my 60s 360/12 has a top crack, what are my options?

Setup, repair and restoration of Rickenbacker Instruments

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my 60s 360/12 has a top crack, what are my options?

Postby (Sir Ricardo) » Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:06 am

.

Greetings all...............

Check out the 10.5" wood crack in the top of my 360/12. It starts just under the neck pickup, and ends just as it begins to pass under the R tailpiece. It does not go to the tail end of the guitar.

A small, but perceptible ridge can be felt as you run your finger over it. There is downward pressure on the wood under the strings due to the tension of the 12 strings causing a bit of concavity, and this causes the wood on the 'under-strings' part of the crack to be slightly lower than on the part of the guitar where your arm rests.

Right now, the action is great, no issues with playability.

What are my options? I got this off of eBay recently; this was its state.

If it were a 6-string, the crack could conceivably - with luck - exist with no ill effects indefinitely. How about with a 12-string? I'm concerned that given the increased string tension it might get worse, maybe quickly.

Thoughts?

thanks much -

Richard
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Re: my 60s 360/12 has a top crack, what are my options?

Postby (jps) » Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:33 am

Didn't some '60s instruments have 3-piece tops? This might be a seam separating instead of a real crack in the wood. Ideally, the back would be removed and a simple repair effected under the top of the guitar.

The "crack" would not continue through the ramp as that section is a solid piece of wood, front to back.
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Re: my 60s 360/12 has a top crack, what are my options?

Postby (Sir Ricardo) » Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:51 am

jps wrote:Didn't some '60s instruments have 3-piece tops? This might be a seam separating instead of a real crack in the wood. Ideally, the back would be removed and a simple repair effected under the top of the guitar.

The "crack" would not continue through the ramp as that section is a solid piece of wood, front to back.


Aha!

Let me ask you, when you say 'back would be removed and a simple repair....' wow. To me, that sounds like a huge repair. But is taking the back off a straightforward job?

thanks

Richard
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Re: my 60s 360/12 has a top crack, what are my options?

Postby (jps) » Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:49 am

Yes, for a real repair tech/luthier. The back is glued onto the rim of the body, which on a Rick is a solid piece of maple that has been routed out from behind to make them hollow. Given yours has checker binding 9purfling, actually) along with the outer binding this could get somewhat pricy. Plus there would at, the very minimum, be some finish retouching to do, also. But the repair to the "crack", itself, is pretty straightforward, a matter of gluing, clamping, and perhaps some cleats to reinforce it.
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Re: my 60s 360/12 has a top crack, what are my options?

Postby (collin) » Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:17 pm

Richard, did you buy it with no knowledge of this issue? If so, I'd be having a serious talk with the seller right about now.

It's definitely the 3-piece too separating, which is exactly why they switched to the (more expensive to produce) 2-piece bodies in late 1966. This is the root issue that caused so many neck angle problems.

It can be "fixed" without invasive surgery (i.e. A talented luthier could inject glue into the separation, clamp it up and it'll be structurally sound), but to get it cosmetically 100% again is a lot of work and money. Frankly, I wouldn't see the value in spending thousands on the repair.

If it works fine now, I'd keep playing it (assuming you knew about the issue or work out compensation with the seller). It might not continue to spread for a long time.

p.s. Use ultra light gauge strings!!
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Re: my 60s 360/12 has a top crack, what are my options?

Postby (Sir Ricardo) » Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:37 pm

collin wrote:Richard, did you buy it with no knowledge of this issue?


Thanks for your comments, Collin. I did not know it had this issue until it arrived. Holy smokes! was my initial thought. After a couple of phone calls, an equitable settlement (friendly, too) was arrived at.

I WOULD like to get it fixed; but I don't want to go the 'take the back off / extensive refinishing' approach. It's a nice guitar - great action, playability, and sound - but more of a player than a collector's item.

So I need to find someone who knows what they are doing who is thinking along the same lines as me.

Richard
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