Neck resets and a Tele with a trem…

Well, what we’ve got here are two great sounding acoustics from the late 70′ – early 80’s that have rendered themselves nearly unplayable.  The action’s high, the fingers hurt, the guitar gets put in the case. To prevent this from happening, we’ve decided to take ’em apart and put ’em back together. It’s what fancy talkers call a neck reset.

When the saddle has been cut down and the truss rod cranked and you still have a high action, this proceedure corrects the neck pitch for optimal playability. When set properly, the fingerboard should be in line with the top of the bridge, right where it meets the saddle. Sight down the neck of your guitar and you’ll see it.

So…what’s supposed to happen is that you remove the 15th fret, drill the hole, steam the joint and the dovetail comes loose enought to remove and we proceed. However, what makes these two guitars (Guild dread and Alvarez 12) interesting fodder for this stuff is that the joints were a little more complicated.

On the Alvarez, we hit metal. Ouch. Turns out that the dove tail is a bit tighter on these guys than your typical Martin-style joint. Since we were flying blind, the only way to prevent unnecessary damage was to remove the lip of the fingerboard completely and find a new method of attack. As you can see, there’s almost no gap between the neck and body and this joint was made to last forever.  So we drilled some holes on each side of the joint and patiently steamed them seperately while keeping lots and lots of pressure on the neck.  It finally  popped after 10 minutes of steaming. Luckily we knew what we were in for and taped off the lables and put lots of towels inside the body to project the bracings and seams.

Here we are after cleaning up the gluing surfaces, gluing and clamping. What follows next is re-fitting the fingerboard section, fret leveling, crowning polishing, finish touch-up. Can’t find any of those pics.  But I already typed all of this, so I’m not stopping now. Lets just say it turned out great.

If anyone’s wondering about the Guild, I’m glad you asked. Just substitiute the word “Guild” for “Alvarez” above and you’ve got the idea. The Guild’s issue was that the gap in the dovetail joint was located almost exactly between the 14th and 15th fret. After 3 small angled pilot holes didn’t his pay dirt, we removed the top portion of the board on that one as well.

We removed a larger portion of the board on this one to also address a truss rod rattle. We’d usually just drill a tiny hole and get some wax in there as a filler, but since we were already doing something drastic, what’s another couple frets?

Here’s a nice action photo of a chisel.  I don’t think it’s from either of these jobs, but it looks cool.

On to another topic…

So our good friend Steve came in the other day with a cool Mighty Mite parts Tele for trde that he got at a guitar show a few years back. Nice ash body, great feeling neck. Just one problem. The guy who assembled it used a rear loading bridge and drilled the ferruls by hand.  The holes had finish chips and were very uneven. I couldn’t even take a picture. And we definitely couldn’t sell it as is out of self respect. So here’s what we did.

Routed for a trem. Note the old ferruls. In an effort to make it look better, two of them were filed so they’d fit together in a tight space. Ugh.

Out came the stock pickup (whatever it was) and in went a Duncan Hotrails for Tele.

Yup, those are flat head screws on that pickup buddy.  There’s always room for cool points. We also went with a mis-matched gold vintage-style trem and graphtech saddles.

And bursted headstocks are in for 2010.

The dice knobs came with the guitar, and I’m not going to be the one to take ’em off.


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