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Duolian Neck Reset? Advice needed
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Author:  Quine [ Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Duolian Neck Reset? Advice needed

A buddy loaned me his Duolian from the 30's It's in OK shape with a nice gray crystallized finish but the action is way too high to play well.
The neck looks pretty straight but tipped forward at the body joint. Seems like its a common problem with old National guitars so I said I'd see if I can fix it up for him. I'm no expert in there anything really scary about a neck reset?
How do I get the neck off? Are the screws hidden under the dot markers? Do I have to adjust the neck stick as well as the heel? Should I un-glue the neck stick to reset it?
Any tips would be appreciated. I've built several non-reso guitars so setting a neck isn't too big a deal. But I don't want to get in over my head with a guitar I don't own eek

Author:  Freeman [ Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Duolian Neck Reset? Advice needed

Kevin, I have a spider bridge Dobro from the '30's and a 1980 Dobro Duolian. Both guitars have neck sticks, however they are slightly different. Here is a picture of the Duolian


The neck extends into the body (much like a banjo) and the tailpiece screw goes into the end of it. There are two small mushrooms that support it to the back - you can move, shim or trim them. The heel end is not glued or attached in any way and you are correct, there are one or two screws under a couple of the f/b extension dots that holds the extension down to the top.

You will do about 99 percent of your action adjustment with the neck angle - you don't have much wiggle room at the saddle. You can file the slots a tiny bit but get the angle as close as you can first. Remember that there are a bunch of compromises in setting up a resonator based on how you plan to tune and play it. here are a couple of pics of mine




In the last picture the straightedge is resting on the frets, I'm measuring the 6th string action. This particular guitar has about 16 inch f/b radius (which I don't like) and is set up for a lot of slide playing

Author:  Quine [ Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Duolian Neck Reset? Advice needed

Thanks Freeman. I definitely can't do much adjustment with the saddle....looks like someone already trimmed that down before.
Can I get the dot markers out with some heat? I was thinking of using a soldering iron and a needle to get them out.
What's a good 12th fret action for a Duolian? The National website says they are set to 3/32" today. But, between the fat fat neck and small frets on this old model I'm not sure if I should go lower.

Author:  Freeman [ Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Duolian Neck Reset? Advice needed

As I recall heat works but I can't remember which of the dots has the screws under them. I think I ended up destroying them and putting in new ones. I've had the neck off both my spider and biscuit bridge resos and its been a while.

3/32 (0.095) would be a good goal but you might not be able to get there. Most old reso's have little or no fingerboard radius - that is great for playing slide but not too good for fretting. I think I end up with about 0.075 on the first string to about 0.095 on the 6th - I play a mix of slide and fretted and I try to keep it as flat as I can. Most resonators don't have any string compensation - the saddle is right at the scale so they tend to play really sharp. You can push the break point as far to the back of the saddle as possible - I've seen people go thru all kinds of gyrations to get better intonation. Obviously it doesn't matter with a slide.

If the cone is wonky this could be a good time to upgrade to a new NRP hot rod cone and a new biscuit/saddle. Would love to see some pictures

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