A simple neck set turns into a headache…then turns into fun.

A neck reset on a guitar with a tapered dovetail joint is usually a very pleasurable experience. Yes, it takes a little time, some technical know how and a modicum of precision, but it’s not difficult if you know what you’re doing. The smell of old wood soaking up moisture, the hide glue being revived, the hiss of the steam machine. It’s a very pleasant collection of stimuli. All of that can change when you press the neck out of socket to find that someone has been there before you and they’ve made a mess of it.

That’s the kind of surprise I uncovered in this 1970’s Gibson B-20.

I have two feasible options: 1) I rebuild the dovetail to match original configuration, or 2) I convert the guitar to the increasingly-popular bolt-on style neck.

More to come….


After a little thought and some clean-up, I’ve decided to rebuild the joint to it’s original design.

Here’s a patch and freshly prepared gluing surface.


Here it has been smeared with Smith’s Allwood Glue, clamped, and set to cure.


Repaired, fit, neck angle corrected. What fun!




Together again.


Fingerboard has been trued and frets are in!


Singing again, and lovely.


Undoing the damage of past repairs = I’ll work hard to see no one feels this way about my repairs in 50 years.

I’m working on a Martin 12 string from the 1970’s.  Sadly, it has had some poor work done to it over the years.  This is one of the most challenging aspects of my work.  Often, I must undo prior alterations before I can set things right.  It’s a good lesson in what not to do and also a great reminder that the work that I do perform has to count.  It has a legacy.  Most of all I want the jobs I do to be successful, but also I want to avoid a situation that involves a luthier in the future  cursing my choices while they attempt to mess.



20111118-203920.jpgMore to come.