I am attempting to reset the neck on a cheap guitar that I just got and would appreciate any thoughts that you may have. I am a complete novice and would not attempt this on any decent guitar.

The way that the neck was installed creates an angle up from the nut towards the soundhole and then the fingerboard on the body angles down sharply towards the soundhole (the fretboard is basically bent at the 14th fret). If you hold a straightedge on the frets then they are level to the 14th fret and then shoot high over the remaining frets and end up about 1/2 - 3/4 inch above the top of the bridge.

I have successfully removed the fingerboard from the guitar body and I am now looking at removing the neck (the fingerboard is straight when not glued down). I contacted the manufacturer of the guitar (Alvarez) and was informed that the dovetail joint is heavily epoxied and traditional (steam) methods to remove the neck will be unsuccessful. I was thinking that I would saw the neck off at the body to remove the neck and convert to a bolt on neck as I have seen on, however, under different circumstances.

I am attempting to move the entire neck assembly up and lower the angle at which the neck meets the body. My first thought would be to place a shim under the heel which would move the entire neck assembly up and then bolt the neck in place. Am I on the right track? Will this work if done carefully?

Thanks I appreciate you taking a look.

Tags: Neck, Reset

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Pictures help but does the neck (w/no fretboard) protrude over the body where they come together?
I probably wouldn't tackle the epoxy but have seen where others have. If you're doing it for the experience
Go for it but heavyduty solvents may be in order. How about a new fretboard planed to correct the acute angle?
Much less tearing up but I have no advice beyond........don't like the shim thing.

Thanks for the reply. I havent taken the fretboard all of the way off (just separated the part that lays on top of the body from the body) but I can tell that the neck would not protrude over the body. I wouldnt know where to start with planing a new fretboard and I think that I would have to take so much off that it would be paperthin by the time I finished.

This seems to be an oddball reset with the reverse angling of the neck to what I am seeing on the web for a typical reset. Most seem to have high action, no saddle. This is completely opposite of that.

I dont want my Chinese epoxy mixing with heavy duty solvents and creating some sort of mustard gas, so I am going to stay away from loosening the joint.
Why don't you just cut the neck off and make a new neck& fret board with a mortis and tenet joint that bolts on? That way you can put the right angle back on the neck. Bill."""""""""""

I am contemplating doing just that. I have cut off the neck and while I didn't get a perfect cut it is reasonable for this guitar. The angle of the neck was so bad that I will have to have a wedge under the fingerboard (just above the body, not the entire neck) about 6mm high and a very intricate (ie lots of shaping) shim at the heel to get a solid connection with the body of the guitar. A new neck/fretboard might be just what I need, but it will be a lot more expensive and I am not sure if I want to spend the money. Thanks for the idea.
Your description of the ruler on the frets 1/2+ above the bridge and the fretboard bending at the body joint sounds like the neck is back-set. Why? That would be quite a manufacturing flaw! If I understand you correctly, your choices are to change the neck angle or put in a ridiculously high saddle.

Having sawn off the neck, you could change the angle between the surface of the neck heel and the fretboard. Remove a tapered slice of wood from the neck heel, the wider end of the slice being at the fretboard.

A = distance of the ruler above the bridge.
B = height of the neck heel
C = distance from the surface of the neck heel to the saddle.

(A x B)/C = the thickness of the slice at the fretboard. The slice tapers to 0 at the bottom of the neck heel.

Clearly this will correct the neck angle, but it will also bring the nut and frets slightly closer to the saddle, probably in the range of .02" to .04". You might be able to correct the resulting intonation problem by making a saddle with the bearing edge away from the sound hole rather than down the center.

Please take all this with a grain of salt, as I am just now dealing with a back-set neck for the first time as I convert an old birch-body guitar from tailpiece and floating bridge to pin bridge. Of course, on this one I can put the bridge wherever I want. If you like you can see photos of the project on the Repairs page of my website: Good luck!

You are exactly right about the neck angle and possible solutions. Poor manufacture is definitely the cause of the flaw.

I have successfully bolted on the neck of the guitar and corrected the neck angle by placing a shim under the heel of the guitar (although your idea of trimming down the heel would make for a much better fit at the body so I might try that). The intonation is now correct after several adjustments using the current method.

My only remaining problem is that the action is now very high. I have adjusted the truss rod slightly a few times as the fretboard is bowing (U shaped) and the middle frets are not lining up properly. This problem has been compounded by the fact that as I tighten the truss rod the fretboard has started to come away from the neck on the low E side (probably b/c I accidentally loosened the glue there when I was removing the fretboard from the body). I am going to try to put some epoxy in the crevice and clamp it and then hopefully can tighten the truss rod to remove the bow. As with everything else in this project I am learning as I go. I still cant believe that I have got a semi-playable guitar at this point with correct intonation.

Thanks for the reply. I'll definitely check out your site to see your progress. Good luck to you as well.


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