I'm just getting on Frets.net for the first time, although I'm sure I know many of you from other places. Anyway, I need some help with a 1970s Vega dread that needs a neck reset. I had assumed that, being made so much like a Martin dread, by a subsidiary of Martin (at that time), it would have a dovetail joint. However, drilling down through the 15th fret slot, I have not succeeded in finding the gap in the joint. Searching the web and asking around, I'm hearing that the guitar may have some different kind of neck joint. True? Can any of you offer me any knowledge/advice about this? Your help would be much appreciated.
Darned if I can quote the source, but I recall reading that the Dutch-made Vega's from the 70's have 2 glued-in dowels instead of a standard dovetail joint. If that's the case, it might be a good candidate for a transformation to a bolt-on.
First, though, it might be good to see if a friendly,local guitar-loving veterinarian would x-ray it for you? Barring that, you could saw through the fingerboard extension to remove it and really see what's going-on in there.
Thanks for your reply, Mike. This is the second time I've heard about the dowel possibility. X-raying it is a good idea. And sawing through the FB extension is a fallback option I may resort to.
Anyone have any personal experience with these 70s Vega neck joints?
Don Teeter has a semi-chapter on this very subject, I can't give volume or pg #s as I've packed my books, pre-move...
Thanks, Jeffrey. I'll review my volume 1 (I don't have his volume 2) to see what I can find.
I've only reset one of those, and indeed, I did cut the neck off and convert to bolt-on. If memory serves, the neck originally had a dowel joint, and was not removable in any usual manner.
I'm back to working on this guitar. With the neck off now, another step is to reglue the celluloid bindings, which have pulled away from the waist. I'm looking for advice now on what glue to use. Started another thread with that question here: http://fretsnet.ning.com/forum/topics/glue-choice-for-regluing-cell...
Would greatly appreciate your input, Frank. Thanks!
When you get that Vega all figured-out, how about posting some shots and info in the "neck reset" gallery? It's turned into a pretty good resource. Good luck with that puppy :)
Will do, Mike!
I was just thumbing through Teeter's Volume 2. Page 83. He shows a "Netherlands Built Vega" with a loose neck joint. It has three wooden dowels. His solution is to replace the bottom dowel with threaded rod that matches the old dowel in size. Then taps the neck heel to receive the new metal rod. Finishes with an epoxy glue joint.
Thanks, Thomas! I'm going to try using heat to get the joint apart. I started a thread on this on the OLF, too, where we've discussed a couple options for how to approach this --
If it doesn't come apart, out comes the saw. In either case, once the neck is off, I'll convert it to a bolt-on.
I'll keep you all posted.
Got it apart, just heating the heck out of the heel with my heat gun and racking/pulling the joint apart. No damage to the lacquer. I see now that the FB extension didn't separate as cleanly as I would have liked, but it will be all right.
Happy to have gotten this far with it. Now, I might be setting it aside for a while to work on other stuff, but I'll post more when I've made more progress.