Vintage Gretsch Guitars

OOOPSY!!!

3

If they are cardboard then someone reset that along the way. Every Gretsch neck I’ve reset, about 80 have all used mahogany.

4

Cardboard seems like it's be a weak link in the neck join.Especially as there is carboard on both mating surfaces..ooopsy! I have a receipt from work done in 2012 at Guru guitars prior to me owning the guitar. When I bought it it had a good angle, the neck was solid but there was big separation between the bottom of the heel and the body. Played great. Played it at a zillion rehearsals, a couple of recording sessions and 2 shows. I was keeping an eye on it and had measurements of the gap etc.

Recently it took a tumble in rehearsal and I started noticing the action was getting a little higher (.3mm) and the heel gap looked wider. I loosened off the strings and started seeing if the neck would move, there was a little crackle and then I could wiggle it pretty easily a bit in two different directions. I did that for a bit, nothing extreme, then using a cork sided ebony sanding block and a small dead bow hammer I gave the heel a couple of whacks and it came out very easily, No wood loss, or significant finish damage. About as nice a removal as I could hope for with my minimal experience.

Any pointers Curt? I'm sorry, if I lived near you and had lots of disposable income I'd send it your way but, it has a brazillian rosewood board (CITES!), I'm not working right now and the US dollar is high and I'm in Canada so I think I have to do this one myself. I have all the appropriate tools and materials.

I think the reset job done in 2012 wasn't so hot. I'd like to a better job with wood shims and ensure there's a nice snug fit to the body.

5

Which end of the country are you at? There's a really good place in Victoria - Old Town Strings- that has performed a lot of amazing repairs...

6

You should be able to remove the cardboard shims, clean up the old glue and replace the shims with pieces of mahogany veneer. If you need more thickness, add another layer of veneer until you've built up sufficient thickness. You may then have to trim the shims with a chisel or a file until you have a perfect fit. Also check your neck angle; if necessary, you can carefully adjust the angle by removing material from the cheeks of your dovetail tenon (carefully). When all is perfect, glue the joint, preferably with hot hide glue. Good luck.

7

Paul Iverson did a stellar job on my Martin D28 neck reset.I do most of my own repairs but when it gets that involved, I go to the superheroes.

8

If there’s any glue residue remove it with a chisel or sand it using a small block. Cut shims and do a dry test fit. I attach the two e strings and the bridge so when it’s clamped I can confirm the neck is straight and is 7/8” at the bridge. All you need is one clamp.

9

Wait a minute; I just noticed that there are no pots or switches on that guitar. What is it?

10

Wait a minute; I just noticed that there are no pots or switches on that guitar. What is it?

– Journeyman

That there is a Toxo-modded 6199 Convertible in its faded Lotus Ivory (they always seem to go darker) and Copper Mist.

Go with the DIY neck re-set Toxo, I reckon you'll do it nice.

11

Wait a minute; I just noticed that there are no pots or switches on that guitar. What is it?

– Journeyman

Looks like there is a control pot (volume?, pickup selector??) mounted in the F-hole on the high-E string side of the guitar, as well as a wire running from the bridge pickup into that same F-hole. Assume the wire from the neck pickup is fed through the body -- ??

12

Any date stamps or markings inside that pocket or on the neck part?

13

Looks like there is a control pot (volume?, pickup selector??) mounted in the F-hole on the high-E string side of the guitar, as well as a wire running from the bridge pickup into that same F-hole. Assume the wire from the neck pickup is fed through the body -- ??

– senojnad

Hey you missed the pickup selector switch mounted in the bass side F-hole!! PIckups surface mounted for a minimally invasive conversion (Bridge hilotron poles shortened to facilitate that.) Original chrome control box (originally mounted under the original pickguard)now mounted in treble side F-hole as noted. As there was a Dearmond in the neck position originally there is a hole there.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, I'm actually very interested in doing this myself.

-I didn't see any marking in the dovetail socket or dovetail Ed but I will take a closer look.

-Thanks for the tips Curt, I like the strings Idea, that was one of my concerns. I'll put the bigsby or the original tailpiece back on for the reset.

For those of you not familiar with this guitar, here's how it looked originally

14

Here's how it looked before it took a tumble and I took the neck off. Though I've since moved the switch to the end of the F-hole and removed the tone control as I never use them.

15

I like it when they fall off. It makes a proper reset so much easier. Taking them off is the scary part.

16

I like it when they fall off. It makes a proper reset so much easier. Taking them off is the scary part.

– Billy Zoom

I totally agree, It was a relief when it came a little loose and even more so when it popped right out with no damage. In that regard the cardboard shims were my friends as they pretty well separated right down the middle of the cardboard. Otherwise they were the weak link in the joint.

Ed wanted to know if it had anything written on it. Nothing in the dovetail socket but on the dovetail butt is has 6199 stamped on it with ink, just like the stamp on the interior label.

17

Thanks Toxo... that's not uncommon as Gretsch stamped necks for specific models. My '56 Streamliner has "6190" stamped on it's neck.

18

I love it when a guitar comes together! Operation neck reset a success as far as I'm concerned. Fits quite tightly and very firm. Even better neck angle. 98" from the top of the low E to the top at the bridge and about .89" on the treble side. About the same as my Yamaha AE-1200S and a little lower than my 64 Club. Luckily my synchro bridge is adjustable. Shimmed up my bridge pickup too. Worked fine. Plays great!

I might touch it up cosmetically. a couple of chips (a mm in on heel on the cutaway side) However it had a lot of 'cosmetically' repaired chips from the reset 6 years ago so it'll never be perfect and I don't really care. I do have some paint that was mixed up for me by the paint department on the TV show I as working on, so I might use that with a TINY brush or pointy toothpick.

It used to have a 1/16 to 3 /32' gap at the bottom of the heel which had widened to 1/8" after it took a tumble, now it's pretty tight. I made sure the joint had no movement at all before I glued it and took my time carefully taking the shims down, test fitting, adjusting, repeat etc etc etc. It lined up perfectly with the bridge and strings.

19

Here's how the neck heel looked before the tumble..nice big scary looking gap!!

20

Here's how it looks now. I was trying replicate the picture but got the angle wrong and then my camera batteries dies. Anyway Way better and very solid. Doesn't really look like a problem now and no significant new cosmetic damage.

22

Nicely done!

My 1961 6121 neck was only shimmed with a small piece of cardboard or flimsy wood of about a square inch.
The bottom and back of the joint had never been glued. The only glue that was applied was on that small shim (on the upper bout side) and some glue on the side where the wood screw held the neck together. Really crazy that it lasted that long......


Register Sign in to join the conversation