Harmony H1327 archtop guitar repair - Projects - Audio Artillery

Harmony H1327 archtop guitar repair

  1. Intro
  2. Bridge repair
  3. Neck removal
  4. Plane the fretboard
  5. Refret
  6. Neck angle
  7. Neck fitting
  8. Neck set
  9. All strung up
  10. Recording

6: Neck angle

After some chiseling and filing on the dovetail the neck angle is just about right.

Before:


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After:


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If I go any higher I risk not being able to get the action HIGH enough (not a common problem on guitars this old!). I wasn't sure if this was right at the time but decided to leave it be.


 

7: Neck fitting

Having decided to leave the neck angle alone I did a little polishing to make sure the heel fits snug against the body. This involved putting the neck and body together, slipping some 100 and then 220 grit sandpaper between them and pulling sandpaper out slowly. Got a pretty good fit. And I checked the horizontal angle to make sure the strings are going to line up right.

Then it was time to shim. Maple veneer:


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Works great. I bought a batch of it for $15 on ebay. I figure since it's maple it shouldn't compress much. I ended up cutting 2"x1/2" and a 3/"x3/8" for each side. It's hard to tell them apart in the picture.


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The idea is there is more material removed from the heel end of the joint than the fingerboard end so to make the joint really tight we need to add material on the dovtail to pull the dovetail inward. Hope that makes sense, I know a couple people were confused last time I described that.

Being paranoid about the shims not being tight enough I superglued them on and pressed the neck into the body with a clamp. This told me exactly what I needed to know: the joint was so tight that it would not pull away from the body at all. It was also so tight that I was not able to separate the two pieces. I ended up having to tap the heel with a rubber hammer to get the thing apart. Phew! I didn't think I'd be able to get it out for a while. Working on your favorite guitar gets you praying, I'll say that.


 

8: Neck set

I use the Titebond liquid hide glue. Pro luthiers will tell you it's not as strong a bond as real hide glue. They're probably right but neck joints really don't need a strong bond since they're structurally strong already. The glue just makes sure the neck doesn't pop out.


(click for full size)


 

9: All strung up

All strung up and everything looks good. I had to shim the nut because the guitar has frets now :) - the maple veneer worked great for that. I also had one buzzing fret which I sanded down a little bit. Otherwise no surprises.


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10: Recording

Here is a brief recording (doesn't really do the guitar justice).


 
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