Need Advice - Broken Neck

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by RBS_Johnson, Jan 2, 2014.


  1. RBS_Johnson

    RBS_Johnson

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Location:
    Athens, OH
    A friend of mine gave me an `82 Washburn A10 guitar to work on, and it is in bad shape. The main problem is that the neck is broken at about the ninth fret. Not a clean break, there are pieces of wood missing, and the truss rod is cut. It is a set neck. I am trying to figure out if it can be saved. I will try to get some pictures and get them posted soon.

    I am just looking for options, since my friend wants me to make it into a lamp :eek:. If I think it can be fixed, I will turn my broken OLP bass into a lamp and fix(and keep :ninja:) the washburn.

    Thanks,
    Jake
  2. tdogg

    tdogg Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2001
    Location:
    Brooklyn Park, MN
    You could buy (or make) a bolt on neck and route a neck pocket.
  3. RBS_Johnson

    RBS_Johnson

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Location:
    Athens, OH
    That was one thought of mine. I am mostly interested in the feasibility(or lack thereof) of repairing the set neck. Here are some pictures of the break, along with a shot of the whole guitar.

    1)Guitar
    2)Back when held in place
    3)Body side of break
    4)Headstock side of break
    5)Fretboard of headstock side break

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Any opinions?
  4. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2004
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Dang! That thing looks like it was attacked by a rabid beaver! You need a replacement neck.
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  6. T-Bird

    T-Bird

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Location:
    Finland (Northern Europe)
    Hi.

    Repairable, yes.
    Feasible, no.

    IME/IMO anyway.

    I've done a repair much like that on a NT Carvin and in the end I wished I hadn't.
    Much easier to make a new neck for it.

    While You're at it, making the new neck that is, make a "Metallica bass" out of that.
    Those are somewhat rarer than the guitars.

    Regards
    Sam
  7. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2011
    find a nice base for it and make that lamp you buddy wanted.
  8. Luthier Atlanta

    Luthier Atlanta

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2013
    Location:
    Atlanta, U.S.A.
    Yep, I am with this guy on the guitar. Your better of using the body, making it a removable neck style and getting a separate neck for it.
  9. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    The cost of the repair is more than the value of the guitar. Unless there is a compelling reason the carcass should be stripped of the parts and scrapped.

    If one has nothing but time on their hands and excellent woodworking skills, the neck can be steamed out of the mortise, a new neck created using the old one as a pattern, and the new part glued back into place.

    Changing to a bolt on is just lazy.
  10. RBS_Johnson

    RBS_Johnson

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Location:
    Athens, OH
    I would do any/all that I could of the repair, so figure my time working on it is worth $0 :meh:. Would anyone give me a run down of the basic steps if I were to go through with it? Changing it to a bolt on would be pretty easy, but what would be the basic outline of how YOU would tackle the break? Still trying to get opinions.

    TBird, how did you do the repair on your car vin?

    Thanks guys,
    Jake
  11. T-Bird

    T-Bird

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Location:
    Finland (Northern Europe)
    Hi Jake.

    Repair pics of the Carvin don't exist, that was done in the late 80's, but I can take pics of similar repairs (not in the middle of the neck though) this weekend.

    Basically You do a very low angle long scarf joint.
    The mistake I made, was not to remove the FB completely, the end result was far from straight.
    I didn't have anyone to learn from, so I made a lot of mistakes.
    One just have to learn not to be afraid of making mistakes.

    Even though my main goal in my teens was obviously to get playable instruments for as little money as possible, improving my skills on cheapos in order to be able to make money later on with repairs on more valuable instruments wasn't far behind either.

    I'd look at that guitar as a possibility to learn set neck repair rather than the possible monetary value of it.
    I'd count the hours as the cost of learning something worthwile as well, to be paid for later on.

    You're relatively young, and the demand for skilled repair persons for musical instruments is increasing all the time, so even though I wouldn't necessarily advice instrument repair as a career choice, I definitely would encourage it as a hobby.
    Rather lucrative hobby at that no less if You're good enough.

    If that guitar came to my bench, I'd remove the FB, then steam out the neck and I'd make (or fit a pre-made) a new neck to it.
    I'd still make a bass out of it though, I'm wired funny that way ;).

    Regards
    Sam
  12. RBS_Johnson

    RBS_Johnson

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Location:
    Athens, OH
    Sam,

    I would generally be inclined to agree with making a bass out of it, but in this case I want to have a guitar around, and this one is way cool. Selling it is not a priority, as the only person I would sell it to would be the friend that gave me the guitar. I tend not to charge him much :)

    One thing I can`t remember ever getting a solid answer on, is there a good way to remove the fretboard that would leave it useable for later? That is one of my big hangups with this guitar. I will do some searching. I can get a new truss rod from stewmac for cheap, and run in town and pick it up myself.

    Pictures would be awesome! What did you do about the missing wood?

    You are right, I am pretty young yet. I would like to dabble in guitar repair some in the future. Probably wouldn`t do it full time unless I got rather good though. On the flip side of "young and wanting to learn" is "don`t always have access to the best tools". :meh: I`m sure you have been there.

    -Jake
  13. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Fret board is shot. Remove and discard.

    The questions you are asking indicates that you do not have a grasp of luthiery in general and repair work specifically. Like the question above, you should already know the answer if you are going to take on a project of this magnitude.

    If you want to learn how to do this, you'll need to spend some money on books. Videos are good, too, but books will give you a solid foundation to understand the videos. Just like the ability to read charts and being able to improvise, studying the books will make the difference when you have to improvise a method or tool.

    Guitarmaking Tradition and Technology (Cumpiano and Natelson)
    Guitar Player Repair Guide (Erlewine)
    Either of Don Teeter's repair manuals, if you can find them.

    There are more. Many more. Buy them all. Read them. At least until you've learned everything there is to learn.

    In addition to guitar specific books, a few books on woodworking and woodworking tools if you do not already possess these skills. Hand tool books (planes, saws, files) as well as power tools (band saw, table saw, drill press, milling machine) will come in handy. Makes great night time reading.

    Good luck.
  14. HeavyRockBasser

    HeavyRockBasser

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Location:
    Long Beach, Ca.
    Personally, I wouldn't try to put this one back together. But, if I was going to do it, I'd probably look at getting a through neck, and laminating the body sides onto it. That would make it much easier to turn into a bass, too, I would think? Sounds like an expensive endeavor, but it could be a fun project.
  15. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    You could attempt to make it a bolt on by routing a neck pocket. I'd just salvage whatever parts are worth anything and scrap the rest, if it were mine.
  16. mapleglo

    mapleglo Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2013
    Location:
    phoenix, az
    Based on the pictures, I don't know that there is enough space between the neck pickup and top edge of the body for securely mounting a bolt-on neck. If this were my project, I'd look for a set neck to replace the existing one, or just build a new set neck.

    I agree that the existing neck and fret board are damaged beyond repair, again, based on the pictures.
  17. mapleglo

    mapleglo Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2013
    Location:
    phoenix, az
    This is another option, but a lot more work. It would require a complete refinishing, and it looks like there is binding around the body, which would also have to be replaced. A replacement set neck I think is the quickest, and least expensive option.
  18. thrasher666

    thrasher666

    Joined:
    May 22, 2011
    HeavyRockBasser has a good idea. I think Carvin sells a neck-through blank, fretted, nut installed etc. for around $200.00?? Might be the quickest/easiest way to go.
  19. RBS_Johnson

    RBS_Johnson

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Location:
    Athens, OH
    That is probably the best way to fix it correctly, and the binding and paint probably need redone anyway to be nice. If I was going to use a neck through blank though, I would just build it with all new wood.

    I am thinking about seeing if someone locally could rout me a new neck pocket, but deeper, coming down to where the neck pickup goes. Then a 34" scale bass neck will fit and maybe not try to remove my ankles… Plenty of room for the bridge too. I think that is the only way this will not become a lamp right now.
  20. T-Bird

    T-Bird

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Location:
    Finland (Northern Europe)
    Hi.

    The pics as promised.
    A bit later than I thought I was able to post them, but better late than never :).

    A Epi Firebird 300:

    [​IMG]

    The HS was completely missing when I got it, that was the way I attached the new one.
    That particular instrument is destined to become something else though ;).

    A Gibson Firebird smashed to smithereens.

    [​IMG]

    The body was in three pieces, neck broken off, HS broken off.

    Damn nice guitar, except for the goddamnawful banjo tuners.
    Thank god the ancient machine that produced those POS's was destroyed in that fire at Gibson a few years back.

    Not exactly the kind of repairs I would do in Your shoes for that particular project, but should give you an idea about what I was talking about.
    I repaired the Carvin the same way, but in mid-neck without removing the FB, and that failed.

    Regards
    Sam
  21. kohntarkosz

    kohntarkosz Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    Location:
    Edinburgh - Scotland
    I think the lamp is the better option here. Pull out the trussrod remains and you can run a wire through that. Otherwise you would need to tidy up both halves of the break, carve a new bit of wood to shape, fiddle about with splines, refret the neck (having levelled the fingerboard).... a lot of effort.

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