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Thread: Neck jig

  1. #1

    Neck jig

    Anyone out here use the Erlewine Neck Jig. I have been looking at it due to sale but frankly can’t see how it can be worth the money. Was taught years before they ever existed and done fine without it. However I am not stuck in past but the jig seems to require time to set up compared to my way and I am not completely convinced of the concept. That said Dan E is a top notch pro cannot argue is skills and knowledge.

    Anyone out in forum land have experience with this or others.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

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  3. #2
    Hi Mark


    There's a luthier in Connecticut that uses one. Although I have not had any work done by him, he did show me the jig a year or two ago. At that time he seemed to be happy to using it.

    Norm’s Guitar Repair Shop Services


    I have had work done by another luthier that does fret leveling while maintaining normal string tension on the neck. Not sure how common that approach is.




    Danielle

  4. #3
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    I built one a few years ago based on the design as I was curious about it, and had all the pieces to build it lying around my shop. There is a learning curve to using it and it’s quite finicky but you can get good results. Like you, I was curious about the concept. They sell the idea really well and a lot of it seems like common sense. I’ve come to the conclusion that manipulating the neck to simulate string tension the way it’s done in the jig doesn’t really serve a purpose to the end result. In both cases the criteria to begin levelling is when the neck is straight as measured by a notched straight edge, I don’t think it really matters the method in which you get there. I’ve talked to a few luthiers and repairmen about it. No one I spoke to uses one but they all seems happy with the method they chose for levelling and don’t feel like they are missing out.
    One really nice thing about the jig is it gives you a dedicated space to level frets, which takes up a lot of bench time. You can move it about your shop, clamp it in a vice, stand or sit and continue working. The disadvantage of course is that it’s a huge jig which has to be stored the rest of the time!
    The 80/20 version looks much more robust over the older wood version. You could build one for a third of the price they charge.
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  5. #4
    My whole issue is if I have a flat fingerboard there should be no difference. Once you bring the neck up to tension anything can happen but normally you just then deal with the relief. It is good to remember many older guitars had no truss rods and frankly did not always work as expected when they did. Just look at Martin flatops.

    Even then term leveling the frets can be misunderstood as the frets have a raduis of the fingerboard. They are leveled but that is understood as raduis-leveled. My guitar jig I sit guitars in for work could allow me to simulate tension on the neck with straps I just cannot see going there and so my initial request for opinions.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  6. #5
    I am thinking I may have been somewhat inaccurate when I was referencing the one luthier's approach. Although he leaves the strings on and raises them slightly with a small block near the nut, during fret leveling, I am thinking the tension on the strings may be less than normal.

  7. #6
    I want everything out of the way on a fret levelling. Running a vacuum cleaner in a room is much easier than going around furniture and obstacles.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  8. #7
    I understand you want the fretboard to be flat when leveling. I am curious as to how you adjust the neck so that the neck is flat with the strings off. Do you find you can normally do that with just a truss rod adjustment or do use some other kind of jig or clamping arrangement?

  9. #8
    Truss rod can get you flat without any inssues most of the time. There is a margin of error since I normally segment the frets when leveling into 3 separate areas. It comes up on guitars that do not have adjustable truss rods and depending how far off straight they are determines what I need to do. I can simply use clamps and a straight maple board to force the neck straight. Rarely have do I ever resort to this only required when something really is off. In those cases the playability of guitar is already compromised so anything helps. I treat all truss rods with care they do not all automatically work as they should and can be unpredictable.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

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