What would.....old EB3 Bass? now with updates

stormin1155

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A lady brought me her late father's guitars to be brought up to good playable condition before being distributed among family members. Among them is this '66 EB3 Gibson bass. It is in pretty nice shape except that there is some separation at the neck joint. Stress cracks are common in this area, and I tell folks not to worry about them, but in this case there is a crack big enough to stick a pick in there. It seems to be stable, and I can't get any flex or movement of any kind. So what to do?

This bass is going to a family member that doesn't play, so one option is to leave as is, tell them to keep it de-tuned when not being played. Watch it, and if it starts getting worse, bring it in.

I'd be afraid to try to shove some glue in there and try pressing it together, because I doubt I could, and I'd be left with a mess.

Doing a neck reset is probably the way to go if it was going to be played regularly, but is more expensive for the customer, and comes with its own set of risks.

What would you do?



 

swiveltung

Member
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14,492
Can you close the gap with a clamp and strings off? I'd be tempted to just fill it with epoxy if it plays ok, warm enough to thin so it goes into the joint. If it does close up with a clamp, Iso glue would be fine. These are not a tenon joint are they?
I wouldn't leave it as is at the risk of a total break, breaking the fretboard etc....
 

murkat

I like sea otters
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1,372
have the neck reset. The neck tenon is pretty much disconnected already. looks like it is being held by the fingerboard that starting to split.
 

stormin1155

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Have any of you removed a neck on one of these? These are different than SGs. Where do you apply steam?

 
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jcs

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8,067
I would inject it with hot hide glue if possible and clamp or use rubber bands to bind it...that way the neck can be taken apart again.

No way would I use epoxy in this case...however epoxy can have its place but redoing an epoxy (or super glue) repair is very difficult.
 

jcs

Member
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8,067
"Stress cracks" are always something to worry about. Unless you mean finish cracks?
Stress cracks, why can't they be injected with glue of some sort?

I did it on a cheapie import mahogany (of some sort) Les Paul and it has held fine for 15 years.

I my case I injected it with, what I think (if my memory serves me LOL) was thin super glue.

However I use hide glue anymore wherever I can as long as I can clamp or use rubber bands to bind it together.
 

stormin1155

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I would inject it with hot hide glue if possible and clamp or use rubber bands to bind it...that way the neck can be taken apart again.

No way would I use epoxy in this case...however epoxy can have its place but redoing an epoxy (or super glue) repair is very difficult.
I doubt it will will clamp together... it is really solid. And without clamping, glue is just a filler, and provides little structural strength. Not a good solution. I would never use super glue or epoxy in this application.

I really didn't want to do it, but the right thing to do here is remove the neck and reset it properly. I just don't know how to get steam into the joint.
 

0018g

Member
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1,902
I've never done one of these, but I believe I'd loosen the fingerboard over the joint and see if it will come on apart.

If not, then it's time to investigate further. It'd be messy, but could you inject steam into the separation? With no visible tenon in the pickup route, I'm not sure how this is built.
 

jcs

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8,067
I doubt it will will clamp together... it is really solid. And without clamping, glue is just a filler, and provides little structural strength. Not a good solution. I would never use super glue or epoxy in this application.

I really didn't want to do it, but the right thing to do here is remove the neck and reset it properly. I just don't know how to get steam into the joint.
Thats why I said I would prefer hot hide glue always except for tiny cracks where you might in certain instances wick thin superglue.

Which is something I have done numerous times on cheapies where it was impossible to take apart or redo a break and reglue with hide glue.... never had an issue with any of them wicking the thin superglue in the cracks.

But yeah, this aint no cheapie and the pro way to do this is definitely reset the neck with hot hide glue.....if this were a cheapie, it would be a superglue fix for me though!
 

stormin1155

Member
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I've never done one of these, but I believe I'd loosen the fingerboard over the joint and see if it will come on apart.

If not, then it's time to investigate further. It'd be messy, but could you inject steam into the separation? With no visible tenon in the pickup route, I'm not sure how this is built.
Unlike SGs and Les Pauls, where removing the fingerboard exposes the joint, there is another 1/8" or so layer under the fingerboard on this one, so unless I decide to cut that away too (which I might have to do), I wouldn't gain anything. I thought of injecting steam into the separation too, and I may end up trying it, but am doubtful that it would make its way to soften the glue around the entire joint. I also have an entry point where the strap button is on the bottom that I might try.
 
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0018g

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Wow. Wacky old Gibson. You just never know how they might have put stuff together.

When you get it apart, I'd love to see a pic. Always good to see what's in there in case one ever comes my way.
 

Laurent Brondel

Silver Supporting Member
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2,796
That neck needs to come out, joint cleaned up and reglued properly, that's what I would do.
The joint has let go under the 18th / 19th frets but still seems solid further up the body, it looks like a poor glue job or a starved joint.
Injecting hot hide glue may or may not work, god knows what glue Gibson used on that bass and adhesion will probably be compromised, but maybe not.
Injecting CA or thinned epoxy is inviting a hot mess, but it will hold, mask and wax the hell out of the surrounding areas and use a micro pipette with clamps and cauls already in place.
 

stormin1155

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Once I figured out where to drill down to inject the steam, it was easy. Five minutes of steam and a little wiggling and she popped right off.
should be a clean fix, and back to the owner in time for Christmas!
 

0018g

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Always a good feeling to know you fixed it the right way.

Once you get it apart, it looks like you'd expect-you just can't see the tenon in the pu route.
 

stormin1155

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^ It occurred to me that I could slip a ruler into the crack and it would butt up against the tenon, and that would tell me exactly where to drill down.
 




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