Fixing a Broken Headstock with Splines and a Backstrap Overlay

I honestly don’t know how many broken headstocks I’ve repaired over the years. But I can tell you that when I first started doing this 20 some-odd years ago I wasn’t fixing broken headstocks with splines and a backstrap overlay – it was more like a single C-clamp and some wood glue. Boom. Done! Maybe I did some finish work over the repair as I gained a little more experience as a repair tech.

But when I began working in my first high-volume guitar repair shop at SF Guitarworks, I started noticing instruments that would come with two or even three different headstock repairs on the same neck, that had been done at different points in time. There are fundamental flaws in some neck construction techniques that make them very susceptible to broken headstocks due to the use of soft woods and lack of structural reinforcement.

So over the years I’ve been on a quest to hone in the best way to not only fix a broken headstock, but to prevent it from breaking again in the future. My ongoing pursuit of the perfect solution has, so far, brought me to the process I’ll share with you now through this series of photos I took while repairing a guitar we received from Gibson‘s warranty department. This is my approach to fixing a broken headstock with quarter-sawn maple splines, a quarter-sawn maple backstrap overlay and a hand-carved volute. Enjoy!

And there you have it.
Thanks for reading!

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