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Binding repair


Cougar

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I took my dad's 1939 Epiphone Zenith in to my local tech to, among other things, glue down the side binding that had broken and "sprung" up for a few inches along the top of the body. I expect that's a pretty easy fix -- to just glue it back down, if you've got the right tool to hold it there while the glue dries. But what about if the side binding in the bend of the waist of the guitar is not broken, but just pulled up, maybe 1/8" at the largest gap, for a distance of 3 or 4 inches? Does that present any particular problem to repair?

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Certainly not for a qualified luthier. Any builder and/or qualified tech. can to it.

 

Thanks. Actually, this is a problem on a guitar I'm looking at, not the Zenith. I'm wondering why the owner didn't just get it fixed before putting it on the market. I figure the addition to the selling price for this guitar with no binding flaw would have been more than the cost of the fix. I would have called my local tech to see what he said (and get an estimate), but he's out of state for the holidays and won't be back until Jan 3. Thanks for filling in. :)

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But what about if the side binding in the bend of the waist of the guitar is not broken, but just pulled up, maybe 1/8" at the largest gap, for a distance of 3 or 4 inches?

 

In most cases on older guitars, it's not that the binding has pulled away from the body, it's that the top has shrunk and pulled away from the binding. There is NO fix for this except filling the gap.

 

You have to determine which part has moved. If the binding is tight and smooth to the side of the guitar, but shows a gap only to the top, then the top has shrunk. If the binding stands proud (extends past) of the sides in the equal amount that is gaps to the top, then most likely the plastic binding has shrunk (contracted), and again, there is no real repair. It's very unlikely that binding in the waist bend of a guitar has just come loose.

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In most cases on older guitars, it's not that the binding has pulled away from the body, it's that the top has shrunk and pulled away from the binding. There is NO fix for this except filling the gap.

 

You have to determine which part has moved. If the binding is tight and smooth to the side of the guitar, but shows a gap only to the top, then the top has shrunk. If the binding stands proud (extends past) of the sides in the equal amount that is gaps to the top, then most likely the plastic binding has shrunk (contracted), and again, there is no real repair. It's very unlikely that binding in the waist bend of a guitar has just come loose.

 

 

I suspect that in the case of a binding that has shrunk, the luthier would make a cut in the binding and glue it back in place, adding a small piece of binding as filler. Depending on the condition of the binding and how easy it is to match, it might be easier to cut out a larger section of binding and replace it. If the binding has shrunk, it might also be very brittle.

 

Then there is the problem of out-gassing and crumbling celluloid (tortoid) binding. In that case, the best solution might be to replace it completely, just as you would with a deteriorating celluloid pickguard.

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The binding on my 1956 Epi Ft-79 had popped off on both sides of the guitar when I found it. I cut it and glued it back down. I ended up with five small gaps now which after 9 or so years are still there. Just never thought it was worth dealing with so will wait until the thing needs to go into the shop for some other repair.

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It's a little hard to tell from the photo, but is the binding still attached to and flush with the sides of the guitar, or has the binding sprung completely free from the body in this area? Are we looking at the back of the guitar, with the gap between the back and the binding at the waist?

 

What type of guitar is this? I don't think it should happen on a two-year-old guitar, unless the guitar is seriously suffering from lack of humidity.

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It's a little hard to tell from the photo, but is the binding still attached to and flush with the sides of the guitar, or has the binding sprung completely free from the body in this area?

 

It looks completely free to me, but I'm not sure.

 

Are we looking at the back of the guitar, with the gap between the back and the binding at the waist?

 

Correct.

 

What type of guitar is this? I don't think it should happen on a two-year-old guitar, unless the guitar is seriously suffering from lack of humidity.

 

It's a Martin OMCPA4 that's up on ebay, now with less than 4 hours left on the auction. I'm going to pass, not just because of this binding problem. The seller has only made 5 transactions on ebay. I exchanged a couple emails with him, and he seems like a nice enough guy, but.... the stars are just not aligned for me on this one.

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