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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:16 am 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:31 pm
Posts: 49
I have a 1952 Gretsch Electro 2 I picked up at a decent price a while back as a project. It had been refinished Blonde from it's original sunburst and somebody had done a poor job of it. Some careful wet sanding and buffing improved that drastically and now it's quite handsome.
It also , very early in it's life had been factory re-necked with a 54 country club neck( or so the experts say) Certainly teh neck is not original and definitely of the 1954-55ish country club era.

Here's a link to the original restoration thread
http://gretschpages.com/forum/vintage-g ... 991/page1/

Anyway if the result was from a factory reset it wasn't very impressive. the neck was high on the treble side and angled diagonally across the body towards the bass side. (i compensated when I added a bigsby) It's a nice feeling and playing neck, I like it. However it also had a gap at the heel and upon further examination proved to be loose. I couldn't knock it off like my 55 convertible neck so I fashioned a steamer and a neck removal jib and steamed it off quite easily. It was my first time doing that and though slightly nerve-wracking I enjoyed the process a lot.

There were some interesting discoveries made.
It seems the dovetail tenon for the original Electro 2 guitars was much deeper, longer, and wider than those used in the later country club guitars. So the mortise/pocket was filled with shims, and teh tenon was shimmed on both sides and on the but of tenon. Some of them are a little kooky so I might remove them,
I'm curious about a couple things:

-Is it mostly necessary just to have good gluing contact on the sides of the dovetail?
- would it be best to remove all the old shims and start anew?
- and if so is it best to pack out the mortise to fit the smaller dovetail oft he neck or visa versa, or both,..or does it matter?

Any advice or insight on this process is appreciated!
I'm including some pictures of my cobbled together steamer and removal jig also close ups of the mortise and tenon and the crazy angle the heel was carved at (Perhaps to compensate for a tendency of the neck to want to angle towards the bass side??)
I've since cleaned almost all the excess glue of but the shims are currently still in place

it's a good guitar to work on because as it's mine and also already had it's value compromise a lot I'm not terribly worried about the finish etc etc.
For fun I'm also including a picture of it alongside my 55 Convertible. I like this big old wonky ply archtops. I know they're not fine luthiery but as electric guitars they sound lovely and have lot's of personality and their considerable beauty always inspires me to pick them up and play.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 6:00 am 
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First name: Chris
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I prefer a tight fit with glue on most surfaces, but have worked on plenty of Gibsons down through the decades that had substantial gaps and glue contact of less than one square inch. Seems to me you have this Gretsch well in hand. No need to make excuses for them. Gretsch is an honorable name with a long tradition of quality instruments. Drive on, sir!

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:02 pm 
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Mahogany
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Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:00 pm
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Location: Australia
The place you don't want or need contact is between the tenon and the back of the pocket. That shim glued on the end of the tenon is completely unnecessary and should be removed. You just want contact between the angled faces at the side of the tenon and the pocket, and between the neck cheeks and the outside of the body. These should be tight enough that you only use glue to prevent it sliding out upwards, not as a gap filler.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:19 am 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:31 pm
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Thanks
All the old shims have been removed and the moritise and tenon mostly cleaned up. except for the mahogany 'plug' in the bottom of the tenon which I'll dig out. I guess I'll go with building up the tenon with thick mahogany shins and I'll probably give hide glue a whirl on this one. I used titebond on the Convertible and it worked well but it did grab really fast which was a bit freaky as I had fine tuned it to a really tight fit.

Anyway this neck is a little freaky at the extension end, prior to removal the fretboard was quite high on the treble side, so much so that the DeArmond pickups had soft shims under them allowing them to be angled up on the treble side to compensate. Also at some previous time the fretboard had been planed flat so that on the treble side it pretty well comes to a point at the end. Check out the pictures. You can see the binding tapering to a point on the treble side. Lying naturally on the board you can see the heel is canted off to the side. If you straighten out the heel you can see how the board has been planed and the underside of the extension is canted up on the treble side. Happily the board itself is quite flat and the guitar played well despite the slightly angled fretboard.
The underside of the extension had already been previous been taken down mostly on the treble side right at the tenon, probably in an attempt to compensate for this.

It wants to sit that way when you push the neck up tight to the top and side. Should I leave it that way?
To cant it up (via a very thin shim under the extension on the bass side) on the bass side to try and level it, puts the heel a little out of whack. One could split the difference, effect some change but not so much the heel looks wonky at the body.
Do you think it's worth it. I can live with the previous angle, however kooky, It is my guitar
If someone has a brilliant idea how it could be levelled without it being a total pain in the @$$ I'd appreciate it.
I'll include pictures of the cleaned up mortise and tenon, the wonky fret board end and how it looked before the removal


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:26 pm 
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Koa
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Why does the neck binding thin down to a point? Has the fingerboard been filed down that much?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:50 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:31 pm
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Yeah I mentioned that in my post, though perhaps my choice of words wasn't entirely clear.
This is thought to be a factory re-neck done in the 50s, If so it really looks like they grabbed a neck off the 2nd's pile, slammed it on and tried to make it work...It does actually work , and I'm pretty picky about function. However I wouldn't say it was 'well done'.
I have my shim material, i'm picking up some hide glue granules tomorrow morn and i will see what happens. I suspect I will just securely fit it as it was but with a slightly better angled and lined up better on the top. i think the tilted board will probably have to remain unless somebody has a brilliant idea other than a new neck.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:26 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:00 pm
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Location: Australia
Barry Daniels wrote:
Why does the neck binding thin down to a point? Has the fingerboard been filed down that much?


There was probably a kink at the neck extension joint when the board was sanded level. Can't do anything about that unless you want to replace the fretboard and neck extension (not recommended)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:28 pm 
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Mahogany
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The fretboard extension is attached very well. I guess it could've had a twist in it.
It really looks like the heel wasn't exactly at right angles to the board/extension


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:30 am 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:31 pm
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Neck back on and fitting tightly
I'll string it up tomorrow and see what happens though the fit was really tight and not moving so hopefully it should be fine.
I managed to get the fretboard centred on the body (down the middle) and I split the difference on the fretboard being higher on the treble side. It's now about 2mm/1/16" higher which is a slight improvement but not so much the heel looks too askew. Pictures to follow.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:04 am 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:31 pm
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Pretty well entirely reassembled. Seems to have more sustain and ring. Clearer sounding too, a bit more acoustic tone...however I did put new strings on it after a couple months so that could be part of it. The neck was really quite loose. I could wiggle it before. Solid as a rock now and tight fitting. Very good break angle and bridge height 1" .

Some boudoir shots and then a shot of the new MOP fret marker I had to make(the old one was paper thin..and actually had very old news paper behind it!) ,neck join(black discolouration on the heel is likely from the original finish removal prior to my owning the guitar, it was like that when I got it. Originally was a sunburst) and break angle(excuse the ugly sintra pickup shims. Done quickly, They'll be dressed up a little.)
Overall I'm quite happy and a hot hide glue convert.


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Last edited by Toxophilite on Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:10 am 
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I salute you, sir!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:01 am 
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Nice job. Always good to see the old ones turned back into players [:Y:]

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