This little Epiphone bass is proving to be quite an adventure. From what we can surmise this bass had neck damage at one point in its life that caused injury to both the neck and the scroll. There was one wooden pin the scroll and one wooden pin of the same diameter in the neck. Both fractures were well repaired but with a “non-approved” glue (most likely a two part epoxy) which is making Lonnie’s job more difficult then it should be. The glue we dug out of the joint is sticky, slimy and dries to hard crystals.
Normally repairs to string instrument are made with hide glue to allow the instrument to be put together and taken apart for repairs. When the wrong type of glue is used it may perform for years of playing, but heaven help the next person who tries to get the old repair apart to make a new repair. That is where we are, all the normal techniques of water, steam and force did not work to release the old neck joint glue. After many evenings of patiently working to loosen the neck from the neck block, Lonnie moved to the next level of force and made a neck puller that pushed the remaining piece of the neck out of the joint.
Doing so has caused some tearing of the wood fibers and the excessive use of steam and moisture has caused some finish damage, but we were at the end of the line of what we could do. If we could not get this piece of the original neck to release, we would resort the chipping it out of the neck block with a chisel, then it would require a whole new neck be made for this bass. We do our very best to keep the bass original with the original scroll, two piece neck and intact serial number. Replacing the neck would be a more economical, quick fix but it would no longer be a classic Epiphone with the two piece neck and nice big scroll. We want to try and take the three broken piece of the neck and scroll, and knit them back together into a strong original Epiphone neck.
I have great confidence in Lonnie’s patience, craftsmanship and persistence. I have said many time before on our blog, most normal people would not put forth this much effort to save an old plywood bass…this bass has a soul and it wants to make music again…I can hear its voice in the silence of the workshop…it is singing some Texas swing.