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Cracked Top On My Takamine

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I just got this guitar at a Guitar Store "Yard Sale" where they were clearing a lot of "Junk" out of their back room and came across this Takamine EGSF15SC that had been gutted of all hardware and electronics and has a cracked top. $50 and it was all mine! I figured for that price, the worst that could happen is to learn a valuable lesson in what not to do when repairing a cracked top!

Here are the photos:



As you can see, the crack extends to the outer binding and looks like it probably continues under the bridge.

Should I remove the bridge to ensure the crack is fixed underneath?

I have read some articles on Stew Mac where they cut a V-channel and insert a new strip of spruce into this channel. Is this really necessary? How is such a determination made?

Is there any way I can make this crack as invisible as possible without stripping and refinishing the top?

Additionally, I am concerned that this crack has formed right about at the location of the top bridge fastener. Could there be a structural integrity problem? I have not seen any obvious signs of damage underneath.

Finally, How can I make a determination whether this crack has already been repaired? I cannot detect any movement and the bracing underneath appears intact. There is a "Second AAAA" stamp in the soundhole but I am not certain if this is due to the cracked top or some other manufacturing flaw. There is some wear on the open position frets so it does look like it got a little use before it was stripped down and thrown into the back of a music store!

I just discovered this site and looks like a wealth of information to glean here! I am looking forward to your responses here and I am certain there will be many more questions once I get that crack taken care of!

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There is a video on the Taylor or martin site where the top has split due to dryness and how to fix it.

Looking at the pics the splits seem to start from the fastenings on the bridge, are they still there? on the 2nd pic you can see 2 splits going across the grain, which would suggest to me that the bridge has been tampered with for some reason. Perhaps the fasteners had been removed and replaced with larger ones and just cracked the laquer.

Get your hand inside the body and feel for a crack, mirrors and light inside there as well, feel the braces and the bridge plate for any ridges which may suggest damage.

It just may have had something dropped on it and the laquer cracked at those points due to the impact and the laquer being forced against the fasteners.

I dropped my guitar once and the neck came off, after I had fixed there were cracks in the finish that looked exactly like yours but there was no ridge when you draw your finger across them.

But like I said before check the bridge thouroughly as that is the likely culprit if there is one, otherwise you may just have landed yourself a $50 bargain.

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I almost suspect a finish crack despite the fact that its running with the grain. Get a small flashlight inside the guitar, turn off the lights and flex the area around. If light shines thru then you have a better idea of what to deal with. ie. gluing wood. Takamine is a nice guitar but not an over the top vintage restoration. If its just a finish crack, (the little ones obviously are), I would not bother. Something like that is hard to hide perfectly without doing a total refin on the top. If you are a perfectionist...or just want the practice and experience :D, you could sand it all down and recoat. I think those guitars have some sort of "poly" coating on them. Its much less forgiving than lacquer where it comes to repairing cracks, sandthrus etc and witness lines usually show up.

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Thanks for the responses!

The bridge fasteners are still there as well as the dots covering them on the bridge - they do not look like they have been messed with. I cannot see or feel any damage underneath. I cannot find my inspection mirror right now but am able to get a good look through the "Preamp" hole on the top shoulder. I was looking for glue seepage or any other obvious signs of repair but could find none. Perhaps this is just a finish crack and I should just start collecting the hardware to get this thing up and running?

Yeah, I think it is a "Poly" finish as it looks almost "Plastic". How hard would it be later on to strip off all the poly and do a lacquer finish? I have seen sites (such as Stew Mac) where they have completely stripped down the top perfectly and left everything on the sides and back intact. How do they do this? I have an Alvarez Yairi DY-45 with a thin vintage satin finish that has aged wonderfully over the last 23 years. The poly finish on the Takamine may look smooth as glass 23 years from now but I doubt it will do anything for the sound!

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