Resetting a neck.

Discussion in 'Restoration & Repair' started by DianneB, May 30, 2015.

  1. DianneB

    DianneB New Member

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    I have a 1935 National Trojan resonator guitar that has been in the family since new. Unfortunately it spend over 20 years fully strung in a VERY wet basement and had been "refinished" (very poorly) in the 1960s.

    When it came to me some 15 years ago, the neck was falling off and the case was rotten. I was tempted to throw it away until I determined the age. I dried the wood carefully (no splits), refinished it as per original, and reset the neck but I didn't know much about resonator guitars at the time and didn't realize the action was far higher than original.

    I spent considerable time with straight-edges and squares and finally determined that the action was high because the body had actually warped slightly (concave on the front) and the dovetail (into which the neck was glued) was slightly compressed.

    It is not a high value guitar but I don't have the heart to throw it away so I decided to reset the neck and to learn to play (at least a bit).

    I have built some 5-string banjos and restored an ancient button box but guitars are a little out of my line so I could use some advice on how to reset the neck angle.

    I am considering reworking the dovetail and reassembling the neck with wedges to get the proper angle. (Straightening the body is not practical and now that the wood is dry it is not likely to shift any further.)

    Is this a valid approach? What other options might there be?

    Thanks gang!
     
  2. DRF

    DRF Member

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    Reworking the dovetail sounds right, isn't that what they do to acoustics, I don't know though, there's acoustic guys here that will hopefully pipe up. Anyway I wanted to say I had a friend that had an old wood Dobro with the metal resonator, it was a cool guitar and I don't think they are cheap.
     
  3. DianneB

    DianneB New Member

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    Old resonator guitars, National in particular, seem to run between $600 USD and $2,500 USD.

    I was thinking - always a dangerous thing - and realized that if I in-set the bottom of the dovetail (as is usually done) I will be shortening the string length (bridge to nut). It calculates out to 0.100" correction but if the body has bowed, then the string length is currently 0.100" shorter than original and would be 0.200" when I am done.

    I am thinking that I need to add a 0.100" wedge between the body and neck on the outside (wide side to the top of the neck) to bring the neck back into position AND restore the scale length. Am I wrong????
     

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