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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?

    Yamaha1970

    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.

     

    1098

    1101

    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....

    1129

    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).

    1133

    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)

    1135

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

    1137

     

    (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

    1138

    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

    1140

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

    1150

    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

    1151

    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.

    1152

    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

    1148

    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

    1153

    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

    1156

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

    Attached Files

    Comment


    • 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!

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

    Comment


    • 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.

    Comment


    • 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!

    Comment


    • #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

      Comment


      • #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

        Comment


        • #8
          I realize this is an old thread, but I've been able to remove the necks of 4 different vintage Yamaha FG's, 160, 170, 180 & 200; with more waiting. All with steam.

          It wasn't easy. Getting the fretboard separated from the top was very difficult. I use a 75W halogen light 1" from the fretboard, with an aluminum foil covered piece of cardboard as a sheat sheild. I used a 1-1/4" x 7" spatula to get under the fretboard from the bridge side only. The glue takes a long time to soften, and rushing it will cause the spatula to dig into the top and make a mess.

          I improved my technique each time, reducing the total time for removal from 4 hours to 1 hour for the fourth one. The big secret is the neck pocket isn't under the 15th fret, it's about 1/8" towards the heel, so you have to drill your steam holes on an angle. I also verified that they were put together with hide glue, the softened glue balled up and looked like Jell-O, and smelled like hide glue. I think the problem is they used too much. They even glued the heel of the neck to the side of the guitar. It did have a little of the side wood stick to the heel, even after 6 minutes of steaming. Using a neck press is a necessity.

          And since I'm a newbie to neck resets, removing the neck was the easy part. The whole process of sanding and shimming the heel takes a lot of time and energy. I slightly overset the first one (the saddle is .21" tall) and have to take it apart to do it again.

          Comment


          • #9
            Originally posted by Freeman_Keller View Post
            . . . Did we really just coil the strings up like that? . . .
            Wadya mean, "did"? How else would we coil 'em?

            =O.
            Del
            www.thefullertons.net
            ( •)—:::
            Sent on my six-string jumbo ukelele

            Comment


            • #10
              Youse guys might want to try using one of these contraptions to remove the fingerboard extension.

              Demand Products - Bowcutter 12™

              You can get the wire and transformer pretty cheap and make your own wire tensioning frame. You dial in the amperage and the chromium wire heats up. I used one to cut rigid foam to airfoil shapes for R/C airplane wings.
              Last edited by Idunno; 05-08-2017, 05:02 PM.
              “There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”
              John Adams, The Works Of John Adams, Second President Of The United States

              _____________________
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              Comment


              • #11
                This is an old thread about a subject that comes up from time to time - most Yamahas from the 70's need neck resets, can it be done? I'm glad that CTGull is having good luck doing them, I doubt that I'll try again. I've turned down several in the past year or so - its just not worth my time and effort when I'm uncertain of the outcome and know that its going to be a battle. Kind of a paradox - if the guitar is an absolute piece of junk I might try it, but I certainly couldn't charge the owner the going rate for a reset. If its a great guitar (like mine) but the outcome is uncertain and there is a very good chance of doing damage, why would I risk it?

                Comment


                • #12
                  Originally posted by Freeman Keller View Post
                  This is an old thread about a subject that comes up from time to time - most Yamahas from the 70's need neck resets, can it be done? I'm glad that CTGull is having good luck doing them, I doubt that I'll try again. I've turned down several in the past year or so - its just not worth my time and effort when I'm uncertain of the outcome and know that its going to be a battle. Kind of a paradox - if the guitar is an absolute piece of junk I might try it, but I certainly couldn't charge the owner the going rate for a reset. If its a great guitar (like mine) but the outcome is uncertain and there is a very good chance of doing damage, why would I risk it?
                  That's why I've found some junky vintage FG's and practiced on them. I agree, it might be risky if were doing for someone else. I have no problem taking the risk on my own $20-$75 Yamaha's. Yes I found a 1971 Yamaha FG-180 (red label NG) for $20 on Craigslist! The action was so high it wasn't playable with the nylon strings someone had put on it! The neck is off, I just need to finish the one I started and maybe a FG-170. After I do the 3 junky ones I'll do the 3 minty ones.

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    The problem is that when you're done it still sounds like a plywood guitar. No midrange presence or complexity, just woof and sizzle.

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Originally posted by Grant Harding View Post
                      The problem is that when you're done it still sounds like a plywood guitar. No midrange presence or complexity, just woof and sizzle.
                      Do you say this from experience or is it just your opinion? You know what they say about opinions...

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        I've owned 3 FG180s and done a bunch of work on a 150, 160, and a couple of 320's. I've played many many others since the 70's.
                        Mine wasn't a mean throwaway comment - I stand by my comments. Play a nice solid wood guitar for an hour then grab a 70's FG. I guarantee it will sound bland by comparison and you'll be wondering if it needs new strings.

                        Comment













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