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Hairline Crack - 61 Strat

Discussion in 'Pre-CBS Strats (before 1966)' started by dredman, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. dredman

    dredman New Member!

    Feb 11, 2015
    Morgantown, WV
    Hey guys I was hoping that you could help me out with a question.

    I came across a 61, mostly original with the exception of a refret and pot/jack change. It plays amazing, and sounds great as well. The only problem is that there is a small hairline crack from the G tuner to the E tuner. It is only on the back of the headstock, but how major of an issues is this.

    Is this going to significantly affect the value of the guitar? Is this something that could cause problems down the road stability wise?

    I love the guitar, just really really unsure of what to do.

    Thanks guys!

  2. dredman

    dredman New Member!

    Feb 11, 2015
    Morgantown, WV
    I wanted to add a picture of the offending crack...


    It starts there are runs behind the tuner

  3. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Strat-Talk Supporter

    Nov 19, 2014
    Comfy Chair
    I doubt this would be an issue if well repaired.

  4. bigbasscat

    bigbasscat Strat-Talk Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 10, 2017
    San Francisco
    My .02.

    I've seen similar cracks on Strats and Teles and it may be that they were caused by a ham-handed attempt to work on or replace a tuner - what I would do if the owner is amendable is to remove the tuner and use a loupe to examine both the crack itself on the exterior and the inside of the tuner hole. If the crack is visible in the tuner hole it may be a must repair if you intend to use the instrument as a player, but if you're simply adding to a collection it might be better to leave it as is.

  5. heltershelton

    heltershelton ROCKIN FOREVER Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 5, 2013
    Not Florida
    are you sure that crack is not just in the finish? can wood crack against the grain like that?

  6. fezz parka

    fezz parka The Wiggler of Sticks Strat-Talk Supporter

    Pull the tuner and have a look. That'll tell you what you need to know.
    simoncroft likes this.

  7. simoncroft

    simoncroft Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 30, 2013
    SE England
    The comments above are well-informed and intelligent. Given that the force to have caused this damage almost undoubtedly came from within the hole for the tuner post, it's a good idea to ask yourself exactly what could account for the observable phenomenon (which is almost undoubtedly going to be a crack along the back of the head, under the tuner and into the hole).

    My best guess is the holes were enlarged at some point to accommodate a different type of tuner (machine-head, call it what you will). Because the holes weren't made quite big enough, at least one of the replacement mechanisms started to exert an outward force on the wood, which broke at the thinnest point.

    If I'm right, the issue goes beyond the visible crack and gravitates towards how original an instrument this actually is.

    I owed a butchered 1962 Strat that someone had reamed or drilled to accept a set of large Schallers. Although I eventually found a way to revert the guitar to something close to its original spec, nothing could ever change the fact of those over-sized holes, even though you couldn't see them. As @fezz parka says, you need to pull a tuner before you really know what's been going on.
    fezz parka likes this.

  8. dredman

    dredman New Member!

    Feb 11, 2015
    Morgantown, WV
    Wow that was quick... Thank you guys so much

    It appears the crack does indeed run into the D tuner hole, but it is not as deep as the tuner bushing. (I suppose what I am attempting to say is that it is a rather shallow crack)

    It appears to have stemmed from the tuner mounting hole, although it just skims the outside of the extra hole (template hole?, I am not familiar with the terms). The tuners appear to have the correct PAT number on the underside as well.

    Maybe I spent too much time around a Gibson where a headstock break was the end of the line for that particular guitar. I really want to love this guitar, but don't want to overpay for something that would bring refinish or less money because of this issue. (I do love this guitar, I don't want to break up with it, haha)

  9. Mr C

    Mr C Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 17, 2016
    New Zealand
    Rwnyour original question unless the crack is just in the finish then it will absolutely affect the value. If everything else about the guitar looks legit and you want it as a player then it will be fixable, but it's forever going to be a repaired guitar thereafter. If the price was right I'd be be tempted if I was buying it to play to swap the neck for the neck off an AVRI...

  10. jaybones

    jaybones Most Honored Senior Member

    Fenders are much more tolerant of damage to the headstocks then Gibsons.

    FWIW I played in a band with a guy that had a late 60's SG with a split headstock that had been professionally repaired (even so much so that it was hard to see the split from the front), and it never caused him any trouble that his other unrepaired guitars had.

  11. simoncroft

    simoncroft Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 30, 2013
    SE England
    If you're only negotiating to buy this guitar, why not take it to a guitar tech you and the seller agree is reputable and have him/her give it the once-over? I'm guessing you're considering laying down some serious cash on this guitar, so an independent appraisal shouldn't cost you too much.

    I agree that the small crack in a maple neck will probably never be a functional issue, but it's important you know exactly what you're buying into.

  12. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2014

    Are the tuners tight in the holes?

    I'd be tempted to remove the tuner(s) and touch a little 'thin' CA adhesive to that so it would wick in deep to stabilize the crack and the finish from chipping off. But my oldest guitar is from 1970.