Beware ! You're in Kamikazie here. Not many pro luthiers around, more often brave souls experimenting in their kitchen.
Bolt-on neck conversion - The poor man reset
Unusual disclaimer : most luthiers would agree, we're talking about a structural modification below. Modifications are great for your guitar, but to avoid if you plan to sell. Originality is your best friend for value.
Kev : Ok, here we are. The idea comes from a lot of places. From us talking about softwood neck blocks, glue that doesnt hold, running bolts through the heel, etc. From frets.com where there's an article called 'impossable neck reset'. From Lawmans repair guy telling me about something called a 'New York reset'. Also a comment here from Norm where he says harmony necks won't have good intonation if the strings are too low cuz they set them with high action at the factory so they wouldnt buzz, and consequently the bridges are too far back anyway.
The idea was to do this with minimal expense, time, expertise, and with household tools. In other words, something almost anyone can do. It was done in an afternoon. I'll bet someone could knock one out in a couple hours after doing a few ? Counting the saw I bought, I had under 20 bucks into this (not counting the guitar of course..that was a 75 buck BIN) .
So what I did with was heat the fretboard extention to loosen, then sawed up through the neck heel to remove the neck. BTW, thats my wifes hand in the pic...I dont wear nail polish!! lol!! I marked with pencil on the sides of the neck and heel so I had a guideline when I put it back together.
next: diggin' in. ya have to get it hot, use lemon oil to keep it wet, and take your time. I have a Stew-mac knife, but a sharp, thin paint scaper would do it too I bet.
I cut it with a flush cut dowel saw that i got for 12 bucks. It's made by Zona tools, and is made to cut without chewing up the surrounding finish
A couple pieces of dove tail split off, had to glue 'em back in place. No biggie.
The saw actually did most of the re-angle, which blew my mind. After that it was a matter of putting sandpaper in there while I had the neck clamped on and constanly rechecking til i got what I thought was a good angle. make sure ya pull the sandpaper straight down so ya don't 'bevel' the end of the heel
ready...set....HACK...I mean drill..lol!!!
make the inner hole a little bigger for wiggle/adjustment room
Ok, we're lacking in pics here, cuz we needed two pairs of hands. I had a strap button, a 3 inch bolt, a washer, a lock washer, and a nut. What we had to do was put glue on the fertboard extension, line it up, put in together, tighten the nut inside, and then clamp the extension. In one motion. We made a couple dry runs to practice and then went for it.
Some liquid courage to steady me hands!!lol!!
The results. Needed minimal t-up to the finish.That black stuff is pencil...cleaned it off since taking this pic & looks good
Nice action at 1/8. There was a lot of saddle left on this guitar this so we have a nice break angle too, without screwing around with the saddle. It's strung with martin 8/20 bronze 11's. The first set I had on it were 12's just for the heck of it and worked great and played AT 1/8 too..the 11's were personal preference. Shows no sign of coming apart, moving, whatever, solid as a rock so far. Plus if ever needed you can reset it again with relative ease. Sounds real nice too.
There she be !
Auger : after doing a couple with various degrees of failure, and saving one by drilling the block and bolting the neck back on, I'd say you're on to something there Kevin, I think this is a very acceptable way of resetting the necks on these low end guitars.
Kev : Thanks & agreed, Pete. It's a better alternative than having a aged solid wood guitar be a wall hanger or thrown in the junk cuz it plays like ka-ka!
A note here... I did have to dress the frets on the upper neck to correct some very minor fret rattle, but it was a real minor operation. That was done in the same afternoon. All in all, took about 4 hours, and that was with me fumbling around cuz I've never done this before.
Howmany : Two questions.
1) Did your wife do this ironing part for you 'cause she doesn't let you touch her tools ?
2) Probably a stupid question, but why does the fretboard extension have to be glued down in this kind of bolt-on repair ?
fanfab4 : Kevin nice job and an alternative for neck resetting .
Even a guy like me could give this a try .
Lester I believe the fretboard extension was glued down for 1) to give added stability and
2) because it was glued down in the first place so there must be a reason for that .
Zhyla : I believe fingerboard extensions are glued down to prevent buzzing. That's my pet theory at least.
Hmmm... well that's quite an operation there. I think if you tried steaming off the neck you'd find it's not really a lot of work. But for these cheapos, whatever works
Kev : Hey Lester, yer right...She won't let me play with hot irons...I might burn a hole in something.....like the neighbors dog.....
2nd question...yeah, ya have to glue it down, spring up like a diving board otherwise. lol !
Hey Zhyla, naw... 'not quite an operation' at all. Pretty simple & straightforward! I have steamed off necks, but was looking for a cheap ,easy, everyman fix to get 'cheap' guitars up & running. I mean ya could do this with a paint scraper and a hacksaw blade. Like I said in the first post... minimal expertise, expense... etc. All kidding aside, if a 'real' repair guy hit ya up for more than 75-100 bucks to do this, he oughta be whacked with the guitar instead of being given the opportunity to fix it. lol !
Bottom line though guys, kamakaze...well sure it is...but it's back from the land of the unplayable and it was pretty easy to do. You'd never suspect it from looking at it & prolly just think the bolt was for a loose neck joint. In the right context it could be a viable option for some guitars. Obviusly not something ya want to do to your vintage d-18.
Howmany : This bolt style repair makes total sense to me. If one went the extra step of counter sinking the interior washers and nut and capping it with a wood cap it would be ultra professional, not Kamikaze at all. The strap pin on the heel just looks like, well, a strap pin. (I suspect if you spent a week in a pro repair shop you'd probably see that a lot of their work looks kinda Kamakze while in progress too.)
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