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  1. #1

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    Hello community,

    A few month ago I bought this really beautiful used Eastman archtop guitar. It is my first very first archtop guitar and I am a real greenhorn when it comes to setting up or maintenancing those kind of guitars.

    This guitar in particular has a crack at the neck. The seller assured me that it is not going to be a problem and also other people that I have talked to were of that opinion.

    I might be mistaking but I have the feeling that the space between the neck and the strings gets higher and higher.
    Recently I was at a luthier to have the electronics repaired and he even grinded down the bridge, because you could not lower it any more.
    for about a week the guitar was fine but now I had the suspicion the strings have yet again come up a little bit. So i lowered the bridge. It is fine now but it's as low as possible again.... I am a little worried that maybe there is some serious issue with that guitar.

    Thankful for every help!!

    Sincerely Matthias
    Attached Images Attached Images Eastman AR905CE Crack at the neck-img_7518-jpg Eastman AR905CE Crack at the neck-img_7519-jpg Eastman AR905CE Crack at the neck-img_7520-jpg 


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  3. #2

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    Ok, I'm not sure how so many people you talked to missed this but what I see in the pictures is NOT a crack. The neck is coming lose from where it's glued to the body. It'll get worse because as the neck angles forward, force from strings to pull it will increase. Action is increasing because the neck angle is changing, shaving the bridge is just treating the symptom. Neck coming lose also has a big effect on the tone.
    The solution is a neck reset. It might be possible to pull the neck back and reglue it without a full reset but that's for luthier to decide. Good luck.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 11-19-2018 at 08:54 AM.

  4. #3

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    Please go to a real
    luthier this time and not a "guitar tech"

  5. #4

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    Who told you this was OK? NOT OK. Your problems are caused by the loosening or disintegration of the crucial neck join. Please take the tension off your strings now and have a luthier look at this. Tal_175 gives good advice.
    My advice, since it's a recent purchase, see if you can return it. From the sound of your description of the bridge, I'd say your neck/body geometry is less than optimum and it's my experience that though the neck can be reset, there's also a chance that the cause of the initial separation is not known and can indicate larger problems (trauma from a momentary force that broke the integrity of the dovetail and grain in the wood for one) and I'd say err on the side of caution: consider an exchange, refund or ...different guitar. One you don't need to pour further expense into, and one that'll assure a long and musical life together free of inherent failures.

    That's my opinion as a luthier AND a tech.


  6. #5
    Thank you for your quick and helpful responses!!!
    Sounds pretty bad. Maybe that explains the price of 1500 dollars Returning the guitar is not really an option since I bought in a small shop in San Francisco and I am currently living in Rome.
    So I will bring it to a luthier somewhere here and see what he has to say.
    Thank you guys very much.


  7. #6

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    In the mean time if you need to continue playing it, I suggest install light gauge strings. Like 10's.
    Neck reset in North America costs around 300-400 dollars. If you can get it done for that kind of price, you still got a reasonable deal on the guitar. It may be even cheaper because it's unlikely the neck needs shimming, it's also possible perhaps to avoid removing the neck completely. Just cleaning, re-glueing and clamping might work.
    On the bright side, having a loose joint is better than having a crack.

  8. #7

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    I don't think it probably needs what I call a full reset. It does need to be pulled off and glue back down on the dovetail assuming they used one for the construction. The only part that is glued is the dovetail not the neck checks going down. A good dovetail should basically holds it own with no glue. This appears to have pulled up indicating the joint in the neck has come lose it some fashion. As long as neck angle is good when sitting correct no need for what I call a reset, needs reglued.

  9. #8
    Hey guys,
    i thought, I'd keep you updated:
    So i brought the guitar to a luthier and he said that for now there is nothing to worry about. The neck is not moving and seems to be stable. He says that the action got higher probably because of normal temperature and climate change. Since it's young wood it is not as solid, if I understood correctly.

    Should I get a seek a second luthier?
    I would not know why this one would not tell the truth. He could have easily made a couple of hundred euros....
    I dont know.


  10. #9

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    It could very well be stable I just do not like the looks of the neck joint. It does appear something has moved but possible nothing really needs to be done. I would like to see the pictures of the guitar as it break over the bridge. What is the height from the middle of the bridge top of the guitar, to the top of the saddle? Should be at least 1 inch maybe more. Temperature and climate can effect the action but a measurement of how much is much preferable. Not something you are able to do since you did not own the guitar originally.

    One thing you can do is get a very long straight edge and place it on the neck on fret running it from the nut to the bridge in the back. Measure how far the straight edge is above the top. Then keep track of this over time. This will tell you if the neck is moving and be more precise. Make sure to measure it with full tension and then when you change the strings next time take the same measurement with no tension of the neck.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mspruch
    Recently I was at a luthier to have the electronics repaired and he even grinded down the bridge, because you could not lower it any more.
    I'm understanding that the saddle adjustment wheels are already bottomed out and the previous luthier had to sand the bridge down to further lower the action. This without a doubt proves that neck angle has shifted. Humidity doesn't do that. In fact in my experience, humidity (within the reasonable range) only effects truss rod adjustment nevermind bottoming out the adjustment wheels. Moreover it's clear from the pictures that the neck joint has been lifted by a couple of millimeters again indication of neck angle problems. So, I'm assuming that the suggested humidity factor is to explain just that little bit action adjustment done recently.
    I'm sure these are all apparent to the luthier. Looks like upon examining his conclusion is that the neck joint has moved as much as it'll ever move and it's stable at this point. If so, he probably thought you could avoid a costly repair at least for now and just use it as is.
    Note however the changed neck angle most likely has an effect on the tone, at least to the volume of the guitar (due to the reduced downward force over the (lowered) bridge). Guitar can be improved by fixing the neck but alternatively you can wait until you have action problems again. If that happens, instead of shaving the bride further, neck can be fixed.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 11-20-2018 at 02:55 PM.

  12. #11
    Thank you guys for taking so much time for my issues! I appreciate that!

  13. #12

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    What year is the 905? Is it a B stock?

  14. #13
    It's from 2003. The serial number is 0020. I don't know if it is a B-stock. i bought it used at "Real Guitars" in San Francisco. I don't know if I remember correctly but I think the dealer said something about that it was build as an exhibit for a fair. But really not sure about that!

  15. #14

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    Eastman stamps a B on the back of the headstock. In later models they were pretty disciplined about stamping a B on guitars with imperfections.

  16. #15
    I can't find anything stamped anywhere...

  17. #16

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    One possibility, not necessarily the best, would be to screw the heel to the body. Since you already have a hole for the strap button, you could just extend that hole into the block and use a longer screw. That could bring the heel back tight against the body, but I'm not sure whether it would hold against string tension long-term.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    One possibility, not necessarily the best, would be to screw the heel to the body.
    Archtop bolt on neck. Cool!
    You might just start a trend here.
    Why should Fender keep the best ideas for themselves?

  19. #18

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    LOL. It depends on whether you prefer quick and cheap, or expensive and in the shop for awhile. It's not mine, so I have no vote, but since the hole is already there, it might hold things in place for awhile. I certainly wouldn't recommend it if the strap button were elsewhere.

  20. #19

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    That strap button may already be the result of the cheap repair.

    Don't take chances get a reset.

  21. #20

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    Man that's a beautiful guitar. I think a neck reset would be worth it for an instrument like that. Once it's done, it's done. Like somebody mentioned, for the price of a reset, you still got a good price on a great guitar.