Broken Necks - How?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by All Hallows, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. All Hallows

    All Hallows Member

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    I have read that the head stocks and necks on Gibson Les Pauls are weak and that they constantly break. How does this happen so often to people? What kind of force does it take for the neck to break? Are some people slamming their head stocks on cymbals or can a small drop do your guitar in?
     
  2. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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    Dropping the guitar in the right place will do the trick every time.
     
  3. auraelux

    auraelux Member

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    You have to be a freakin' gorilla to break the neck. The headstock is a little more sensitive. Call me a jerk, but I've thrown genuine les pauls into drumsets and drummers for fun when we thrash up our sets and nothing serious ever happened to them.

    However, if you stand a les paul on it's butt end perpendicular to the floor and let it drop onto its backside...your headstock is almost certainly gonna crack or break, this is due to the angle by which the Gibson headstocks are designed. It's not a quality issue with Gibson or anything, you just need to watch some of those sensitive angles, though I'm not one to talk lol.
     
  4. kidmandude

    kidmandude Supporting Member

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    the degree of angle Gibson uses places that head stock right in the danger zone for snapping or cracking when the guitar takes the smallest fall. Strats could be used to break into a house but the Gibson will breakright at that neck joint around behind the Nut....

    :jo
     
  5. Bhodie

    Bhodie Member

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    Errr.. Dropping the guitar in the Wrong place will do the trick every time. :jo hehehe
     
  6. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    On any guitar with an angled back headstock, the natural grain of the wood creates a weak spot where the neck to headstock angle changes...and it doesn't take a lot of force to split wood in the direction of its grain. Gibson guitars would be much stronger with a jointed neck/headstock but the purists would probably have a fit. So, you just have to be careful with those glass Gibson headstocks ;).
     
  7. auraelux

    auraelux Member

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    Yeah, these are perhaps the most common breaks I've seen on pauls. The sad thing is that most of the time, these breaks happen in a totally not-cool way. Like you might just lean the guitar on a bass drum and bump into it with your huge latino rear-end like mine and bam your headstock is done right at the nut. No cool rock n roll story to tell lol.

    But necks? Haven't really seen to many LP necks broken at the middle, mostly just the headstock like we discussed before. I mean damn, you have to be holding the guitar like Jabba the Hutt's Rancor monster to break a Les Paul 50's neck.
     
  8. rollyfoster

    rollyfoster Supporting Member

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    that's a reason they used a volute:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. torgeot

    torgeot Member

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    I've broken two, well I broke an Ibanez RG550 neck (fairly easy to do in drunken rage with a guitar that wouldn't stay in tune) I have the feeling it wasn't the guitars fault though. Been repaired now for 15 years plays great, and a close friend droped my Epi asino and the headstock snapped. Denny from here on TGP fixed it and sold it.
     
  10. Lex Luthier

    Lex Luthier Member

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    They still break with a volute.
    They still break with less headstock angle.

    It's the mahogany, it is not as strong as a Fender with a maple neck. Plus, with an area at the weakest point of the neck routed out for the truss rod adjustment, it only makes matters worse.
     
  11. mrweems

    mrweems Member

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    I've slightly cracked the headstock neck on my Les paul Goddess.

    I was standing. The strap wasn't on tight enough apparently. head stock flies down. Hits the ground. Pick it up.

    Slightly cracked. but you can barely feel it. I'm not sure if its just the outer laquer or if it really really broke.
     
  12. tonedaddy

    tonedaddy Member

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    I am here as you are here as you are me and we are
    And telecasters can safely be used as a hammer to build a house.
    ;)
     
  13. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    The body will give on a Strat before the neck does.

    This has played in tune and perfectly for 15 years since it had the "accident".

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. CraigSuperLead

    CraigSuperLead Silver Supporting Member

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    The headstock on my #1 les paul has been broken off a couple times. Last time, involved a local guy getting up to play a song and deciding to do the hendrix thing - laying my guitar down on the floor and then attempting to do something. I'm not sure what exactly he was doing, but he did end up pretty much breaking the headstock off.

    We're not real good friends anymore.

    Regardless, I got it fixed, and it still plays and sounds better than the rest of my guitars.
     
  15. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Whatever it's intentions may have been, the volute does nothing to increase strenght or stability. I repair headstocks all the time, and volutes are just as likely to snap as non-volutes (most volutes don't even cross the area where breaks occur).

    And they will snap if they fall face forward up to string tension - the nut hits the floor, but the inertia of the headstock wants to keep moving, and with string tension to help it becomes very predictable.

    As mentioned above, a scarf joint or a Taylor style finger joint would be much more stable, plus be much more responsible use of a threatened hardwood. Purists, traditionalists, whatever you want to call them, of course would throw a fit though, so it's just not going to happen anytime soon.
     
  16. jtees4

    jtees4 Member

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    OK...we get it. Fender makes the "stronger" guitars. I like my guitars like I like my women...sensitive to the touch....they break easier, but it's worth it. :moon
     
  17. All Hallows

    All Hallows Member

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    Unfortunately my guitar tech accidentally let my Les Paul head stock fall about 5 inches or so to his work bench while he was doing a set up. There doesn't appear to be any issues but has my head stock's integrity been compromised at this point? Will it be more likely to break in the future or has it proven it's a bit tough?
     
  18. Jagsound

    Jagsound Member

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    I wouldn't have a problem with a joint for the head stock. I have a Historic R8 and would still have bought it if it had a joint, I like the idea of doing the best job technically, as long as it does not impact negatively on tone. Of course, my LP wouldn't be an R8 with that joint.
     
  19. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    I've heard of bolt-on necks but never a bolt-on body. :D
     
  20. kidmandude

    kidmandude Supporting Member

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    :barf1
     

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