I have a Yamaha fg 300 a. That the neck is beginning to move. There is a crack at the neck and lower body joint. Also a straight edge intercepts about 1/8 inch below the top of the bridge. The Guitar was a gift and I know that it is probably not worth a reset. But my question does any know if it is possible or has someone tried to drill through the heel insert a threaded rod or a bolt and tighten it up to take out the slack and keep it from moving.
To my understanding, having heard from a few experienced pros, Yamaha acoustic guitars are not designed with the option to remove the neck for a reset. I don't know what kind of neck-to-body joint that's used but apparently (the older ones at least) are damn near impossible to separate. I can't speak to the newer ones, though I can't imagine they'd be any different.
One option might be to shave the bridge top instead, assuming this is affecting the string action. Have a look to make sure the bridge is not lifting first. It can be a good option as opposed to a reset on an inexpensive guitar.
I have done many neck resets on older Yamaha guitars. I am not sure of what years, but it is was a standard dovetail deal.
Thomas, can you show us some photos of a neck removal on one of these if you have the photos? I'm sure that would help this thread along! Thanks!
Haven't done one but I've heard that mystery glue and a tight joint are usually the problem on these. Old yamaha's usually sound and play pretty well if the action is good so, from a playing point of view, it may be "worth" a reset as long as you're looking for a player rather than resale value.
Personally, I wouldn't put a screw into the heel. First of all, a screw isn't enough if your really want to hold the neck in place, You will probably need to try to squeeze some glue into the crack too. Remember that drilling a hole, (hopefully you would do that if you decide to go ahead with this idea) for the screw through the heel would weaken the heel at that point, It's completely possible that trying to pull down and hold the neck with just a screw would end up breaking the heel across the grain around the hole.
That would just make a messy situation worse but the main reason I wouldn't do it is that I've seen a lot of lower end guitars with this "fix" and haven't seen one yet that was really all that much better. The exceptions to this have been guitars that properly reset with the screw used as added support for the original but poorly cut dovetail joints fit. This is practically a "Feature" on old Harmony and Kay guitars. In these cases the narrow end of the dovetail was poorly cut/fit originally and the narrow end of the joint is very sloppy. With a good reset AND a well placed screw, these can worked out pretty well. On a Yamaha with what is probably already a tight joint, this "insurance" shouldn't be needed. BTW, a lot of the old Harmony and Kay guitars I've seen also sport a repaired break across the grain of the heel too.
The point is that almost all of the old yamaha's I've seen need a reset anyway so using a screw to fix a cracked neck joint probably won't help the action enough. Besides that, while these guitars are not selling for a lot, the fact is that they have a reputation for lasting and using a screw through the heel would practically guarantee that any future owner that wanted to do a true reset would curse you for doing that to "their" guitar.
On that note, I'll say that the guitar belongs to you and you can do whatever you want to it.
Not much more I can add except to point out that you didn't say how old the guitar is or how big the gap is at the end of heel or what the string height is at 12th and 14th fret so it's possible that I've missed the boat completely.
Pictures might help too.
Thanks for the replies. I think that I'll skip screw idea thanks to your advice. It was just an idea based on the thought that if id did not realign the neck angle it might stop any future movement. There is room to lower the saddle. And the string height is about .011. Is there any way to help impede the nck angle from getting any worse. The guitar according to Yamaha site is '93. so it is 23 yrs old. but except for a couple nicks in good shape.
Well, Jim, You might try using a drop tuning or just tuning the instrument down a half step. It's not really a great fix and I've had guitars that just didn't sound any good tuned down but it would release some of the tension. Another thing would be to move to lighter gauge strings or even "silk and steel" which would also decrease the tension some. The bottom line is that the looseness in the heel will need to be fixed at some point.
If you have room on the saddle to lower it a bit without losing too much break angle on the strings you may be able to use one or both of the suggestions to buy time. Personally, I'm not too big on shaving bridges simply because I think it creates one more thing that will have to be repaired down the road, probably in conjunction with a reset to boot.
This is my limited budget old Harmony archtop repair. For the purists who think that someone will pay for a proper neck reset on one of these guitars. It's reversible.
Clamp a standard strap pin in a vise and thread it with a 1/4-20 tap. Drill a hole straight through the point of the heel at what looks like a good spot for a strap pin. Fish a 1/4-20 bolt through the hole from the inside and tighten onto the strap pin. This will only work if there is play in the neck joint and when it is pulled back there is the desired amount of neck angle. The neck angle can be increased by pulling sandpaper against the face of the heel.
I like that better than any other version I've seen. The problem I've had with a bolt through the block approach on archtops is tightening the bold. I've seen several strap buttons that have a long screw through into the block but they often pull loose over time since the neck and block aren't exactly the hardest wood available. This approach looks pretty good