This Yamaki was their top-end model in 1971, with gold Grovers and the world’s supply of MOP inlay. It's pretty unique. I'd hoped to fix it, but now I realise I have neither the experience nor the tools to do such a job.

The X-braces under the 3mm top are only 9mm x 7.5mm, making the top fragile, and it has caved by some 5mm. The top has cracked beside the fb extension on the bass side, probably a victim of 'hot car syndrome'. Then someone compounded the problem by fixing it in its shifted position with white glue. Internally everything seems solid, no broken braces.

The neck needs re-setting, but the joint is made by 5 parallel dowels running through it, so conversion to a bolted joint is probably the only option. (Compared to this the cracked headstock and top cracks are the easy bits.)

I realise that this is the sort of job most sensible luthiers will run and hide from, and that it'll probably cost more to fix than it's worth. But if there's someone out there who enjoys such a challenge, please let me know - either here or thru pm.

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looks like it was mashed head to toe..............
Don't think so, Tim, the head crack is not repaired so I'm guessing this happened later.  Also no obvious sign of end-on impact.
It looks to me like the neck block has come lose from the top as it would be glued to end grain on the block .And of corse the fall it got when the head piece hit the floor or what ever it hit has done all the damage.My exp. with this kind of repair you have  to take the top off to do much with it. But I am sure that someone esle will have a different take on the repair. But you should not be afraid to try the repair your self as that is the only way you will ever get any exp.  Good luck with what ever you deside to  do with it .Bill.''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Well, if you want a job done - do it yourself.  Progress so far:

- Bridge Doctor installed, subduction reduced from 5mm to 2mm.  Not bad.

- Peeling pickguard off

- UTB off - not well glued.  Needs replacing.

- Fretboard off, revealing the true horror of What Lies Beneath - cr*p old repair which will be reinforced by new UTB and spruce patch between that and the soundhole, and an additional brace beside the neck block.

Next step - saw off the neck and re-set vertically and laterally.  Yes, I know, ideally the top should come off and the neck block be re-set.  But it feels solid and I'm not up for taking the top off - looks like a nightmare.

The headstock crack is very tight and extends from the top E tuner right round to the faceplate near the bottom E tuner (see 3rd pic).  I can open it a little, but if I try too hard I'll probably rip the head off.  I'm thinking either CA or thinned HHG - any suggestions?  (Not used HHG before and this doesn't look like an easy one to practice on.)



I've done this repair by loosening the headblock from the top, pushing everything back with a spreader clamp positioned between the bridge and the end of the fingerboard, putting glue between the top and the headblock and then clamping it front to back with the spreader in place.

The spreader should be used a bit at a time until everything is where it should be before you glue, and I would usually put a brace on either side of the headblock to reinforce it's relationship to the top. I didn't invent this technique but I have had success with it.

John - That's clever, hadn't thought of that. Shame I've already got the FB off, but maybe I could rig up a speader from the bridge to the neck block direct.  Just a bit worried about the strength of the very thin and under-braced top though.

Progess so far:

- separated the neck block from the top, but couldn't persuade the neck block to move without risking more damage.  Been set this way too long I guess, so will re-glue as is 

- made a new (larger) UTB and additional brace

- removed FB, old damaged binding to be replaced

- cut off neck, sanded the heel to realign laterally and correct the set angle

I have a jigsaw of broken top (see photo). The wood lines up, but the minute black/white rosette rings are distorted at the break and don't align. They are way thinner than 0.02".  Any ideas?



Yamaki is now playable, but not finished.  It sounds amazing.   I have two questions:

(1) What is considered an optimal saddle height above the bridge?  After the reset, having reduced the saddle height slightly to improve action, I find the tone suffered.  Clearly it's not driving top as effectively.  What should I aim for?  I can reset the neck further if necessary.

(2) There's a crack which extends from the back of the bridge to the tail, just off the centreline. Displacement is mainly vertical, I can close it by applying pressure on one side.  I plan to cleat it, but am wary of spoiling the tone in the process.  What size cleats (and how many) would be appropriate?

I have only ever seen one other guitar like this, and it sold last week for $1800.  It would have been nice to practice my first restoration on something less valuable, so I'm concerned not to screw it up.

 A Yamaki selling for 1800?  Crazy people will do anything, and that price reflects that, so don't put that in your equasions. Don't be worried about the repairs and 'working on something so valuable'. It's not valuable at all. It is a Japanese made, non dovetail dread, and the best thing Yamaki had going for them was they were (for the most part) paying attention to details, so most of them sound pretty good.

    If it had just needed a neck reset, it still probably would have sold for under $500. ( the inlays on the top are put into black mastic for goodness sakes!)  They were pretty nice sounding guitars for what they are, but were only ahead of the Japanese  luthiers, not the North American Luthiers if you get my drift.  This being said, I have always had a soft spot for these guitars.

 On another note, but kind of the same direction, with all the work done on the guitar, it just brings it back up to spec, so it is not valuable at all anymore. You now have a damaged and fixed guitar, as opposed to an intact one. Please don't take that as me treating your work harshly either. It came to you damaged, and will be totally fixed when finished. It just does not mean it is worth anything more than $500 you would pay for an intact one.

 I would not worry at all about cleating dampening the top. You will only be adding  a few grams of spruce. My old 52 Gibson Southern Jumbo had a centre seem crack that used to open up each and every winter, and it being open made no difference it the tone/volume of the guitar at all. It sounded the same in summer AND winter. When I was finally able to get it cleated, it still did not change tone at all. 

 I would love to see pictures with how far you have progressed with the guitar too. 

+1 on everything Kerry stated.

In the shop where I work, it would be sold for $250 or less.

Enjoy your guitar & your work but don't worry at all about the monetary value.

Have fun,


Will is right do not be afraid to repair your first guitar or you will never learn how to do things trust me i though repairing guitars was hard till i opened my own shop its easy once you get some practice and time into it and study!


hope it helps.

Ian Supplee


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