Wednesday, 23 November 2011

HofnerArchtop - neck problems

I see quite a few old Hofners, it's amazing how many are still around.
 It is, however, unusual to see one that had not had a neck break at some time in its life.

This one has not only had the typical break but it's been repaired badly. These pics show the typical Hofner break.

There are two large screws straight through the fretboard in an attempt to fix it. I've seen this before, it never works. I take then out and the neck falls off. But they leave rather ugly holes.

The underside of the neck shows a history of failed repairs.

There are two sets of bolt holes as well as the factory locating lugs.
 The heel looks even worse with two old screws snapped off in it.

Someone's put a lot of work put into this one.
This blog is about the repair to the fretboard - I'll deal with re-attaching the neck another time.
  First I remove the couple of frets either side of the damaged area.

Then with a sharp chisel remove the area between the frets.

I take it down about 3mm being extremely careful tp leave the binding. The binding is delicate, it's an old guitar and the plastic dries out and gets brittle.

I select a piece of rosewood with a similar colour and do my best to match the grain. It's not possible to get it exact but this one's pretty close.

It's important to cut it to the right size. It can't be so big that it pushes that old binding out and I must leave just the right gaps to seat the frets.
This grain looks good to me.

I use a couple of fret guards to ensure a fret slot gap either side of the fill and clamp it in using alaphatic resin to glue it in.

Here's the finished article. I just need to put the frets back. With oil and when the strings are on it should almost invisible.

It always seems a shame to have to fix someone elses blunders - right first time works for me.


Feel free to contact me about repair work (if you are in NZ). I only check emails weekly so the workshop phone is always the best 09 307 6501.

Workshop Hours

Mon……. 8-6
Tues……. 8-6
Wed…….. Closed
Thurs …..8-6
Fri ……….8-6
Sat/Sun ..Closed

Mr Glyn’s Guitars

  21a Khyber Pass Road
New Zealand
09 307 6501, 021 912678


  1. Eesh - bolts through the fretboard - why would anyone think that this is a good idea? Probably the original repair person didn't use the higher frets when he played. Looks ugly also.

    Nice job but why didn't you fill the holes before putting on the rosewood piece?

  2. Ah, you're right. I did fill them with wood, just forgot to mention it.
    I so often forget to take pics of every stage of repair jobs, especially towards the end.
    Thanks for your comment

  3. As the great Ted Lee would say, sounds like you fettled it Glyn. All the best from the UK, Jake

  4. Hi GLyn,
    I was researching for a Hofner Club neck repair and landed in your blog!!. Wow. Astonishing.

    My guitar has exactly the same issue . Started this morning to disassemble the neck joint. Fortunately, the metal screws were screwed from down under, so no fret rapair is necessary so far. However the neck joint looks as the one in your photos. It was glued with vinyl glue.

    It seems that the original joint is a kind of dovetail one. Which is broken.

    I wonder which would be the best way to fix it.

    Let me tell you that I live in Buenos Aires, and is not possible to me to send you my guitar. So I´ll appreciate any guidance. I research your blog, and didn´t find the second stage of this repair. Is it sitting somewhere?

    Best regards and thank you for your time