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repairing repairs, electric neck reset

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:27 pm
by adam johnson
Evening folks, used to hang out in these parts back around the turn of the century, place has changed abit since those days. Anyway I got this old 65' Melody Maker that had its neck broken off the body, looks like some of the body came with it as well. Who ever repaired it just sort stuck it on ran a dowel through the neck used a fair amount of some sort of glue with gap filling qualities, I assume epoxy, and than refinished it. Not surprisingly, the neck angle is abit off, about 0 degrees or so. and I have been debating how to go about repairing it for awhile now. I had hoped some time under tension would open up the old repair, but I am not that lucky, 6 months under tension and not even a crack in the finish. So I am here to seek advice, what would you all do?

Options I have considered:

Just make a new bridge to bring the action down the 1/8" or so needed. Simple and quick but I would not be able to use the vibrola. To use the vibrola I will need to raise the bridge at least 1/4" from its current, screwed down all the way.

Pull the finger board off, throw in an adjustable truss rod and throw the fingerboard back with a wedge shaped shim between it and the finger board. But there is at least one dowel through the board/neck/body could be a dowel over screw and there could be more hiden by the finish sticking into the back of the board. This guitar also had the neck break at the headstock, there is a dowel there as well and who knows what else hidden behind finish and fingerboard. So I am not real confident about the finger board coming off in any way cleanly if at all.

Plane the finger board down to be the shim, adjustable truss rod and put on a new finger board. Once again the unkown is the rub, there could be some metal in those old joints and there certainly is a good amount of epoxy in the neck break repair, I really do not car for the effect either can have on my plane blades but this is the current beat idea.

Just go at it and do what it takes to get the neck off and set properly. I suspect this would just end in tears.

So any other ideas? What would you do?

Thanks, Adam

Re: repairing repairs, electric neck reset

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:47 pm
by Gordon Bellerose
From your description, it sounds like this guitar went through a bad time. :o
Is it possible, or worthwhile to post a couple of pictures?

Re: repairing repairs, electric neck reset

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:16 am
by Brian Evans
I love old Melody Makers, I have a 1962. Unlike the SG they have the double cutaway with a body extension to help support the neck joint, and I guess this is what has failed. I guess I would have to have failed to come up with a way to get the neck and body separate, rebuild the body and reset the neck properly angled before I left it and tried the fingerboard ideas you have. Is this a Gibson - they came with the standard Gibbie truss rod. If yours doesn't have one it might be a copy of some sort.

Re: repairing repairs, electric neck reset

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:17 pm
by adam johnson
Things got busy for abit there. It is almost certainly a real melody maker and I the think the body extension is largely intact, and after a.little scraping it Is even more of a conundrum.

So I noticed.the dowel that went through the body/neck looked odd, the lacquer was crack all around it but perect condistion and a perfect circle of lacquer. So I scraped it away and surprise, not a dowel, looks like the back end of a threaded insert/screw. So I chip out the epoxy at the 20th fret thinking I would find the head of a bolt there, nope, looks to be a 3/8" brass slug there. I also removes the lacquer on the side off the neck above tthe body and find it.looks like some of the mahogany has been replaced with maple....

So I guess I will try slotting the end of the bolt in the insert and see if I can back it in/out, unless someone else has an idea.

Pictures fo those who like such things. In the side shotof the neck at the body you can see some extra deep cracks in the finish, I assume for now these are the glue lines of the break, suggests someone swung it like a literal ax and made good contact with what they swung at.

Edit; I suspect the truss rod was damaged in the neck break and decided.to be ignored. In the right light you can just make out the outline of the filled in truss rod access in the headstock lacquer, the the screw holes for the cover plate are still there.

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Adam

Re: repairing repairs, electric neck reset

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:03 am
by Barry Daniels
The neck has a lot of the original wood missing. Obviously the first repair was poorly done but I would not try to redo it. But I would do a cosmetic cover up to hide the ugliness.

Re: repairing repairs, electric neck reset

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 6:53 pm
by adam johnson
Barry Daniels wrote:The neck has a lot of the original wood missing. Obviously the first repair was poorly done but I would not try to redo it. But I would do a cosmetic cover up to hide the ugliness.


I am not to concerned with cosmetics, I am more worried about the neck angle. As long as someone else did it I can tolerate ugly and functional.

Adam

Re: repairing repairs, electric neck reset

PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:05 pm
by Brian Evans
I thought I would dig out my 1962 Melody Maker and measure it to give you a reference. It has a neck angle of 2 degrees and string height at the middle of the bridge of just under 3/4". I would be really tempted to take that neck off (with a saw), repair the body and establish the neck angle in the mortise, and make a new neck for it, maybe salvaging the fretboard before you take off the neck. You can get the correct Gibson decal, and the neck is a super simple one piece of mahogany neck.

Re: repairing repairs, electric neck reset

PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:17 pm
by adam johnson
I would have expected more than 2 degrees, I might be a degree or so negative. Look. pretty much flat, but I never have bothered to measure. The reasonable side of me agrees with you on the neck and even leans me toward just cutting off the neck extension and dovetailing on a new one, but I will at least give it a go, I want to try and figure out how this hardware in the neck works, its sort of like one of those metal puzzles, I need to get the ring off the horse shoes.

I was going to dig out the epoxy fill at the first fret tonight and see if it has any surprises like the 20th fret did, but a rush job came in today so who knows when that will happen. I am pretty sure who ever did the neck set also put the hole in the first fret, it does not match with the clear or the black epoxy on the neck patch, it also does not seem to be epoxy, did not adhere to the wood at all, it also has an odd consistency.

Thanks for the neck angle, that will come in handy.

Adam