How to Replace Binding on a Gibson Guitar

By Simon Foden ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Towel
  • Clothes iron
  • Razor blade
  • Rag
  • Naphtha-based cleaner
  • Measuring tape
  • String
  • Band saw
  • Aluminum foil
  • Heat-resistant gloves
  • Heat gun
  • Franklin Titebond adhesive
  • Masking tape
This Gibson has white binding which contrasts with the sunburst finish.

Gibson makes high-quality electric and acoustic guitars. One of the most distinctive features of any Gibson guitar is the decorative binding. Binding is the material that covers the edges of the guitar and is typically of a contrasting color to the body paint. Depending on the model, a Gibson guitar may have binding on the edges, the fretboard, the head stock and even the tuning pegs. If your Gibson guitar has damaged binding, it will look tatty. Repair the binding to preserve the appearance and value of your Gibson guitar.

Place the guitar on a flat surface. If necessary, place it on top of a cloth to protect the paintwork.

Turn on a clothes iron. Set it to the lowest heat setting.

Place a towel over the damaged binding. Press the tip of the iron against the towel covering the damaged binding. Apply heat for approximately five minutes. The heat melts the adhesive that bonds the binding to the edge of the guitar.

Remove the towel and turn off the iron.

Slide a razor blade between the damaged binding and the guitar. Move the blade along the length of the damaged section of binding to separate the adhesive from the binding material. If the binding is on the body of your Gibson guitar, it is likely to be curved. This makes removal slightly trickier.

Lever the blade against the guitar to push the binding away. Gently pull the binding away from the guitar.

Clean the glue from where the binding was attached. Use a rag and a naphtha-based cleaner.

Measure the binding. If the binding is curved -- for example, if it came from the top of the headstock on a Gibson Les Paul -- use a piece of string to measure it.

Cut a new piece of binding from matching material using a band saw. Gibson guitars are typically bound with white binding. Guitars cut from light wood may have ebony binding.

Wrap the new binding material in aluminum foil. This protects the binding material from the heat of the heat gun.

Put on a pair of heat-resistant gloves. Heat the binding with a heat gun for 30 seconds, then press the binding into the space left by the damaged part. The heat makes the binding more pliable, so when you press it against the guitar, the binding conforms to the curves of the body. If repairing neck binding, heat-bending is not required as the neck binding is perfectly straight.

Remove the aluminum foil. Apply a thin layer of Franklin Titebond adhesive to the bottom of the binding. This is the adhesive that Gibson uses at its factory.

Push the new binding into the space, and fix it in place with masking tape. Leave it for three hours to set.

Tip

If using ebony binding, be very careful when bending. It is a very brittle wood and can easily snap if forced too hard to conform to the curves of your Gibson.

About the Author

Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for Dogmagazine.net.