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Taylor “NT” Neck Reset


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1. Taylor Guitars makes some really nice instruments. This model DN5 was manufactured in 2007 and is owned by Dan Forsyth, the guitarist for the band Driftwood. They are a hardworking band and this is Dan’s main guitar so I have to get this Taylor back into prime playing condition as quickly as possible. 2. I Just Refretted this Taylor.
Now it’s time to replace it’s worn out saddle and adjust the guitar for optimal playability.
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3. Checking the Action. Before I make a new saddle I want to look over the guitar’s geometry. The Action at the 12th fret is 7/64″ at the A string. This is about 3/128″ or .023″ too tall for Dan’s preferences. I’ll see if I can lower the action by making the new saddle the requisite 3/64″ lower than the old saddle. 4. The Saddle Protrusion above the bridge at the 5th string is 21/128″ (about 1/128″ lower than ideal) which would be pretty good if the action was already low enough. I could make the new saddle 3/64″ lower than this one, but that would have a negative impact on Dan’s tone and volume. For Dan it’s going to make more sense to do a neck reset.
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5. Some Basic Geometry will allow me to accurately and quickly reset this guitar’s neck angle. All I need are a few basic measurements including the distance from the neck/body joint to the saddle at the 5th string, or “W”. 6. The distance from the bottom of the fretboard to the heel cap will be “X”. “Z” is the distance that the neck has pulled forward as measured at the bridge.
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7. The Math is pretty simple and quick, especially with the help of my neck reset spreadsheet. There are two formulas at work here: (B-A)+[(C-D)2]=Z and (XZ)/W. The latter formula was developed by Stu Berg. Click Image for Closer Veiw 8. Taylor’s NT Neck Joint is a well engineered bolt on neck joint that’s really quick and straight forward to work on. There are two bolts hidden beneath the sticker on the neck block and a third that goes through the top and into the fretboard extension.
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9. Removing the Bolts should be done with a clamp temporarily holding the neck in place. I’ve removed the neck block sticker with a heat gun to reinstall after the reset is done. 10. The Neck Joint is essentially a pair of mortises that accommodate two tapered-shims. These shims are what determine the neck’s angle.
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11. Measuring the Shims with my calipers. I have labeled each shim with its actual thickness/taper. The difference in taper of the two shims is .008″. 12. Planing the Shim to the new taper. I’m removing .017″ from the bottom end of the heel-shim and will taper the shim to it’s original thickness at the top of the shim. This is the shim that determines the neck angle.
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13. Making a New Shim for the fretboard extension is necessary since the old shim has too much taper (is too thin at the bridge end). 14. Thicknessing the New Shim. A maple block held in the bench’s end-vise makes a great planing stop. I am making this shim .007″ thicker on the bridge-end than the old shim.
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15. Reassembling the Neck Joint. The difference in taper of the two shims is now .012″. The slightly greater taper of the fretboard extension shim ensures that the fretboard tongue doesn’t end up too high. It will give the end of the fretboard a very small amount of drop off. 16. Low Action has this guitar playing much better than before the neck angle adjustment.
17. A Tall Saddle gives this guitar the best possible tone and projection.