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Old 12-11-2016, 05:08 PM
CTGull CTGull is offline
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Default Vintage (60's/70's) Yamaha FG Neck Resets Are Not Impossible

Previously I've done 4 or 5 bolt on neck resets, mostly old Seagulls. Oddly my first and only official hide glued neck reset was a 1966 Hofner 500/1 Beatle bass. How any people can say they've done one of those, let alone that be their first one. Actually I did it twice, I didn't get the neck angle right the first time.

I've read in many forums that the necks of the Vintage Yamaha FG's cannot be removed conventionally (with steam) because they are built using some "Asian Mystery Glue" or epoxy. The only way to do a neck reset is to cut the neck off and turn it into a bolt on. I've been sitting on 7 vintage FG's from the 70's requiring neck resets due to very high action. I had been thinking about going the bolt on route but I could get myself to butcher a vintage FG.

Last year I was able to steam of the neck of a 1973 FG-200. I designed and built a neck removal jig. It took 3 sessions of steam but it came off. The only problem is it hung for the next 13 months before I got back to it and finished it last week.

Yesterday afternoon I struggled to remove the neck of a 1973 FG-160, 8 sessions of steam with the neck jig. I learned how to properly wiggle to neck to get the dovetail to release, the screw can't do all the work. Probably over 4 hours total for all the steps to get the neck off.

I figured I had learned a few things so I figured why not try another??!! I did a 1974 FG-170 in 2 hours total!!

It was only 8:30pm so I figured why not 1 more?? I removed the neck of a red label Nippon Gakki (no serial number in guitar) FG-180 in 1 hour total!

I think I've figured it out. The myth of the non-removable "Asian Mystery Glue" has been debunked! Now all I have to do is fully document every step so I can do it again in the future. I still have 3 more vintage FG's but I have no where to put them afterward.
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Old 12-11-2016, 06:28 PM
kaos kaos is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTGull View Post
Previously I've done 4 or 5 bolt on neck resets, mostly old Seagulls. Oddly my first and only official hide glued neck reset was a 1966 Hofner 500/1 Beatle bass. How any people can say they've done one of those, let alone that be their first one. Actually I did it twice, I didn't get the neck angle right the first time.

I've read in many forums that the necks of the Vintage Yamaha FG's cannot be removed conventionally (with steam) because they are built using some "Asian Mystery Glue" or epoxy. The only way to do a neck reset is to cut the neck off and turn it into a bolt on. I've been sitting on 7 vintage FG's from the 70's requiring neck resets due to very high action. I had been thinking about going the bolt on route but I could get myself to butcher a vintage FG.

Last year I was able to steam of the neck of a 1973 FG-200. I designed and built a neck removal jig. It took 3 sessions of steam but it came off. The only problem is it hung for the next 13 months before I got back to it and finished it last week.

Yesterday afternoon I struggled to remove the neck of a 1973 FG-160, 8 sessions of steam with the neck jig. I learned how to properly wiggle to neck to get the dovetail to release, the screw can't do all the work. Probably over 4 hours total for all the steps to get the neck off.

I figured I had learned a few things so I figured why not try another??!! I did a 1974 FG-170 in 2 hours total!!

It was only 8:30pm so I figured why not 1 more?? I removed the neck of a red label Nippon Gakki (no serial number in guitar) FG-180 in 1 hour total!

I think I've figured it out. The myth of the non-removable "Asian Mystery Glue" has been debunked! Now all I have to do is fully document every step so I can do it again in the future. I still have 3 more vintage FG's but I have no where to put them afterward.
I have a '72 FG200 in need of a reset. Looking forward to seeing this procedure.

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Old 12-11-2016, 08:06 PM
GHS GHS is offline
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They were never impossible, just very difficult. If you are in the business of doing this type of repair that translates to time spent/ price charged. Two to four hours to remove/replace a neck, ( guessing about 400+ dollars) on a 200 dollar guitar ( real world value, not hype value) is a tough sell. Really, they were laminated all around and did have good sound. But there is so much out there today for great prices w/built in p/u that you really have to think about that job. I have two FG's hanging on the wall. Original owner since 1971. They were great, but not that great to spend that much on the job. If you are a DIY, thats cool, do them all.
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:12 AM
CTGull CTGull is offline
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Originally Posted by GHS View Post
They were never impossible, just very difficult. If you are in the business of doing this type of repair that translates to time spent/ price charged. Two to four hours to remove/replace a neck, ( guessing about 400+ dollars) on a 200 dollar guitar ( real world value, not hype value) is a tough sell. Really, they were laminated all around and did have good sound. But there is so much out there today for great prices w/built in p/u that you really have to think about that job. I have two FG's hanging on the wall. Original owner since 1971. They were great, but not that great to spend that much on the job. If you are a DIY, thats cool, do them all.
Exactly. I'm doing it for "fun" and the experience that will translate to working on newer guitars, but I'm not sure I want to risk screwing up someone's $3000 Martin. I'm sure there's a market out there to do this on vintage Yamaha FG's but it has to be a personal thing about the guitar, not about the money.

I was "warned" by a local luthier to be sure to charge the going rate. I was asking him questions about doing neck resets. He wanted to charge me $100 per hour to talk about how to do it, but I would do the work. I'm guessing that may have run up a pretty big bill. I said no thanks, I'll figure it out on my own. I think he was afraid I was going to charge less and undercut him or devalue the cost of the neck reset and hurt the industry.

I've gotten some good info from Bryan Kimsey's website and video's. I've also emailed him a few times with questions and he's been very helpful.

It takes much more than 2-4 hours for the full neck reset. I was just talking about the removal. I've only done 1 full vintage Yamaha neck reset, so I don't have a feel for how long it takes or should take. And every one is a little different.

It's going to take while to write the Vintage Yamaha FG Neck Reset guide. There are so many steps. I'm starting by listing all the parts and tools required. I'm up to 26 and I don't think that part is done yet.

I'm also going to write a guide on how to check and set the neck relief on vintage (1968 to 1981, truss rod nut in the headstock) Yamaha's. I've found you can't just crank on the truss rod nut. The necks are old and hard, typically the nut just buries into the neck until it hits the end of the threads, then you're in trouble. I'll cover how to fix that too. Like doing a neck reset, it requires special tools too.
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:03 AM
DanPanther DanPanther is offline
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I just pulled the neck from my FG-180. It took about 8 hours of off and on steam to get er done.
Just make sure you don't OVER steam at any one time, laminates do not like steam or water.
I use a very thin spatula (VERY THIN) and as I steam I carefully slide the spatula into the gap. I let the entire joint cool, then proceed to another area of the joint. Eventually just when you get to the point that you say, "This **** thing isn't coming off, Bam, it come off."
Once you start, either you finish, or the guitar is pretty much ruined. So unless you have determination to succeed, DON'T START. It is time consuming, so don't expect the quick results you get with a normal neck removal, these are stubborn animals.

JMHO

Dan
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:08 AM
CTGull CTGull is offline
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Are you using steam to release the fretboard? I use a 75W halogen light 1-2" away. The last one took 45 minutes, just for the fretboard. It all depends how much wood you dig into with the spatula.

All 4 I've done where put together with hide glue, nothing different. I think they just used too much of it!
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:27 PM
DanPanther DanPanther is offline
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I don't remove the fretboard from the neck. I remove the 14th fret, then drill two holes at the 14th fret. I Feed steam from a latte type coffee maker, using heat resistant tubing, and the compressor attachment used to inflate volley and basketballs.
You first need to unglue the upper part of the fretboard that hangs out onto the soundboard by the soundhole. I use a flat iron and a towel to keep excess heat from the soundboard. Work the spatula under the fretboard overhang. Then proceed to the dovetail joint itself.
Most necks using hyde glue come off in 30 minutes or so. These resin glues are much different.
Also be careful using the spatula, it can rotate and dig into the soundboard so proceed very slowly.

Dan
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Old 02-23-2020, 08:04 PM
Rapidfire Rapidfire is offline
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Hi, I struggled first 3 hours with a Stew MAC heat stick trying to get a Yamaha FG160 neck off. It was a major battle getting the fingerboard extension free but I did it - with some fixable trauma. This is not titebond...the neck won’t budge. Can you please give me your technique for removal, as l would rather not saw the neck off. Thanks!
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