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Neck Joint Database

Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 3:16 pm
by Ryan Mazzocco
I'm doing a repair on an 70 era Alvarez guitar (J-200 clone lawsuit) and it's just a total mess. The current owner inherited it from his grandpa who took it upon himself to do a lot of work on it. Probably not the recommended way of doing things, and not something I could ever get away with, but he made it work. And more power to him.
He did a neck reset in a very... unorthodox... way..
Rather than removing the neck he removed the heel cap, made a saw cut up the heel and ran a carriage bolt through the heel through the headblock inside and closed up the saw kerf. And there ya go, poor man's neck reset.
Now, although this repair not a good way to do this, I kind of understand the problems he ran into and how with limited knowledge and experience this may seem a plausible way to go if you're not worried at all about aesthetics.
I noticed the he had also removed the fretboard at some time, for some reason and I was worried about this joint besides the fact that the truss rod was not working correctly. I removed the fretboard and saw what could potentially be a problem. Now, if I were the one doing the neck reset on this guitar, I would have tried to do it the "correct" way, which would have been wrong. With the fretboard off I can see that there is no visible dovetail pocket. In this case I'm sure it's a doweled butt joint. But sometimes you get that weird joint where they dovetail it in and then lay the top over the joint. In this case the truss rod was also extended and glued down into a routed pocket in the headblock. So, if someone tried to steam a neck like this off they would have made a huge mistake.
Another guitar I did was Seagull S6. This also was supposed to be a simple straight forward neck removal, but when I couldn't get the neck off I had to do a little more research and found out that they started using epoxy in the joint. From reading through forums and facebook groups, this sort of thing seems to happen a lot, and not just to me.
So this all got me thinking... Is there a resource available with a list of guitar models and their odd neck joint? If not, could we as a community start putting together a database of neck joint? That way when we have a guitar come in that's not an obvious neck joint we can draw on our collective experience and knowledge for that information. No guessing, no getting it wrong.

Re: Neck Joint Database

Posted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:35 am
by Brian Evans
I was sure I saw this somewhere, and found it on A good starting point. I talked to a luthier who was doing a similar cut and bolt neck reset on a Yamaha, I think. ... et-gallery

Re: Neck Joint Database

Posted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:42 pm
by Freeman Keller
Ryan, such a database would be very helpful - I frequently get guitars that need resets and I don't know how difficult (or impossible) it might be. Even the infamous Yamahas from the 1970's which I avoid like the plague (maybe thats a bad thing to say right now).

I happen to have one of the old Yamies and like most of them it needed a neck reset. I am familiar with how to do them, I build guitars with dovetail joints and I'm comfortable setting the neck. I simply was not able to steam the neck off my Yamaha and resorted to sawing it off and converting to a butted bolt on joint. There was minimum damage to the guitar, it is totally playable right now but I refuse to do that procedure to someone else's guitar - its pretty brutal.

I have a friend who insists that he can reset these guitars - he claims that they did not use epoxy for the joint, they are just very tight and not located where you would expect them to be - drilling thru the 15th fret misses the pocket. I keep thinking that if I ever see another old Jamie in a yard sale I'll buy it just to see if I can reset it.

And yes, apparently some of the A&L guitars did use epoxy on their fretboard extensions - ironic that a guitar with a bolted joint should be hard to reset.

I still do neck resets but less of them than I once did - there are too many potential problems. From the Japanese guitars that you can't get the necks off to Guilds with their finish over the neck even to Taylors which would be easy if I could source the shims.

Re: Neck Joint Database

Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:04 pm
by Barry Daniels
I have done a couple of red label Yamahas lately and feel like I have a good method to saw off the neck and convert it to a bolt on. The issue is that the truss rod and a portion of the neck extends into the body which you stops your cut about an inch shy of the fretboard. Let me know if you need details.

Re: Neck Joint Database

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:42 pm
by Ryan Mazzocco
Yes. I love the discussion this has sparked. This is exactly what I'm talking about. There are so many different neck joints, and then different variations on each of them, even within the same make/models. Now if we had this information collected in one location then the next time someone needs to work on a red label Yamaha, they can just go to the list, select Yamaha/Red Label/etc... and get a look at how others have successfully tackled this rather than having to ask Barry again. Even though I know Barry is more than willing to share. I don't know if anyone would be interested in managing such a beast, but I can see the potential usefulness of something like this, so I might be willing to take it on. Or we could keep it right here on the MIMF as a sub-forum with threads arranged by manufacturer and model, no comments or discussions, just the details of the neck joints.

Re: Neck Joint Database

Posted: Sun Dec 13, 2020 2:51 pm
by Chris Vallillo
I love the idea of an actual database where you could search for neck pics by name, date etc. The Frets Neckset thread is a good but limited and you have to just go go through it and see what you can find. I'm always working on oddball and vintage guitars so having a place I can go to for info on a specific neck joint would be excellent!