1977 Gibson ES-335TD Loose Heel Joint Repair Question

In my shop i have a 1977 Gibson ES-335TD with a loose heel joint. It looks like i need to remove the neck to re-glue the joint. When i removed the neck pickup to view the tenon, the tenon was not visible like expected. It looks like the top wood is over the joint and the joint is hidden behind the cavity wood as well.When i slide my feeler gauge up in the loose heel joint i feel what i believe is a tenon. 

I have two questions:

1. Does anyone know if the neck is secured to the body with a tenon joint or is it a butt joint with dowels? (I would not expect the butt joint with dowels, but i have been surprised before). 

2. What is the best way to release this joint? 

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Here are the pics so you don't have to open them up...

I'd pull out that strap pin , you may get more gap to observe , lift the fretboard extension and it should almost fall out . I am not actually experienced with 335's but I think dowels are an Asian idea .

Thanks for the input Len, what you suggested is my next step to see what happens and go from there. I was hoping to get lucky and get a response from someone that had torn one apart before. I realize this is a needle in a haystack kind of question. I am hoping i don't need to cut through the top or cut off the end of the fret board to release it. 

the 335s I’ve worked on and opened up (have had tenons extending into the front pickup cavity.  The loose joint with no witness mark in this cavity would seem to indicate a short tenon (no dowels here) in the neck join. But, scrape the finish in the bottom of the cavity to see what is there. Does the neck move in the cavity as it is?

regards Rusty

No, the neck does not move in the cavity and does not extend into the cavity.  The finish is translucent and i can see all the wood grain patterns so i can see there is no joint in the cavity. Thanks for the suggestion. 


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