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Yamaha neck reset


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  • Yamaha neck reset

    Some of you may remember that I still have the first guitar I ever bought - a 1969 Yamaha FG-150 purchased new for a hundred bucks.   Here it is in roughly 1970 - funny, I don't recognize the guy playing it tho.   Did we really just coil the strings up like that?


    Over the years the action has crept up and been lowered until finally I couldn't do it any more.   I'm going to take a road trip the end of March and wanted a guitar to take with me so I figured this was the time to get with it.




    Before doing anything I had to get the fretboard extension loose from the top.   The aluminum bars have been heated on my stove and is (attempting) to loosen the glue while I work a couple of thin blades between the fretboard and top.   It is not going easily....


    Before I get brutal I'd better try the usual method - some reports say that it is possible to get Yamie necks off with steam and pressure.   This is my home made neck press and an old espresso machine to make steam (and an Americano while I wait).


    Didn't work.   Time to get rough.   This is following a thread by forumite Yamahaneck.   This is a thin bladed flexible saw called a Japanese saw - it only cuts on the pull stroke and the teeth have no kerf (they are the same width as the blade)


    Working my way through the dovetail, trying to avoid the truss rod



    (I think this is as many picture as I can do in one posting... continued)










    Attached Files

  • #2

    OK, here is the neck off.   The wood had absorbed all the steam but the joint hadn't budged a bit.   You can also see that some of the laminated spruce top has separated and stuck to the fretboard


    Now the secret.   These are little metal 1/4-20 inserts being threaded into the heel.   I've already done some of the work to set the angle


    Now the usual flossing and futzing until the angle are correct - both side to side


    as well as up and down.   At this point I have tightened the bolts and am gluing down the fretboard extension - this is just a final check that everything is OK


    Because I pulled the 15th fret to inject steam I need to put that back and level it.   Here I am using a little straight edge as a rocker while I file it down level with the others.  You can see a little bit of the damage to the top along the edge of the fretboard - I'll try to fix that with a bit of lacquer.


    The first five frets had pretty bad divots so I leveled and crowned them also.   Because this is kind of a hassle to post pictures you'll have to take my word.    I made a new bone nut


    and found a saddle in my bag of bone that would work pretty well (one of these days I'll make a new one).   Also tried to cover up the worst of the damage to the wood with a little drop filling and some slight over spray


    Looks better than the rest of the guitar.   The action is a lot better, I have sufficient saddle to lower it in the future, setup is pretty darn good, time for a cold adult beverage and a little play time


    My beloved old Yamaha gets a new lease on live and I have a guitar to take road tripping.

    Attached Files


    • jamesp
      jamesp commented
      Editing a comment

      Excellent trip report Freeman!  I remember your talking with Yamahaneck about that and know it's been a long time coming.  Looks like it should hold for some time to come.  

      So, if you were ever doing another one, would you skip the steam entirely and go straight to the pull saw?  

  • #3

    Wow ... great thread!  It is these types of discussions that will keep me coming back ... thanks Freeman!

    Martin HD35 | Gibson J45tv | Taylor DN3 | Guild GAD25 | Taylor Baby | Yamaha FG413SBD | Yamaha FG200


    • Freeman_Keller
      Freeman_Keller commented
      Editing a comment

      acousticdepot wrote:

      Wow ... great thread!  It is these types of discussions that will keep me coming back ... thanks Freeman!

      Thank you very much.  Over the years I have done several build and repair threads - I've tried to archive some of them so I can refer back.   One of the biggest frustrations with this user name limbo that I'm going thru is that I've lost the ability to edit any of these.   If I get my old user name back this one will sink into the same black hole.     Oh, well.....

  • #4
    Hi Keller how about showing us a pic of the finished product! The review of the crazy bulk would be cool. Thanks dude.
    Last edited by Ardvark; 12-30-2016, 10:59 AM.


    • Freeman Keller
      Freeman Keller commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi Ardvark, welcome to HCAG. As you might have noticed, that thread is over three years old and was posted under a temporary user name since at that time HC was going thru a lot of software "issues" and a lot of us lost our identities.

      If you really think it would be informative to see a picture of that guitar all back together I could probably take one but my purpose in doing that thread was to show how a non-resettable neck could be reset. Trust me, the guitar looks like a 45 year old Yamaha with a good neck angle.

      Since you must have been searching to come up with this old thread may I ask if you have an old Yamie with a bad neck? If so we could start a new thread and discussion.

  • #5
    That's nostalgic! I went with the partial back separation and re-glue on my FG180 to reset the neck angle. The epoxy glues that they used were vicious!


    • #6
      Yea I usually will do the back slip trick if the glue isn't responding to steam. I peel off the binding from the heel to the waist and then work in a hacksaw blade. Separating the back from the sides in the area of the heel to the waist. Then just reglue establishing a new angle. Clean up the binding channel and reglue the binding. Sometimes you still get a fretboard hump at the tongue and it's a good time to pull the frets, plane the board flat there and refret.
      "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen


      • #7
        Really nice work. I love it when work is done on sentimental guitars that most would say just get a new one.
        2015 Taylor 514ce-qs Sitka/Quilted Sapele