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Dovetail Neck Fit Advice Sought
Author
Post
ejko

Total Topics: 24
Total Posts: 113
I feel I'm at a point where I better get some advice...

I fit the neck to where it was about 1/8" from being flush to the top. There was no angle (i.e. it was running parallel to the top), so I sanded a slight angle to where it butts up to the side. As expected, this caused the lower part of the dovetail to become loose.

I slipped in a few shims provided with my kit, and everthing is snug again, with the neck now about 3/8" from being flush. Here's where I need advice. If I simply sand down the shims, it seems I'll eventually be right back where I started, with the lower part of the dovetail loose again. I'm thinking I need to remove material from the upper part of the dovetail and by doing so, I'll eventually got to where I need to be.

Before I sand away to the point of no return, I wnated to check out my logic with you guys. Appreciate any advice on this.

Regards,

Ed

Jun 28, 06 | 3:44 pm
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
Well, since no one bailed me out, I had to go it alone. I sanded such that I changed the angle a bit by sanding more off the upper portion of the dovetail than the lower portion. After about 20 trials, I finally have it properly fit with the correct angles.

While this is the vintage way and demands a level of respect, for us newbees, a bolt-on neck seems far simpler.

Ed

Jul 01, 06 | 3:30 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Its not called the "joint from hell" for no reason. Funny thing is that the old masters used it because it was fairly easy to take apart for neck resets, which were much more routine before the advent of the adjustable truss rod. Its more likely that the heavy “T” and “square tube style truss rods contribute to some of the “vintage sound” (added mass) unfortunately for us, the major contributor is age itself ---- the whole instrument has completely catalyzed, glue, wood and finish. So all the sound absorbing flabbiness is gone. I am sure all the instruments you guys/gals are building now will sound pretty darn good -- they will be outstanding 75 years from now. Like Taylor and many, many others I really do not see the point of the dovetail, today’s mechanical fasteners provide a much more stable, rigid joint than a shimmed dovetail joint. The quality revolution that came about with superior import automobiles was merely the revelation that “you cannot repair or shim quality into a product, the best and most simple way is to “do it right the first time”. Starting with a design that does not require adjustments. I would concede that the Spanish heel neck assembly is superior since the neck is integral to the body --- Jim Williams has a book describing that methodology. To my ear --- the superior sounding instruments that I have built have the common thread of being feather light and excellent intonation. I could go on and on!!!

Ken ------ Kenneth Michael Guitars

Jul 01, 06 | 5:07 pm
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
Amen to that, Ken!

Ed

Jul 03, 06 | 3:24 pm
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
Dovetail joints are a traditional joint and are one that are not that difficult once mastered. Dovetail joints are more stable than any other neck joint. the history of the dovetail is that in old days the glues were not as stable as todays. The neck used the mechanics of the doevtail . The spanish foot or heel is not so much a joint as a construction. The sides are incorprated into the neck rather than the otherway .
Glueing surface on dovetail is more and the interlock also applied to make the joint far supierior even today. The spanish heel or spanish foot is a stable joint though it won't allow for resetting like the dovetail, These need to have the back slipped to adjust. It is up to your choice.
When looking at good instruments ears tell you what you like. Looking at the instuments that hold value one has to agree that old martins have shown a great increase of value over the years, and these are dovetailed. Gibson, guild all used them.
The best builders in the USA most will use a dovetail , nichols , kovacik , Laplant diefenback all use dovetails. A guitar will at one point need the have the neck reset and that is the purpose of neck joints
john hall
blues creek guitars

Jul 08, 06 | 5:31 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Here is some insite from Frank Ford

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPAGES/General/faq.html#NeckJoint

Ken ------ KMG

Jul 09, 06 | 5:19 am



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