1946 Epiphone Zephyr neck reset repair

If you have a string instrument of any kind that needs fixing, a mistake you made in building a new instrument that you need to "disappear," or a question about the ethics of altering an older instrument, ask here. Please note that it will be much easier for us to help you decide on the best repair method if you post some pictures of the problem.

1946 Epiphone Zephyr neck reset repair

Postby Brian Evans » Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:59 pm

In 2015, before I started building guitars, I had a neck reset done on my 1946 Zephyr. It failed within 6 months, and luthier did it again. It failed within 6 months, and I didn't bother to take it back. Today I decided that I could tackle this job with the skills I've learned building 5 archtops of my own. Step one - and to me the biggest challenge - remove the neck. I don't have a steam needle set up, so I took it out to the shop to just look at it a bit and decide the way forward. Strings off, on bench, neck is loose, rotating forward and back under hand pressure. Wiggle about five times, thumbs on heel, push, neck is off clean as a whistle. Why did it fail? guy used paper business card stock for full length shims on both sides, and very simply the middle of the paper card stock tore. Yay. $600 neck reset and he used business cards as shims. Now on to fixing it, the neck angle is quite off, the Zephyr has a tall non-adjustable pickup in the bridge position that needs clearance over it, bridge height needs to be around 1", so I need to assess the best way to achieve that. Great news is that the failure was so obvious - but I am still looking for any neck block issues, cracks, delamination, etc.

Brian
Brian Evans
 
Posts: 718
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:26 am
Location: Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Re: 1946 Epiphone Zephyr neck reset repair

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:28 am

I would be interested in seeing some pics Brian.
A neck reset can be one of the more tricky repairs, and we can all learn from your experience.
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
Gordon Bellerose
 
Posts: 1097
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 11:47 pm
Location: Edmonton AB. Canada

Re: 1946 Epiphone Zephyr neck reset repair

Postby Brian Evans » Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:36 am

I'll take some pictures today. The reason the business cards failed, and apparently they are a legit shim option per Frank Ford, is that the tapered joint snugged up only at the very top, near the fretboard. Down low, near the bottom of the joint, it was loose. That meant the paper crushed, disguised the fit, the paper low down was not tight in the joint and stressed in shear, and so tore. Having discovered this I can fix it. So far I have glued two shims to the neck tenon, so that I can work on the fit. Apparently experts can fit a joint by loose-fitting shims and believing that they stay in place and the fit doesn't change as you apply glue and close the joint, but that takes too much faith for me. Looking at the geometry of the joint any material removal on the cheeks to increase the angle of the neck will loosen the bottom of the tapered dovetail joint, so needing refitting after setting the angle. That didn't happen...

Edit: In the trivia department, my googling around to find pictures of Epiphone neck joints found me the nugget that Glen Campbell played an Epiphone Zephyr Regent, much modified, in the 1950's before he went to Los Angeles and became a member of the Wrecking Crew (and played bass in the Beach Boys, and became famous, etc.). Cool. He kept in all his life and it's the guitar he owned the longest, now in a hall of fame somewhere. My guitar was obviously a road warrior, judging by it's original case now held together with Gorilla tape...
Brian Evans
 
Posts: 718
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:26 am
Location: Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Re: 1946 Epiphone Zephyr neck reset repair

Postby Brian Evans » Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:33 pm

Job finished, no pictures - camera failed as I started to take them. Re-shimmed, finessed the joint until it locked solid and could not be rocked with hand pressure, added glue and clamps. Put it back together this morning. While it was apart I took the opportunity to drop-fill around 50 chips, scratches, dings with CA glue, scrape to level, and wet-sanded and polished the entire top. It looks wonderful, better than when I bought it.

Strung it up, started to play it and it was like putting on old old gloves, it was so familiar and perfect. Amazing, plays so lightly and the neck is perfect. I had to make a new topper for the bridge, the old one had been cut way down to suit the failed joint. So far so good, six months from now I will know if I did a good job or not... Now I need to repair the quite damaged finish around the neck heel, three resets have ended up with a fair bit of lacquer damage.
Brian Evans
 
Posts: 718
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:26 am
Location: Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia


Return to String Instrument Repair: Practical and Political Issues

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

Your purchase from these sites helps support the MIMForum, but only if you start at the links below!!!
Amazon music     Amazon books     Amazon tools     Rockler tools     Office Depot    

The MIMF is a member-supported forum, please consider supporting us with a donation, thanks!
 • Book store • Tool store • Links • 
cron