Fixing the neck on an Epiphone Casino Coupe.

OK – picture this it’s early May, the sun’s out and it’s a pleasant evening for a drive in your trendy new soft top mini.  You decide to drop off your son’s pride and joy, carefully placing the rather flimsy “gig bag” with the guitar inside in the back seat of the car.  Pop yourself into the front seat, press the button to lower the roof, and then scream as the gig bag & guitar get enmeshed in the retreating roof.

Opening the gig bag reveals a sickening scenario of a one piece guitar that is now a two piece.

This was the state of play when my friend called me.   I did advise her that the job would potentially cost more than the value of the guitar, and would take a couple of months to do….   however her son’s pride and joy….

So I picked up the pieces of the guitar, and was hoping it would be a clean break – which in the main it was, except for one small patch near the nut where the wood had gone missing….

A little research on the internet and I found a superb video by “Crimson Guitars” that recommended a glue called “Alcolin Professional Wood Glue” for this – a PVA formula that sets hard, and can have any excess washed off in water….

I placed a flat board on either side of the neck and clamped them together – the boards protected the finish that was still good, and ensured that the two pieces were glued flat.  Any excess Alcolin was wiped of with a damp rag.

I left the neck clamped for 24hrs and then filled in the hole in the bass side of the nut slot with epoxy resin.  In order to do this I had to make a dam in the nut groove from a piece of old credit card – this was pretty rigid when taped in place and stopped the epoxy from running out of the hole and all over the nut slot.

I left the epoxy for what seemed like a week as whenever I touched it it still seemed soft and tacky, but after this time I could remove the dam and start sanding.

Sanding the neck with 250 grit sandpaper on a cork sanding block levelled out all the rough areas around the break.  After a wipe down with some acetone I was ready for lacquer.  The fingerboard was covered in masking tape and all along the neck binding, & I then taped some old newspaper to the headstock and body  to protect against accidental overspray.

Using some cherry red clear lacquer that I’d bought from the Manchester Guitar Tech, I started applying thin coats of lacquer allowing a few minutes for the lacquer to harden in-between coats, and switching sides of the neck so that I didn’t overcoat one side and undercoat the other.  Past experience told me not to rush as all I’d get is to go back to the sanding stage if the lacquer pooled or ran.

After about 10 days the lacquer seemed to have hardened enough to start polishing, so using an 800 grit micro mesh on a foam pad, with Gerlitz Guitar Honey applied as a “sanding agent.” I removed/flattened the “orange peel” lacquer that appears at the outside edges of the sprayed area, trying to avoid the main area which appeared pretty smooth.  The same with 1600 grit, 2400 grit papers.  By the time I was on the 2400 grit papers I was covering the whole of the neck. 

Now for polishing.   I know that the Eternashine Guitar Scratch Remover can do some remarkable work, so using the #2 “Blue” compound I set to polishing the whole neck – within minutes I was delighted with the results.

Once complete it was just a case of Clean (Using “Smudge Off” and a blue plush cloth), Wax (Using Nº1 Carnauba Wax) rebuild, clean the fretboard of accumulated dead skin and grease(Using Guitar Honey and 0000 wire wool), adjust truss rod, check the electronics, check intonation, adjust pole piece height for correct string to string balance.  

This is the first repair of this scale that I’ve done – and I’m pretty happy with the results!


Result – a happy guitarist = a happy Mum = a happy repair guy!!

Result – a happy guitarist = a happy Mum = a happy repair guy!! PLUS – I got a free bottle of wine into the bargain!!!


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