Neck Reset Recommendations - '60 Chet Atkins 6120

I have a '60 Chet Atkins 6120 model that needs a neck reset. I think...

The bad news is that I already had the neck reset. Twice.

I took the guitar to a highly recommended small repair shop here in L.A. and less than 12 hours after the first reset, the action was high again. I lowered the bridge until it bottomed out and still didn't buzz, but there was no break angle over the bridge and being a floating bridge, it moved around when I strummed the guitar.

So I took the guitar back and the shop offered to reset the neck again, which was very cool of them.

The second reset they did seemed better at first, action was nice and low with room under the bridge. But the repair guy didn't set the neck at an aggressive-enough angle to compensate for string tension, and within a week the action was sky-high again and it was just as bad as before.

I've done neck resets on things like Rickenbackers before, but never a Gretsch. Not sure that I feel comfortable trying it on this guitar.

Does anybody have recommendations for a good repair shop? Southern California preferably, but open to options.

(Note: I'd absolutely love to send it to Curt Wilson, but I keep hearing that he has a multi-year backlog. If that's correct, I'll probably need to look for other options).

**Alternate theory -- has anybody dealt with loose bracing or neck block in a Gretsch, that would cause symptoms similar to a poor neck set? With having done the neck reset twice, I'm wondering if the top or back are flexing due to a loose brace or something else, allowing the string tension to pull the neck forward.


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loudnlousy

Gretschified
Oct 18, 2015
12,182
Germany
With having done the neck reset twice, I'm wondering if the top or back are flexing due to a loose brace or something else, allowing the string tension to pull the neck forward.
That maybe a possible answer to your problem.
I would first contact the luthier who did the resets and ask him. Although he did not succeed yet he would be the first that I would ask and then decide what to do next.
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,383
Where the action is!
**Alternate theory -- has anybody dealt with loose bracing or neck block in a Gretsch, that would cause symptoms similar to a poor neck set? With having done the neck reset twice, I'm wondering if the top or back are flexing due to a loose brace or something else, allowing the string tension to pull the neck forward.
With trestle bracing, I very much doubt that a loose brace would be the culprit. The neck block is a possibility. I've seen it a couple of times. But on the occasions that I have encountered it, you could actually see the heel and adjacent sides slightly pulling away from the back, if that makes sense. I'm not sure how else to describe what it looks like. Have you talked to the original shop about that theory? If they were able to get the neck off and back on twice cleanly, then it seems like they should know what they're doing. If it was properly shimmed to be a solid joint, you do have to wonder if something else is going on.

As for Curt, I'd at least check to see what kind of wait you'd be looking at. Unlike a couple of other guys that I'm guessing spring to mind who'll promise the world and then go radio silent for years on end (this is john from the BGC, so I've read all the horror stories), I've never heard a complaint about Curt. At least you'll know what to expect going into it.
 
Thanks guys! (and hey John!)

I did give it some some consideration and decided to call the shop back that did the reset the last two times (I won't share their name publicly because it's possibly not their fault, if it does end up being the neck block), and they've been super cool about it all, even offering for me to bring it back a third time.

So that's what I'm going to do for now. I ordered an endoscope that connects with a smart phone, to get inside the F-hole and inspect the braces and neck block for any cracks or separations.

There are no visible signs anywhere on the outside of the body that something structural is wrong, it just appears like a poor neck angle. I would have caught anything visible, as would the shop that worked on this both times (he's been in the business for 40+ years).

This is indeed trestle-braced, but it's the lighter trestle bracing, if that makes any difference. I am not a huge fan of the heavy trestle bracing, it sounds a bit thumpy to my ears (I used to own a '58 6120), though the heavy trestle models are often rock solid.
 

afire

Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
5,383
Where the action is!
There are a finite number of explanations for what you’re encountering. It has to be either the dovetail or that to which the dovetail is anchored. I’ve had about a dozen ‘60-‘61 6120s, and never had any neck problems. But they obviously happen. If the shop is competent, then they should be able to figure it out.
 

Curt

Electromatic
Mar 7, 2022
48
Hopewell, NJ
Hi, multi-year wait on complete restorations and I've stopped doing binding work except for very close friends.

Some make the mistake of resetting too quickly after removing the neck. I measure the tenon after it's removed and it usually takes two weeks before it stops shrinking after being steamed out. Hopefully they used hide glue.
 
Hi, multi-year wait on complete restorations and I've stopped doing binding work except for very close friends.

Some make the mistake of resetting too quickly after removing the neck. I measure the tenon after it's removed and it usually takes two weeks before it stops shrinking after being steamed out. Hopefully they used hide glue.

Thanks Curt! So the wait list is only on complete restorations? I emailed you about this 6120 last week and didn't hear back so I figured you were busy. Would love to send you the guitar and have it fixed once and for all!

The shop did use hide glue, thankfully. Good point about waiting two weeks for the tenon to stop shrinking. He said that it required some rebuilding with proper shims and was a "tight fit" before gluing it in there, especially the second time around. He's admittedly not a Gretsch specialist but has reset the necks on many Gretsch guitars in the past, which is why I'm wondering if there's something else going on inside this guitar that would allow the neck to shift, despite the reset and tight tenon.
 

ToneM1

Gretschie
Mar 10, 2009
246
Oxnard/Ventura County Calif.
Years ago Westwood Music had a great guy, but I don't think he's there anymore.
However, The only guy I'll let touch my old Gretsch guitars is Curt. He's actually going to do a 1961 #6113 for me soon. Yeah, having personally done a few of my own, Curt is the only guy as he knows how to set it and he makes sure that the instrument is dry. I prefer Not to work on my personal guitars. I'd rather pay someone like Curt. Curt has done a bit of work for me over the last 10-12 years. Gretsch did some wacky **** 60+ years ago and Curt know how to sort it out.
 

Curt

Electromatic
Mar 7, 2022
48
Hopewell, NJ
I never received your email, not sure which one you're using.
If you want to give the local another go at it I can give him some tips.
Here's my shop email address. IMG_7199.jpeg
 


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