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 Post subject: Epiphone Texan 12 string
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:56 pm 
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Walnut
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First name: Rick
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Hey all, I am trying to learn guitar repair. I have picked up some broken and worn out guitars to learn on. Got them for nothing, and they aren't anything special, so I figured they be good to learn on.
Anyway, I have this Epiphone Texan 12 string that was busted up pretty good. It has a bolt on neck. I have most of the repairs done, but when I bolt the neck on it can be made to move side to side. I can't get it tight enough to not move.
I guess I'm wondering if any of you can give me some idea on how to fix it. I know the block the neck bolts to is solid. It's slipping on the block.
Any help would be very much appreciated.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:49 pm 
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Koa
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Is it really a bolted neck or screws? As I recall these guitars, the screws are recessed under a plate on the back and the heel is relatively shallow. That leads me to believe the screw threads in the heel are probably worn out. If tha'ts true you could drill and plug the holes, then run the screws in and re thread. You might be able to change to the neck size bigger screw, altho the very best would be to convert to a true bolt on (put inserts in the heel, use machine bolts). It is possible that some of the play can be removed with shims.

How is the neck angle?



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: Ricklt (Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:23 am)
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:32 am 
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Walnut
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It's screws. Neck angle is good.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:54 am 
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Koa
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Ricklt wrote:
It's screws. Neck angle is good.

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And the neck only wiggles from side to side? Has the angle always been good or did you shim the pocket or remove some wood? If you put a straightedge on the frets and look at the end where is it relative to the top of the bridge (as I recall these have that funky adjustable saddle insert). When you pull string tension does the end of the straightedge move relative to the top of the bridge?

Are these the original screws and do you know if they are the correct length and diameter? They should have some clearance in the body holes, the threads should only be in the neck itself. Can you pull the neck off and take a picture of the pocket and tenon?



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: Ricklt (Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:23 am)
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:32 pm 
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Walnut
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Will take some pictures as soon as I can. I think the screws are original. The action is a bit higher than I really like it. Will do some measurements of string height.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:12 pm 
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Walnut
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I'm going to give some more information about this guitar. The block that the neck screwed to was broken loose. As you can see in the second pic the sound hole is damaged. Someone had put screws in under the neck to try to secure the block.
I know this is not worth the work I'm putting into it, but I'm doing it to learn how to repair guitars.
I took the back off completely, and found 2 braces missing. 1 on the top and 1 on the back. I took the neck block totally out of the body cleaned all the old glue off the block and body, scraping and sanding until I was back to clean wood again. I then reglued the block made new braces and glued them in place. I cleaned the glue off of the back and the purfling and replaced the back. I'm not worrying about the cosmetics of it too much, but am trying to make it play as well as possible. Again I know it's not really worth it. This is my way of trying to learn guitar repair.
The neck moves side to side. Don't know how to measure the amount of movement, but it's enough that the high E string will go off the fret.
I need to replace the neck screws. The heads are worn out.
ImageImageImageImage

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:05 pm 
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Koa
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Sounds to me like the neck pocket is really worn and was probably not a great fit to begin with? Also maybe those screw holes in the neck are so worn the neck screws screw in but no longer bite for lack of a better term. Probably filling and re-drilling the holes will get you to a place where the neck is held securely. Maybe add an even amount of shims on either side of the neck as well so as not to disturb the center line, but to improve the fit? I've worked on lots of fender style bolt-on's where if the screws were loosened a little bit there was a lot of play, even as much as you're describing.



These users thanked the author Conor_Searl for the post: Ricklt (Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:23 am)
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:59 pm 
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Koa
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I totally support your efforts to fix this guitar and learn by the experience but it may be a huge amount of effort for naught. This isn't a popular neck joint option for an acoustic guitar, much less a 12 string, because it really isn't strong enough. Screw on necks are popular on electrics for three reasons - they are cheap to manufacture, they can be done on an assembly line, and an electric guitar has about 120 pounds of tension vs the 175 on a 6 string and 240 or more on a 12. You need to first make the neck block of the guitar one hundred percent structurally sound, then remedy the issues with the screws themselves - replace enough wood in the neck that you can get good threads with new (and correct) screws. This isn't trivial. An elegant solution would be to drill the neck heel and install screw in inserts, then you can truly use bolts to hole the neck on (many of the necks on the guitars that I build have inserts and bolts but they are a totally different configuration).

All of the damage I see around the sound hole tells me the neck block has been shifting around - you may find that it needs additional bracing to hold it in place. The screw holes in the neck heel look totally blown out - you could drill them out and glue in some dowel but then your screws would be going into end grain - it would be far better to make a big enough insert that your screws are in totally sound wood.

Your comment about the action being high bothers me a bit - it is very possible that the neck angle is not good as you stated. I can't tell anything with saddle missing from the bridge, but he rule of thumb is that the fret plane should just hit the top of the wooden part of the bridge. If the neck angle is not good then you do have the ability to correct it as you work with getting the neck solid.

I'm not trying to discourage you - keep at it and let us know what you learn.



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: Ricklt (Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:23 am)
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:29 am 
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Walnut
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I appreciate all the input. I think I will get the inserts and bolts and do that right. This guitar will never be worth anything but I just want to be able to play it. Thanks again and I will keep you posted.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 3:51 pm 
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Koa
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Dan Erlewine has a section on repairing blown out screw holes on Fender necks in his book on guitar repair (if you are going to do repairs you should own that book). This would apply directly to yours. He also shows installing the inserts - the big problem that I see would be jigging up to hold your neck in perfect alignment in your drill press - the inserts must be on exactly the correct centers and perpendicular to the back side of the neck in all directions. Of course since the fretboard is radiused (and maybe sloping slightly) you will need some way to hold that while you drill.

I use inserts in my acoustic necks - completely different configuration - and getting two of them in alignment can be a bit of an effort.



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: Ricklt (Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:23 am)
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:25 am 
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Walnut
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I have that book. It's really good. Have learned a lot from it.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:33 pm 
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Walnut
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Another question for you. I have seen kits on eBay that have the inserts and bolts. They all have 8-32 bolts which look really small to me.
I read in Dan Erlewine's Guitar Player Repair Guide that he uses 10-32 bolts. I don't want to have to do this twice if the smaller bolts aren't strong enough.
What do you think? It is a 12 string.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:38 pm 
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Walnut
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I did it. I used the 10-32's since it is a 12 string. My first one and it worked great. I very much appreciate all the input. You guys are great. Thank you very much.Image

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:10 pm 
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Koa
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Good job. I happen to use two 1/4-20s for the inserts on my necks.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:58 pm 
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Walnut
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Got another question. As you can see from the picture there's a fret right next to the nut on this guitar. I don't think it's high enough, or tall enough might be a better way to put it. These are supposed to be higher than the other frets aren't they?Image

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:07 pm 
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This is called a zero fret.
In an ideal world, it would be the same height as the other frets, but sometimes it has to be a bit taller if string buzz is a problem that cannot be easily corrected otherwise.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:42 am 
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A zero fret does not need to be taller than the other frets. In an old guitar (and especially a 12) the zero fret can be more worn down by constant string pressure. Is it showing groving or pitting (hard to tell from the photo)?

The damage around the sound hole tells a classic story. This guitar has got overheated (typically by being left in a hot car). The glue holding the neck block and braces softened with heat. The string tension (12 of them in this case) pulled the neck block forward and snapped the soundboard where it was glued to the block. This is probably also when the missing braces became unglued. This is pretty much a terminal event for most guitars - it takes major surgery to get the pieces in correct alignment again. If you visit Frank Ford's pages at frets.com you will find a case study where Dr Ford has done the full restoration, on a D-45 no less.

http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Luthier ... crack.html
I am worried that your photos still show some major distortion of the soundboard so the neck block is probably still tilted forward (explaining the high action).

Agree that the screw holes seem blown out, and maybe the pocket is over-sized. That would explain the ability of the neck to rotate side-to-side in the pocket. Does it also have the other typical maladies of an old 12-string? These are a bellied soundboard below the bridge, causing bridge rotation, and maybe the bridge also lifting at the back. I don't want to sound negative, but this might be an instrument that is beyond salvation.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:00 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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What Mark said. The guitar is not repaired yet.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 11:50 am 
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Koa
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I'm in the same boat as you Rick. I've been learning repairs, and have adopted a few of these kinds of projects in the hopes of honing my chops, and while I still feel it is a noble pursuit, I'm increasingly questioning the value of learning to do repairs that I'm realizing I will never take on in the real world pursuit of earning an income. The reality is that not only are some instruments just not worth the time and financial investment (something that I hate and think is incredibly sad), but also because of the nature of the construction on some of these inexpensive instruments the way these repairs play out ends up being either incredibly different than on a more serviceable instrument, or something you'd never have to actually deal with.

Another reason I've started shying away from project guitars like this is that as I get more confident in the work I'm doing and have started to grow a clientele base for the things that I can do, my time is becoming more valuable, and having a bunch of guitars in varying states of repair littering the corners of my shop is probably one of my greatest sources of stress.

But I still have so much to learn, and I'm still very hesitant to use a clients guitar for my learning curve, and would never do it with out a very frank conversation from the outset. So my method now for growing my chops has been to simply be a little more choosy about what I take on. I'm learning there will always be broken guitars readily available to take on if you're looking for them. But now I really only adopt guitars that I would be happy handing to one of my guitar students (my main gig) once finished. And I look for the projects where the issues are a little easier to identify and define. I understand that there are super heroes out there that can take a severely abused Martin from the 30's pull it apart and restore and recreate it, and I'd love to get there one day, but I'm not sure the path lies through bandaging $50 garage sale specials. I could be wrong though.

I know you never asked for opinions on whether these jobs were worth doing, so I'm sorry if I've over stepped. It's just something I've been wrestling with over the past few months so thought I'd share.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:49 pm 
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In my experience, learning which guitars are not worth repairing was one of my more valuable and stress-reducing lessons.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:55 pm 
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Koa
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Conor_Searl wrote:
I know you never asked for opinions on whether these jobs were worth doing, so I'm sorry if I've over stepped. It's just something I've been wrestling with over the past few months so thought I'd share.


That is actually something that I have been struggling with over the past few months. I do repairs as a hobby, I get token payment for my work but its strictly beer money (and ticks my wife off because it screws up our income taxes). I have traditionally shied away from valuable and vintage instruments - I know I can reset the neck on an old Martin but I believe the owner should have a paper trail to someone "authorized" (for a lot of reasons). However I'll also do repairs on a guitar that no one else will touch.

The problem is that even doing this as a hobby I get totally frustrated when I can't satisfy myself - my standards are high even if the guitar is a piece of junk. On the other hand, there is no one else locally that can or will do these repairs and I keep telling myself that its worth the effort if I can make an instrument playable again.

I just spent two days (I charged for two hours) putting a pickup in a very nice custom guitar - everything went to poop. There was a brace in the way of the soundhole electronics, the end block was too thick for the jack and after I got it all together I discovered the bottom of the saddle slot wasn't flat. I spent several hours futzing with the string to string balance (and included a note to the owner saying if he wasn't happy I'd make a new saddle). Took the guitar back to the store I "work" for and told them that was the last Fishman I would ever install.

Got a call the next day from the owner telling me how much he liked it.

I'll add that the number of luthiers who got their starts doing repairs is legendary - repairs teach you creativity and shows you what will go wrong with an instrument. Some people make a very good living doing repairs (read anything by Evan Gluck). But I'll tell you this, building is infinitely easier than fixing.

ps - sorry about the thread drift.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:50 pm 
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Walnut
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First name: Rick
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Focus: Repair
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This guitar was given to me. I knew before I started that it wasn't worth fixing. The only reason I started this is that I wanted to learn. It will never be truly correct, but it is playable and actually sounds pretty good. The sound hole I don't yet have enough experience to repair. I have reglued the neck block. I had the back off the block totally out, cleaned all the old glue out and reglued everything completely.
It's a learning project. I don't have any customers as yet. I don't know if I will ever be good enough for that. I hope I will but only time will tell. I didn't do this to make money from it. I know that won't happen.
I appreciate all the input.

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