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Earlewine Neck Jig
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Author:  XevKai [ Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:48 am ]
Post subject:  Earlewine Neck Jig

So, I've been refretting successfully for years now with great results. But I have been staring at the Erlewine Neck Jig for quite some time now. Do any of you actually own one and use it regularly? Do You like it? Is it worth it, or just more of an OCD satisfaction thing.

Author:  Chris Pile [ Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Earlewine Neck Jig

I have one from the 80's - looks a lot different than the new ones... Works great - no complaints!

Author:  Haans [ Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Earlewine Neck Jig

Not sayin' that it's not a good jig, but OMG, the price!
I had the old jig that was made of wood, but I have to admit that in the early 70's I started out with a 2x4 jig made about 6' long and in a rectangular box. That jig was originally made by Gary Wagner, who ended up in Burien, WA, somewhere near Seattle. He started his shop in St. Paul, MN, and was a Martin authorized repairman of very high standards. I inherited the jig when he moved. Guitars sat in the jig with adjustable cradles front and back, snugged up and the box clamped with cam clamps. The neck was blocked up with the strings on it and once a guitar was propped up, the strings were removed and you sat on the jig and leveled the F/B or frets.
It worked. That's all. The Earlywine jig is the same thing only fancier. When I switched to mandolins, I made a smaller jig that was just a cross of 6/4 ash. Same cam clamps to hold the box and neck blocked up the same. Worked.
I guess what I am saying is I did quite a few mods to the Stew Mac jig...might as well get a good idea of how it works and just build one of your own. Fancy dial indicators and such do get you relatively closer and more finely adjusted, but I never had any problems with the 2x4 or cross. Important part is working slowly and making sure you are STRAIGHT. Good straight edge helps. You can buy a few dial indicators if you like and make your own strap for the peg-head.
It's all about saving a buck...

Author:  Hesh [ Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Earlewine Neck Jig

Hi Joe:

Here's a link to a recent thread on the subject:

To summarize my own thoughts since we had one:

1) Not at all necessary to do superb fret work
2) Might be a good teaching tool but.... I can think of lots of things I would rather have first and get more use out of.
3) Takes up a lot of space
4) Excellent to hang aprons on and makes a great catch-all

Dan's a friend and we know that he spent over ten years developing the jig and at least three iterations of it now. It is good for visual confirmation of "rubber necks" and gravity etc.

But at the end of the day we've never had a call where someone asks if we have one and use it for fret work. Nor have we ever had a situation where we thought that we needed one. Dave did build his own 12 years or so ago and it so very unused that we took it apart and used the dial indicators for other more common and useful things.

ROI (return on investment) is important to small businesses and IME this jig is not necessary and will not improve your ROI. No offensive to Dan or anyone who uses them or has them. We just find that even with the very high volume of fret work that we do it's not necessary.

Author:  fingerstyle1978 [ Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Earlewine Neck Jig

Never heard of that until right now. So I looked it up. Can't imagine where I'd put it. For that kind of cash there a bunch of other things I'd rather have instead though, but that's just me.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Author:  XevKai [ Fri May 19, 2017 9:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Earlewine Neck Jig

Well, I did it. I was able to get a tax return this year so I decided to spend (read: blow it) on this.

Here's my review:
Got the neck jig finally. After years of doing levels by feel, I finally wanted to SEE what my neck is doing while I am working on it. The affect gravity has on the neck is mind blowing when you see it for yourself on the gauges. I've seen as much as a .020 difference from playing position to working position. That's plenty of fret buzz causing movement for sure!

Setting it up was fairly easy. I am regretting not getting the stand and vise with it though. Moving the entire jig with a guitar mounted can be scary.. The only issue I had with it, is that the machining is a little rough around the edges. Enough to slice into a finger without mercy. So break out your files and round those edges before setting it up! Your finger will thank you... Mine is still a bit angry with me.

Do you need this? No, with experience you can do accurate fretwork without. But this takes 20 years of experience out of the equation and gets you turning over accurate fret jobs ASAP! So do you want this? YES! Worthwhile investment in the long run.


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