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A fix for a small ding

#1 User is offline   olie 

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 11:06 AM

I wonder if someone here has a solution to a small problem I have. Some weeks ago in a moment of distraction I swung around with my J-45 on my knee and dinged the lower bout of it into a corner of my keyboard table.The dent isn't that big but it is readily visible in the right light and I'm wondering if there is a way of minimizing the effect. The less I have to spend,the better,if that's a possibility. Thanks in advance.
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#2 User is offline   QuestionMark 

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 11:30 AM

The way I handle such:

1) First clean and polish it up.
2). Consciously avoid looking at it. The guitar is more than a small ding. Focus instead on how good the guitar sounds and working on your playing.
3) Remind yourself that dings are gonna happen over time. Over time they serve as unique identifiers that the guitar is your guitar and not someone else’s.
4) Try to learn from the mishap to be more careful with the instrument. It can serve as a helpful warning to help prevent a future more major mishap.

That’s my experience. Hope it is helpful.

QM aka Jazzmam Jeff

This post has been edited by QuestionMark: 14 October 2018 - 11:33 AM

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#3 User is offline   jedzep 

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 11:31 AM

As Lennon and McCartney said...'Let It Be'. It's a tough thing to blend in, depending on how bad. If you took off the color and got down to bare wood it's a little easier to hide, but if you're looking to restore the smooth surface it might be more noticeable as a repair than a ding.

QM's on target.

This post has been edited by jedzep: 14 October 2018 - 11:32 AM

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#4 User is offline   62burst 

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 01:59 PM

It happened "some weeks ago" (?) . . you've had a few weeks to get used to it, and hopefully it bugs you a little less now. Old guitars (read "vintage"), with a varied collection of wear, are lower stress to some, myself included. It's that first ding- you'll almost forget about it with time, until you go to move it to it's next keeper, who might be looking for a ding-free guitar.

Any chance of posting up a pic? There are some things that some luthiers can be do to minimize the ding's visual impact, such as steaming (there are YouTube's on this), but in the dark area of a sunburst, there is also a fair chance that the lacquer would blush, leaving a light area from the steam. A better chance for making the ding less noticeable might be a drop-fill technique, demonstrated here by Dan E. at StewMac:



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#5 User is offline   sbpark 

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 03:32 PM

We cant see the ding and how bad it is, but in all honesty the least expensive route would be to just let it go and live with it and just wear the scar as a badge of honor. You'll get over it eventually and then start worrying less about the dents and dings and put more energy into playing and enjoying the sound of the guitar.

I know some just love a pristine guitar, and others like to keep their guitars in immaculate condition because they want to maximize resale value, are always flipping guitars for the next best thing or just like having a constant rotation, etc., but if you're the type to keep them and hold onto them, don't worry about the dents dings and bruises. I've broken a bunch of bones, busted my nose twice, have scars from burns, stitches, etc., and wouldn't change it for anything. Same goes for the guitars.

But if you're still set on repairing it and don't really know what you're doing I'd highly recommend taking it to someone who knows what they're doing so the repair doesn't end up looking worse than the actual ding (kind of like what happens when someone tries to cover up a bad tattoo, and just ends up with a larger, uglier tattoo!). I'd go with the shop that does the best work, and not necessarily base who you take it to on who is the least expensive. Remember, in many cases you get what you pay for. You obviously like the guitar enough to be concerned about the ding. If you had a car you really enjoyed owning that needed a paint job, would you got the cheap route and take it to Maaco, or would you spend more and take it to a reputable body shop that does excellent work?
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#6 User is offline   olie 

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 04:17 PM

View Postsbpark, on 14 October 2018 - 03:32 PM, said:

We cant see the ding and how bad it is, but in all honesty the least expensive route would be to just let it go and live with it and just wear the scar as a badge of honor. You'll get over it eventually and then start worrying less about the dents and dings and put more energy into playing and enjoying the sound of the guitar.

I know some just love a pristine guitar, and others like to keep their guitars in immaculate condition because they want to maximize resale value, are always flipping guitars for the next best thing or just like having a constant rotation, etc., but if you're the type to keep them and hold onto them, don't worry about the dents dings and bruises. I've broken a bunch of bones, busted my nose twice, have scars from burns, stitches, etc., and wouldn't change it for anything. Same goes for the guitars.

But if you're still set on repairing it and don't really know what you're doing I'd highly recommend taking it to someone who knows what they're doing so the repair doesn't end up looking worse than the actual ding (kind of like what happens when someone tries to cover up a bad tattoo, and just ends up with a larger, uglier tattoo!). I'd go with the shop that does the best work, and not necessarily base who you take it to on who is the least expensive. Remember, in many cases you get what you pay for. You obviously like the guitar enough to be concerned about the ding. If you had a car you really enjoyed owning that needed a paint job, would you got the cheap route and take it to Maaco, or would you spend more and take it to a reputable body shop that does excellent work?

I'm starting to get the general drift,here, that it's basically-"Suck it up, Buttercup" and-ya know what? I'm good with that.I thought that with all the experience around here there might be a simple fix something like applying a drop of solvent to melt the edges together so that the mini chip-crater is gone. Anyway-I can certainly live with it and it IS a sign of Mojo so I'll learn to love the little imperfection. Hell I have a scar or two myself from hockey battles of long ago so I can manage.And it is a wonderful guitar that brings me all kinds of satisfaction. Maybe I needed a shrink??!!!! Oh bother. But thanks for your replies,all.Over and out.
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#7 User is offline   Paul14 

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 05:17 PM

Backed a car over the headstock of my J-45. Had to have it put together again. Looks like hell, sounds like heaven! One of my favorite guitars. Jimmy Buffett.... “Oh the stories we could tell”
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#8 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 05:20 PM

Drop-fills with clear lacquer are a reasonable solution, depending on the ding. If the finish film is intact, but you have a dent, you can fill it with lacquer (if you are patient) and buff it more or less flat once the lacquer has fully cured. You may have to do it in steps unless it is a shallow dent. You probably won't be able to completely fill anything but a very shallow ding, but you can minimize its appearance.


The same process can work when the film is broken. At the very least, you are sealing exposed wood grain, which is a good thing.
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#9 User is offline   fortyearspickn 

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 05:47 PM

Listen to Willie Nelson's "This Face: "Worn and Lived in - it's all I have."



I have come to appreciate the dings in my guitars. There aren't many - but remind me of who I was, where I was - and that my guitar was part of it.

This post has been edited by fortyearspickn: 15 October 2018 - 06:32 AM

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#10 User is offline   E-minor7 

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 06:43 PM

Could we see the ding - they come in so many shapes and styles. And we all have them here and there.

Still "the first cut is the deepest" as young Cat Stevens would say.

Allow me to use this opportunity to avoid starting a whole new thread.

My Dove had a minor collusion with another guitar on the couch last year or so.
Glock it said as the sides gocked into each other and off the top just above the binding sprang a flake slightly bigger than the sulfur on a matchstick.


Now I haven't any nitrocellulose lacquer, but my Q is : Would a blib of later polished super glue do ? , , , or would the chemical reaction lead to disaster.
You just can't keep coincidences down. .
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#11 User is offline   olie 

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 07:21 PM

View Post62burst, on 14 October 2018 - 01:59 PM, said:

It happened "some weeks ago" (?) . . you've had a few weeks to get used to it, and hopefully it bugs you a little less now. Old guitars (read "vintage"), with a varied collection of wear, are lower stress to some, myself included. It's that first ding- you'll almost forget about it with time, until you go to move it to it's next keeper, who might be looking for a ding-free guitar.

Any chance of posting up a pic? There are some things that some luthiers can be do to minimize the ding's visual impact, such as steaming (there are YouTube's on this), but in the dark area of a sunburst, there is also a fair chance that the lacquer would blush, leaving a light area from the steam. A better chance for making the ding less noticeable might be a drop-fill technique, demonstrated here by Dan E. at StewMac:




Thanks for the tip, 62burst. The ding that Dan worked on is about the same size i.e. about the size of a dressmakers pinhead and that deep. I don't have access to photogear so I can't let you see it.The location is near the edge of the lower bout in the dark burst so I may try what Dan shows us in that vid. Carefully! Thanks again.
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#12 User is offline   62burst 

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 07:24 PM

Have we seen the Dove? Either burst or blonde, isn't the technique Dan is using in his drop fill vid using tinted super glue? And, how coincidentally, all of the tints necessary are available at the StewMac site.
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#13 User is offline   E-minor7 

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 07:44 PM

View Post62burst, on 14 October 2018 - 07:24 PM, said:

Have we seen the Dove? Either burst or blonde, isn't the technique Dan is using in his drop fill vid using tinted super glue? And, how coincidentally, all of the tints necessary are available at the StewMac site.

Yeees, , , and I've seen this video long ago, so didn't this time. Yet the s-glue trick seems to have remained in the memory and it will be tried it out soon.

It's a blonde nicely faded mid-90's Dove - with cherry b & sides, , , where I actually prefer the tomato.


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#14 User is offline   billroy 

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 06:05 AM

On my beater guitar, I found instructions on you tube and used super glue. I put a couple coats on until it was above the top surface, shaved it with a razor then used different levels of sand paper to finish it down. Wasn't too hard, worked good - could still see where the ding was but much, much better. Having said that, I just paid a luthier to fix a ding on my J45 (not wanting to screw up a really nice guitar). He did a better job than I did, but you can still see it.
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#15 User is offline   PrairieSchooner 

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 08:23 AM

A deer antler fell off a shelf and almost poked a hole in the side of my Guild 12. I was sick about it for a while, now I couldn't even tell you where it is on the guitar. If it's as small as you indicated, I'd let it be; sometimes my amateur "fixes" on stuff turn out worse than if I'd left it alone.
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#16 User is offline   Red 333 

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 10:09 AM

Place a damp cloth on the ding and heat it with a hair dryer. Be careful not to overheat any surface not covered by the cloth. Repeat until the ding lifts, letting the guitar cool a little between attempts. Depending on how sharp the indentation is, this often works quite well.

Red 333

This post has been edited by Red 333: 15 October 2018 - 10:10 AM

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#17 User is offline   sbpark 

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 11:17 AM

View PostRed 333, on 15 October 2018 - 10:09 AM, said:

Place a damp cloth on the ding and heat it with a hair dryer. Be careful not to overheat any surface not covered by the cloth. Repeat until the ding lifts, letting the guitar cool a little between attempts. Depending on how sharp the indentation is, this often works quite well.

Red 333


That technique can work for a dent/indent, but for a ding where the finish is also damaged, that really won't help much.
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#18 User is offline   Hall 

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 12:11 PM

It might beat a blank though and is good advice for a simple try at some help.

This post has been edited by Hall: 15 October 2018 - 12:11 PM

"The empty vessel makes the loudest sound." w.s.
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#19 User is offline   Red 333 

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 12:52 PM

View Postsbpark, on 15 October 2018 - 11:17 AM, said:

That technique can work for a dent/indent, but for a ding where the finish is also damaged, that really won't help much.


Yes. It can raise/expand the wood, but not add missing finish.

Red 333
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#20 User is offline   olie 

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 03:00 PM

View PostRed 333, on 15 October 2018 - 10:09 AM, said:

Place a damp cloth on the ding and heat it with a hair dryer. Be careful not to overheat any surface not covered by the cloth. Repeat until the ding lifts, letting the guitar cool a little between attempts. Depending on how sharp the indentation is, this often works quite well.

Red 333

Seems like a good starting point-thanks.
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