Well that looks a lot of work, but I'm sure you can do it.
Looking at the photos I can't workout how the strings are fitted at the bridge end or how the strings connect to the saddle, maybe just the way I'm looking at the photo ?
Great set of photos and write up as usual, well done and good luck.
Thanks! The strings go thru the bridge, like an Ovation.
One thing I forgot to mention about this guitar is the wide string spacing. Stock 1.48" at the nut (1.75" nut), and 2.24" at the saddle. Much better than a stock vintage Yamaha.
I had been looking for the 000 size version of the, the H1203. Yea, it's in my head to look for one again!! And a vintage Yamaha 12 string FG-230 neck to use to build a wide neck/string spacing YamahXLjr with a smaller (classical size) FG-75-1 body. I'd really like to build that this year. I have another FG-230 but it has history and I'm not willing to sacrifice it.
Thanks for the reply. It all makes sense now, I must have been a little bit tired when looking at your photos, keep up the good work. With the way thing are at present, with companies closing and large scale redundancies happening, more and more people are learning to play the guitar (well here in the UK they are),this will mean more people like yourself with your skills in setting up and repairing guitars will become in big demand.
After a week of internal humidifying and only (1) crack closed, the rest were unchanged. So I moved to putting tiny wet sponges on the inside of the cracks. This was mostly successful.
With the cracks closed as good as they were going to get, it's time to push the neck block back into position and start fixing cracks. SoI got out my block spreader (sorry, no pics). It fought me for a couple of hours. I had to make a new extension tube and modify a couple of blocks. And it's difficult to see what's going on inside the guitar, and the whole assembly keeps shifting. Every step required shoving my arm deep into the guitar. It's till red and sore. I FINALLY got it installed and started cranking on it. And then it happened. POP!! The side cracked near the neck block!!! OK, note to self. ONLY use this on plywood guitars!! It's a good thing this is a junk guitar. But I want to fix it! But I don't know if I'm going to be able to put the neck block back in position without causing more damage. This one gets put away for a while.
Maybe a bad idea, but how about, wrapping the guitar good and tight all round the guitar body with masking tape prior to gluing in the neck block back in.
The neck block isn't loose (although there's a chance it could be now), it was slightly kicked forward. If you look at the first post you'll see the top is cracked on both sides of the neck block.
Of course, I thought about it overnight. I won't be able to push the neck block back into position. I'll cleat the new crack in the side, then make a 1/8" thick plywood patch to reinforce the top around the neck block and back of the sound hole, then a patch at the front of the sound hole, then cleat the other cracks in the top.
It's always going to be ugly, but I had hoped to put the neck block back in it's right position, which I've done a couple of times before but on plywood guitars. Lesson learned.
Last night I started fixing the cracks in the side & top. I added a long cleat on the side, and a "U" shaped plate around the neck block, made from 1/8" plywood. Today I added a 1/16" maple patch to the area at the rear of the sound hole. Tomorrow it will be the front of the sound hole. All are attached with fish glue.
The plate around the neck block from the outside.
The patch at the rear of the sound hole. The wood you see is a long piece of wood to provide even pressure. I covered it with Renaissance Wax so it wouldn't possibly get glued to the guitar if any glue squeezes out. I did get some squeeze out thru the cracks, which is good.
Yesterday I added a patch to the front of the sound hole.
Today I made some cleats for the other cracks. I tried gluing them on with fish glue put it isn't tacky enough, except to my fingers, I kept pulling them off when setting them. So I went to hot hide glue. I used a magnet and a hex nut to tell me where to place the cleat. It's still a pain. I had to reset 3 of them. The farthest one isn't great, but the first try was even worse. It was right at the limit of my reach.
I'll use some hot water on a paper towel to clean up the excess glue tomorrow. Somehow I missed by a mile on the middle one the first time!
I wiped some hot hide glue into the 2 larger cracks. That was fun cleaning it up once it gelled. Don't know if it will matter once it dries and shrinks. Can't hurt.
I'm taking a break from the neck reset process change experiments and decided to move this along. Also, I need the (2) part guitar hanger for the other projects, so I really need to get the neck reset done and glue the neck on. I couldn't do that until I got the saddle slot widened & deepened. The existing slot was only .080" wide and .06" deep!!
I don't like working on saddle slots. It's a pain to set up, with lots of risk. Last night I spent over an hour looking for the router jig and long feeler gages. The router jig was found in a few minutes, the feeler gages took over an hour!! I hadn't seen them in a long time. I went thru every drawer and cabinet. Then I had an idea. Are they in the router box?? DUH!! YEA!! Then I spent over an hour trying the set it up. You have to get the jig set up in many planes. Lining it up with the existing slot is just the beginning. The jig needs to be clamped rigidly and flat, there can't be any rock when moving the router. And the jig has to be parallel with the bridge. I fought with all 3 of them, multiple times.
I took a half day from work to get this done before giving blood with the Red Cross. I can't do any physical work afterward. So, here it is!!
This is a pinless bridge, the relief slot in front of the string holes looks very similar to a saddle slot.
I initially cut the slot with a .093 downcutting endmill, knowing I was going to widen the slot. After cutting the inital slot in 4 depth passes, I adjusted the jig .015 and made another pass, opening the slot to nearly .110. But somehow the slot wasn't parallel, it was about .008" off!! I made a .008" adjustment and now it's .003" off. HUH??!! So I made a .004" adjustment. Now it's off .005 to the other side, it moved .008"!!! WHAT??!! So I made ANOTHER adjustment. Now the sides are parallel within .001. .125" wide x .13" deep. A little wider than I wanted, but OK. And it looks good. I wanted to go wider because the original slot was a little chipped, but I was hoping for .110".
Mission accomplished!! Now I can move on to the neck angle. But not today. Gotta get that harpoon in my arm...
Last night I ignored the "do no physical work" after giving blood. I made a saddle & nut. I have a sanding fixture for the thickness of the saddle, but it only works on blanks 3-3/8" max long. This guitar has a thru slot and could use a 4-1/2" long saddle, but my blanks are only 4" long. 4" it is! But, I had to sand the thickness by hand on sandpaper!! .157 down to .127!! That's a lot of sanding. Which is physical work. YES!! I did it!!
I also found the fretboard and frets are sanding to a 10" radius, not the normal 16" radius! That was a bit of a shocker. The next step is to level the frets. The smallest radius sanding block I have is 11" radius. I ordered a 10" sanding block (for the other H1260), but the 11" block will have to do for this guitar, I need to get the frets leveled tonight.
I have radius gages at various sizes, so I used the 10" one to lay out the curve on the saddle blank. The saddle sticks out of the bridge about 3/16" in the middle, and about 1/8" at both E's.
There are 2 lines because my first one was too low.
Sanded to the line.
The neck is 1.75" wide, so I made a 1.76" wide blank and slotted it to 1.50" string spacing.
Today I took another half day from work to go home to work on this. YAY!!
I taped up the fretboard and leveled the frets. As usual, the 13th the 16th frets were high (the 14th fret hump). And 3 or 4 other frets were high. I forgot to take any pictures.
Then I worked on the neck angle, first undercutting the heel, putting the tape on the heel at .06", filing the heel cap to the tape, and pull sanding to the tape. The neck (without strings) projects .01" above the bridge. I reset the heel tape to .02", filed & pull sanded again. Now it's time to put strings on it and check the neck projection and action with string tension. The problem is after I install the strings I can't easily remove them because of the pinless bridge. Action is about 1/32" higher than I want, as expected. I set the tape at .02" again, filed & sanded, and strung again. Now it's right where I want it. The filing and sanding the heel was fun because I had to maneuver the neck that was still wired to the body. I put a towel on the top of the guitar to protect it.
The heel is undercut with the Dremel and a 1/8" ball burr bit. Then the heel cap is filed to the tape. This prevents the pull sanding from pulling the heel cap off.
With the neck angle done I used super glue to attach .02" thick maple shims to the bottom of the dovetail on both sides. This guitar has a 20° dovetail vs. 10° for the Yamaha's. It takes twice as much shims to fill the same space. I had to add another shim to both sides and sand them slightly to get the neck to fit nicely in the pocket.
Then I glued the neck on with fish glue. Crowning the frets will have to wait.
No I am not sponsored my Hershey!! That bag of Hershey Kisses has been on my work table for the past couple of months. I don't think I've touched them is almost a month!
I just checked the guitar to find the heel isn't sitting flush to the body! I thought I tightened the neck jig. There's an about .015" gap! That'll make the action about .022" higher at the 12th fret. The neck has to come off!! I had finished modifying the steam trap and was thinking about what vintage Yamaha I would try it on. I guess it will be this one!! Not that it will be any challenge since the glue is fresh. But I'm going to have to remove the strings from the tuners. I guess I'll crown the frets while the neck is off.
I finally got the tuner bushings. 2 of the old ones wouldn't come out easily so I just replaced the missing one.
And I glued the neck back on. 3 clamps on the fretboard and the neck jig. Normally I'd put the strings on to be sure the neck is centered, but I used a straight edge on the edges of the fretboard and measured to the E strings. Looks good. Hopefully it will tomorrow.