Old Gretsch repair project

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Lou G., Nov 10, 2017.

  1. Leña_Costoso

    Leña_Costoso Senior Member

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    Check over at the Warmoth forum... those things are a bit of a pain in the ass, can break, and if you loosen 'em too much they're toast (parts fall off inside).

    Warmoth offers necks types with and without... I'll take without! A better solution, for truss rod, is the double expanding. But... those babys add weight, and some say they suck tone. I can't answer that one.
     
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  2. Mr.Fingers

    Mr.Fingers Member

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    Yes, on a bolt-on neck. It requires some substantial routing, but once installed, it works like a charm. Issue with this heel is that it tapers towards the bottom, where on a bolt-on neck, the sides are parallel. I have no idea if there is enough "flesh" towards the bottom of the heel though with your neck. It's a box of 27mm (w) x 17mm (l) x 15mm (d) IIRC.

    Since it's a neck with a separate fingerboard, you'll need a SAT-2.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  3. strömsborg

    strömsborg Senior Member

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    What about putting in carbon fibre rods? Good enough for cowboy chords.
    Like this:
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  4. Lou G.

    Lou G. Member

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    I am usually a sucker for gadgets (looking at you robot guitar!) but I don’t think the side adjuster is right for this project. The carbon fiber rods might be a good compromise, but I am still leaning towards the trussrod adjustable at the headstock.
     
  5. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    If you get a low profile rod with Allen key adjustment you can minimize truss rod access size.

    Cheers Peter
     
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  6. lewita

    lewita Junior Member

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    amazing project! I personally would use the existing "truss rod" channel, maybe widen it a bit, or at least square the curved end of the slot, and then install a two way truss rod. Although it would require to make an access hole in the headstock, you can use an allen head truss rod, which wouldn't need such a big hole as a gibson style truss rod. You can even make a truss rod cover following the same "bolt" design the original overlay has if you mean to keep it as close to the original as possible.
     
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  7. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    I wish I would have thought of that! :rofl:

    Cheers Peter.
     
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  8. lewita

    lewita Junior Member

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    sorry! I missed your post!
     
  9. Lou G.

    Lou G. Member

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    Ok, you guys have convinced me! I am going to order a low profile Allen key truss rod today. Also hoping to make some progress on this project today.
     
  10. Mr.Fingers

    Mr.Fingers Member

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    Wouldn't it be possible to cut some sort of "trap-door" the headstock veneer, and have the trussrod adjuster underneath that "door". Have the "door" closed with some small magnets, and it's virtually invisible.
     
  11. Lou G.

    Lou G. Member

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    Finally got a little progress to report. Haven’t had much time lately, I should be able to get rolling again after the holidays. 134B699A-B87C-49EE-80EE-B5A924AFE6D2.jpeg 739C2553-7B8E-4FCB-8CD5-0C156618BF18.jpeg first I glued the filler strip on D48F578E-36F6-421B-87C9-C8AB6BE58A1D.jpeg C52872A1-430C-4B8C-8158-3A7A91E4A10C.jpeg then glued the two half’s back together 4523EEE1-9840-48D2-99B9-6CF950FF1DD6.jpeg made a filler strip of maple View attachment 280130 9059280E-B660-4282-9BA8-F9FADEE6E0D0.jpeg View attachment 280130 8EE04ACA-A002-41EC-8FBD-319E871989EA.jpeg Glued the filler in place of the metal bar. Next up rout the channel for the truss rod and then tackle the head stock repair. Any tips for the headstock repair?
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
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  12. Lou G.

    Lou G. Member

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    Ok I know I’ve said it before but I am hoping to make some steady progress on this now! I spent A lot of time trying to figure out how to route the truss rod channel accurately. I thought up a few jig ideas but ultimately ended up with this simple set up. 5776FE32-9D4D-4D6A-8AF4-8E0BE07C74E1.jpeg Just clamped it in a workmate like bench and used scrap for a fence. A38FF6C9-55EB-406E-961B-267E7587B507.jpeg i had to fiddle with fence for awhile to get it positioned,and adjusted the neck in the bench a few times to get it just right. I’m sure there is an easier way but this actually worked pretty well once I got it all set up. 64AADBBA-A505-442A-9EFA-B36A7D5C5A6A.jpeg 9CDD99D5-2FAB-4E33-A4EC-2B7931423E8F.jpeg Help a rookie out here. Is this neck mahogany? I am guessing that it is but I am not positive.
     
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  13. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Senior Member

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    It does pretty much look like mahogany to me. I wonder if it was an intentional feature to have the two halves seeming to have opposite grain directions? Maybe for added stability? I gotta admire the stones you must have, to undertake this endeavor! Great progress so far! :dude:
    Just Curious?
    Gene
     
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  14. Lou G.

    Lou G. Member

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    Thanks Gene, But I must admit it’s not the stones it’s the lack of good sense!
     
  15. Lou G.

    Lou G. Member

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    I made a template and a mold out of some scrap MDF. I a figured I’d need the mold when I take off the back to repair the tail block. 65626B66-6C85-43C1-B96D-7FAE58745AD5.jpeg I was pretty impressed with myself! The template fit perfectly, and I made it from scrap I had lying around. Then I thought maybe I should see how the guitar fits. DA49B097-A6BF-4E65-9DAC-8120A9C18B73.jpeg D0A85061-95F9-4012-90FD-9AA9C03869AD.jpeg So much for a nice tight fit. Not so impressed with myself now. I guess I could have used some bondo and sanded until it fit, but I decided to buy a KMG mega mold. If you are not familiar the mega mold is a mold that adjusts to just about any acoustic guitar body or template shape. Well it turns out the mold is no longer available from KMG and I couldn’t find any used ones for sale so... I built one 072E5CCB-B12B-4F3F-9CEA-F7D8FBFB51CE.jpeg BD89145E-87F4-49DB-80C9-38EA6969CED0.jpeg F10A4701-2BF3-4D71-87F6-B2BD96413274.jpeg FD09166A-DB29-4E1F-BCBA-E38C6A944C81.jpeg 11F5A742-1345-486D-B307-CDB14FDCD006.jpeg 1E491E5C-54BB-4EF6-964C-E854D2DDCE8F.jpeg 724C93E4-45FA-4369-B11D-030095235C4A.jpeg CB5C5A03-E5E7-4B7F-BE7E-36E780324DB4.jpeg D940FDA8-93A6-421D-859A-1A54DDC627D2.jpeg Tonight I will reward myself with some of this kilchoman single malt! 43EC7D5B-8D4F-4221-9643-2D9233186EB6.jpeg
     
  16. Lou G.

    Lou G. Member

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    Initially the plan was to take off the back to deal with the tail block crack, but I decided to take off the top since I already had this going on. 613D3EBD-911C-41A1-A176-F4A25BADD853.jpeg i steamed off more than just the neck I guess. It took less than two minutes to remove the top with a heated putty knife. It actually didn’t take much heat, it popped off quit easily. 0CDD8E56-73F2-4C3E-84F7-BCE8D3A31741.jpeg Looks like something was building a nest in the body! E7C68566-DC72-40F8-9EE8-776CDAC67823.jpeg here is the tail block crack 8F0313F7-D487-4E8B-9177-A53F42FC3C2E.jpeg here we have a crack in the neck block. Also appears they were running low on sandpaper when they built this one! F7A722DF-532C-468D-B275-CD47F954241E.jpeg one tone bar was off and the other was loose on both ends. The tone bars were only sanded on the side that was glued. AFB2EEEB-87AB-45B0-927E-ED44D22AA858.jpeg EBEF4891-2E6D-4D18-99AF-8329C3968ACA.jpeg Then of course I have to deal with this as well. 01FDA309-1751-41B8-8D9F-A6CC401348D2.jpeg I put in spreaders to try and keep everything in place while the top is off. 58AE0B72-CC99-4F56-9019-6C640CBE7764.jpeg So the list of repairs just keeps growing and I am wondering what I got myself into here.
     
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  17. 1981 LPC

    1981 LPC Senior Member

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    Lovely project!

    Deep breaths - big sips.
     
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  18. Lou G.

    Lou G. Member

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    Words to live by! Thanks
     
  19. w666

    w666 Senior Member

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    I suspect this guitar spent some time in the attic or perhaps the trunk of a car, and that every glue is either at the brink of failure, or has failed already as you're finding out. While the guitar is open, you may as well check and repair them all. I would remove the other tone bar and re-glue them both. The right thing to do with the neck and tail blocks is to just replace them. The top is interesting...it appears to be solid birch with a a spruce veneer. It also looks like it failed at the glue line. Be sure to reinforce the repair with cleats, something like this:

    [​IMG]

    One thing you'll discover from this project is that it might just be easier to start from scratch! I sure did!
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
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  20. Lou G.

    Lou G. Member

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    It definitely would have been easier to start from scratch! You’re right I probably should replace the neck and tail block. Also the spruce veneer is loose in a few other places. I am considering removing it all and re glueing it as well. Thanks for your input, it is much needed and appreciated. ACBA1DF4-CB86-4E35-91F3-809661A68ED2.jpeg
     

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