How To Fix A Broken Guitar Headstock

One of the most common issues that guitar players face is a broken headstock, which can happen for a variety of reasons.

Fortunately, fixing a broken guitar headstock is something that you can do on your own if you have the right tools and knowledge.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of fixing a broken guitar headstock step by step. You’ll learn why headstocks are so vulnerable to breaking in the first place, what tools you need to fix them, and how to get your guitar back into playing condition as quickly as possible.

This guide will give you all the information you need to tackle this common problem like a pro, regardless of your experience.

So grab your tools, and let’s get started!

Why do guitar headstocks break so easily?

The answer to why guitar headstocks break so easily lies in the strings’ tension and the headstock’s unfortunate location, which acts as a weak point vulnerable to damage.

When you play your guitar, each string exerts an enormous amount of strain and pressure on the neck and headstock. As these components bear constant stress, they become more prone to breaking over time.

Furthermore, due to its positioning at the top of the guitar, the headstock is more exposed to accidental knocks or impacts. If your guitar falls or gets dropped, there’s a high chance that the tip of its headstock will make contact with the floor first and snap off.

Apart from this, another significant factor affecting a headstock’s durability is its construction material.

Generally speaking, an angled headstock made from original wood sourced from different pieces tends to have weaker grain continuity than flat ones found on most Fender guitars without any change in grain direction.

Essential tools for repairing a broken guitar headstock

You’ll need a few basic tools to fix a broken guitar headstock:

  • Wood glue: Look for a strong and clear-drying adhesive, such as Titebond Original.
  • Clamps: G clamps and F clamps are necessary for holding the broken pieces together while the glue sets.
  • Brown parcel tape: Use it to protect the guitar’s finish from potential clamp marks.
  • Clamping cauls: These are small pieces of scrap timber shaped to match the guitar’s contours, providing extra support during clamping.
  • Tweezers: Helpful for removing any loose or broken wood fragments.
  • Damp rags or blue roll: Use them to clean up any excess glue that may squeeze out during the repair.
  • Water mister: Keep the wood moist during the repair process to prevent it from drying out.
  • Guitar pick: You’ll need it for reassembling any hardware that was taken off during the repair.
  • PH1 screwdriver: Necessary for handling screws during reassembly.
  • 10mm spanner: Use it to tighten or adjust hardware components.

With these simple tools and following our instructions, you can easily fix a cracked guitar headstock, no matter your level of experience.

A step-by-step guide to How to fix a broken guitar headstock

hold the neck

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to fix a broken guitar headstock:

Remove the tuners and old strings from the guitar

Begin by removing the tuners and old strings from the guitar. Keep all the parts safe and set them aside. Then, using tweezers, carefully remove any remaining splinters or fragments.

Perform a dry fitting

Perform a dry run first by holding the pieces together. If needed, adjust the angle or clean up any rough areas on the wood to ensure a precise fit.

Achieving a tight and seamless connection between them is crucial for a strong repair.

Apply glue to both pieces

Once you’re satisfied with the alignment, evenly apply the glue to both pieces using a small brush. Ensure the glue is spread evenly across the surfaces.

Press the pieces together

Firmly press the pieces together, making sure they are aligned perfectly. Take your clamps and clamping cauls, placing them strategically to exert even pressure during the repair. Be cautious not to apply excessive pressure, as it can damage the wood.

Remove the excess glue

Remove any excess glue using damp rags or a cloth. Clean the area thoroughly to maintain a neat and tidy appearance.

Leave the guitar to dry

Finally, find a safe place to store your guitar while the glue dries. Follow the recommended drying time mentioned on the glue bottle, or consult a professional if you need clarification. Once the glue has dried, you can reassemble the guitar with the tuners and new strings.


In conclusion, by following the steps we’ve discussed, you can avoid the expense and inconvenience of going to a professional repair shop when your guitar headstock breaks. Just remember, repairing a broken headstock takes patience, precision, and careful attention to detail. Take your time and stay focused throughout the process.

As you gain more experience and practice, you’ll become more confident in your ability to repair your guitar on your own. It’s not an easy task, but with persistence and determination, anyone can learn this skill and become a DIY guitar repair expert.

So, don’t be discouraged by a broken guitar neck. Take on the challenge, follow the steps we’ve outlined, and save yourself the hassle in the future. With time, you’ll be able to fix your guitar with skill and confidence.


How long does it take to fix a broken guitar headstock?

How long it takes to fix a broken guitar headstock depends on the severity of the break.

Minor breaks can be fixed in just a few hours, while more extensive damage may require several days or even weeks to repair properly.

The key is to bring your guitar to a professional who has experience repairing headstocks and can assess the extent of the damage.

They’ll be able to give you an estimate of how long it will take and what kind of repairs are necessary.

Remember that rushing the repair process could lead to further damage, so it’s best to be patient and let the experts do their job if you don’t want to risk doing it yourself.

Will fixing a broken headstock affect the sound of the guitar?

The answer to “Will fixing a broken headstock affects the sound of the guitar” is both yes and no.

Yes, because any changes made to the guitar’s structure can affect its tone and resonance.

However, if the repair is done properly using the right techniques and materials, any impact on sound should be minimal.

In fact, some players report that their repaired guitars actually sound better than before because the repair work has improved overall stability and playability.

So don’t let concerns about sound quality hold you back from getting your guitar fixed.

Can a broken headstock be prevented in the future?

To prevent a broken headstock on your guitar in the future, you can do a few things.

First, handle your guitar carefully and avoid any sudden movements or impacts that could cause damage.

It’s also important to store your guitar properly in a case or stand when not in use.

Additionally, consider having a professional set up and maintain your instrument regularly to ensure its structural integrity.

Finally, if you’re playing live shows, be mindful of the conditions you’re performing and take precautions to protect your guitar from extreme temperatures or humidity levels.

By taking these steps, you can help prevent a broken headstock and keep your guitar playing beautifully for years to come.

How much does it cost to fix a broken guitar headstock?

The cost of repair will depend on a few factors. The extent of the damage and the type of wood used in your acoustic guitar are two important considerations.

Generally speaking, repairing a broken headstock can cost anywhere from $50 to $500 or more.

For minor breaks, you may be able to fix the issue yourself.

However, if the break is severe or affects other parts of your instrument, it’s best to take it to a professional luthier who specializes in guitar repairs.

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