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Thread: Do you think this is a loose neck joint

  1. #1
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    Default Do you think this is a loose neck joint

    Hello
    I just noticed these cracks last week. They seem to be running down the bindings and other places from the neck joint area. Note Chip on scroll side of neck and lacquer crack up the other side running down the riser toward the point. The finish is cracking on the scroll side, between the top and scroll block around the scroll, with an additional finish check parallel to the fingerboard extension on the top.

    IS it safe to play?
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  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you think this is a loose neck joint

    Since I don't know what kind of mandolin it is nor what kind of neck joint I can't really tell much. As for being safe to play, it probably is. Either it needs to be fixed or it is a neck joint that allows some movement and it doesn't need to be fixed. Either way the situation probably won't change from playing it.
    Probably should have it looked at by a competent luthier/repairer.

  3. #3
    Registered User Greg Mirken's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you think this is a loose neck joint

    I can't add much to John's comment. I'd be interested to know if the lacquer separation along the heel margin closes up with the tension off the instrument. The crack or chip by the scroll is odd, and might suggest a trauma or shock.

    Greg Mirken
    Shade Tree Fretted Instrument Repair
    Now located in Nevada City, California
    http://www.shadetreeguitars.com

  4. #4
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Do you think this is a loose neck joint

    Looks like The Loar to me?
    The few I've seen seemed to have imperfect neck joints with some filler etc. so they are prone to some movement especially if the instruemnt is left at elevated temperature...
    Keep an eye on action and bridge height if it is stable or not.
    Adrian

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Do you think this is a loose neck joint

    It's a Custom Builder, rather not say here. No impact happened.

  6. #6
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you think this is a loose neck joint

    I should just sit here and be quiet because this isn't based upon much information, but I'll speculate, based upon that bit of info.

    In the pictures, it looks like the sides of the neck heel are straight rather than curved (like the old Gibsons and many other neck heels.) The doweled mortise and tenon as outlined in the Siminoff mandolin building book results in neck heels with straight sides. It is a joint that many builders use, and it can allow for some movement at the joint. Perhaps this is an example.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Do you think this is a loose neck joint

    I am not seeing anything that verifies a problem. It looks like the finish is brittle. I see cross grain checks...


    I do see that your neck angle is low. Both the foot and the saddle have had a lot of wood trimmed off, bridge is bottomed out and the string height still appears high. This could be a sign that the neck joint is pulling loose, but for that big of change, I would suspect to see it actually pulling away from the mandolin at the button and it isn't (from what I can tell)... Maybe the neck was just set low?
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

  8. #8
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Do you think this is a loose neck joint

    Quote Originally Posted by Folkmusician.com View Post
    I am not seeing anything that verifies a problem. It looks like the finish is brittle. I see cross grain checks...


    I do see that your neck angle is low. Both the foot and the saddle have had a lot of wood trimmed off, bridge is bottomed out and the string height still appears high. This could be a sign that the neck joint is pulling loose, but for that big of change, I would suspect to see it actually pulling away from the mandolin at the button and it isn't (from what I can tell)... Maybe the neck was just set low?
    Probably both, st low and slight rotation of neck. If there is V-joint and there was gap inside the joint at the end of neck then the neck can slightly rotate without the heel button separating. But such localized cracks (assuming there are no such cracks all around the instrument) are indicator that something is (was) moving, IMO.
    Adrian

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