Feb 2018

Yamaha FG-180 Neck reset

Whilst being a quite involved job, a neck reset is not usually particularly noteworthy. However, there is quite a bit of discussion over the neck joins of 1970s Yamaha guitars, so I thought I’d pass on a bit of information about this particular FG 180-L guitar to add to the information pool

The big question that comes up on these guitars is whether or not the neck is held on with epoxy – as many 70s Yamahas apparently were. Usually this will become quickly apparent once you attempt to heat end of the fretboard away from the top. If you don’t get any joy, it’s most probably epoxy, and the time to think about other options.

This one, as it turned out, was held together with a glue which to me, most closely resembled hide glue – it seemed to gel up in the same way on heating, although didn’t really smell much like old hide glue. As such, it came off fairly easily.

It’s worth mentioning however, that the dovetail tenon was extremely shallow – so much so in fact that it didn’t even reach to the 15th fret. The steamer holes I drilled ended up about 1 mm shy of hitting the mortise pocket. Only by virtue of the fact that the neck block of this guitar was made of softwood (!) was I lucky enough that the heat penetrated through to the pocket to release the neck.

Looking on the web, it seems this shallow tenon is fairly common on Yamahas of this period, so in future I’d probably look to angle the holes for the steamer nozzle forward slightly towards the neck join.


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