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Gibson Headstock Break? - It's all about the angle.

There is a high chance that if you are reading this article, your Gibson or Epiphone guitar is in two pieces. The design of the Gibson headstock means it is made of one piece of timber.

Gibson traditionally have used a 17-degree and 14-degree headstock angles (14-degrees on an Epiphone) which equates to an increased risk of the headstock breaking when compared to a Fender at 0-degrees.

Gibson says on their website: 'The headstock is carefully angled at 17 degrees, which increases pressure on the strings and helps them stay in the nut slots. An increase in string pressure also means there is no loss of string vibration between the nut and the tuners, which equals better sustain.'

From an engineering perspective, the neck is cut from one piece of wood with the grain running from top to bottom. The obvious weekness then becomes the point in which the wood is angled toward the top of the headstock. As seen in the picture below, the line from the bottom of the neck to the top of the headstock.

Additional factors are the weight of the tuners. Grover tuners are particularly heavy compared to their Kluson counter parts. The truss rod ajustment area (the routing for the truss road) adds a potnential weak spot just next to the already weak area.

To fix the headstock, Ackworth Guitar Setups employs a number of varying techniques. Sometimes the headtock can be glued using a quality wood glue. If this is not possible, we may use splines or a technique known as backstrapping. These techniques allow for the instoduction of new wood, thus strengthening the guitar neck.

Once a satisfactory repair is achieved, we can then consider guitar re-finishing.

Ackworth Guitar Setups is a guitar repair and setup shop in Manchester, Leeds and Huddersfied.

You can find out more at

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