Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

Hello all, 

I have what I think to be a circa 1830s guitar  (which, interestingly, is almost the exact body outline of the Lacote guitar that Crain's site has drawings for.....must have been lots of copying the popular guitars?) with a great sound but action way too high at 12th fret (like 5mm first string) and no way to correct this by bridge or nut adjustments....so seems to need a neck reset.

When the back was off, I took the attached photograph and it would seem there is some kind of pin attaching the neck (no nail head so not sure if wood pin or metal pin with no head, or removed during a past repair and not re-inserted) and the hint of some kind of tenon inserted into the neck block (maybe) t attach neck to body. The neck is either veneered really well or is solid wood no veneer. The back is the  typical veneer (satinwood I think) over spruce but sides are (satinwood?) solid wood, very thin .8 mm average so I would hesitate to do a lot of slicing and prying around the sides.

I've done lots of putting destroyed old guitars together from scratch, but never tried to vivisect an otherwise solid guitar to reset the neck. I can't find anyone local who wants to tackle this, so it may be me.

Any suggestions on how to approach this safely? If there is no baby-steps method, I might just wait til I have the money to pay an expert out of town....

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A neck reset isn't done to counteract a warped neck, it's done to re-establish the neck/body geometry due to the effects of string tension and time on the body of the instrument. Soundboard, back, sides. It all moves. They aren't in the same shape as they were 200 years ago. Nor would you expect them to be.

I'd wait for that out of town expert. It's an advanced repair. 

Thank you all for responding. It does seem like something I might want to wait on handing off to more of an expert or at least until I get as much info as possible...an ounce of prevention. Perhaps I'll try the heat-and-clamp technique on a more destroyed specimen at some point and see if it's a process I can control :) But I suspect it does want it's neck reset. 


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