New to me old Yamaha guitar

Freeman Keller

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Fascinating. Where did you make the cuts to saw the neck off? Do you have any pics?
Yes. Loosen the f/b extension in the usual manner. The little blocks are pieces of aluminum that I have warmed in an oven, now I would use a silicon heating blanket.

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Next I pulled the 15th fret and tried to steam the neck off as usual. It wouldn't budge (I use a jig that presses on the heel), I won't show pictures. Saw the neck of thru the heel
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Remember that there is a truss rod lurking in there.

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A closer look at the dovetail

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Clean it up and install two threaded inserts in the heel. Notice the anchor end of the truss rod.

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Floss the heel until the angle is correct. Drill a couple of holes thru the neck block and bolt it together from the inside. Lightly glue the f/b extension back down.

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Clean up the frets (replace the 15th if you removed it to try steaming). Make a new saddle and do the setup

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It doesn't look too bad considering...

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Controller

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I am amazed that you could conceive of this, then do it, then succeed. Well done!
 

Freeman Keller

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I am amazed that you could conceive of this, then do it, then succeed. Well done!
Thank you but I can't take a lot of the credit. Bolted butt neck joints are not that unheard of - the Art and Lutherie line of guitars uses them more or less as I did with the f/b extension glued down. Taylor uses a very elegant version with little laser cut shims to set the neck angle. Some ukulele builders use them. My preferred acoustic guitar neck joint is the bolted M&T - this just doesn't have the T.

Its also kind of the last resort option. Like many old Yamies the guitar badly needed a neck reset, it was pretty much not playable. I know how to do neck resets but as I said in the above this simply would not come apart. There are a couple of possible reasons - some folks say Yamaha uses some sort of epoxy in the joint, other say they just fit it so tight its not going to separate. Point is, there are a lot of old Yamies out there that can be made into playable guitars with just a little work.

I would not hesitate to do this to a yard sale guitar that I was going to donate to our school music program, I would hesitate to do it to someone's personal guitar. I've turned down a couple of opportunities.
 

jhundt

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I've had my '71(?) FG-300 for just over 30 years now, and I finally just took it into the shop for the first time last week. It's time to start gathering opinions and forming a strategy for what is worth cleaning up vs. restoring and considering the costs (and limits/possibilities) involved. I'm wondering if anyone has recommendations for any of the following.

Pickguard: I also found a place who makes replicas (Backwoods Guitar), but they are out of stock and may not be doing another run in the near future. Any other recommendations?

Tuning machines: I'm stumped on replacing these. I asked the luthier who's working on it now to see if we can clean up and oil them back into shape (it might help!). The luthier seems to think hipshots might be the way to go if I end up replacing. Any other ideas or experiences with this?

Neck/Frets: The frets are fairly worn, but they still have some use left. The neck could also use some straightening, but that would upset the fret levels... and per the luthier, by the time we get them leveled again, there's a good chance the frets will be toast, lol. The action somehow is still decent (not great, but acceptable), so he recommends to just leave the neck as-is, level a couple of slightly high frets, and deal with the neck when the guitar and my wallet are in agreement that it's time to do a proper re-fret. Has anyone re-fretted theirs, and if so, any recommendations on what material? Would stainless kill the aesthetics, or worse, the rich, deep tone of this beautiful beast? I'm curious what folks here might think.

One thing that did bring a smile to my face is that the luthier made me promise to someday, before I leave this world, to please please please get it re-fretted so it plays on :) I can't wait to see how even this simple, fundamental amount of TLC/maintenance turns out. It's long overdue!
I enjoyed reading this, as an owner (and head-over-heels lover of) a few old Yamaha acoustics.

But I can't even imagine how tuning macines would wear out before fret wires! My old Yamaha guitars have cheap open-back thiners - the simplest kind you can imagine. But if you ever stop and look at the parts, and the design, and compare those with the intended purpose... you will quickly realize that all the talk about 'cheap tuners' not 'holding pitch' or 'slipping' is just a lot of malarkey.
 

0SubSeanik0

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I enjoyed reading this, as an owner (and head-over-heels lover of) a few old Yamaha acoustics.

But I can't even imagine how tuning macines would wear out before fret wires! My old Yamaha guitars have cheap open-back thiners - the simplest kind you can imagine. But if you ever stop and look at the parts, and the design, and compare those with the intended purpose... you will quickly realize that all the talk about 'cheap tuners' not 'holding pitch' or 'slipping' is just a lot of malarkey.

That's a great point. It's fair to say that unless you are constantly changing your tuning at a bizarre, manic level, the frets are certainly going to get more wear and tear from usage over the years than the tuning machines... even then! However, I do live in a humid climate on the coast, and I may be getting some corrosion that is making a few of them not work so well these days. I believe they are the two that are missing covers, but I can't recall exactly (it's still in the shop). One is slipping a bit and the other feels like it could be just gummed up. We'll see how they clean up, and if they can be salvaged.

In the meanwhile, I thought I would do some more research on tuners, should I need to replace them. I've discovered that for my year/model, they were still using the old vintage size shaft thickness of 6mm (vs. the modern 1/4"). I'd like to keep the stock bushings for fear of chipping (or worse) on removal/replacement, and potentially being faced with having to ream out the peg holes if I can't find a suitable conversion bushing (I think StewMac has some, but I haven't spec'd them for my FG-300 yet). There are a few "vintage" tuners to be found, but few with the actual 6mm shafts, and even fewer without a 1/4" collar. I did find these Kluson locking tuners that might work. I'll need to measure the originals once I get the guitar back to compare, but I'm feeling optimistic. They also don't look "too modern" and are made by Kluson, who I believe supplied the original tuners for Yamaha.

If I do end up replacing them, I will have 4 original tuners in good condition (complete with backs) that I would make available for anyone who needs to replace one or a few of their own... so, that's not all bad.

My frets, by the way, have just enough life left to get away with for awhile, but a re-fret will be due soon (and I've already started a little savings stash for it, lol). Per the luthier, if we adjusted the neck now and leveled out the frets afterward, there's a good chance that they would be on the razor's edge or in definite need of replacement at that point. The action is still acceptable (could be a lot better), so I will play on as-is for awhile until the re-fret.

Another bit of good news is that I just received (as I am writing this) an email from Backwoods Guitar to let me know that they just completed another run of replica pickguards! Woot! For anyone else interested, the website doesn't look like it has been updated yet, so just email them for now.

backwoods-guitar-yamaha-fg-300-fg-350-replica-pick.png
 
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1guy

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I have an old FG 75 Red Label I got last year for $30 off Clist.

Hard to tell how old it is. I checked all inside, as much as possible, and don't see a serial number.

I kinda bought it without playing it...made sure it was in one piece, then got it home and tried to clean it up. It took weeks for the smokey smell to dissipate.

I wish I could say I love it, but I don't. Its probably the least played of all my guitars...just not crazy about the tone and it feels more difficult to play than my electrics..
 

0SubSeanik0

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I have an old FG 75 Red Label I got last year for $30 off Clist.

Hard to tell how old it is. I checked all inside, as much as possible, and don't see a serial number.

I kinda bought it without playing it...made sure it was in one piece, then got it home and tried to clean it up. It took weeks for the smokey smell to dissipate.

I wish I could say I love it, but I don't. Its probably the least played of all my guitars...just not crazy about the tone and it feels more difficult to play than my electrics..
If you haven't already, check this site to help locate and identify the serial number. There's a lot of other interesting information as well:

http://yamahavintagefg.com/yamaha-fg-serial-numbers-interior-markings-and-labels-1966-to-1981/

Hope that helps!
 

1guy

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If you haven't already, check this site to help locate and identify the serial number. There's a lot of other interesting information as well:

http://yamahavintagefg.com/yamaha-fg-serial-numbers-interior-markings-and-labels-1966-to-1981/

Hope that helps!
Good looking out...

I've done everything but climb inside it and have neve seen a serial number. I read that some of them don't have a number, somewhere before, and the site you referenced said the thing. Or the number may have faded away.

Surprisingly, it's in fairly good shape..scratches on the back and the tuners aren't original, but for her age, she's held up well
 

0SubSeanik0

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Good looking out...

I've done everything but climb inside it and have neve seen a serial number. I read that some of them don't have a number, somewhere before, and the site you referenced said the thing. Or the number may have faded away.

Surprisingly, it's in fairly good shape..scratches on the back and the tuners aren't original, but for her age, she's held up well
There is also a discussion board on that site with more info to dig around through, including spreadsheets compiled from labels, serials, models, years, specs, etc. You may be able to pinpoint your FG-75 within a range of a few years.

https://yamahavintagefg.boards.net/board/37/yamaha-fg-replacement-parts
 

1guy

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