1963 Vintage Hofner violin bass needs neck reset advise needed

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Sol, Oct 1, 2019.

  1. Sol

    Sol Member

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    The owner of the bass decided to reset the neck that has come apart from the body but did so using modern wood glue.
    To compound the situation it was set at an angle far too shallow and now has an action of approximately 1.5 inches at the 12th fret.
    I could cope had he used hide glue, but I've no idea how to free a neck fixed with alaphatic resin wood glue.

    He is a friend and I want to help but my skills, such as they are, are in building guitars... There is an art to restoration and repair, and people often believe that if you can do one then you can do the other, and as you know this is not always the case.
    Any and all advice at this point would be very gratefully received and if I can do no good I don't want to cause harm and will make enquiries to find someone who can competently complete what I can not, so don't hold back.

    Thanks
     
  2. larry1096

    larry1096 Member

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    Aliphatic glues can be defeated with steam; Stew-Mac sells tools specifically to do so. Not as easily as HHG, but it still works.

    Larry
     
  3. Sol

    Sol Member

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    Could anyone elaborate on the best approach to achieve this ?
    We do have a steam cleaner with a small nozzle , could this be adapted for the job ?
     
  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    your instinct is a good one, this is a "first do no harm" situation :worried

    neck resets are advanced guitar repair in the best of situations, not even considering vintage instruments and weird, delicate ones at that. i'd find a guy who knows vintage hofner rebuilding.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
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  5. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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    I know you want to help your friend but please don't do this. Your first neck reset should not be on a vintage instrument.
     
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  6. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    especially one that's had a botched home repair with the wrong glue, making a hard job twice as hard
     
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  7. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    If there is a "silver lining", it is this:

    Original Hofners, like old Gretsch guitars and others, have some of the more poorly-executed neck joints of that period and so they are among the very easiest necks to remove. It is common to see big gaps in the joints partly filled with broken-off veneer, the rest filled-in with hide glue.

    IF the neck joint was not refurbished/improved when the neck was off (which is part of the job on these) it should not be too difficult for a pro to remove the neck even given the yellow glue.

    I concur with the others that this isn't something that you'd want to do yourself.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  8. Sol

    Sol Member

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    A big thank you for your replies to my dilemma.
    Your quite right on this point Terry ,the neck joint design is very poor given the forces placed upon it, and the heavy guage flatwound strings it arrived with are in part the reason this lovely old bass is in the condition it is.

    I needed to hear from people who know their stuff, and your reassurances that this is not the instrument to be pitting my skills against comes as something as a relief to me.

    I'm in the UK, so anyone who knows of a competent repair/ restoration shop or individual I'd love to hear from you.
    Thanks for the collective wisdom around here..
     
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  9. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    My advice (when I do not have a specific craftsperson to recommend) is to find out who the #1 acoustic guitar repairman nearish you is. If there is a store in your area which carries high-end acoustic guitars, call them for a referral. Ask "who would you trust to do a neck reset on a 1938 Martin D-28"...and that will very possibly be your guy.
     
  10. Sol

    Sol Member

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    Sorry for the delay in an update on the Hofner bass, apologies to all
    Im happy to report back to confirm that this wonderful old bass is being corrected and renovated as we speak.. A repair specialist has taken on the work and at a price the owner can afford, the only people I could find and trust with this job were as expensive as their expertise in the field justified.
    However Im really looking forward to seeing the bass when finished.

    Thanks once again for all that advised me, I listened, and your advice tempered my (hey I can do this) pride, there is no shame in passing a job that is clearly outside your ability.
     
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  11. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    if it does indeed come back as good as everybody hopes by all means give us a shout-out to the fixers!

    (unless they're so busy they literally don't want their names advertised)
     

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