How to DIY String Instrument Repairs Using Glue

Who says a musician doesn’t have a use for glue? Click here for some creative ideas.
5 October 2020


Have you ever stared at your broken guitar or violin, not knowing how to fix it yourself? In this “sticky” situation, how would you feel if I told you that glue might become your new best friend? 

Here are a few ways in which musicians can use glue for DIY string instrument repairs and spare themselves the maintenance trips. 

How Musicians Can Use Glue For String Instrument Repairs

1. Repairing a Broken Guitar Neck 

There are several steps to repairing your guitar’s neck, which we won’t dive into in this article. However, it’s essential to know that the repairing process won’t be completed without using glue. Many people use white PVA (polyvinyl acetate) glue as it is stronger than wood. It also doesn’t run like liquids as other glues do and its curing time is suitable for this process. Previously, hide glue was the standard for such repairs, but its popularity has largely been eclipsed by PVA glue because it requires much less preparation. Wood glue can be another good choice for this kind of repair. 

2. Fixing Cracks, Nuts and Saddle

Most stringed instruments suffer from cracks from time to time, which is a good reason to learn how to fix them yourself. You can do this using hide glue. It shrinks when it dries, allowing for a tight bond. Besides this, hide glue is one of the glues that can easily be unglued whenever you wish. This makes it suitable to apply on seams, nuts, and saddles.

Note that permanent glues like super glue and epoxies should not be used to glue bridges, braces, necks and other instrument glue joints/seams. However, they can be used with caution to fill chips in bridges, fingerboards and the like.

3.Seating a Fret 

Temperature and humidity cause frets to change their position slightly in the fretboards. Whenever this happens, you can gently tap on the fret with a fretting hammer, remove it, and then fill in the slot with a thin glue, like super glue, before replacing the fret and hammering it back in. You can add a tiny bit more glue to the slot with the fret in place for extra security, and follow this up with cleaning the excess glue using a cotton cloth. If this doesn’t work, wait for the glue to dry and then carefully scrape with a razor blade to remove it from the fretboard. 

4. Gluing Open Seams 

You can use glue to fix the open seams on your violin, and you can do this at home if you read the following instructions carefully. 

First of all, you have to carefully remove the old glue and any dirt without opening the seam further. It’s recommended you do this using a small knife. Don’t forget to dampen the glue before removing it to facilitate the process. 

Next, put a suitable amount of hide glue in a double boiler and add an equal amount of water. After the glue is heated, apply it into the seam with a delicate brush. Note that you should keep a wet cloth around to remove any excess glue.  

Next, squeeze the seam back together using a C-clamp with a protective piece of wood or a violin clamp. Finally, remove any excess glue and leave it to cure during the night. 

Hopefully, you’re now better informed of the importance of having glue at home, as it can often have your back in case of a stringed instrument casualty. If you reread the above tips and apply a suitable amount of glue, you might be surprised how easy it can be to repair your musical instruments yourself.