Meet the Guitar Maker Instrument gallery Guitar restoration & repair Sound & Video Press/Media Tour the Workshop
This is a wonderful old Dobro from the 1930s, back when roots American counrty music was really just starting. For this reason, I thought it to be a special guitar, and though several repairmen turned it down due to its severity of damage, I felt a repair was simply required. The maple used to make this neck was softer than I've seen before, and the break was near vertical with very little clean wood-to-wood contact. This combined with the very high nut of a lap played steel guitar, and the subsequent steep string angle behind the nut and the heavy strings, made for a very tough repair indeed.

As you can see in the photos, I glued the headstock in place keeping it aligned with the neck. I used a very special epoxy for this, mixed with a color-matching pigment to tint the epoxy "squeeze-out". Once dry, I routed two channels into the neck back, and epoxied in two very stiff mahogany splints. These were sunk in so their tops were just slightly below the surface for back-filling with more tinted epoxy. I then feathered in a "structural shell" of the same tinted epoxy all around the sides and back of the headstock at the break to strengthen the area for the heavy load it would be getting from the strings. I'm happy to say that all was perfect when strung up, and unless you look really closely, you'd never know it was broken.

S.B. MacDonald Custom Instruments. All rights reserved

Broken Dobro headstock repair