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  1. #1

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    Well I'm sick about it as my #1 '54 Guild X550 fell off the strap last night and hit the deck hard. Fortunately it didn't sustain more damage considering! Having a right angle plug probably saved it from the jack punching all the way through. I've seen guys slap a Les Paul type jack plate over the top, and I'd prefer not to do that--even if the previous and new stress cracks remain visible (the guitar is far from mint). And there's the chip in the binding too. I'd love to hear some thoughts on the best way to have this repaired, etc. Thanks!

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  3. #2

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  4. #3

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    Don't worry. Find a competent luthier. It can be repaired without a hack-a-jack LP plate job. You would regret that. I've seen luthiers make things like that disappear, and you would swear that they were magicians. I love good luthiers. They walk on water, as far as I'm concerned. We have a number of Luthiers on the forum that can advise you, and they will. Stand by. You'll be impressed.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by skykomishone View Post
    Don't worry. Find a competent luthier. It can be repaired without a hack-a-jack LP plate job. You would regret that. I've seen luthiers make things like that disappear, and you would swear that they were magicians. I love good luthiers. They walk on water, as far as I'm concerned. We have a number of Luthiers on the forum that can advise you, and they will. Stand by. You'll be impressed.
    I agree completely. The time you spend finding your go-to luthier is well spent.

    The good ones very much remind me of the remodelers I hired to upgrade my bathroom. The complete job took 2 weeks, and for the first ten days, they were just good tradesmen - good carpenters, tilers etc.
    But I just didn't realize how good they are until those last few days, as they started matching up their 'new' work with 60 year old faded casework, plaster walls, hardwood floors etc etc. You basically can't tell where they've been !

    So all the best of luck with your repair !

  6. #5

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    I'll be a contrarian and recommend a jack plate. It's done by lots of actual luthiers, and it strengthens the area. I really have no idea why plates aren't used from the start by builders. Many do, but most don't, and I suspect it's mostly an economic issue, because the plates cost money. It's not a big issue for someone building a few guitars per year, but for a factory it's a significant expense.

  7. #6

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    Even with a jack plate, the wood has to be brought back into proper alignment and reinforced from inside. The problem, of course, is that with an archtop guitar access to that area is quite limited. I would suggest not just a luthier but specifically an archtop guitar luthier. it is likely that there are forum members who would know someone in your area to go to.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  8. #7

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    ugh..so sorry...this was jim halls not very pretty solution

    to really do it clean and right, the back needs to be removed..and thats a big $$$ job

    don't know where you are located, but curt @ Old School Guitar Repair, Restoration & Lutherie might be able to help...he's a guitar trauma er specialist and a refinishing scientist...send him a pic and see what he says


    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 10-14-2018 at 11:18 PM.

  9. #8

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    Very do-able repair. Where are you located? I did one of these recently. Fitted a patch on the inside and pulled it tight to the side aligning the broken pieces of the side in the process. It was a little tricky. Pulled the patch as I would a cleat, tight and taut with a threaded jack. It's within reach of the F holes so while tight, it's not crazy difficult. I did enforce it with a jack plate, yes. That's a good idea. I do tend to cut the access hole larger when I'm doing this so the entire jack assy can be removed through the hole and with the attachment to the jack plate, it's an easy fix to deal with solder joints.
    But that's just the way I'd do it.

    David

  10. #9

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    Nothing you do short of spending lots of money will make it cosmetically any better. I would simply make sure the jack is reinforced by patches from inside. As long as that is good and you can unplug and plug chord solidly, then you are done. Binding can be replaced but if it is attached fine i would leave alone. Look at it as just another ding and big....sorry to hear.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  11. #10

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    Sorry for your extreme misfortune. That’s a classic you have there, and it’s well worth the time and cost to get it fixed right. There is a guy near me in the Boston area that is one of the go-to guys for those with very old and valuable guitars in need of any kind of repairs. I take my Guild American Patriarchs to him, along with all of the vintage Guilds that I unfortunately no longer own. Let us know where you are located so we can be of more help as needed.

  12. #11

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    Whatever you do, do it soon (and I think you know this but) don't mess with in any way -- like pushing down loose parts or trying to clean it. I'd suggest you put it back in a case (if it's not too tight a fit) and leave it alone until you are ready to get it repaired. A friend of mine once backed up his car and ran over his Gypsy jazz Dupont guitar. It was in the case and was shattered into countless pieces. Because the guitar was in the case, he was able to get all the broken parts to a luthier who pieced it back together like a puzzle and returned it to its working glory. No, it didn't look exactly like it did before but with all its new battle scars it was still a very handsome guitar bringing many more years of music to its owner.

  13. #12

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    Thanks all for the condolences and input—please keep it coming!
    I'm in San Diego and would prefer someone local if possible—I can think if some options in L.A. but hate driving up there, and not sure about the S.D. Guys I know for this repair. Yeah I don’t expect it to be perfect and the guitar has lots of wear. Just want to do it right. My high E went out of tune, but once tuned all was fine. I’m very lucky as it ended up on its face on top of my pedal board. I was afraid I punched a hole in the top!

  14. #13

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    You might check with Scott Lentz in San Marcos. He's actually a builder but I'll bet he knows repair luthiers in southern California. He personally did some work for me years ago on a ES-150 CC and it was impeccable workmanship. Check the bottom of this website for his phone number: Lentz(R) GUITAR - Instruments For The Discerning Musician

  15. #14

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    I would make the decision as to whether aesthetics are important or if durability and functionality are the primary goals.

    An internal and external patch/plate would be sufficient for the latter. The west coast costs are probably much higher than around where I live. An acceptable job around here would take about $150-200. There would be a multilaminate plate externally.
    MG

  16. #15

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    I did think of Scott and he's done work for me in the past—last time I asked he wasn’t taking on repairs. I may try him again.

  17. #16

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    To cut out the side and redo this requires huge time. Then you would have to add finish that would never really quite be exact. The cost of this far exceed the value of doing this even though this is a vintage guitar worth a few dollars. If this guitar was worth $4-5K then you could say yes I need to see about putting the money into the guitar. Other wise a repair like this to completely get correct is going to be in my opinion over $400 minimum. Cutting the side out and then getting a piece bent back to the correct curve is just going to take hours of work. Possible if you have a pre-bent side you save time,

    I actually have a large assortment of pre-bent sides that are not attached to anything and could probably be a drop in replacement with little work. The finishing to get it correct would be the harder part at least for myself. If you want to try a piece of patch that is pre-bent that will work I can send on just send me a email for details. Actually the more I think about this I forgot I have all these extra sides that would work I am sure.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  18. #17

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    Thanks for the detailed response. The guitar is fairly valuable as it's a rare and desirable model, but at the same time has a lot of wear. It's moot as it's not for sale (I've had many offers over the years). I'm not expecting a cosmetically perfect solution, just one that looks decent and is functional. It seems that would include some type of a cover plate. What about just screwing one on without the reinforcement on the inside? I could do that myself. BTW, the guitar is obviously plywood, and it's pretty stout. The tailpiece is held on with just 3 screws. Wouldn't the stress on a jack plate be much less? As for the binding I'd likely just put a drop or two of super glue to keep it from breaking off if it snagged something.

  19. #18

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    Sounds like a plate cover is a good idea. It won't be the first vintage guitar with that "mod". Meanwhile, I couldn't help but wonder about a 54' Guild X-550 so I found the following. Cool guitar fer'sure... (BTW, looks like this guitar may have a plate cover too.)

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by archtopeddy View Post
    Sounds like a plate cover is a good idea. It won't be the first vintage guitar with that "mod". Meanwhile, I couldn't help but wonder about a 54' Guild X-550 so I found the following. Cool guitar fer'sure... (BTW, looks like this guitar may have a plate cover too.)
    I didn't know he had one. They are most famously played by Dave Gonzalez of The Paladins--in fact Guild later made a signature model which is also quite rare. A lot of Gonzalez fans have tried to buy mine but it's not for sale Here's an early clip of Dave:


  21. #20

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    As one of the very early Guild guitars, and a very rare and desirable model, 4-5k would not at all be unreasonable, based on the condition, of course. The AP guitar in my avatar, which was a repro of a late 1950’s X-500, is virtually identical to the X-550, only in the very early days a blonde X-500 was called an X-550 to differentiate the model by color. Just some early Guild history, if anyone cares.


    I’m with you on never selling. If I was lucky enough to find one and could afford it, I would be playing it this very moment. Looking forward to seeing the finished product after the successful repairs!

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by stringmaster View Post
    What about just screwing one on without the reinforcement on the inside? I could do that myself. .
    Well that'd work. Personally though, I feel that once a side has been deformed to that degree, splits along the grain line of the outer ply, obvious trauma to the underlying plies, I'd want to bring the whole area back to exactly where it once was and enforce that with an underlying layer that has a uniform integrity. If this were on the upper bout of the sides, I might feel differently. Hell I might even make a breach into a sound port if it were in the right place. But around the jack, where there's going to be constant wiggle, constant impact force (each time you push that jack in and pull the cable out), I wouldn't want to leave that unattended. I'd want to do all I could. But that's just me, having seen cracks grow and wood deteriorate. I've seen a lot of "I'll do this and it'll be fine" repairs that owners regret not having taken the few moments to address properly at the time. But then again I've seen tops that were sealed with epoxy or repairs done with what can only be guessed as some sort of bubble gum, and they still got great music out of their instruments.

    I like it that playing is more important than sentimentality for you. I just play better myself knowing that I've done what I felt was necessary to make sure my instrument has the greatest integrity. The easier it is for me to forget the instrument and make the music.

    David

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthHertz View Post
    Well that'd work. Personally though, I feel that once a side has been deformed to that degree, splits along the grain line of the outer ply, obvious trauma to the underlying plies, I'd want to bring the whole area back to exactly where it once was and enforce that with an underlying layer that has a uniform integrity. If this were on the upper bout of the sides, I might feel differently. Hell I might even make a breach into a sound port if it were in the right place. But around the jack, where there's going to be constant wiggle, constant impact force (each time you push that jack in and pull the cable out), I wouldn't want to leave that unattended. I'd want to do all I could. But that's just me, having seen cracks grow and wood deteriorate. I've seen a lot of "I'll do this and it'll be fine" repairs that owners regret not having taken the few moments to address properly at the time. But then again I've seen tops that were sealed with epoxy or repairs done with what can only be guessed as some sort of bubble gum, and they still got great music out of their instruments.

    I like it that playing is more important than sentimentality for you. I just play better myself knowing that I've done what I felt was necessary to make sure my instrument has the greatest integrity. The easier it is for me to forget the instrument and make the music.

    David
    Thanks David-I’m with you! I’ve decided I’m going to have my baby repaired professionally. After all this is my longest companion since the early 80's, and a little time and money needed to get it back in commission will be worth it. The input from this forum has given me guidance on how the repair might be handled, so I’ll be in the know as I speak with potential repair artists.
    Thanks again all!


  24. #23

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    Reporting back on the Guild. I found a guy locally that was recommended and he had the right answers to my questions. We opted to go for a structurally sound repair with less emphasis on cosmetics--the guitar already had some stress cracks in the jack area (and as it turns out a previous glue job), and the rest of the guitar is far from mint. It made sense to me vs trying to do major surgery to make it look pretty as it wouldn't really jive with the rest of the guitar. His plan was to laminate a piece of maple on the inside, but he couldn't fit it in through the F hole, and the pickup cavities were too small under the pickup covers. Instead he was able to use a large washer to help reinforce from the inside, even though he felt the glue alone would be more than strong enogh. He made a block that matched the outside body contour and used that to pull the broken structures back out so they could be glued in place. There was a little internal damage around the kerfing that he addressed, and a new input jack was installed just in case. He also did a little binding repair and shot some tinted lacquer to kind of match the binding (which has various stages of aging all around. Total was $175 (I believe someone asked for that info). Tonight I'll be doing my 2nd gig with her and thrilled that she's back! Thanks again for the input.


  25. #24

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    Congratulations on finding a good solution to your misfortune. The main concern is how does it sound?

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by snoskier63 View Post
    Congratulations on finding a good solution to your misfortune. The main concern is how does it sound?
    As good as ever for my sound—I’ve owned her since the early 80’s—my longest companion!