Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Resonator guitar repair

My dad’s dobro got flipped upside down in an unlatched case. It had a terrible buzz, but it went away, so I never bothered to look at it. Yesterday it got dropped, and the buzz is way worse this time then last. The tailpiece seems to be rattling against the resonator, so I took it off, I didn’t see a problem. I took out the resonator also, and still didn’t see anything.
I started polishing the dobro, and I saw this. Could this be the issue? Or is it something else? What Is the recommended action to fix this?

I want to fix it myself, since I need the practice.

I can’t quite make out what is in the picture. Can you describe it as it is or should be or add a couple more pictures? It looks like it might be separation of the binding/purfling on the back?


The binding has separated from the back, here is another picture that shows some cracks.

I am no expert but the buzzing is likely coming from the loose binding as it vibrates when played. I’d take it to a luthier to have it checked and mended.

While I applaud your desire to DIY, Archie’s advice is sound. An experienced luthier will have the tools and knowledge to be able to diagnose and repair this quickly and get it right the first time. You might even be able to negotiate an opportunity to observe the repair process and gain some firsthand knowledge.

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An easy way to see if that is the source of the buzzing is to play and press on the binding to see if the buzzing quits. Loose binding is typically not a big deal, but if it is because some structural piece such as the back or block is unglued, that is more problematic. The “cracks” appear to be in the lacquer… a purely cosmetic issue. Take all I said with a grain of salt… looking at pictures is not the same as looking in hand. If you do have a go at it yourself, go slow and good luck. If you take it somewhere, I hope you get to learn from the repair person.

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