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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:20 am 
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Anyone?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:25 pm 
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Chowlie wrote:
Anyone?


Its overset, but not as much as before. In retrospect it would have been nice to address the angle when you had the f/b off - it would have been very easy to reset it then. However.....

Without actually measuring it I can only guess. If the fret plane can be made playable (ie perfectly flat with the relief controlled by string tension and your new truss rod) then I would leave it overset with the knowledge that if it does anything the action will go down. If you can't get the frets perfect then you need to decide how to do that - pull them and planing the board would get rid of the hump and maybe lower the fret plane.

To be any more helpful at this point I would want to know just exactly what the relief is, action at 1st and 12th frets, how bad the hump is, what the next fret clearance is doing as you move up the f/b.

Anyone else?



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: Chowlie (Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:11 pm)
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:15 pm 
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Freeman wrote:
Chowlie wrote:
Anyone?


Its overset, but not as much as before. In retrospect it would have been nice to address the angle when you had the f/b off - it would have been very easy to reset it then. However.....

Without actually measuring it I can only guess. If the fret plane can be made playable (ie perfectly flat with the relief controlled by string tension and your new truss rod) then I would leave it overset with the knowledge that if it does anything the action will go down. If you can't get the frets perfect then you need to decide how to do that - pull them and planing the board would get rid of the hump and maybe lower the fret plane.

To be any more helpful at this point I would want to know just exactly what the relief is, action at 1st and 12th frets, how bad the hump is, what the next fret clearance is doing as you move up the f/b.

Anyone else?


I can take measurements and get back to you. Thanks for the reply.

I already have a ~.075" shim under the saddle just to make it play without rattling, and there's very little saddle remaining in the bridge. I don't foresee being able to make the fret plane low enough by simply sanding out the f/b, but I'm saving that for a later date.

I think what I'm gonna have to do now is pull the f/b again (sadly) and go from there. I wouldn't mind having another shot at getting it more level this time anyway. My only question is how to go about correcting such a large degree of overset. Shim under the dovetail?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:36 pm 
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Pretty much what Freeman said. First be sure you know why it's over-set. If it is over-set because the neck joint was trimmed then you will have to add wood back to it. If it is over-set because something else is not right (like the neck block is loose) then that is what you should be looking at. The guitar needs to be evaluated completely - neck angle, fret board, saddle, top, bracing, neck joint, and so on so that you can determine exactly what the problem(s) is(are) then make a plan to fix it. Looking at one thing at a time can lead to even bigger problems sometimes.

As far as shimming the saddle goes, if that was the only problem, then just make a new saddle.

On the other hand, congrats for getting the fret board on and off and the truss rod replaced, that's not an easy job.

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These users thanked the author SteveSmith for the post: Chowlie (Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:42 pm)
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:26 pm 
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SteveSmith wrote:
Pretty much what Freeman said. First be sure you know why it's over-set. If it is over-set because the neck joint was trimmed then you will have to add wood back to it. If it is over-set because something else is not right (like the neck block is loose) then that is what you should be looking at. The guitar needs to be evaluated completely - neck angle, fret board, saddle, top, bracing, neck joint, and so on so that you can determine exactly what the problem(s) is(are) then make a plan to fix it. Looking at one thing at a time can lead to even bigger problems sometimes.

As far as shimming the saddle goes, if that was the only problem, then just make a new saddle.

On the other hand, congrats for getting the fret board on and off and the truss rod replaced, that's not an easy job.


I'll do my best to inspect all those areas and see what I find. The one assumption I'm going off of is that it left the factory in perfect shape, and it got damaged by the environment enough to cause most of this. (except for the truss rod - that was just by an idiot)

I've found a lot of evidence to suggest that it's sustained some degree of water damage. A rusty pickup screw:

Image

And some discoloration here and there:

Image

Image

Image

Since I'm already so deep in this project, I'd really much rather just pull the whole neck and attempt fixing it "right" as opposed to simply buying a taller saddle to band-aid it. Of course, we're still in the process of figuring out what caused this to begin with.

And thank you - I'm satisfied with how that particular job went... just not with how it sits right now. ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 6:57 pm 
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Nope, wasn't recommending a taller saddle to band aid it. Just saying if you have to have a taller saddle to make it right then make one, it's not that hard. I completely agree that the job should be done right. Of course I admit I occasionally do work on guitars that far exceeds the value of the instrument just because I want to do it right.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:17 pm 
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A few observations. First, if it were me I would continue - both as a learning experience and because I really think its going to come out OK. Second, as you know, it is infinitely harder to repair something like this than it is to control all the geometry during a build.

It is really unusual to see an overset neck and yours was from the start. You've got the top dome under control and that has brought the neck angle closer but there is still not good. Almost any structural issues - broken braces, water damage, etc is probably going to underset the neck - but keep looking.

The measurements are going to tell us a lot - how much relief do you really have, how bad is the hump, how about the rest of the frets? I wish we could easily go back to the neck with the f/b off - I would like to know how flat it is and what the geometry is at that time. I've got a big heavy 24 inch sanding beam that I put sticky back sandpaper on - I try to get the top of the neck perfectly flat and at the right angle before the f/b goes on.

Obviously if the angle can't be made right then the neck needs to come off - you'll remove material fro the top of the heel which opens a whole new can of worms (reverse hump, the neck moves towards the bridge so the intonation goes sharp, yadda yadda).

Anyway, lets see your measurements. Try fretting the E strings at the first fret and measuring the gap at the second, then do the second and measure third, right up the neck. Do the gaps get bigger, smaller, bigger and then smaller, maybe pinch of at one fret. Ideally you will have about the same gap all the way up the neck, maybe getting slightly larger, however I find that this little test tells me a lot about what is going on.

Hang in there - you've done good work so far. I really want to know why that neck angle is so bad.



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: Chowlie (Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:47 pm)
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:46 pm 
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SteveSmith wrote:
Nope, wasn't recommending a taller saddle to band aid it. Just saying if you have to have a taller saddle to make it right then make one, it's not that hard. I completely agree that the job should be done right. Of course I admit I occasionally do work on guitars that far exceeds the value of the instrument just because I want to do it right.


Very good - no offense intended! I hope you didn't take it that way.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:48 pm 
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Chowlie wrote:
SteveSmith wrote:
Nope, wasn't recommending a taller saddle to band aid it. Just saying if you have to have a taller saddle to make it right then make one, it's not that hard. I completely agree that the job should be done right. Of course I admit I occasionally do work on guitars that far exceeds the value of the instrument just because I want to do it right.


Very good - no offense intended! I hope you didn't take it that way.
No offense at all, just the normal challenge of communicating with the written word. I'm looking forward to seeing how you progress with this one. Lots of challenges in one package.

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These users thanked the author SteveSmith for the post: Chowlie (Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:52 pm)
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:41 pm 
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Freeman wrote:
A few observations. First, if it were me I would continue - both as a learning experience and because I really think its going to come out OK. Second, as you know, it is infinitely harder to repair something like this than it is to control all the geometry during a build.

It is really unusual to see an overset neck and yours was from the start. You've got the top dome under control and that has brought the neck angle closer but there is still not good. Almost any structural issues - broken braces, water damage, etc is probably going to underset the neck - but keep looking.

The measurements are going to tell us a lot - how much relief do you really have, how bad is the hump, how about the rest of the frets? I wish we could easily go back to the neck with the f/b off - I would like to know how flat it is and what the geometry is at that time. I've got a big heavy 24 inch sanding beam that I put sticky back sandpaper on - I try to get the top of the neck perfectly flat and at the right angle before the f/b goes on.

Obviously if the angle can't be made right then the neck needs to come off - you'll remove material fro the top of the heel which opens a whole new can of worms (reverse hump, the neck moves towards the bridge so the intonation goes sharp, yadda yadda).

Anyway, lets see your measurements. Try fretting the E strings at the first fret and measuring the gap at the second, then do the second and measure third, right up the neck. Do the gaps get bigger, smaller, bigger and then smaller, maybe pinch of at one fret. Ideally you will have about the same gap all the way up the neck, maybe getting slightly larger, however I find that this little test tells me a lot about what is going on.

Hang in there - you've done good work so far. I really want to know why that neck angle is so bad.


The forum logged me out and I had to re-type this... I'm gonna keep it shorter than I had it.

From what point do you think the neck was overset? I have a hard time seeing it leave the factory that way, but can certainly see it being caused by water or the environment it was stored in.

Neck relief was almost completely straight after I put in the new truss rod and adjusted it. The hump was probably sticking up about .030" more than the surrounding area.

Fret gap varied somewhat going up the neck, but was trending smaller every time I moved up.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:53 pm 
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I actually went ahead and took the f/b back off today. It seemed quite inevitable, and I really wanted to see what the neck angle looked like without it. At least it only took around 30 minutes this time around and not 5-ish hours.

I took several photos and posted them all below. From the look of things, the top of the guitar ran perfectly true with the neck all the way up to the soundhole. This seems problematic to me, because it means adjusting the neck angle will put a kink in the fretboard where it meets the body. But I will wait for a more professional opinion on how this can turn out.

Images with the straightedge level on the neck:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Images with the straightedge level on the guitar's top:

Image

Image

Image

It's almost as it the body of the guitar needs to come inward, closer to itself.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:23 am 
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Lets go back over your whole ordeal here - I want to make a few observations.

First, I'm going to assume that at sometime when it left the factory it had proper geometry. As I said a long time ago, that means the fret plane basically hits the top of the bridge. The other rule of thumb is that you have proper geometry if you have both acceptable action and about 1/8 inch of saddle sticking out of the slot - your Feb 10 picture shows way more than that (and your Feb 12 post reports a shim) so very simply you had a way overset neck when you started.

Necks get overset from two causes - dehydration or broken braces. You've tried to rehydrate it but I'm not sure you have truly done enough, When I get a really dry guitar I put a damp car washing sponge in a baggie with holes inside the guitar and another in the headstock area of the case and I put the guitar away for a month or more, checking the sponges every week or so. When the guitar has stabilized as much as its going to (it might never come back all the way) then, and only then, do I do anything else. I don't try to glue broke braces until it is rehydrated.

I'm going to add here that up to this point you have not measured anything on the guitar other than straightedge stuff (which is really important). You mentioned somewhere that you worked in a machine shop or something similar, yet you don't seem to own the basic measuring tools that you need to analyze this guitar.

On March 5 you show us the stripped truss rod. Is it really stripped or did someone just run the adjuster nut all the way off the threaded rod? It doesn't matter, its screwed up, but that also tells me that someone, probably the same person that shimmed the saddle was fooling around with the T/R and probably didn't have a clue what they were doing.

You did a nice job of getting the f/b off and fitting the new T/R, but that is the point of time when you could (and should) be really focused on the geometry. When I am building a guitar this is the time that I fuss and fiddle until I am absolutely sure that the neck angle is perfect and the fretboard is exactly where I want it.

Image

Image

I measure and make allowance for the frets that haven't been installed and the shape of the top under the F/B extension and all those little things that need to be perfect. Then, and only then, do I glue the F/B on (and I still know that I can finesse the angle during the final setting phase).

On June 5 you finally show a picture of the lower bout with a strightedge across it - it looks like the dome has somewhat returned, but again, there isn't a single measurement. You say the neck was "almost completely straight" - what does that mean? You estimate the hump at 30 thou - thats huge (frets are 50 or 60 thousands tall, I like the high E action around 60 thou, so your hump is a lot). How did the hump get there? You say you maybe didn't clamp it well enough, then take it off and do it again.

While you have the F/B off you do have a chance to reset the neck, altho you are going the opposite direction of almost every other neck set. You will be removing material from the top of the heel, that will move the neck closer to the body and affect the scale length. You may find that you need to shim the F/B extension under the 14th fret to keep it flat (or dropping off slightly to the sound hole). Remember that if the top comes up any more you'll now be underset so don't do anything until you are certain that its stable.

There are a lot of things I don't understand about your guitar and all of my suggestions are based on the pictures and information that you have provided. But my humble suggestions are the same as they were months ago - get it stable, get the geometry right, replace the truss rod, do the frets, fix the finish. Good luck.



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: Chowlie (Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:22 am)
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:42 am 
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Freeman wrote:
Lets go back over your whole ordeal here - I want to make a few observations.

First, I'm going to assume that at sometime when it left the factory it had proper geometry. As I said a long time ago, that means the fret plane basically hits the top of the bridge. The other rule of thumb is that you have proper geometry if you have both acceptable action and about 1/8 inch of saddle sticking out of the slot - your Feb 10 picture shows way more than that (and your Feb 12 post reports a shim) so very simply you had a way overset neck when you started.

Entirely true - it's always had a shim of some kind since I've had it. The strings would sit under the fret plane otherwise.

Necks get overset from two causes - dehydration or broken braces. You've tried to rehydrate it but I'm not sure you have truly done enough, When I get a really dry guitar I put a damp car washing sponge in a baggie with holes inside the guitar and another in the headstock area of the case and I put the guitar away for a month or more, checking the sponges every week or so. When the guitar has stabilized as much as its going to (it might never come back all the way) then, and only then, do I do anything else. I don't try to glue broke braces until it is rehydrated.

I can find no evidence of broken braces. Everything seems good from what I've observed, although it's certainly possible I could have missed something. I left the guitar in its case with a wet sponge inside the body of the guitar for over a month and didn't see any appreciable change. I later put a trash bag around the guitar's body with about a cup of water resting in the bottom, and then I saw it improve to where it is now.

I'm going to add here that up to this point you have not measured anything on the guitar other than straightedge stuff (which is really important). You mentioned somewhere that you worked in a machine shop or something similar, yet you don't seem to own the basic measuring tools that you need to analyze this guitar.

To which basic measuring tools are you referring? If I don't already have it, I can certainly obtain it.

On March 5 you show us the stripped truss rod. Is it really stripped or did someone just run the adjuster nut all the way off the threaded rod? It doesn't matter, its screwed up, but that also tells me that someone, probably the same person that shimmed the saddle was fooling around with the T/R and probably didn't have a clue what they were doing.

It looks like someone ran the adjuster all the way off the rod and then couldn't start back, permanently damaging the threads.
Image


You did a nice job of getting the f/b off and fitting the new T/R, but that is the point of time when you could (and should) be really focused on the geometry. When I am building a guitar this is the time that I fuss and fiddle until I am absolutely sure that the neck angle is perfect and the fretboard is exactly where I want it.

I agree - it was simply an ignorant move on my part to reassemble it when I did. And I mean that in the most literal way possible.

I measure and make allowance for the frets that haven't been installed and the shape of the top under the F/B extension and all those little things that need to be perfect. Then, and only then, do I glue the F/B on (and I still know that I can finesse the angle during the final setting phase).

On June 5 you finally show a picture of the lower bout with a strightedge across it - it looks like the dome has somewhat returned, but again, there isn't a single measurement. You say the neck was "almost completely straight" - what does that mean? You estimate the hump at 30 thou - thats huge (frets are 50 or 60 thousands tall, I like the high E action around 60 thou, so your hump is a lot). How did the hump get there? You say you maybe didn't clamp it well enough, then take it off and do it again.

Without using any of my gage pins or blocks, I would estimate the dome to now rise .150" higher than the sides. Not as much as some of my other guitars, but enough that, if everything else were right, the string action wouldn't be nearly as low as it actually is. One reason I went ahead with removing the f/b again was because I knew that, even if the dome did come up some more, it wouldn't be nearly enough to account for the crazy neck angle we're seeing.
And yes - I would say the hump in the fretboard was right at .030. Yes, it is huge. I'm still assuming it was not clamped well enough. This in itself was enough reason to remove it again and re-do. I'm already thinking of new ways to jig it.
When I said the neck was "almost completely straight" I just meant it had a relatively slight amount of inward relief.


While you have the F/B off you do have a chance to reset the neck, altho you are going the opposite direction of almost every other neck set. You will be removing material from the top of the heel, that will move the neck closer to the body and affect the scale length. You may find that you need to shim the F/B extension under the 14th fret to keep it flat (or dropping off slightly to the sound hole). Remember that if the top comes up any more you'll now be underset so don't do anything until you are certain that its stable.

There are a lot of things I don't understand about your guitar and all of my suggestions are based on the pictures and information that you have provided. But my humble suggestions are the same as they were months ago - get it stable, get the geometry right, replace the truss rod, do the frets, fix the finish. Good luck.


Thank you so much for that extensive reply - I left my comments in red. I'm starting to think that shimming under the 14th fret and up might be the only way to fix it, but I may try putting back in its "humidity bag" for another month just to make sure the top dome isn't coming up any more first.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:42 am 
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Chowlie wrote:
Freeman wrote:

Without using any of my gage pins or blocks, I would estimate the dome to now rise .150" higher than the sides. Not as much as some of my other guitars, but enough that, if everything else were right, the string action wouldn't be nearly as low as it actually is. One reason I went ahead with removing the f/b again was because I knew that, even if the dome did come up some more, it wouldn't be nearly enough to account for the crazy neck angle we're seeing.
And yes - I would say the hump in the fretboard was right at .030. Yes, it is huge. I'm still assuming it was not clamped well enough. This in itself was enough reason to remove it again and re-do. I'm already thinking of new ways to jig it.
When I said the neck was "almost completely straight" I just meant it had a relatively slight amount of inward relief.




Thank you so much for that extensive reply - I left my comments in red. I'm starting to think that shimming under the 14th fret and up might be the only way to fix it, but I may try putting back in its "humidity bag" for another month just to make sure the top dome isn't coming up any more first.


I wish I wan't the only person responding to this but since I seem to be I'll make one last comment. I think you pretty much nailed it here - the guitar has come to some sort of equilibrium and you do have a bit of a dome. 1/8 or 3/16 is pretty common gap at the edges - I doubt that you are going to get much more. If thats true, then you simply need to set the neck to work with that shape.

When I've reset necks the conditions have been quite different - they have always been underset and I'm trying to increase the angle and I've always done it with fretboard attached. However when I build a guitar from scratch I have very much the same conditions you do with the exception that the neck is loose. But basically the steps are the same.

I make the top of the neck perfectly flat. I've got a big long sanding bar (24 inches and darn heavy), I put sticky back sand paper on it and I sand the neck flat. Period. Then I set it in the body and futz around with the angle - usually I lightly clamp the f/b on it as shown and try to get the fretplane to hit the top of the bridge that I'm going to use. If I'm lucky the slight dome in the body carries thru to the area above the sound hole and the f/b sits nicely on the top - if I'm not lucky I need to work on that area. If the f/b plane drops of slightly from the body joint to the sound hole that is OK - that means the action above the 14th fret will go up slightly but (1) I rarely play up there, and (2) if it drops off I know it won't buzz. But the important thing is its flat from the nut to 14 and doesn't curve up after that.

Here I am doing the same thing on an archtop - it has a huge amount of dome to the top, the f/b extension stands proud of the body and has to have a shim under it and I've got a little stack of business cards simulating the frets - but the principal is the same, I want the neck angle such that the f/b plane is correct at the bridge.

Image

I think thats where you need to go next. Keep fiddling with it until its right, whether than means sanding the top of the neck or pulling it off and changing the angle only you can decide. It bothers me to pull the neck because its overset - you just don't see that and it doesn't make sense. But if thats what you have to do....

Once I'm happy with the neck angle and get it glued (or bolted) on I adjust it so its perfectly flat - absolutely no relief. My limited experience is that almost always string tension will pull a little bit of relief into the neck, probably too much, but before the strings go on I want it flat and I level the frets so it is. Again, there might be a little fall off above 14, for those frets I simply don't want a high one. But from 1 to 14 I want them flat.

If the frets are perfect I'll let the string tension pull in a little relief, if there is too much I'll take that out using the truss rod. I like 4 or 5 or 6 thousands measured at the 6th or 7th fret, with a nice smooth curve from one to 13 or 14. Once I have that I do the rest of the setup as usual.

I'm convinced that you can and will get it and that it is worth continuing. Its great experience, you are learning a lot and I think you are going to get it. Now I'll just crawl off to the side and watch the proceedings.



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: Chowlie (Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:53 am)
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:20 am 
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Freeman, kudos to you for such a comprehensive reply.

Chowlie, you have probably already thought of this - since the fret board is off it would be good to verify that both the bottom of the fretboard relative to the fret plane and the neck surface are flat.

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These users thanked the author SteveSmith for the post: Chowlie (Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:47 am)
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:19 pm 
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SteveSmith wrote:
Chowlie, you have probably already thought of this - since the fret board is off it would be good to verify that both the bottom of the fretboard relative to the fret plane and the neck surface are flat.


I usually fret my boards before gluing them to the neck and they almost always take a back bow because of the compression fretting. They pretty much flatten themselves out when I glue them. I would not necessarily expect Chowlie's to be flat

Image


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:24 pm 
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Freeman wrote:
SteveSmith wrote:
Chowlie, you have probably already thought of this - since the fret board is off it would be good to verify that both the bottom of the fretboard relative to the fret plane and the neck surface are flat.


I usually fret my boards before gluing them to the neck and they almost always take a back bow because of the compression fretting. They pretty much flatten themselves out when I glue them. I would not necessarily expect Chowlie's to be flat

Image


Agreed, but if you turn it over with the frets down and lightly clamp it to a flat surface, like a table saw, then the back of the board should be flat.

Also, I used to fret off the neck but I use Mario P's trick and just put some spacers on the end of the fret board and clamped it down in the middle for a few hours. That takes the bow out of it and it will lay flat. Now that I've gotten used to doing refrets I level the board and fret all the new ones on the neck too. It's not as convenient to do but does eliminate a few variables in the process.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:25 pm 
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Freeman wrote:
Here I am doing the same thing on an archtop - it has a huge amount of dome to the top, the f/b extension stands proud of the body and has to have a shim under it and I've got a little stack of business cards simulating the frets - but the principal is the same, I want the neck angle such that the f/b plane is correct at the bridge.

I think thats where you need to go next. Keep fiddling with it until its right, whether than means sanding the top of the neck or pulling it off and changing the angle only you can decide. It bothers me to pull the neck because its overset - you just don't see that and it doesn't make sense. But if thats what you have to do....

Once I'm happy with the neck angle and get it glued (or bolted) on I adjust it so its perfectly flat - absolutely no relief. My limited experience is that almost always string tension will pull a little bit of relief into the neck, probably too much, but before the strings go on I want it flat and I level the frets so it is. Again, there might be a little fall off above 14, for those frets I simply don't want a high one. But from 1 to 14 I want them flat.

I'm convinced that you can and will get it and that it is worth continuing. Its great experience, you are learning a lot and I think you are going to get it. Now I'll just crawl off to the side and watch the proceedings.


Thanks again for your knowledge - here are some more thoughts on it.

I got the neck and underside of the FB smooth again. Laying it back on the neck I can see that it lays very nicely, the hump from before was definitely just inadequate clamping.

Here's my neck joint. I've already removed some of that filler material, but breaking the glue joint loose may be problematic. I've read about steaming it loose, and I'm still looking into it. I'm considering drilling a small pilot hole in the empty area for the steam/heat to penetrate through.

Image

This is something I found very unusual. The straightedge rests on the lower bout and center of the guitar, with the upper bout sloping down.

Image

Or, if you balance it the other way, the lower bout appears far, far too low even though it already has about 1/8" of dome.

Image

It's as if somebody grabbed the guitar and bent it backwards over their knee. No idea how it could be this way. Seems too drastic even for a severe environmental change, but I don't what else could have caused it. All bracing is perfectly intact.

But I'm definitely leaning toward removing the neck and shimming the FB extension now, as I see no way in correcting this otherwise. I would still like to shim up the bottom side of the dovetail if it's possible though, rather than removing material from the top and potentially screwing up the intonation. I may even try bolting it back on rather than gluing, but that's just a passing thought at the moment.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:02 pm 
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That does seem like excessive dome from front to back but it goes counter to the way the forces are working on the guitar - normally they are pulling up on the lower bout, pushing the area between the bridge and sound hole down. Usually that part of the upper bout is almost flat, however it might have a little bit of fall off towards the neck.

What really concerns me is the dovetail itself. As you know, dovetails are elegant wood working joints where the angled sides pulls the joint tighter as the neck is pushed down into the head block. They look kind of like this when they are apart

Image

You can see a thin shim on the upper left (as a player would look at it) part of the mortise, that is common and is usually how one tightens a dovetail when they reset it. Normally glue is applied only to the angled portion, there is none on the cheek and nothing in the gap between the end of the neck and the head block. Yours looks like it is full of glue.

When we reset a neck one or two holes are drilled thru the 15th fret which goes right into that gap. Steam is injected, it works into the angled part of the joint and releases the glue, upward force on the bottom of the heel makes the neck slide up and out of the head block.

The only thing I can think of is that your guitar, like some other Japanese made ones, had the neck joint completely filled with glue, and to make matters worse, it might not be a glue that comes apart easily. Old yamahas are that way, it is often almost impossible to do a neck reset on them. Here is one that I had to saw the neck off and convert to bolt on

Image

Its invasive and ugly but it is possible to get nice playable action with some of the old guitars.

I'm not sure what to suggest for yours - have you tried clamping the f/b back so it doesn't have the hump and rechecking the angle (you might have to put a two small quick clamps on each side so you can get the straightedge down the middle). You might also be able to sand the bottom of the f/b slightly with more taken off the body end - that might get the angle down a hair (that could be dangerous tho).

Last thought - a tool that makes sanding necks and fretboards easier is a 24 inch aluminum level from a hardware store. There sides are very straight, put some 120 grit sticky back sandpaper on and you can maybe take a little more off the neck towards the body which would help your angle.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:16 am 
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Freeman wrote:
That does seem like excessive dome from front to back but it goes counter to the way the forces are working on the guitar - normally they are pulling up on the lower bout, pushing the area between the bridge and sound hole down. Usually that part of the upper bout is almost flat, however it might have a little bit of fall off towards the neck.


That's one thought I had as well. If an environmental cause is to blame for ANY sort or warping, wouldn't it go the other way?

Freeman wrote:
What really concerns me is the dovetail itself. As you know, dovetails are elegant wood working joints where the angled sides pulls the joint tighter as the neck is pushed down into the head block. They look kind of like this when they are apart

You can see a thin shim on the upper left (as a player would look at it) part of the mortise, that is common and is usually how one tightens a dovetail when they reset it. Normally glue is applied only to the angled portion, there is none on the cheek and nothing in the gap between the end of the neck and the head block. Yours looks like it is full of glue.

When we reset a neck one or two holes are drilled thru the 15th fret which goes right into that gap. Steam is injected, it works into the angled part of the joint and releases the glue, upward force on the bottom of the heel makes the neck slide up and out of the head block.

The only thing I can think of is that your guitar, like some other Japanese made ones, had the neck joint completely filled with glue, and to make matters worse, it might not be a glue that comes apart easily. Old yamahas are that way, it is often almost impossible to do a neck reset on them. Here is one that I had to saw the neck off and convert to bolt on

Its invasive and ugly but it is possible to get nice playable action with some of the old guitars.


Yes, that's a very good concern to have with mine... If it comes down to sawing off the neck to accomplish anything, I may just resort to making some taller saddles for the guitar and putting the fretboard back on correctly. In fact, that option is looking more and more enticing every day.

Freeman wrote:
I'm not sure what to suggest for yours - have you tried clamping the f/b back so it doesn't have the hump and rechecking the angle (you might have to put a two small quick clamps on each side so you can get the straightedge down the middle). You might also be able to sand the bottom of the f/b slightly with more taken off the body end - that might get the angle down a hair (that could be dangerous tho).


I haven't clamped it back on, but I have placed it on the neck and applied enough pressure with my straightedge that the F/B is flat against the neck. I think sanding the fretboard at an angle would ultimately do more hard than good - and wouldn't alter the geometry enough to make an adequate impact on things.

Freeman wrote:
Last thought - a tool that makes sanding necks and fretboards easier is a 24 inch aluminum level from a hardware store. There sides are very straight, put some 120 grit sticky back sandpaper on and you can maybe take a little more off the neck towards the body which would help your angle.


Good call, I'll pick one of those up soon. So far the only thing I've used is my 1-2-3 block, and I know it's really not long enough to make everything flat enough.

On another note, I emailed Takamine.jp and gave them all the details of my issue. I don't expect much back from them, but it really is starting to seem that the guitar left the factory with the odd neck angle.

Quote:
Hello,

I acquired this guitar on February 2nd 2018, used from a local person. I found that the truss rod threads were stripped, and the neck was severely overset. I attributed the stripped truss rod to negligence by a previous owner, but I am very confused as to why it has such a poor neck angle. I am writing in hope that someone can advise me on what could have caused such a defect, and whether it would have been possible for the guitar to have left the factory in such a condition. It's also a bit of a mystery as to how it came to be located in Central Kentucky, USA, as it seems to be made and labeled for the domestic Japanese market. Any information you could give me as to its previous ownership would be much appreciated, although I'm sure not much information of that sort even exists.

As to the general condition of the guitar, it is in excellent shape with very few cosmetic flaws. It appears almost new. All of the electronics and hardware function properly. No bracing is loose or cracked. The serial number is 51050134.

I have attached several photos of the guitar that will help identify it, as well as show the condition of the neck angle. I have all the original paperwork for the guitar (printed in Japanese), as well as the original warranty cards which have not been filled out. I highly doubt there is anything Takamine could do for me as far as warranty goes, as I am not the original owner, but I wanted to include that information.

Best regards,


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:30 pm 
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Today I started rounding up more tools. 24" level and double sided deadblow mallet from Lowe's, a set of Knipex end cutters from Amazon which I will grind flush in the surface grinder, and a (very) cheap fret crowning file from eBay which will either work well enough for one job or get thrown away.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:35 am 
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Chowlie wrote:
Today I started rounding up more tools. 24" level and double sided deadblow mallet from Lowe's, a set of Knipex end cutters from Amazon which I will grind flush in the surface grinder, and a (very) cheap fret crowning file from eBay which will either work well enough for one job or get thrown away.


My humble suggestion for tools are good quality measuring tools. A good 24 straightedge (which you have), a set of automotive feeler gauges (0.002 to 0.020 or thicker), a machinist's rule graduated in 32nds and 64ths. I find the StewMac fret action gauge one of my most used measuring tools - it doubles as a fret rocker and because I do almost all my setup measuring in decimal inches I find I use it more than the machinist's rule. I use a digital caliper a lot too - Grizzly Tools just had them on sale.

I have a dog eared copy of this that sits on the back of my work bench (or open next to the guitar that I'm working on)

https://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Books/Gu ... Guide.html

And if you've read any of my other rants, er, discussions about approaching setups you know that I have a spread sheet that I fill out for every guitar I work on BEFORE I start work. I offer it to anyone who wants to PM me their e-mail address - if nothing else it helps you think of each measurement that you need to take and gives you a place to write them down.

All the other tools I have purchased as I need them, but I contend that if you can't measure something you can't fix it.



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: Chowlie (Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:35 am)
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:45 am 
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Copy of "The Guitar Player's Repair Guide" purchased, along with a few other things.

I made a lot of good progress over the weekend - warning: lots of pics ahead

Pulled out all the frets

Image

Cleaned up the glue from the edges of the fretboard and binding.

Image

Glued and taped down a small piece of wood that came back off in the removal process.

Image

Decided to make myself a 6" and 18" straightedge with the 24" one that I bought. Much more comfortable to use!

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Center strip back in with some glue around the edges

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This FCA sets up so fast I had to go about three frets at a time.

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I didn't want to go overboard with the glue...

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This time I got the inner tube as tightly knotted as I could before putting any objects under it for pressure. I think it held much better this time around.

Image

One day later it was holding tension just fine. I took this opportunity to make sure there was enough glue in place and to measure for the new saddles I'm having Bob Colosi make for me.

Image

String action on the Low E 12th fret was right at .060 with no frets, which will amount to about .020 with a fret in place. Going for approximately .125" action starting out, I'm gonna have the new saddles made .200" taller than the stock ones.

Image

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Had to give the truss rod just a hair of tension for the middle to hit along with both ends.

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After cleaning up the dust and applying a bit of conditioner.

Image

I had a couple of spots about this big with some chipping. I'm sure it's mainly how I pulled the frets to blame. I didn't do any prep work, just wiggled them out with the pullers. I doubt I'll do anything about it for now, I don't think it will be too noticeable once strings and frets are on. I'm glad I sanded the whole fretboard flat though, it was pretty rough to begin with.

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Finish chipping

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This is probably the most noticeable spot, but at least it's on the bottom side. The binding seems to have shrunk a bit since I removed it, and I intend to replace the section from the last fret up to the sound hole.

Image

All in all, it's going much better now than it did last time.

Questions this round:

What is gonna be my best bet for repairing the finish? Applying some red dye/stain to the wood, build up some coats of poly over it, then polish smooth?
What will be my best way to prep the f/b for new frets? Clean the slot, put two or three drops of water in each, then tap in the fret?
Should I leave the fret ends long and trim them after they're installed, or measure/cut each one first? I don't see much way of trimming the frets over the f/b extension once they're in place.
Best tool for sanding and polishing out the fret ends?

I guess that's where I am for now. I'm about to set my new end nippers up in the surface grinder and them flat on the cutting edge.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:08 pm 
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A couple of comments and answers to your questions. (1) it helps to put a little heat on the frets when you are pulling them, especially if they were glued before (you don't know so I assume they have been). I just hold a little pencil soldering iron on the fret as I start to pull it. (2) The "conditioner" that you put on the board will make it harder to glue your frets in or do any repairs on the chip out. I have seen boards so well "conditioned" that CA glue will simply not stick. (3) I prefer to fret a board before its glued on but lots of people do it afterwards (and on refrets its often the only way). The problem with doing it with the board on the neck is that you have to figure out how to support the back while you hammer them in. The extension over the body is particularly hard - I have a couple of small heavy pieces of metal that I hold inside against the top while I'm hammering. Anyway, just some thoughts for next time.

Fixing the finish is going to be a big problem (I think I mentioned that at the very beginning). That guitar is finished with a catalyzed poly of some sort, you won't be able to duplicate it. In addition the red color is in the finish itself so you will need to tint your finish. My recommendation is to go to the Glue Boost sponsors ad at the top of the page and look at their products. Basically they sell superglue in various viscosities and dyes that can be used to tint them. They have a bunch of how to vids

As far as prep'ing and actually slotting the board, I would start by trying to clean as much as your conditioner off as possible with naphtha. Next clean out the slots completely - I take a piece of fret wire and file the barbs off - it want it to slide the full length of the slot without bottoming out. Thats the L shaped thing in the picture.

Image

Next you want to radius the fretwire to the same as your board - get it close. If anything you might want a little more radius than the board so the ends stay down. Cut each fret slightly oversize and file the tang so it just fits inside the binding. Each fret will be a different length, keep track of them. I made a little block of wood with an oversized slot in it, I measure the exact width and file to that point

Image

Image

On refrets and bound fretboards I put a drop of thin CA at the ends and one in the middle, then press or tap them in (or both). Clamp them with a curved caul while the CA kicks off. I leave the ends hang over the edge of the board, clip them back (make sure you don't twist the fret up out of the slot), then file and dress the ends. I tape off the body next to the neck, carefully trim the ends and run a small bastard file lengthwise along the edge at 45 degrees or so. You have to be careful and again, one more reason to fret it off the guitar. Once you get them in level the whole board (this time the tops of the frets, crown and polish).

For dressing the ends I use a couple of little jewelers files. The metal thing is an old draftsman's eraser shield, it keeps me from maring the board. At least tape between the frets. I also use my fret crowning files to round off the ends, sometimes I'll put a piece of 600 or so sandpaper in the little groove on the crowning file. Fine sandpaper, steel wool, Micromesh are all good for polishing frets. If you are going to use a Dremel be very careful, you can damage the plastic binding very easily.

Image

There are lots of good books and tutorials on fretting


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:03 pm 
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Freeman wrote:
A couple of comments and answers to your questions. (1) it helps to put a little heat on the frets when you are pulling them, especially if they were glued before (you don't know so I assume they have been). I just hold a little pencil soldering iron on the fret as I start to pull it. (2) The "conditioner" that you put on the board will make it harder to glue your frets in or do any repairs on the chip out. I have seen boards so well "conditioned" that CA glue will simply not stick. (3) I prefer to fret a board before its glued on but lots of people do it afterwards (and on refrets its often the only way). The problem with doing it with the board on the neck is that you have to figure out how to support the back while you hammer them in. The extension over the body is particularly hard - I have a couple of small heavy pieces of metal that I hold inside against the top while I'm hammering. Anyway, just some thoughts for next time.


Good call on the soldering iron... I only applied a bit of conditioner with a rag, not a whole bunch, so hopefully it won't hurt anything too badly. I was actually thinking it may help the barbs to go into the wood if it were softened up a bit first. Do you really think gluing the frets is necessary? And in this case, fretting after the f/b went on was a must so I could plane it flat first.

Freeman wrote:
Fixing the finish is going to be a big problem (I think I mentioned that at the very beginning). That guitar is finished with a catalyzed poly of some sort, you won't be able to duplicate it. In addition the red color is in the finish itself so you will need to tint your finish. My recommendation is to go to the Glue Boost sponsors ad at the top of the page and look at their products. Basically they sell superglue in various viscosities and dyes that can be used to tint them. They have a bunch of how to vids


I'll give that a look. Only other option I can think of is to maybe try staining the bare wood with something close, then layering clear poly on it. Or maybe stripping the neck entirely and finishing it with lacquer.

Freeman wrote:
As far as prep'ing and actually slotting the board, I would start by trying to clean as much as your conditioner off as possible with naphtha. Next clean out the slots completely - I take a piece of fret wire and file the barbs off - it want it to slide the full length of the slot without bottoming out. Thats the L shaped thing in the picture.

Next you want to radius the fretwire to the same as your board - get it close. If anything you might want a little more radius than the board so the ends stay down. Cut each fret slightly oversize and file the tang so it just fits inside the binding. Each fret will be a different length, keep track of them. I made a little block of wood with an oversized slot in it, I measure the exact width and file to that point

On refrets and bound fretboards I put a drop of thin CA at the ends and one in the middle, then press or tap them in (or both). Clamp them with a curved caul while the CA kicks off. I leave the ends hang over the edge of the board, clip them back (make sure you don't twist the fret up out of the slot), then file and dress the ends. I tape off the body next to the neck, carefully trim the ends and run a small bastard file lengthwise along the edge at 45 degrees or so. You have to be careful and again, one more reason to fret it off the guitar. Once you get them in level the whole board (this time the tops of the frets, crown and polish).

For dressing the ends I use a couple of little jewelers files. The metal thing is an old draftsman's eraser shield, it keeps me from maring the board. At least tape between the frets. I also use my fret crowning files to round off the ends, sometimes I'll put a piece of 600 or so sandpaper in the little groove on the crowning file. Fine sandpaper, steel wool, Micromesh are all good for polishing frets. If you are going to use a Dremel be very careful, you can damage the plastic binding very easily.

There are lots of good books and tutorials on fretting


Thanks, I appreciate all the good tips! :mrgreen:


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