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Hey all…

I've been enjoying hearing everyone's opinions of and methods of bridge shaving and wanted to collect some current thoughts on slipping the block.

I went a year or so without doing any and have now done 3 within the last month and was very pleased with the results. 

I guess I'm just surprised I don't hear more about this method since it can be so effective at correcting neck angle. 

Are people still doing them or has this method been abandoned for some reason? 

I'm finding that I can make decent money per hour charging between $150 to $200 dollars to slip the block and do a full set-up. 

I'm not offering this as an option on high value instruments. Usually old Simon & Patricks, Yamaha's, etc…

Thoughts?

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I've never slipped a bock but I though about it a few times when I already have the back off. I always end up recutting the neck joint. I always worry about the deformation to the sides when I look at this technique. I have a small bodied guitar right now that I was thinking about doing this to but it seems to me that the twist I would induce in the sides may be asking for trouble down the road. The top bout is only about 9 inches so the twist in the sides is pretty clear to see. Other than that it would be the quickest/easiest way to set the neck angle.  

Hobbyist here, non professional opinion.  . . . . .

I have done a few slip block procedures on low end, no-name all laminate bodied guitars.  All Asian imports.  All with a single strip of binding to deal with.  Some were models very close to being ISO's (instrument shaped objects)  They were models where I would have been guessing on the neck joint construction. 

Also I owned these guitars at the time I did the procedure. 

Most were then passed on to younger kids, 8 to 12 years old, as their first guitar.  I would tell their parents if they can learn a few things on this and then come home some day and tell you that their friends guitar SOUNDS better than theirs, it's time for an upgrade.

What I don't like is it is a non-reversible procedure once you shave the back overhang off.  That's why I would shy away from it on anything of good value.   Older Yamaha's or any guitar I know has a dovetail joint I will steam out.

On Frank's old site he had an interesting article on old outdated procedures if I remember correctly.

   

Older Simon and Patricks (and all the LaSiDo manufactured guitars) have bolt-on necks. Resetting is as simple as pulling the bolts and drawing sandpaper between the heel and body. Slipping the neck block is the wrong approach. It's a better option on Asian guitars but that thick finish makes it messy, though. I've managed to avoid doing the procedure in 40 years of instrument repair.

Sounds like the Simon & Patricks can be reset in the same way as Pre-NT neck joint Taylors.

Thats great to know…Thanks Greg.

That would indeed be much easier and more appropriate than slipping the block.

I don't know. I think i'd be more scared to slip the block than removing the neck to correct the angle.

Actually i have a takamine that needs a neck reset, but as you may know the neck joint is epoxied. I'm thinking of shaving the bridge or... probably slipping the block. But i haven't done it before. I think is providencial that you came up with this topic, that way I can take a more informed decision on how to proceed. 

By the way, here's Frank Ford's article on outdated repairs.

http://frets.com/FretsPages/History/UsedToBe/usedtobe1.html

 I asked Frank a few months ago 'is there a photoessay on slipping neck blocks" He said 'Nope. He never got around to it...  I would

LOVE  a full photoessay on how YOU do it! 

Without discouraging free range experimentation, I'd like to state the following:

Slipping the block is an archaic and obsolete procedure. As a matter of high quality current industry standards for repairs, I completely disagree with doing that task in a 'modern shop".

Slipping the block is as obsolete as leveling frets with a carborundum stone, shimming saddles with whatever you have available, notching acoustic saddles to lower the action, etc. 

I realize and understand that we're all seeing [what were designed and built to be] 'disposable' instruments. We must face the facts and come to accept that some instruments are simply 'shot' and should be hung on a wall. Again I urge everyone to adjust to the fact that many, many, originally inexpensive instruments are destine for the trash bin.

From my personal experience, 95% of the instruments originally sold as student or beginner guitars are JUNK. Folks could actually 'upgrade' to a $150 Asian import as opposed to spending $200 to have a nonadjustable neck reset on a Harmony student model with a pine fretboard and tiny brass frets. If it has sentimental value, make sure to charge an industry standard fee for said work.

Although this forum welcomes builders, repairers and players of all levels, (pro, amateur & hobbyist,) I maintain that repair subjects should promote only the BEST currently practiced industry standards. If we lower our collective standards to include obsolete or hack solutions, we'll lose our integrity as a forum. Even hobbyists are expected/encouraged to do pro quality repairs. Anyone not in that camp are hacks. I don't believe we condone hackery.

Rant over. Nomex suit on.

Paul, I think you are right. I've considered slipping the block, as I said earlier but I have just enough ego that I like to think that one of my repaired instruments may someday be in the hands of another person willing to keep it going. I really don't like the idea that the future person will look at my work and hate me for the extra work I made for them. 

I realize that not needing to make money on the job changes things but I don't think slipping the block is the best I can do. I've never completely accepted the idea that slipping the block on a guitar, that didn't have the back off would really be worth while anyway given the work involved in getting everything to look good again.  I don't see how it can be easier or quicker than cutting the neck off and resetting with bolts and inserts if the joint won't come apart. I may be talking out of line since I haven't tried that either.

I have wondered how hard it would be to cut the neck off flush, re-cut the dove tail slot in the body and add a dove tail back to the neck. I've also though about making an aluminum dove tail plate that is inset into the neck block instead of a new slot with a matching metal tail for the neck?  A bolt through the block could hold it in place. ( Now that I'm writing that, it sound like a "been there, done that" sort of idea so I won't be surprised if someone come along with examples of when it was already done and why we still don't do it. Seems like I should remember something like this...) 

HI all, can only agree with Paul again, based on the proposition that our Forum is dedicated to promoting best practice and quality across the board.   The quickest ways to reduce standards and integrity is to accept and utilize sub standard practices as an option.

Nuff said there.   Modern guitar making/repairing and marketing involves accepting that the cheap $100 guitars made in China/Korea etc are, these days, good value for money for what they are.   Replacement rather than repair is now a valid procedure given the basic cost and on-costs of even simple repairs to the older el-cheapo's (which are often badly designed and executed) can often exceed the price of a new, much better modern instrument. 

This goes to Paul's reminder that cheap instruments should attract the same industry standard fee for work as an expensive instrument - otherwize, we lose money working on junk for junk prices, which doesn't pay the rent.

Finally, not all cheap modern guitars are good value for money, but it's our job to know which ones are and recommend them as required - customers will ultimately respect your good advice and that makes for happy endings.

Rusty.

I agree with you almost entirely. If a proper neck set isn't feasible due to the way that the instrument was constructed, it's rarely worth the trouble.  I will occasionally convert a lower cost guitar with sentimental value to bolt on, although I try more and more these days to avoid those types of jobs. However, what if the guitar in question has a spanish heel, and valuable enough to warrant such a repair? I have a customer with a guitar like this, and I'm considering slipping the heel as an option.

Hi Ian.

You do understand that the sides of the guitar are integrated into the neck/heel block of a Spanish heel?

In other words, the neck, heel block and tenons for the sides are a single assembly.

Good luck. :)

I think you might have missed my point. I wouldn't be considering slipping the block if I had a joint to reset. This project is a ways down the road for this customer, but when that day comes, I'll likely be slipping the block, as it seems like my best option.

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