“Kamikaze” Neck Reset

Welcome to Post III in the Stella Garage Sale Guitar series. I picked up the guitar at a sale for $20, and it was unplayable. In this Previous Post I talked about what the problem with the guitar is, and outlined the plan to fix it. The first step was to get a saw that would be big enough to cut all the way up to the fret board but not through it, and still have clearance. I found a miter saw (just the saw itself) at a garage sale for $1, and purchased it. It’s made for cutting across the grain, and it proved to serve the purpose. Since I don’t want to invest much, if anything, in this guitar, and don’t care how it turns out, I skipped buying masking tape to protect the finish. I held the guitar face down on a work bench and started sawing at the back of the neck. I’m not very good at these kinds of things, and so it was not all that interesting to watch unless you wanted to laugh at me fighting it. Sorry I didn’t video that!

  • Sawed through all the way to the fret board. See the gap?
  • This is what skimping on masking tape will do. That’s okay. It’ll be a great story.
  • Push neck down, insert paper, pull neck back, pull. Thirty times.

Once I got all the way to the fret board I stopped and made sure it was even on both sides. With that done, the next step is to sand down the neck on the inside of the cut. The idea is to take out material so that when the neck is clamped back down, it’s at a lesser angle. For that, the proper technique is to insert sand paper, then pull it out. I did this by just holding the neck, pushing it a little so the gap opens, inserting the sand paper, then squeezing the neck so the gap closes, but not too much, then pull. It takes longer to read this than to actually do it.

I did the bend/insert/bend/pull thing 30 times or so, and this put the neck way back and the action looks fairly normal now. I could probably do a little bit more off of it, but its Good Enough considering that it was completely unplayable before. The strings are much closer to the fret board now, and I’ve only put in a few minutes of work. I’d be surprised if this took me more than 30 minutes to get where it’s at right now. I could have taken longer if I were more careful with the guitar, but I want playable, not perfect.  In the next installment, I’ll get out a 1/4″ drill bit and we’ll work on bolting it up and checking to see how it plays. Stay tuned! (pun intended)

PS- get more information about the even better way to do this Here