60's Melody Maker Neck Repair

Discussion in 'Restoration & Repair' started by Ray Carlton, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Ray Carlton

    Ray Carlton New Member

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    Recently an early 60's Gibson Melody Maker was left with me to repair some neck damage and complete a re-fret - see photos below. The lacquer is in poor condition with quite a deal of crazing. The neck damage is worse than it looks and there is a depression on the right side [photo POV] that to me looks perilously close to the truss rod lurking underneath. I am pretty sure once I start in on making a flat area to glue a fillet of mahogany too, the truss rod will pop out. Pretty obviously quite a deal of the original finish will be sacrificed to repair it.

    Any ideas as to the best way to proceed with this one?

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  2. Cagey

    Cagey New Member

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    That's some pretty serious damage. Looks crushed. Not sure that's repairable.

    I don't have any answers, I was just forcibly thrown back in time seeing this post. My first "real" guitar was a '61 Melody Maker in that color. Bought it for $100 back in the '70s when they were just considered "used" rather than some precious "vintage" issue that must be saved at all cost.

    I played that thing for probably 20 years, modified the hell out of it repeatedly during that time. Loved it to death. If it's still around anywhere, I'm sure it's worthless.

    Anyway, thanks for the trip down memory lane!
     
  3. Ray Carlton

    Ray Carlton New Member

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    Actually put a bit of thought into this repair and came up with a good solution. I have kept a photo journal of the job and will post back here with my approach in a few days once the wood working is done.

    At this stage the final pieces of mahogany have been glued on and she is waiting for the neck to be carved back for the second time and to the original profile this time. Someone had tried to sand things back a bit to try and smooth things out after it was damaged. Consequently there was a bump just behind the 3rd fret that felt like a slippery dip. To start with I sanded level a flat patch with angled ends and glued a filet of mahogany down tightly. Luckily no sight of the truss rod and I got it carved pretty good except for the hump. Next step was to cut some veneer and wrap 4 layers over the wound bringing it up higher than original profile. The hump was about 1.6mm higher. Doesnt sound much but it definitely didnt feel good. The owner is a very fine player and I felt I better go the full 9 yards with this one as he intends to use the guitar as a player.

    A colleague will get the job doing the refin as he is very good at the duplication of old crazed finishes. She'll look like she's never been touched. I also got the job of refretting it and hopefully will get it back after the refin for the final assembly and setup. I have pulled the frets, levelled out the board a bit and filled a couple nasty fingernail divots. I left the minor ones as I didn't want to shave that board any more than necessary to take the slot edges down to level. Using a little moisture around the frets as I pulled them I lost one small chip only in the whole job. It wasn't too bad overall for a 54 year lady who has seen plenty of action. I have done way worse boards than that one. A very pretty piece of rosewood too.

    A lot of work on an old guitar that is not worth a lot. It is very light and I beleive will really scream, especially under the fingers of this particular owner. He's the type of bloke who buys old guitars that are in "basket case" condition and brings them back into use.

    More soon
     

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