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Author Topic: What must not happen has happened - Top has cracked! (or has it?).  (Read 3530 times)
Anders451
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« on: February 23, 2012, 01:00:14 PM »

All right.. I'm really depressed right now.
My Larrivée has cracked. There's a very thin line across the top from the soundhole to the bout (hard to see with no sunlight). There are no other real signs of dryness of the guitar. The top is straight and silky, the frets are ok etc..
We've had some really dry months here in Sweden but I've used both case humidifier and the past 2 weeks, also one in the room, resulting in a 35 %+ relative humidity.
But what's happened has happened. I'd like to know if there's a way to seal it OR prevent this crack from expanding.
Happy for any help I can get.

Regards,
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04' Larrivée L-09 Collectors Edition 26 of 50
90s' Yamaha Classical

Q: How many guitars does a man need?
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I'm from Sweden. The home of Levin, Hagström & Sundberg Guitars.
We also ride polarbears to work on a daily basis. Yes, it's true.
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2012, 02:18:27 PM »

Pictures would help but a top crack typically can be easily repaired by a qualified person. Are you sure the top is cracked as opposed to the finish?  I had a hairline crack near the endpin jack of my CS05.  Once the guitar was properly humidified (it was very dry) the crack was glued and the finished repaired and buffed.  (My friend who repaired it didn't attempt the repair for a few weeks until he was confident it was properly humidified at his shop)  Not sure if my cause was humidity or impact.    I have to really look hard to identify the repair area.  Most would never notice it. 
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Anders451
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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2012, 02:34:22 PM »

Pictures would help but a top crack typically can be easily repaired by a qualified person. Are you sure the top is cracked as opposed to the finish?  I had a hairline crack near the endpin jack of my CS05.  Once the guitar was properly humidified (it was very dry) the crack was glued and the finished repaired and buffed.  (My friend who repaired it didn't attempt the repair for a few weeks until he was confident it was properly humidified at his shop)  Not sure if my cause was humidity or impact.    I have to really look hard to identify the repair area.  Most would never notice it.  

Actually.. the gloss-finish has been unaffected. It's just like a hairline, like yours and quite hard to see. I'm just afraid it might expand as it all happened so sudden. I play the guitar every day and I've never noticed it before. Humidity level is 44 % right now and rising. I don't think I have a camera that's good enough to take pictures of it but I'll try.

Thanks for the response.
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04' Larrivée L-09 Collectors Edition 26 of 50
90s' Yamaha Classical

Q: How many guitars does a man need?
A: One more.

I'm from Sweden. The home of Levin, Hagström & Sundberg Guitars.
We also ride polarbears to work on a daily basis. Yes, it's true.
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2012, 03:14:09 PM »

Can you put a light inside of the guitar and does it show thru?Is the crack on the joining seem of the 2 piece that make up the top?
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Anders451
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2012, 03:55:39 PM »

Can you put a light inside of the guitar and does it show thru?Is the crack on the joining seem of the 2 piece that make up the top?

Wait.. I might've embarrased myself now..
The crack is exactly in the middle of the top.. Could it be that I'm just imagining things and that I just see the joining of the 2 pieces?
Could that be a sign of dryness or something, in that case? It surely hasn't made it through the finish. When I touch the top, it's smooth.
Maybe I'm just nervous that my precious gem has taken effect by the harsh weather conditions here..
I'll try and take those pictures so you can decide.

And to answer your question, unclrob: No, light doesn't make it through.
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04' Larrivée L-09 Collectors Edition 26 of 50
90s' Yamaha Classical

Q: How many guitars does a man need?
A: One more.

I'm from Sweden. The home of Levin, Hagström & Sundberg Guitars.
We also ride polarbears to work on a daily basis. Yes, it's true.
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2012, 03:58:23 PM »

Watch this video and then the following ones in the series.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS6GqjP-zMY
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Anders451
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2012, 04:21:32 PM »

Watch this video and then the following ones in the series.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS6GqjP-zMY

Thanks for the link. Luckily, my Larrivée is not a candidate for a dry guitar according to that video. Even though it's not very noticable it's "pouting" (can't find a word for it).
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04' Larrivée L-09 Collectors Edition 26 of 50
90s' Yamaha Classical

Q: How many guitars does a man need?
A: One more.

I'm from Sweden. The home of Levin, Hagström & Sundberg Guitars.
We also ride polarbears to work on a daily basis. Yes, it's true.
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2012, 10:37:04 PM »

Anders, do not touch the "crack", the oils in your hands will get inside and create a dark line.

Instead, put a small light inside and see if it shines through. If unsure, go to a luthier. There are plenty of good contacts on ackegura.

35% is too low. It's a fight every winter in Sweden to keep the guitars healthy. Keep a soundhole humidifier in the guitar and keep it refilled.

The center seam is a typical place for a guitar to crack - the seam separates. Maybe when the guitar was dry, it separated just a very small amount, or maybe just the lacquer separated. Keep observing it. Typically the repair for such a narrow crack is to put glue in it, then aggressively humidify the guitar which closes the crack, the glue takes care of the rest.

Finally, lets hope its just in your head :-)
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Anders451
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2012, 11:31:39 PM »

Anders, do not touch the "crack", the oils in your hands will get inside and create a dark line.

Instead, put a small light inside and see if it shines through. If unsure, go to a luthier. There are plenty of good contacts on ackegura.

35% is too low. It's a fight every winter in Sweden to keep the guitars healthy. Keep a soundhole humidifier in the guitar and keep it refilled.

The center seam is a typical place for a guitar to crack - the seam separates. Maybe when the guitar was dry, it separated just a very small amount, or maybe just the lacquer separated. Keep observing it. Typically the repair for such a narrow crack is to put glue in it, then aggressively humidify the guitar which closes the crack, the glue takes care of the rest.

Finally, lets hope its just in your head :-)

Thanks for the pointers, Frankhond.
As I wrote before, the finish seems to be intact (so it might not even be considered a crack) but you are possibly right about the seam might've slightly separated.
The humidity was very low a few days in January and the guitar didnt leave its case at all back then, so Im surprised it happened now. Maybe I shouldnt be?
Im running case, soundhole & room humidifiers at the moment so I hope that it will prevent any further separations.
The "line" didnt show up on my camera and the pictures where I maybe could give you a hint of how it looks like from Google, looks overly brutal.

At last, lets hope its just in my head. I rather be insane than having a crack in my precious Larrivèe!

Thanks for all the answers and if anyone recognizes this issue, please let me know of your experiences.

Regards,
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04' Larrivée L-09 Collectors Edition 26 of 50
90s' Yamaha Classical

Q: How many guitars does a man need?
A: One more.

I'm from Sweden. The home of Levin, Hagström & Sundberg Guitars.
We also ride polarbears to work on a daily basis. Yes, it's true.
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2012, 03:31:21 AM »

If you don't have someone to bring it to a good test is to very gentley press on one side of the crack.If it indeed is a crack you will see movement.You can be extra sure by holding a flash light on the side of the guitar so it reflecks across the top get your eyes level with the top any movement of the top will again be easy to see.You can also run a finger inside of the guitar along the seem and again very lightley press a finger on one side of the seem.Most seem cracks will also crack the finish.Without having it inhand this is the best I can do other thenbring it to your trusted/favorite tech/luthier.
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Anders451
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« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2012, 05:06:03 PM »

If you don't have someone to bring it to a good test is to very gentley press on one side of the crack.If it indeed is a crack you will see movement.You can be extra sure by holding a flash light on the side of the guitar so it reflecks across the top get your eyes level with the top any movement of the top will again be easy to see.You can also run a finger inside of the guitar along the seem and again very lightley press a finger on one side of the seem.Most seem cracks will also crack the finish.Without having it inhand this is the best I can do other thenbring it to your trusted/favorite tech/luthier.

You seem to know things about this, unclrob. I appreciate your help!
There's no movement. I've loosened the strings and just letting the guitar rest with some extra % humidity (~ 55-60 % RH) to make the wood swell for a bit.
Whatever happened, the "white line" started to show some days ago and was getting clearer for each day to finally stop progressing a few days ago.
Let's hope for the best. Will bring it to a local tech guy on Monday nevertheless just to be sure.
Thanks again!
Regards,
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04' Larrivée L-09 Collectors Edition 26 of 50
90s' Yamaha Classical

Q: How many guitars does a man need?
A: One more.

I'm from Sweden. The home of Levin, Hagström & Sundberg Guitars.
We also ride polarbears to work on a daily basis. Yes, it's true.
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2012, 01:10:54 AM »

While the strings are off stick a light and a mirror inside to look at the inside top.
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Anders451
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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2012, 04:42:44 PM »

Throwing out some pictures here. Didn't have a great mirror for showing the inside of the guitar. Luckily my girlfriends makeup-thingy came to use for once.. It looks good to me, thankfully.. Sorry if I couldn't get a better picture at it. I'll give it another shot if you'd like!

I hope you can make heads or tails out of what I'm trying to show. It's not as forthcoming as it was some days ago. Maybe the Larri is feeling well again.







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04' Larrivée L-09 Collectors Edition 26 of 50
90s' Yamaha Classical

Q: How many guitars does a man need?
A: One more.

I'm from Sweden. The home of Levin, Hagström & Sundberg Guitars.
We also ride polarbears to work on a daily basis. Yes, it's true.
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« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2012, 05:22:02 PM »

The second pix sure does show that there is something happening.Please get it to a good tech/luthier for an inspection.
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« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2012, 09:08:11 PM »

I've had my Larry in the Colorado dry climate now for just about 3 years.  Very early on, I had visited a luthier in town that actually makes and repairs orchestral stringed instruments, as well as building some really cool acoustic guitars with the Babicz adjustable neck joint.  I was in his shop because my daughter's viola needed a repair and he is well known for his work.

Average relative humidity in our fair city does not change much throughout the year.  Less than 15% over 12 months.  http://www.cityrating.com/cityhumidity.asp?City=Colorado+Springs

This luthier recommended that I stop humidifying the guitar.  His statement that was because of the stable humidity, it was not necessary to humidify and that if I couldn't ensure that I was going to keep it at a fairly high humidity, that it would be less stress on the instrument to simply not humidify at all.

So far, so good.

Anyone else ever have this advice given to them - those of you that live in dry climes?
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« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2012, 09:15:46 PM »

My guitars live in the same humidity I do.That said I do own a dehumidifier that we use when the wood floors in the house start to get too sticky and unsafe to walk on due to me or my wife slipping while avoiding our 9 cats that have a thing for either walking under our feet or between them.Unlike stepping on a roach yak ........ you get my driff.

Please have a respected craftsperson inspect it it is near impossable to judge anything from a pix.I know I get them all the time and have the answer everytime,"please bring it by so I can see it,it doesn't cost anything for me to inspect it,but it could cost you if you do nothing".
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A REPAIRPERSON,Still Unclrob
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 OB LA DE OB LA DA,LIFE GOES ON---BRA,It is what it is,You just gotta deal it,
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Anders451
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« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2012, 09:57:46 PM »

My guitars live in the same humidity I do.That said I do own a dehumidifier that we use when the wood floors in the house start to get too sticky and unsafe to walk on due to me or my wife slipping while avoiding our 9 cats that have a thing for either walking under our feet or between them.Unlike stepping on a roach yak ........ you get my driff.

Please have a respected craftsperson inspect it it is near impossable to judge anything from a pix.I know I get them all the time and have the answer everytime,"please bring it by so I can see it,it doesn't cost anything for me to inspect it,but it could cost you if you do nothing".

I came here to ask for advice and you and others gave me a lot of support. If you tell me that something bad is going on and I need to see a luthier, I will do just that. You're absolutely right that by not doing anything, will cost me more in the long run. Unfortunatly, I was held up at university today so I have to wait until tomorrow (I should be 6-7 hours ahead of your timezone).

@rockstar_not: I can understand the logic in that. I've never heard of it though. It's my first winter in this apartment and I was both surprised and unprepared when r. humidity dropped so fast (my lack of experience at this sort of thing speaks for itself). We don't have constant dryness in Sweden but rather sudden changes in humidity and especially this year many guitar stores are struggling at keeping a stable level, apparently.

Anyways, I don't want to make a hazzle out of this either. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Thanks for all your help and I'll keep you updated.
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04' Larrivée L-09 Collectors Edition 26 of 50
90s' Yamaha Classical

Q: How many guitars does a man need?
A: One more.

I'm from Sweden. The home of Levin, Hagström & Sundberg Guitars.
We also ride polarbears to work on a daily basis. Yes, it's true.
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« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2012, 03:56:03 AM »

Sorry to sound so pushy being a repairperson I sometime's get a little crazy.As others have said I wish I had a transporter like on Star Trek as I can't stand seeing pictures of guitar that may or maynot need to be inspected and I feel so useless and helpless..

As for humidity thats a harder answer,in north Florida we go from 25% during the early spring late fall and winter to 90% for late spring,summer and early fall.Our AC runs from late May to mid fall the house relitive humidity is about 65% most of the time and we do run a dehumidifier again when the floor feels wet even with the AC on so I'd say maybe it hits 80% or so.My guitars live in there case's and only come out to play in the house or if I'm gigging and I'm fairly sure that since they spend so much time in there case's helps to protect them.
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 OB LA DE OB LA DA,LIFE GOES ON---BRA,It is what it is,You just gotta deal it,
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« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2012, 05:07:34 AM »

@anders:

I lived in Trollhättan for 6 weeks while working at SAAB headquarters back in 2000.  I really enjoyed my time in Sweden.  I got hooked on Hushålsost while living there.  The problem with that is that it is very expensive here in the US, though I should check the new IKEA store up in Denver.  Some IKEA stores will carry it in their markets.

-Scott
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« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2012, 07:22:37 AM »

Anders you should keep in mind also that hygrometers are often wrong. I started a thread about this at ackegura when my hygrometer insisted it was 40% but my guitars looked dry. Now I have two more hygrometers and they all disagree :-( the best strategy is to learn how the guitar looks and feels at different humidities.

Best of luck, let us know how it goes. It could be just a finish crack following some movement in the seam when the air was at its dryest. Or, just a shadow...
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