Long time since we posted here. A repair customer brought us this Airline style National with a snapped headstock.
We can repair most headstock breaks but this one is not going to happen. We need a new neck and we don't really do that kind of work here. Would anyone be able to make an exact replica? There's no truss rod in the original but that's not a requirement for the new one.
We'd be able to furnish the broken original for measurement purposes. We'd like for it to be as close to the original as possible - re-using the National logo and replicating the white/black pickguard material as headstock overlay either re-using or replicating the fretboard & inlays, etc.
We can do the finish work here but would understand if the builder preferred to do the entire thing. We've considered working from a stock "paddle head" neck like Allparts sells but this is a shorter scale length and with the inlay work, we just think it would be overall easier for someone with CNC capabilities to make an entirely new one.
Please get in touch if you're interested. We'll need to talk over proposals with the owner but would like to move forward soon.
Chicago Fret Works
You may want to contact the nice folks at Eastwood Guitars. They may have a direct repro replacement in stock or point you to a source that concentrate in reso-glass guitar refurb's.
Best of luck :)
Eastwood is the first place we checked. Unfortunately they've discontinued using the National name and we weren't sure we wanted to go with an Airline neck - though we've seriously considered it. There are enough differences between the one Eastwood neck we located and the original (color, logo, heel shape, inlays…) that we'd need to modify it heavily - probably to the point of refretting to get the inlays done. So in looking at a potential cost of over $700-800 to buy and modify that one, we thought it would be worth seeking out a builder who could make a new one from scratch. Still hoping someone is interested...
Though he will probably stop taking my phone calls, Mark Herbert (GuitarWorks 617-731-3995) is certainly up to the task of fabricating a new neck. If he were to build it, I suspect he would reuse the fingerboard (with an exceptional re-fret) and peg head overlay. I can say, without consultation, it will be expensive and take a long time.
Also, Eric Steven Johansen who has posted on this forum built a Super 400 neck from scratch which was sublime. He, obviously, has the chops for such a project.
I did find a company that makes kits of this kind of guitar, but their necks are Gibson and Fender scale. If this thing is close to either, you might be able to get the guitar up and running, if not repaired/restored, on the cheap. gutarkitsusa.com
Thanks for mentioning Eric's project. I vividly remembered it but couldn't think of 'who' did it. I agree, it was outstandingly superior!!!
BTW: I agree that I'd reuse the FB. Reproducing the inlays alone would add $300+ to the price of the project.
I had one of these guitars and always thought: "Gee, if they'd have put half as much thought into the rest of the guitar as they did the FB inlays & binding.... etc.". They DO look cool as Buck Rogers' spaceship. :)
Thanks again for the flashback to Eric's SUPERB work & project.
Thank you guys. As we've dug into this and contacted a few people, I think what we're going to end up doing is getting an un-fretted paddle head neck from one of those after-market builders then do the shaping, inlay, fret, and finish work ourselves. We've considered trying to re-use the whole fretboard but with binding involved and the time/effort/expense of removing two fretboards we're pretty certain it'll be easier/less expensive to go that route. Fingers crossed that the rough neck that arrives is relatively workable. Will try to remember to post some pics of the process.
Will look for Eric's Super 400 project in the archives!
Andy Birko can CNC the neck or fingerboard for you.
CNC for Luthiers and Industry
Thanks Robbie! I haven't placed an order elsewhere yet so I'll check with him. Much appreciated.