I knew I had seen the guitar previously, and I had to go back to find the pics, it is indeed a pancake body, with maple sandwich, however--the pics above seem to show the crack spreading through the rout for the trem.
    At this point, it is hard to say whether the crack affects structural stability, and honestly, if it were MY guitar, I would be filling the crack, and maybe attempting some colour match to disguise.
    I would then be using some sort of oil based finish to build up a finish that would help with any humidity changes.
    This body has been across an ocean, and who knows how old the wood is?, there will never be a good result by sending it back and forth to allow the builder to fix it.
    As a very extreme and last resort-the body could be sawn in half down the centre joint, and a new laminate strip introduced to replace the width of the saw blade, drastic, but doable, I dont think it is anywhere as bad as that though, the crack can be filled with a colour marched epoxy, and the finish should then avoid any further drying out--that seems to be the root of the problem, and it would be more obvious how serious the problem is by seeing the complete back of the body--this is the area that is structural with the neck joint.
    At the end of the day, it will be an area of resin that is filling a crack, and I have seen quite a few intentional builds incorporating resin filled voids-it is used extensively by Crimson and many others.
    Nice axe whatever happens to it.
    cheers
    andy k

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  • GSPBASSESGSPBASSES Frets: 1378
    tFB Trader

    Rosewood it's not difficult to glue, but like any wood sometimes the glue just doesn't take to it for whatever reason, but particularly If there is a high moisture content in the wood. Rosewood has been used in furniture manufacturing for centuries, long before modern glues came into use. I prefer to use Titebond but acoustic builders would almost certainly use Hide glue with Rosewood. If I remember correctly this guitar was made from Santos Rosewood which is notorious for shrinking and cracking particularly in thick blocks. Not so bad for fingerboards fortunately, but even so I tend to radius on slot Santos Rosewood fingerboards and leave them on the shelf for at least 6 months before I use them.

    From the photographs it's difficult to tell if the glue joint has failed or it's a crack, although it looks like the glue joint. I think you need to strip the guitar down to see how far the joint or crack has opened up. From this you will be able to see if it's a crack, then it should stop at the first pickup cavity, if it's the joint that’s opened up I would imagine it would go all the way through to the neck pocket. Whatever has caused this will become obvious from the visual inspection without the pick guard in place.  

    If you get no satisfaction from the builder or Reverb then I repair will become necessary. I'm not sure that using epoxy or glue colouring it with dust would not be a good long term solution for this problem.

    If we presume it's the glue joint that has opened, I think the answer would be to cut narrow channel along the length of the guitar though the opened glue joint, deep enough to meet the white wood that separates the 2 parts of the body. I would glue in a strip of wood that matches the colour of the Rosewood or white wood that matches the wood that separates the 2 parts of the guitar.

    An oil finish should be good enough for Rosewood but remember Fender used Polyurethane.

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  • paulnb57paulnb57 Frets: 1453
    So, which oil to finish Rosewood? Tru Oil?
    I've used it on Maple necks, just a couple of very thin coats to seal it, silky smooth....

    Thoughts?
    Stranger from another planet welcome to our hole - Just strap on your guitar and we'll play some rock 'n' roll

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  • jacklawteyjacklawtey Frets: 149
    Andy79 said:
    Yeah. Kinda agree with the above. Get hold of Reverb. They hold a pot of money for this kind of situation. They may help you out with repair costs without beating up the seller. 
    I got a hold of them and I got what I imagine is a copy and paste job back, asking me to ask the seller for a refund. Tried that, he thinks he's in no wrong unfortunately. Thanks for the suggestion! 

    MattFGBI said:
    This looks like it’s dried out and shrunk, rather than a failure in the adhesion. What is the humidity in your home?
    To be honest with you, unsure! The heat wave we just had was insanely hot with quite low humidity, if I recall correctly. 

    skunkwerx said:
    I didnt know about rosewood being less easily glued in applications like this. 

    My only argument for that aspect is why a luthier (who should know this), would take this work on and not advise against it in the first place. Or at least give an indication of the likelihood of this happening for a body made of RW with a centre join.  


    This particular person deals exclusively in rosewood guitars too! 

    andy_k said:
    Hmmm,
    this was bugging me, I knew I had seen the guitar previously, and I had to go back to find the pics, it is indeed a pancake body, with maple sandwich, however--the pics above seem to show the crack spreading through the rout for the trem.
    At this point, it is hard to say whether the crack affects structural stability, and honestly, if it were MY guitar, I would be filling the crack, and maybe attempting some colour match to disguise.
    I would then be using some sort of oil based finish to build up a finish that would help with any humidity changes.
    This body has been across an ocean, and who knows how old the wood is?, there will never be a good result by sending it back and forth to allow the builder to fix it.
    As a very extreme and last resort-the body could be sawn in half down the centre joint, and a new laminate strip introduced to replace the width of the saw blade, drastic, but doable, I dont think it is anywhere as bad as that though, the crack can be filled with a colour marched epoxy, and the finish should then avoid any further drying out--that seems to be the root of the problem, and it would be more obvious how serious the problem is by seeing the complete back of the body--this is the area that is structural with the neck joint.
    At the end of the day, it will be an area of resin that is filling a crack, and I have seen quite a few intentional builds incorporating resin filled voids-it is used extensively by Crimson and many others.
    Nice axe whatever happens to it.
    cheers
    andy k

    Thanks for your input, Andy. I'm hoping it's just a fill job too. Suppose I won't know until I pull it apart! 

    GSPBASSES said:

    Rosewood it's not difficult to glue, but like any wood sometimes the glue just doesn't take to it for whatever reason, but particularly If there is a high moisture content in the wood. Rosewood has been used in furniture manufacturing for centuries, long before modern glues came into use. I prefer to use Titebond but acoustic builders would almost certainly use Hide glue with Rosewood. If I remember correctly this guitar was made from Santos Rosewood which is notorious for shrinking and cracking particularly in thick blocks. Not so bad for fingerboards fortunately, but even so I tend to radius on slot Santos Rosewood fingerboards and leave them on the shelf for at least 6 months before I use them.

    From the photographs it's difficult to tell if the glue joint has failed or it's a crack, although it looks like the glue joint. I think you need to strip the guitar down to see how far the joint or crack has opened up. From this you will be able to see if it's a crack, then it should stop at the first pickup cavity, if it's the joint that’s opened up I would imagine it would go all the way through to the neck pocket. Whatever has caused this will become obvious from the visual inspection without the pick guard in place.  

    If you get no satisfaction from the builder or Reverb then I repair will become necessary. I'm not sure that using epoxy or glue colouring it with dust would not be a good long term solution for this problem.

    If we presume it's the glue joint that has opened, I think the answer would be to cut narrow channel along the length of the guitar though the opened glue joint, deep enough to meet the white wood that separates the 2 parts of the body. I would glue in a strip of wood that matches the colour of the Rosewood or white wood that matches the wood that separates the 2 parts of the guitar.

    An oil finish should be good enough for Rosewood but remember Fender used Polyurethane.

    Thanks for your input, much appreciated. I don't think the seller is having any of it and I don't know if I have a leg to stand on, really. I have proof it arrived uncracked, was uncracked before I left for my holiday and is now cracked. 
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  • matonematone Frets: 173
    The result of global warming and Brexit......
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