Virtual Workbench

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After a serious fall – or more likely, several serious falls – this Paul Reed Smith ended up on the auction block. Here’s how we rebuilt the headstock and got it ready to rock again for the new owner. – This repair is becoming quite a specialty of Dan’s!

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Repair / Rebuild

So you broke the headstock off of your nice Paul Reed Smith? No problem, just bring it in and we can reglue it for you. Just make sure you don’t try to slap it together yourself with bondo or plaster or …

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Repair / Rebuild

…Oh no! Yikes. This is ugly. And it obviously didn’t hold.

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Repair / Rebuild

And there’s a major body crack too. This PRS is going to take a lot of ¬†attention if it’s ever going to play again. It’ll take grafting on a new headstock and re-gluing that big crack at the body.

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Repair / Rebuild

The body crack is where we start- gently applying enough pressure to open it, inject glue, and clamp it shut.

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Repair / Rebuild

Once the body is glued up, we move on to the neck.

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Repair / Rebuild

We need to graft on an oversized piece of mahogany using a scarf joint. To make sure the string tension pulls the new joint closed rather than open, we need to remove the fretboard, cut the useless piece of the neck away at an angle opposite the break, then attach the new section.

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Repair / Rebuild

After heating the fretboard (don’t worry the discoloring of the inlays will sand away later,) Dan uses a modified putty knife to remove the fretboard. He then pulls out the truss rod, to be re-installed in the new headstock.

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Repair / Rebuild

Next, he carefully saws the end of the neck off, creating an angled scarf joint.

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Rebuild/ Repair

He rough cuts the new headstock from a block of mahogany…

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Rebuild/ Repair

…and glues it into place on the neck.

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Rebuild/ Repair

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Rebuild/ Repair

Once the glue is set, he hand carves the new headstock, using another PRS neck as a reference so that all the dimensions are perfect.

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Rebuild

Then, he removes the old and worn frets, files the fretboard level and clean, and hammers home the new frets.

PRS Headstock Rebuild and Refret

He drills the tuner holes, prepares the new wood for painting and over-sprays the whole neck and headstock area.

PRS Headstock Rebuild

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Rebuild

Since we had clear finish in the sprayer, we decided to go ahead and put a new coat over the body too to better mask the repairs on the top and make the whole guitar look uniform.¬† Here’s Dan scuffing the finish before spraying.

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Rebuild

After applying a new logo and clear-coating the neck, it’s time to put it back together again.¬†Some PRS Dragon pickups, new hardware, and new wiring are installed.

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Rebuild

Finally, we give it The Works set-up and try it out. It looks great, sounds terrific, and ultimately cost the owner less than buying a new (or used!) Paul Reed Smith.

Paul Reed Smith Neck Rebuild

Paul Reed Smith Neck Rebuild

Paul Reed Smith Headstock Rebuild