How to Repair a Small Dent in a Guitar Neck

Written by kirk maltbee
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How to Repair a Small Dent in a Guitar Neck
Repairing small dents and nicks in a guitar neck can be a simple DIY project. (Guitar player #1 image by Warren Millar from

Heavy use, and perhaps some cases of clumsiness, can result in guitars with their fair share of dings and scratches. While some players may consider a little "road wear" cool, nicks and dents to the neck may make the instrument uncomfortable to play. Instead of spending money on purchasing a new neck or guitar, some players choose to apply a little DIY know-how to fix the dents themselves.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Two small towels
  • Small pillow (optional)
  • Painter's tape
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Liquid shellac
  • Small squeegee

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  1. 1

    Place one of the small towels on a flat work surface. Place your guitar facedown on the towel; you may want to use a small pillow underneath the guitar's body to protect the hardware. Roll the second towel and place it underneath the headstock to protect the tuning keys.

  2. 2

    Feel along the guitar's neck to find all the nicks and dents. Tear small bits of painter's tape and place them over the nicks so they are easier find as you work. Tear a small strip of fine-grit sandpaper and wrap it around one of your index finger tips.

  3. 3

    Use your finger in a slow scratching motion over each nick until the edges of the dent are smooth. Work with one dent at a time, removing the tape as you go, until the dents have been smoothed out. Blow and wipe away any sanding dust, then prepare the liquid shellac per the manufacturer's instructions.

  4. 4

    Dab a small bit of shellac in each nick. Use the squeegee to smooth the droplet over to fill in the dent. Work on one dent at a time. Allow a few hours for the shellac to settle and cure before playing the guitar.

Tips and warnings

  • If the dents cannot be repaired in this manner, consider taking the neck to a reputable luthier.

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