Restoring a classical guitar top

Classical Guitar | Daniel Friederich
image of Daniel Friederich's guitar
Before repair
image of Daniel Friederich's guitar
After repair

French luthier Daniel Friederich’s classical guitar.

It’s still a mystery how this guitar was damaged, but as we know, musical instruments can be damaged anytime and anywhere. For lack of a reliable repair person, the owner of this guitar left it sitting in its case for more than 10 years. Eventually, he asked me to give it a try. When I put the broken piece back onto the top, it fit almost perfectly, except for a small missing piece on the rosette.

One reason the guitar didn’t become deformed even after a decade of disuse was that there was no string tension on it. The bridge had been removed in the accident. A guitar carefully built by a master luthier can usually stand the test of time like this one.

Even though there was only one part to be glued, the gluing sequence had to be done very strategically, since there were so many spots to be glued. Sometimes you have to glue many places all at once. In that case, you have to rehearse the steps many times before actually applying the glue. You don’t have a second chance to do a good job.

When I tested the guitar after the repair, it sounded solid and elegant despite the years of neglect. The owner said it sounded exactly like before the break.


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