Guitar repair – why instruments should not be left tuned up

Here’s a perfect example of why I keep stressing upon guitar players to de-tune their instruments if they know that they will not be playing it for three weeks or more.

String tension is a very bad thing for the health of the guitar but when a guitar is being played, some of that stress is counteracted by the movement of the various parts of the instrument (top, neck and back). However, if left standing with nothing to counter that force, string tension can have disastrous effects, as this owner learned.

Let me begin by congratulating Kadence for building the very aesthetic, all-mahogany KAD-SH-103 EQ (a part of the Slowhand series). I must confess that I am not a very big fan of guitars built entirely of the same wood (mahogany, koa, etc), but after having played the SH-103, it changed my point of view (kinda)!

Besides the sturdy construction, I was very pleased to see a nice bone saddle and nut in the instrument. But if I was to nit-pick, the slots in the nut were deeper than I like to see.  

So, the owner told me that this instrument was two years old and while he played the other guitar, this one got neglected and was left standing in a corner of a room, under string tension.

My guess is that the heel separation began somewhere in April-end – May and as the heat increased and moisture in the air reduced, the gap too increased, and was only noticed recently. What followed was bound to happen and it is only a miracle that one did not see greater damage than the heel separating.

A good clean-up of the mating surfaces, lots of good wood glue, even more clamping pressure and enough time (72 hours) cured this baby!

I had initially advised putting 13s on the guitar but soon realised that putting those big strings was a sure recipe for disaster. Instead, I ended up putting 12s on it and let the guitar stand for 4 -5 hours under string tension. The following are the ‘after’ photographs.

I also cleaned and oiled the fretboard, buffed out the tarnished fretwires, snugged up the hardware on the headstock and gave the entire body a good rub-down.


Amit Newton

An experienced guitar tech with over 10 years of experience working on acoustic Gibsons and Martins in the Gulf region. There is nothing that cannot be repaired; the only consideration is the price at which it comes. And yet, if there is sentiment attached, no price is too high! WhatsApp/Call me: 7080475556 email me:

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