Junk guitar neck reset

This is my mom's old guitar, nearly 50 years old. It spent most of its lifetime in the attic, and mom considered it junk at this point. I had a look at it. The finish isn't in the greatest of shape, the tuners were a little seized, and the neck, over the years, had bent forward slightly, making the action quite high.

Normally, one lowers the action on a guitar by lowering the bridge, but this guitar needed more adjustment than the bridge would allow.


With nothing to lose, and not wanting to spend too much time trying to fix it, I tried a very barbaric method of resetting the neck.

A neck reset normally involves carefully heating the neck joint to soften the glue and then slowly prying it off. I didn't have the equipment or patience for that, so I sawed off the connection between the body and the heel block.


I started with a dozuki saw (which has a very thin kerf) but had to switch to a flush trim saw to finish it off. I sawed through all of the neck, and just slightly into the fret board. Lucky there wasn't a metal truss rod.


With a slot cut this deep, the neck could be bent back and forth just slightly.


Next I filled the gap with wood glue. Just yellow LePage carpenter's glue. I used a strip of plastic to work it into the gap.


I then used a bar clamp to press the heel block against the guitar body. This bent the neck back by about the width of the kerf.


I then used sawdust to clean up the glue squeezeout.


After letting the glue dry for two days, I rubbed some brown paint into the joint. This rendered my "repair" almost invisible.

After that, I re-tensioned the old strings, and it held just fine.

This guitar is now much more playable than it was before. But not by me... I still don't know how to play a guitar!



See also:

Chris Pinney's
cigar box banjo
Pat Hawley's custom fan
fret eight-string guitar

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