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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:43 am 
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AndyB wrote:
Hesh wrote:
Even the year I built 26 Heshtones fretting every two weeks or so helped

That's a hefty load of work! I'm not sure what would drive me nuts more, that much finishing or that much neck making!

Taking guitars in for repair definitely increases a builder's learning through repetition.


Yeah I likely over did it and that's part of the reason why I lost interest in building. It became "production" sadly instead of enjoying the journey. Kind of did it to myself...

Thanks Andy.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:24 am 
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I appreciate the push here Hesh, I think imagining the guitar beyond its brand new condition is a good idea for all builders. I've changed how I do a few things with that in mind over the years. Even if I still don't correspond fully with everything you listed :)

A question- Why wasn't a glued dovetail on the list?

And my mentioning that doesn't mean I'm against glued dovetails- I appreciate the skill and tradition inherent in a well done execution. From a service standpoint, though, it seems like a no brainer.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:04 am 
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Neck joints are one of the things on which repair people might legitimately disagree, as I mentioned in my first post in the original serviceability thread. The boss loves dovetails, and states that most of the reset work is identical to a standard bolt-on...just the actual fitting needs to be done for a lightweight, reliable joint. When he builds though, it is nearly always with a bolted M&T. I prefer a standard bolt-on (single tenon with glued extension) or a full-bolt-on (e.g., double-tenon), but I still take more time to reset those M&T necks than do either of the gentlemen working beside me when resetting a dovetailed neck. The trade seems to be a simpler, lighter, self-aligning neck joint for about $200 more in labor for a reset for someone with mastery of both repair tasks.

I suspect most here in the repair end of the business would agree that something like Mr. Somogyi's neck joint - while both very stable and quite pretty in that it allows a very low-profile heel - would be a huge PITA to reset. Same for Spanish heels on steel stringed guitars. Beyond that, I see the issue of neck joints as a trades issue, rather than a clear-cut 'go/no-go' for builders.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:42 am 
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When I imagine a neck joint deliberately designed to be difficult to reset, it is the Somogyi neck joint that I see. Whatever other things he does well (and there are obviously many), this is not the best of his ideas, from the standpoint of planning for future repairs.

I think that dovetail neck joints are ubiquitous enough that any repair person needs to not treat them as a scourge and curse the builder for using them. But there are little things the builder can do to make the dovetail easier to take apart, like finishing the neck and body separately, leaving enough of a gap in the dovetail pocket, pre-drilling the steam needle holes, and not going crazy with the glue.

I think something a builder can do to make future repairs easier is to not use a neck joint that is hard for the repair person to figure out in 20 years. Every repair person should know how to reset a dovetail, a bolted neck with glued fingerboard extension, and most of the fully bolted neck joint designs. But back to the Somogyi design: it is both uncommon and difficult to take apart. Innovation is great, but make sure future generations can figure out what you did, and that they can do the work without tearing the guitar apart.



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:59 am 
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Hey Burton hope that you and your turntable are doing well. Back in the day Burton and my guitars shared a place in Joe White's shop and in his heart :) as his very first ever two finishing clients.

For me in considering serviceability I am very aware that there is still an ongoing debate among players even to this day if a Taylor or any style bolt-on neck is.... impure and so very untraditional that you can hear the difference.

Decent weed aside.... I view resetting the various sorts of neck joints as different jobs and not just a reset. Some are easy and very low risk for having to do any finish touch up and some no so much. My personal favorite as a builder is a traditional dovetail as well and I agree that it's a beautiful thing and perfect for what we do. With access to skilled repair work come reset time AND decent wood selection and box design 20 - 40 years is a long time to provide value before a steward has to invest in the instrument.

Most of mine were bolt-ons with about five of them being dovetails. I like both joints and they all have their good points.

So I'm not sure that I would include a neck joint style as something I consider to be in the builder "serviceability" debate when there are valid reasons to do either of the major divisions and still demand for both too. A builder may not have control over what kind of neck joint a specific clients wants especially builders serving the traditional market.

I'm not averse to the neck joint being included in this discussion it just doesn't matter to me what it is, I will bill accordingly.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:44 pm 
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Obviously, if the nut sits on top of the head veneer then it has to be glued on. In that case the violin method works fine. A nut that's glued into a slot can break out pieces of face veneer, or the nut, when you try to move it if there's more than the absolute minimum of glue. Why make something hard that should be easy?



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:42 am 
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Chipped headstock veneer and other damage seems to me to be more likely due to poor prep of finished-in-place nuts (no softening/scoring of that finish before nut removal) than proper glue usage. I do agree that ham-handed use of glue - particularly Titebond - on the bottom of the nut slot can make removal a chore, but a single dot of thin CA applied to the face of the nut/mating face of fretboard with a micro-pipette AFTER the nut is installed and strings are tensioned is just enough to keep the nut in place when the guitar is bumped or bounced around during string changes.

I've only seen a few guitars with missing nuts come into the shop, but they have all been due to changing strings at times or in places that were clearly inappropriate for the task. The most dramatic story as to how a nut was lost came from a customer who was interrupted at his home during a string change by the arrival of his girlfriend, followed soon after by the clearly unexpected and very inconvenient arrival of his wife. While the gentleman until recently offered guitar lessons from his home - and thus had frequent female visitors - the wife had some difficulty with the concept of a guitar lesson being given both in the nude and outside of the studio.

The gentleman and the guitar were both ejected from the home (the gentleman through the front door and the guitar - along with the contents of his closet - from a second story bedroom window above a fortuitously placed azalea planting. The amazing thing to me was not so much that the sole damage to the guitar was the loss of the nut, but rather that the customer somehow retained both of his through the incident...I believe that had I been in his wife's place, that might not have been the case.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:10 am 
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laughing6-hehe laughing6-hehe laughing6-hehe

We see some of this too. It's bee a while but the D-35 with OO buck shot through the case and into the fretboard comes to mind.

Perhaps kevlar augmentation for cases would be prudent and increase the serviceability of not necessarily the guitar but perhaps an offending... player. ;)

Back to nuts on guitars. I agree that just a small drop on the end of the fret board is sufficient.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:31 am 
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Here's a very small thing that goes a long way when others are servicing your guitars. This applies to anyone not just builders.

You do not need to tie your strings in knots, do bluegrass locks, etc. to secure strings from slipping.

By the 1940's tuners were being made with tapered posts where the intention and reality is that as the string gets tuned to pitch the windings around the post snug up and travel up the tapered post seizing the string end though the hole and in place.

The various techniques of locking strings do come into play with vintage tuners with straight posts or slot heads without the tapered posts either but none of this is necessary with modern tuners on a steel strings.

We can't begin to even estimate how many strings we put on never doing anything but what's in the pic and to our knowledge never had any strings slip as a result nor has anyone let us know that they had issues of any kind related to this.

It's also safer in my view when no tools are required to string or unstring a guitar and no bends are being made that can scratch things OR puncture the hands and fingers of a Luthier or someone changing strings.

When I put a guitar on my bench the very first thing I look at is the peg head to be sure that there are not any sharp strings sticking up waiting to get me. There often are and it's completely not necessary. Besides it's kind of a turn off for a client to get a blood stained invoice.

Just let the design of the tuners do it's job and string changes will be faster, less risky for the person changing the strings now and later and in terms of scratching the guitar.

Also..... while we are here talking about tuners we see lots of small builder instruments were the peg head is either too thin or too thick.

When it's too thin it' possible for someone to string the guitar below the beginning of the post taper and the above intent of how the tuner posts are designed to work may not happen reliably if some of the string wraps are on the non tapered part of the posts.

When a peg head is too thick two things neither of them good can result. First not enough winds for the respective string may be possible with out much tuner post proud of the peg head. This can result in string breaks. Next if the instrument could benefit from increasing the break angle at the nut by using additional winds on the tuner that opportunity is not present either.

How to you like my pic below? Got a new Sony RX-100 V6 a while back and still learning how to use it. This was full manual in my home shop that has lots of lighting installed and a window which I'm enjoying.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:47 pm 
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In the spirit of this thread, I have a quick side question. Most necks are pieced together using either two or three slabs glued vertically or a horizontal slab with added headstock and heal blocks. When using a traditional sliding dovetail you would use hide glue to secure the finished neck to the body, but what glue would you use to glue on the heal blocks. Regular titebond would soften and come apart if you try to steam the joint apart during a neck reset. Is there a glue that you could recommend that is both heat and water resistant?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:41 pm 
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Not to belabor my point: I agree that a tiny drop of CA on the end of the fingerboard suffices. The problem is that not everybody who thinks they're a repairman gets the memo. If it's obvious that no glue is needed, there's a better chance that too much won't be used. As anybody who has done any repair knows, the biggest problem is generally the last 'repairman'.



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 4:07 pm 
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Alan Carruth wrote:
Not to belabor my point: I agree that a tiny drop of CA on the end of the fingerboard suffices. The problem is that not everybody who thinks they're a repairman gets the memo. If it's obvious that no glue is needed, there's a better chance that too much won't be used. As anybody who has done any repair knows, the biggest problem is generally the last 'repairman'.

I just burst out laughing - my last repair was a '37 Gibson L-30 which had a hole in the soundboard, and the braces, all cut by a previous owner to fit a humbucker. [:Y:]

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:41 pm 
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God I hate when people tie the strings in knots on the tuner posts.



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:49 am 
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Here is some more food for thought builders.

It's very likely these days that some of you will have clients who play out. With that said they likely will want a pup (pick-up) installed either by you or me :).

Some of the things that you can do to facilitate this common application and requirement is to avoid the following if possible:

1). Split saddles greatly limit pup choices if a UST is in the mix. Ask George Lowden and see who's pups he recommends and why this is really the only choice for his stuff because of the split saddle.

2). How you brace around the sound hole can also eliminate some of the usual suspects such as Baggs from contention if the control units can't be adhered to the inside of the sound hole because of unique bracing designs.

3). This is a common mistake we see from small builders. If your X-brace comes very close to the outer E's drilling the hole for a UST may require drilling though the X brace and we jut don't ever want to do that now do we.... We see this frequently and the instrument was simply not designed to be pup friendly.

4). Coupled braces on the bridge plate can interfere with certain pup installations such as one of my favorites, the K&K with the glued on transducers.

If you approach building that guitars are tools for musicians it will be no surprise to you that some of them will want pups installed. Keeping this in mind while building and creating no barriers to pup installation is one way to have your stuff be more serviceable.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:52 am 
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Just a question Hesh, is the LR Baggs Anthem SL not a bit more tolerant of soundhole braces than the LR Baggs Anthem?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:08 am 
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Colin North wrote:
Just a question Hesh, is the LR Baggs Anthem SL not a bit more tolerant of soundhole braces than the LR Baggs Anthem?


It is.

We sell more Anthems than any other pickup at my shop. The SL does not have the larger controls and therefore will fit in more guitars with taller bracing around the soundhole.

When it comes to a customer that insists on using the anthem. I usually construct small standoffs that will attach to the top with *tiny* drops of super glue and then use the 3M adhesive on the unit itself. Color your standoffs black and they'll barely notice.



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:01 am 
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DanKirkland wrote:
Colin North wrote:
Just a question Hesh, is the LR Baggs Anthem SL not a bit more tolerant of soundhole braces than the LR Baggs Anthem?


It is.

We sell more Anthems than any other pickup at my shop. The SL does not have the larger controls and therefore will fit in more guitars with taller bracing around the soundhole.

When it comes to a customer that insists on using the anthem. I usually construct small standoffs that will attach to the top with *tiny* drops of super glue and then use the 3M adhesive on the unit itself. Color your standoffs black and they'll barely notice.

I've done similar for Anthem fitting.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:06 am 
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Yep much more friendly to various guitars and their bracing.

I wanted to point out to folks here what our friends Dan and Colin are doing with the Anthem when required because a builder didn't make their sound hole bracing compatible with this pup. We do the same thing when need be. If you don't want we dirty, rotten, nasty, out-for-ourselves repair folks :) to do this to your creations perhaps consider picking up some pups, the more common ones and seeing how they work in your designs?

Also regarding Baggs their UST greatly benefits from two additional steps:

1) Drilling a small hole in the end of the saddle slot angled downward at 20 - 30 degrees to bury the tip of the UST in. That tip is not active and needs to be away from the high e or the balance will be weak on the treble end.

2) Because the Baggs ust is not traditional with a wire coming off it at 90 degrees the entire ust hast to be bent to pass through the bridge. We like to drill our holes at less than 90 degrees to prevent a hard bend in the UST. This also makes the X brace leg get a lot closer to our resulting hole. Another reason why bracing and pup installation needs to be thought of as pretty standard stuff that today's guitars need to be built to be compatible with.

I'll add there is great value in builders and repair folks talking about this stuff and that's why we brought it up.

I'll also add that this in not intended to be let's beat up on builders (or repair folks) it's instead collaboration and peer review all good things.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:43 am 
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Something small I just thought of in regards to servicability.

Please do not finish over the nut. It makes replacing the nut far riskier than it has to be if I have to remove finish carefully and not cause blowout/chips.



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:47 am 
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DanKirkland wrote:
Something small I just thought of in regards to servicability.

Please do not finish over the nut. It makes replacing the nut far riskier than it has to be if I have to remove finish carefully and not cause blowout/chips.


I agree with you Dan but Dave doesn't. He likes the look of finished over nuts and we use light cured dental fillings so replacing a nut is only necessary for us if the maker got the string spacing wrong or someone wants a change.

But yeah even when scoring finish the finish can still be flaky and flake off in an irregular manner.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:54 am 
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Hesh wrote:
I agree with you Dan but Dave doesn't. He likes the look of finished over nuts and we use light cured dental fillings so replacing a nut is only necessary for us if the maker got the string spacing wrong or someone wants a change.

But yeah even when scoring finish the finish can still be flaky and flake off in an irregular manner.


I do think Dave has a point with the look as it does look great. My problem comes from the dozens of standard fare Shibson Les Pauls that have incorrect string spacing/broken nuts that I have to replace on an almost daily basis. They use pre-spaced graph tech nuts so alot of time you get high E's that just fall off the edge of the fingerboard. Typical QC from the usual scumbags though haha!



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:22 pm 
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DanKirkland wrote:
Hesh wrote:
I agree with you Dan but Dave doesn't. He likes the look of finished over nuts and we use light cured dental fillings so replacing a nut is only necessary for us if the maker got the string spacing wrong or someone wants a change.

But yeah even when scoring finish the finish can still be flaky and flake off in an irregular manner.


I do think Dave has a point with the look as it does look great. My problem comes from the dozens of standard fare Shibson Les Pauls that have incorrect string spacing/broken nuts that I have to replace on an almost daily basis. They use pre-spaced graph tech nuts so alot of time you get high E's that just fall off the edge of the fingerboard. Typical QC from the usual scumbags though haha!


We gave up on that battle and if someone wants a new nut from us it's going to be custom made for the specific instrument out of unbleached bone only. We won't use commercially made nuts for the reasons that you stated and the fitting of the ends, etc. takes just as much time for us as crafting a new one from scratch.

I like the look too of a finished in nut but these days I know too what you are saying that that nice look is less than serviceable if the nut needs to go.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:21 pm 
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We have not found the Baggs Element UST pickup to overly delicate, but the ones we've seen fail have usually been due to overbending the sensor portion (the flat part) of the cable. To avoid that overbend, the Baggs UST gets an angled hole with an eased transition - no more than 45 degrees, although Baggs may have a larger maximum bend angle in their instructions.

Because x-brace location may vary relative to saddle slot, as well as the angle of the saddle, some installs will clear the X more easily with the UST lead hole on the treble side and others on the base...we use small rare earth magnets to visualize the relationship of the UST lead hole to the braces. A little applied trigonometry helps avoid drilling through structure.

Mr. Breakstone already mentioned the need to insert the end away from the lead into the bridge. We've seen several customer-installed Anthems where this requirement was ignored, and the usual result is a weak response on the string nearest the non-lead end...inserting that end at least 1/4" addresses the issue.

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My beef with "Builders" doing weird things isn't actually for trying something new, experimenting, or learning to do new stuff....

It's trying to dump their hot mess into the hands of an unsuspecting mark. That's where I have the beef. And it's not experienced builders who usually do this... It's the hobby woodworker or the handyman's first build which gets pawned off.....

I mean seriously - you know it's a mess.... Don't try to make it somebody else's problem.... Burn it and move on.... But there's the problem.. No scruples. No ethics.. Hmmm.. I should get some money out of this abomination.... They find some out-of-town pawn shop, dump it, and run.. Or they post an ad on CL and hope for some beginner mark to shake down and dump their problem....

My BIGGER beef is with The Mr. Fixit Handyman... You know - the guy "who can fix anything".... With Gorilla Glue, hot glue, epoxy, super glue, fiberglass tape, and nails. We used to get a weekly dose of the travails of undoing "Pour and shake" Kitchen Table Lutherie over on the old MIMF forum.... And he globs everything up into a blob - that's still broken... And breaks it worse in the process...

It's not the professional or experienced amateur builder who causes horrible problems.... Builders mostly try to build fairly clean and to follow predictable ways of doing things.



These users thanked the author truckjohn for the post: Hesh (Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:24 pm)
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:17 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:12 pm
Posts: 2994
First name: Bryan
Last Name: Bear
City: St. Louis
State: Mo
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I don’t think (or maybe prefer not to think) that the majority of these cases are new builders intentionally pawning off their problems on unsuspecting marks. I think a lot of the time, they don’t really realize what a mess it is. People seem to think they are ready to start selling guitars as soon as they are able to complete a couple. Often they don’t know the long term issues or the geometry problems exist because they aren’t able to objectively see how their builds stack up to the expectations. They may see some loose mitres here and there and a less than perfect finish but don’t understand that it will take a mountain of work to get it in the proper playing condition or repair the inherent design flaws.

I think this also applies to some repairs as well. Without being in the know about how things should be repaired, and more importantly, why it should be done that way, they think they are doing the owner a favor.

That’s why threads like this are great but they only reach the people who were willing to seek out the knowledge they don’t know they lack.

Edit: fixed some auto corrects.

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Bryan Bear PMoMC

Take care of your feet, and your feet will take care of you.


Last edited by Bryan Bear on Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.


These users thanked the author Bryan Bear for the post: Hesh (Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:26 pm)
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