I have a 1972 Epiphone FT147, dreadnought flat-top, MIJ (probably by FujiGen) which needs a neck reset. Couldn’t find anything on the net to help diagnose the neck joint, so took it to the vets for an Xray and here are the pix. I was expecting to be able to see maybe a bolt, maybe dowels, maybe even a dovetail – but I see none of the above.

Both the neck-block, and the curved-triangular buttress running from there to the top, are made of multiple plies which are clearly visible, as is the trussrod. There is something (wood) running through the neck to the heel – maybe a dowel to reinforce this joint? (The screw is a strap-pin.) And a hint of something parallel to it in the neck block.

Can someone explain this neck joint?

Tags: Epiphone, reset

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It looks to me to be a mortise and tenon joint.  I'm not personally familiar with this EPI, but absent of visible attachment hardware, I'd assume it is glued in.

Glen, I think you're right.  I've now found reference to it being 'set-neck' which I take to mean mortise and tenon.  Next question - how do I get it apart?  The pocket doesn't appear to extend as far as the 15th fret.  However I have loosened the FB extension using heat, so the glue is susceptible to heat.  How would you get steam in there?


You might be able to pull the 15th fret and drill at an angle until you hit the pocket. 

Another least you were able to get the fingerboard extension loose. Did you use hot knives, as well as a heat source?

Oh ick - I'm working on a Epi FT550 from the same era. One bolt, and four dowels. I'd bet that there ARE dowels in that joint. I loosened the fretboard on mine and fired up the flush cut pull saw to get the joint apart. As you noticed, the glue is REALLY soft under that fretboard, but the dowels are a PITA to get out.

Once I do a bit of tweaking on the joint, I plan on putting a bigger and deeper screw through the strap button on the heel to help hole the mess together.



I've done some of the dowel jointed necks, and find that when I tune the guitar up good & high, & use a heatgun on the heel, it will start to let go in 5-10 minutes, racking the neck back & forth often to help it move.  Follow that with a thin pullsaw.

That is sooo cool. I had never thought of X-rays for a guitar.

Jeffrey - used a household iron to heat the FBE and got a thin Stewmac tool under it.  Toasted the fret markers nicely!

Mark - if there were dowels, the lateral Xray would show them.  According to this site, both our guitars are set-neck, so the info there is not reliable!  This thread refers to FT570 with a bolted joint, as were many MIJ Epis.

I'll maybe drill thru the 15th fret marker and try steaming from there.

How do you go about heat-gunning the heel, from the inside or the outside? Doesn't this wreck the finish? I assume we are talking about a regular paint-stripper type heat-gun.


From the outside, patiently...haven't had finish problems, fortunately this is a rare job.

So what was the bottom line end result? Did you get the neck off? and what was the process ?

Please advise

The FT147 is still awaiting surgery.  I made contact with another owner of the same model which had been re-set (not a bolt-on conversion) so it's possible to do.  From the xray I'm pretty sure it's a straight tenon joint. Let me know if you go ahead!


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