Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Ovation Ultra Guitar Neck Reset Complete

When we last saw the Ovation guitar, it was in the process of having its neck reattached.  On the left you can see the alignment after the neck reset.

The green arrow shows my original pencil mark of the neck set as it was originally - the straightedge fell well below the bridge.  Now it's about a sixteenth of an inch (a couple millimeters) above the bridge.  The action will be substantially improved.

To wrap this project up, I'm going to do a fret level and crown and fine tune the setup.

I'm not showing the whole process - I've documented that elsewhere, but I did want to show the fret wear on the upper frets.  What happens is that the lower (e.g. frets 1, 2 and 3) will begin to wear and get divots.  The strings will then lie deeper on the fretboard when fretted, and will begin to rub against the higher frets over time, creating the flat wear we see here.

Aside: sometimes on the interwebs I see 'fret wear' referred to as 'fret ware.'  Not the same thing.  I think fret 'ware' would be frets themselves, or maybe tools to work with them.  (Actually it's a grammatical pet peeve of mine).

Fretboard cleaned, frets levelled and crowned.  Looks nice!

After I had it back together, the owner came by the Dungeon and played it.  After playing it awhile, he discovered that the neck was shifting in the dovetail joint.  Not a good thing.

So I took it apart and shimmed the dovetail, as well as the fingerboard extension block that fits into the top.  This picture is actually the first set of test shims, just to give an idea of what I did.  The final ones are one piece and look nicer!  But I didn't get a picture of them.

The neck is tight now.  I could have glued/epoxied the joint, but I'm reluctant to do that, since that's not the way it was built originally.  It shouldn't shift now, but if it does, I'll have to glue it.

As part of the setup, I file the nut slots a bit.  I've played many guitars that are hard to play on the lower frets for the simple reason that the nut slots are not cut properly.  A little attention here pays back big dividends.

Sighting down the neck.  The set looks good, and the action is less than half of what it was originally.  It's about 3/32 of an inch at the 12th fret on the bass side.  It was 3/16 when I started!

The finished Ovation Ultra ready to go back to its owner.

(I did play a few bars of "Peace Train" as a test!)


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