Jill's Plectrum Guitar

Check neck issues

Custom made instrument

Neck is showing high relief and is uneven along the plane of the fret board

Under tension, neck joint is showing signs of release

When trying to adjust truss, any positive pressure is causing the fingerboard itself to rise from the internal forces applied by the truss.
I'm lifting it up and down with my driver

Here it is easy to see the board rising above the binding

All of the fret ends have lost retention and are "bouncing" under driver pressure


After feeding in some water thin cyanoacrylate for sealant, I an clamped off and curing
I injected at least 12 cc's of cyano in all of the loose bindings all around the neck and into the heel seam.
Hide glue would have been my first choice but I could not thin it near enough to wick in and do the job that Stewmac #10 produces
Both are accepted repairs in lutherie and in this instance we did what could do the most good.

Now from this pic, it can be seen how the frets are not properly seated into the board, and that the radius is off, as well as the tops being poorly crowned.
I've measured them out and decided to go with a sealing, and a second leveling so as to cut time and costs from the operation.

All sealed back into the board with #10 StewMac

All sealed up into the heel and Im wetsanding with 2000, and Ill repolish the seam

Final sealing at the heel cap

The indicator shows me its closer to a 12" radius than 13"" which is not common, so 12" radius sanding block will be what I use to bring all frets to the same radii

I have 320 grit glued to it

That was successful, so now Im recrowning with my diamond file

Dressing the ends

0000 wool to remove all glue residues and burnish the wire

Oiling the board

Cleaned and waxed, time to adjust truss

Major calamity

That piece on the end of the allen wrench, is supposed to be on the end of the truss rod...SNAP
I remember when we tried to adjust this truss at the AZ banjo show it was not operating properly.
I worked it back and forth for at least 15 min, but you could tell it was stuck ,and now that the fingerboard is glued back down the adjustment took its toll.

That's where the rod is, buried in under the peghead overlay.

My educated guess, or guesses, at this juncture....

is that this neck has always been soft because it NEVER was able to adjust properly and the truss is either defective, or improperly installed.

It could have been installed with it already at its tightest adjustment and may not have had travel at all, to bind on the neck.

It could have been overly adjusted, and it is what pushed the fingerboard up over the binding.

It could be a 2 way rod that someone before me messed up by turning the wrong way too far.


After quite a bit of cajoling, I got the board off in basically one piece, and a shard that I will break loose and glue back into the fingerboard.
It is a 2 way "hot rod" Truss

I can see the threads are rusted from the moisture that comes with hide glue.
They should have been lubed before installation, very easy to overlook or even think of such things except in retrospect, and then, the next time.

Also, when 2 dissimilar metals are together there is always a possibility of galvanic corrosion and thread bonding so inside the brass, it may be stuck the most

Divot glued back into the board

Pulling the culprit out, I can get it out without removing the peghead overlay, that's a blessing

New rod in from Stew Mac
I will have to seal all the laminates in the neck back, its all coming apart in the glue joints.

Lubing the new threads

Board and neck prepped for new install

Neck Warp (Forward pull)

The curvature of the neck plane is evident in the pics below

With the amount of warp that is built into the wood, I have to first  try to get this pulled back with some heat and pressure before I retruss.
I am considering Carbon Fiber at this juncture, this is the softest neck I have encountered in all my years and an adjustable rod could be a poor choice.

That air gap ain't supposed to be there...

I opted for 1/4 round steel bar, and have adjusted the channel for it
5 min hi strength Devcon for the epoxy

Clamped with body elevated to allow that weight to pull on the neck where it is warped.

I gained the added rigidity and the upper warp is now level
When it fully cures I will relevel this lay-up then fill the topside and truss cavity with epoxy.
Then a new ebony laminate for added strength, level that, and then reinstall the fingerboard

Sealed to the topside, leveled and ready for the board re-install

For posterity, hopefully no one will ever have to see it.

All bound down with heavy binding tape and now for a few clamps


Cured 12 hrs

I will have to  feather in the paint work, as it is anytime after pulling a part.
Before I do, I will  pull the frets I will make the radiused fingerboard correctly planed now that the neck is flat.

It measured closest to 12 inch radius so that's what I will dress it to.

The darker spots are low spots, the radius block will find them all and hopefully get then gone before we lose some inlay at the tips.

One more on the other side, ill have to deepen all slots

Wood is so dried and brittle its like it is 90 yrs old, weird.
Just hammer blows from fretting hammer knocking chips out.
I will seal all this and that will not look  as it does now.
I am using a gold color allow fret wire, it looks nice on guitars with gold hardware.

3 at a time repaired, sealed and oiled
With this board degraded as it is, the cyano sealing will be what holds the new wire in the slot but hold it , it will..
It will be at least 2 night's work to get to the top.

Clearing slots of original glue each time

This is a good close up of the fret ends after cutback, so they can be inserted into the neck with the binding attached.

Gluing each wire into place

Leveling wires  at 12" radius


Rough End dressing

Fine end dressing, 2 stage file

Fine Steel Wool

Oiling the board again

Polished on machine buffer

Retint for the affected areas

Going back with clear coats after shading

Building coats

Im pulling the tape back to check my margins, All looks good so I will scuff it, retape my margins and go to final

1 more coat should do it, we have 4 now.


Brought to tension for 5 days, dress the frets and polished one more time. playing very well up and down the board on low action, 3-4/32"

Corian nut for longevity, much better than common bone

Cut for 12" radius
Im dialing in the slots here

Back finish complete



I did not like the original bridge, it is very pesky to adjust and retain its low action so I built up an adjustable bridge for it and profile it for the guitar top
The original like the tailpiece, has alot of mass and I feel they both may be robbing some tone.
Its better now, volume is nice and crisp.

It intonates well at this exact position, a little forward of the point of the "F" hole.
It can be marked before string changes to get it back right where it needs to be
Important on movable bridge guitars and banjos




Jill's excellent travel case should protect it from harm

Well, that's that, not its time to go home to my good pal whom I fondly call "my next ex wife"...to see if she will still have me when Karen finally runs me off and T-man runs her off!
It's been a challenge and I feel I gained alot of ground on it and that it may stay stable and not be affected by climate change.
I certainly learned a few things, and for the most part am happy with the turnout.
If I were a plectrum player I could really put it thru its paces so Ill have to let Jill take her from here
Thanks for watching