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Old 06-08-2018, 09:11 AM
OMsong OMsong is offline
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Default Are all bolt-on necks equal? Taylor versus other brands

We've all probably heard of how easy resetting a Taylor is, but just just how difficult and costly it would be to reset some of the other brands, particularly Breedlove and Lakewood? Is there likely to be glue in the joint as well that might make the task more difficult? I haven't come across much information about this, except with regards to Taylors.

Last edited by OMsong; 06-08-2018 at 09:30 AM. Reason: Developing topic
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Old 06-08-2018, 10:58 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Short answer: Many bolt-on neck joints still have the underside of the fingerboard over the body glued to the top. Taylors do not: the entire neck is a standalone assembly so that changing the neck angle changes the angle of the entire neck assembly, including the fingerboard "extension" over the body.

In fingerboards glued to the top, changing the neck angle doesn't change the angle of the fingerboard extension. The result is that one either needs to make a wedge to fit under the fingerboard extension, or one just glues the fingerboard extension back down to the top, creating a "crease" or bend in the fingerboard at the fret where the transition between neck and body occurs. The bend/crease causes excessive "fall-away", making the string height over the frets along the fretboard extension excessive. If one doesn't ever play in the higher frets, it is irrelevant: if one does play in the higher frets, it matters a lot.
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Old 06-08-2018, 02:38 PM
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Sounds to me that other than Taylors, if you require a neck reset on a Collings, Froggy Bottom, Robinson, etc., you send it back to the builder and feel good that the process is a lot less intrusive and complicated than a neck reset on a glued/fitted neck joint such as on a Martin and I believe also a Santa Cruz.

You do have to hand it to Bob Taylor for some clever engineering with the shim system.
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Old 06-08-2018, 06:05 PM
nikpearson nikpearson is offline
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Default Taylor bolt-on neck and the others...

The original Taylor bolt-on neck also had a fingerboard glued to the top. This design was very straightforward with a simple butt joint. Itís relatively easy to adjust the neck angle without ungluing the fingerboard from the guitar top; a downside being this does have the potential to cause a fall away on the fingerboard over the soundboard.

The Taylor NT (New Technology) neck was introduced in 1999 and became standard across the range by 2001. This joint is an elegant piece of engineering where the heel and fingerboard extension are inset into a CNC neck pocket, the heel is attached with two bolts and a further bolt anchors the fingerboard to the top. Dana Bourgeois uses a similar principle but with multiple fingerboard anchoring bolts/screws. These two makers to my mind have the most functional and easily adjustable neck joints.

I can see no advantage whatsoever in using a traditional dovetail joint. The dovetail is tricky to execute perfectly and any neck adjustment will incur considerable work and expense, not to mention the potential for finish damage. This is certainly one area where traditional methods have been superceded.
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Old 06-09-2018, 08:21 AM
mercy mercy is offline
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As the previous poster said, "The dovetail is tricky to execute perfectly". Any builder that can do a dovetail shows his expertise as a builder. And it is true that if a guitar needs a reset it is much harder. Nevertheless the dovetail is a badge of the skill the builder has and gives me a sense of quality. This is not always the case but I feel differently when I play a Martin standard and a Road series or Taylor for that matter.
And there is a more practical advantage to the dovetail, weight. By itself the bolt/s dont make enough difference to notice but combined with other weight saving techniques it can add up to about a pound. You may doubt that but Ive done the calculations with actual pieces.
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Old 06-09-2018, 10:26 AM
OMsong OMsong is offline
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Default How different are they?

One thing I am trying to grasp regarding bolt on neck resetting is, how can the neck be reset if the fretboard is still glued to the body? It obviously would have to be unglued. So, I would hope that builders would use hide glue to make that easier since heat can be used to unglued it, am I right? I would love to be able to see pictures of different builders' neck pockets and unattached necks. There are plenty of images online of Taylors disassembled, but not so many of other brands.

Is shimming always the way that a bolt on neck is repaired, or can is it also done by removing wood from the other side of the heel like with a dovetail?

And when it come to dovetail neck rests, you would think that hide glue would always be used. Is that the case? Is the great difficulty with those types of resets in removing the neck or the work to be done after?

Thinking about this makes me glad that I really like the sound of a guitar tuned a full step down. I hope that doing that can keep me from having to deal with having a neck reset on any of mine, or at least delay it if is inevitable. That, and I just picked up a nice little appropriately discounted player's grade Lakewood that is about 15 years old and has a pretty low saddle. It love the way it plays now, but I would like to be informed about this if it should need one sooner rather than later.

Last edited by OMsong; 06-09-2018 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 06-09-2018, 11:40 AM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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Everything old is new again. Bolt on necks go back to the at least the 1840s with even Martin joining in at one time. Kay Kraft came out with a bolt on adjustable neck around 1931 which worked like a dream.
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Old 06-09-2018, 02:16 PM
vanceen vanceen is offline
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I've got a Breedlove FS Journey Concert with Brazilian back and sides and a redwood top.

If it's suffering from having a bolt-on neck, I can only say I can't imagine what it would sound like with a dovetail. It's my dream guitar for fingerstyle stuff, which is most of what I play.
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Old 06-09-2018, 02:18 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OMsong View Post
So, I would hope that builders would use hide glue to make that easier since heat can be used to unglued it, am I right?
It isn't particularly difficult to release typical wood glues using heat. It isn't much different than releasing hide glue.


Quote:
Is shimming always the way that a bolt on neck is repaired, or can is it also done by removing wood from the other side of the heel like with a dovetail?
It depends on how the neck joint is implemented. For modern Taylors, for example, the heel is inset into a pocket in the sides so that the end of the heel does not contact the sides. This eliminates the need to reshape the end of the heel that would otherwise leave a gap with a new angle of the neck.

If the end of the heel rests against the side, changing the angle of the neck requires changing the angle of the end of the heel.


Quote:
And when it come to dovetail neck rests, you would think that hide glue would always be used. Is that the case?
The use of hide glue in guitar construction had largely been replaced by modern glues for all but a few small-shop luthiers. Relatively recently, there has been some renewed interest by larger manufacturers and some small shops. Opinions vary on what, if any, influence the choice of glue has on the sound of the resultant instrument.

It isn't significantly easier to separate a dovetail joint glued with hide glue than other common wood glues.


Quote:
Is the great difficulty with those types of resets in removing the neck or the work to be done after?
Again, depends on the specifics of the situation. If you have an epoxied-in neck joint, removing the neck is very difficult. If a standard wood glue, it isn't that difficult.
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Old 06-09-2018, 07:32 PM
OMsong OMsong is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanceen View Post
I've got a Breedlove FS Journey Concert with Brazilian back and sides and a redwood top.

If it's suffering from having a bolt-on neck, I can only say I can't imagine what it would sound like with a dovetail. It's my dream guitar for fingerstyle stuff, which is most of what I play.
I'm sure it does sound great. But the reason for this post has less to do with the tone the guitar has to begin with, since that's pretty easy to evaluate. Rather, I am hoping to gain some insight into what only certain expert luthiers and techs know about, namely how that neck joint is attached and sealed to the pocket on different brands and models, and what would be entailed should there be some issues on down the line.

I don't know if Breedlove has an authorized network of repair technicians, or if you have to send your guitars to them for stuff like this. I think that's what they have you do if you have any warrantied work done. So, I'm guessing that if your Breedlove needs a reset, you may have to ship it to them and back to get the work done. Can't hurt to know beforehand.
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Old 06-12-2018, 07:35 AM
redir redir is offline
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I have been doing the original Taylor bolt on butt joint for probably 15 years now. The 'modern' modification of that is to drill a dowel into the heal so that you can screw and glue the neck inserts into that and it significantly strengthens the heal. But anyway I have only had to reset the neck angle on one of my guitars and it took about 10 minutes.

I think most people over estimate how much wood needs to be removed at the heal to reset a neck. It's really not very much. With a strip of 100 grit sand paper you can floss the neck angle in fairly quickly. The result is that one can hardly even notice that there is any fall away. Of course I don't 'believe' in fall away in the first place so I do not build it into my guitars. I suppose if I did then the new neck angle would exacerbate that problem. And of course if the action is 3/8ths of an inch off the 12th fret then you might have to deal with fall away.

I do like Taylors new design and have thought about adopting something similar to it but the old design is so simple to execute and so far has held the test of time. Simple is often times better too. That and as mercy stated the new design does add weight.
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Old 06-12-2018, 07:47 AM
mirwa mirwa is online now
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Double post

So heres a pic of Taylorís traditional bolt on

Steve

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Last edited by mirwa; 06-12-2018 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 06-12-2018, 07:51 AM
mirwa mirwa is online now
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This may work, seeing if I can link a Facebook picture in.

Facebook post this morning showing today’s workload.

I did three neck resets today, so in response to ops post

GS mini taylor guitar 6, I reckon i was done in around 20 minutes start to finish- cost with new shims and Setup, New strings 145

A 50s les Paul junior,guitar 8, about 1 hr 15 and cut the hell out of my hands trying to get that hide glue broken with spatulas and heat, cost with handmade s0.5 degree shim glued to neck and redone and Setup new strings 215

And a Martin bolt on, guitar 5, not really a bolt on in the true sense, the bolt was merely an added feature they use to hold the heel on whilst the glue was drying, that took around about 2hrs all up, fretboard extension had to be heated and separated, the tenon had to be steamed out and so forth, cost 320 Setup with new strings

Taylor neck resets, win, hands down

Steve



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Last edited by mirwa; 06-12-2018 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:37 AM
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Furch also have a bolt on neck. In fact I have one guitar that has a 1 3/4 nut that Im not boding with. But the guitar sounds amazing. So, I am having a new neck made with a 1 11/16 nut. If it were not for the bolt on neck I probably would have sold it (and regretted it). My go to tech guy said it was an easy swap, baring any inperfections in the new neck.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:57 AM
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martingitdave martingitdave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirwa View Post
This may work, seeing if I can link a Facebook picture in.

Facebook post this morning showing todayís workload.

I did three neck resets today, so in response to ops post

GS mini taylor guitar 6, I reckon i was done in around 20 minutes start to finish- cost with new shims and Setup, New strings 145

A 50s les Paul junior,guitar 8, about 1 hr 15 and cut the hell out of my hands trying to get that hide glue broken with spatulas and heat, cost with handmade s0.5 degree shim glued to neck and redone and Setup new strings 215

And a Martin bolt on, guitar 5, not really a bolt on in the true sense, the bolt was merely an added feature they use to hold the heel on whilst the glue was drying, that took around about 2hrs all up, fretboard extension had to be heated and separated, the tenon had to be steamed out and so forth, cost 320 Setup with new strings

Taylor neck resets, win, hands down

Steve
Steve, I didn't realize you had such a busy shop. Thanks for taking the time to post that information.
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