Lots of stuff going on in the shop today:
Spencer got to work resetting the neck on an acoustic guitar whose neck angle had pulled up over the years, making it almost impossible to play. This often happens on older instruments (although it can happen on new instruments as well) – over time, the tension of the strings pulls the neck from it’s original position, raising the action beyond the point of a simple fix of lowering the bridge saddle. The tongue of the fingerboard had previously been removed (not by our shop), so when Spencer slid a hot knife between it and the soundboard, it came right off (we don’t normally remove the fingerboard tongue unless absolutely necessary). Then Spencer injected steam into the dovetail joint to melt the glue:
We use a modified espresso machine to make the steam and get it into the guitar. We first run a line out of the espresso machine into a flask, which traps the excess moisture and prevents the guitar from getting too wet:
The line then leaves the flask, so only the “dry steam” makes it into the guitar’s neck joint:
This particular instrument came apart quite easily: a hallmark of a well made guitar. Many of the more reputable guitar makers use hide glue in their guitars, which will melt when heat and moisture are applied – which is vital to the guitar’s longevity if it is to ever receive any maintenance. (Other (cheaper) guitars are often made with epoxy, which makes neck resets very difficult; epoxy dries super hard and does not melt at all.)
Here’s the neck separated from the body – the next step is to reshape the heel and set the neck back to it’s proper angle.
In other news, we’ve been nominated for SFGate’s Best of Baylist in the Musical Instruments category! We’d appreciate your vote – register and vote here:
Things have been super busy in the shop – so busy, in fact, that we haven’t even had much time to eat proper lunches. Lately, we’ve become big fans of the always satisfying peanut butter and jelly sandwich. MMMmmm…