Ironing out a wrinkle

Here is the finished guitar strung up.


And from the back.


And, from the side.


If you look closely, you will see that the strings are laying on the frets. That was the problem that I talked about in the last posting. Well, I got the new saddle blank and rough shaped it. Popped it in to test and, as I was beginning to fear, the strings were still too low. They were now able to hit notes, but they were still buzzing against the frets. And, no amount of truss rod adjusting was going to raise them high enough.

Unfortunately, there is only one solution for this problem. One that, hard as I tried, there was no avoiding. The neck would have to be reset. I got the angle wrong, despite my testing. (There is always a problem in a sophomore effort.) In order to reset the neck angle, the neck needs to come off. The good news: with the bolted tenon system, this is not as bad a job as with a dovetailed neck. The bad news: it still involves heating up the fingerboard to loosen the glue where the fingerboard is glued to the body. So, with fear dripping from every fiber of my being, I got out the iron (yes, just a regular clothes iron), plugged it in, set it on high, and placed it (shudder!) on the fingerboard above the body. I could hear the oils in the cocobolo sizzling and crackling. After about 20 minutes, testing periodically, I was able to start prying the fingerboard up. Once heated enough, it went fairly quickly, and came off without having to force it. The result? The body is not too bad, just some minor repair of the finish. And, of course, the old glue will have to be scraped off.


The fingerboard is a little worse off. Its going to require some major scraping, sanding, and leveling; in addition to changing the angle. It ain’t pretty. We’ll have to see how it recovers. This guitar may have to remain in my stable.


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