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Questions: Ebony Tailpiece Cracks

Questions: Ebony Tailpiece Cracks

by Ted Megas

Originally published in American Lutherie #73, 2003 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Seven, 2015

Susan from cyberspace asks:

I have a new custom-made archtop and the ebony tailpiece has developed a few very thin/small cracks. Should I use lemon oil on it? I have a humidifier in the room, but it seems impossible to keep the humidity at a constant level.

Ted Megas of Portland, Oregon responds:

I would be concerned that the structure of the tailpiece is undermined. A cracked tailpiece is potentially a very dangerous situation, since it’s under a lot of tension. I’ve even heard of tailpieces exploding. Lemon oil will neither fix the cracks nor prevent further cracking. You need to be in touch with the maker of the guitar or a reputable repairperson.

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