I had just gotten to work in the morning and went to sit down at my desk, right next to where I had precariously balanced my Gibson SG Faded Special before leaving the office the previous day.
I inadvertently bumped into the guitar, causing it to slide and fall sideways onto the floor, which is concrete covered with a thin carpet.
The headstock must have landed on the worst possible spot, right on the back, and with its 13-degree downward angle and all the tension and pull from the strings being tuned to pitch, enough force was exerted on that narrow piece of wood above the nut to cause it to snap.
The low humidity of our office space in the dead of a New York winter and the guitar's very light finish (stain, no paint) may have also been contributing factors, with the wood being so dry that it became more brittle than normal. (?)
Fortunately, it's a clean break with minimal splintering, and as I understand it, it can be repaired to look (and sound) like new! I've heard that guitars with repaired headstocks sometimes sound better than they originally did, due to the hardness of the glue used, with enhanced tone/sustain.
I'm going to take it to my favorite guitar builder/repair guru, Matt Brewster, owner of 30th Street Guitars here in Manhattan for repair. I'm sure he'll do an excellent job.
Stay tuned for some "after" photos and a report on the playability and tone! In the meantime, check out the damage in the photo gallery below. Till next time!
Jimmy Brown is the senior music editor at Guitar World.