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Gretsch 5-string conversion, lifting fretboard

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Aug 24, 2019 - 5:16:03 PM
63 posts since 1/23/2017

Hey folks!

I just picked up this interesting old project, looks like somebody's fun, quirky homemade 5-string neck on an old Gretsch tenor pot. The fingerboard's lifting at the nut and heel ends. It looks like it came loose sometime a while back, the previous owner used some sort of gloppy looking adhesive to try to reglue it, and didn't quite get there all the way.


Looking at some repair blogs, looks like most people use a heat gun to gently heat the fretboard and remove it (after drilling a couple holes under fret slots for indexing pins). Does anyone have any advice or warnings before I tackle this task?

I posted a thread with a bunch of pictures over in the collector's corner , if anyone wants to see what the rest of the banjo looks like. I like the neck builder's aesthetic choices and thank them for sending a cool banjo my way down the years.

Aug 24, 2019 - 5:46:50 PM
Players Union Member



401 posts since 4/17/2019

All or most of the glues let go at 160 F

I use a steam iron with no steam, not too hot , you can get crispy

I also have a Wagner wall paper steamer that makes dry, hot steam

The trick is not to go too fast and pull pieces of the neck away

I’m sure it’s possible with proper cleaning, you could re-install the finger board. I see no other way to clean underneath the ends

I had a guy bring me one of these, the glue looked like Ducco cement


it looks like a great project

Edited by - Helix1 on 08/24/2019 17:47:56

Aug 24, 2019 - 8:23:01 PM

6034 posts since 8/28/2013

I've removed fingerboards with an iron. It'll heat a greater area of the board than a heat gun, which keeps the heat more even throughout and reduces the tendency when using a heat gun for one area of the board to cool off while the other end is being heated. As Helix states, don't go too fast and tear out neck wood; make sure everything is at the melting point of the glue before you start to separate the two pieces. A palette knife or something similar can be slid between the two pieces to help get them apart.

Make sure all the old glue residue is removed before re-gluing.

Aug 25, 2019 - 1:12:53 AM

108 posts since 2/12/2017

Step by step on how i do it, the heat blanket can be substituted with a clothes iron.


Edited by - Mirwa on 08/25/2019 01:17:02

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