Oh, that's not pretty. And it's a shame, as this is a nice guitar. It's a G&L ASAT (as you can see) but it's got a bit of a 'hybrid' vibe going on. Mahogany neck and body and a tun-o-matic bridge with tailpiece gives a Gibsony vibe while the bolt-on neck and slab body bring things back to the G&L/Fendery end of the spectrum. As a man who appreciates some of the advantages getting the best of all worlds, I quite like this guitar.
So let's get it fixed.
You can't really tell from this image but this is actually the second time this guitar has broken in the same place. A second repair is usually more complicated because the residue of the original repair-glue makes it very difficult to ensure a clean joint. Also, this is a reasonably 'short' break—there's not a lot of glueing surface to bear up to string tension.
All of this means that the best chance of long term success with this is to reinforce the repair. A strong and discreet way to handle this reinforcement is a backstrap. We've talked a little about backstraps before—the method involves taking a little wood off the back of the head/neck and overlaying new wood in its place to add strength.
First up, though, we need to get those two pieces back together and that calls for some inventive holding/clamping. This repair necessitates the pieces be mated longitudinally which required some thought. Meet the all-new Haze 3-D Fender-Style Neck Clamping System (patent application pending). This contraption allowed me to keep the neck aligned and rigid while I pressed the two pieces together and while the glue cured.
Once the parts are joined again, I can remove some wood from the back of the headstock, going past the break and into 'good' wood so that the applied backstrap has something solid to grip. We're not taking a lot of wood here—around 2mm in this case.
I then search out a piece of mahogany that's got a reasonably similar grain pattern to the headstock and thickness it to about the same thickness as we removed (in reality, it's generally a hair over to allow for sanding out). Off to the bending iron to work in a slight curve that will match the transition from flat headstock down to the neck.
OK, I know that's not the most attractive clamping arrangement ever but it gets the job done. You can see a curved hunk of ash acting as a caul to clamp the curved area. Once the glue's cured, I tidy up the edges with a magnificent array of routers, rasps, knives and, finally, sandpapers. The overlaid piece is pretty obvious in the photo above right.
A bit of work is required to fill the missing chips and chunks from the break. A little lacquer, some spit and polish and we have a guitar that's soundly—and pretty discreetly—repaired. It plays great and it sounds great. This repair should outlast the owner if he can avoid Pete Townsending it into a speaker cabinet or something similar.