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Gibson ES-335

I have 79 Gibson 335 and the neck is pulling away from the body on the underside at the seam (about 1/16th of an inch). It still plays, but it is affecting the intonation and action. So...just wondering how the neck is attached to the body and whether it would be a big effort to try and remove and re-glue the neck? I'm a woodworking nut and I've built a couple of electric guitars....but this project has me a bit stumped. Would I need to steam the neck to loosen the glue joint?
Appreciate any suggestions.
Thanks for your help.

A: As I remember, the 335 has a mortise and tennon joint. Pull out the 18th fret. Cut the fingerboard binding on the top treble side corner, by the rhythm pickup. Peel the binding back to the 16th fret. Be careful to not chip finish as you peel. Use a razor saw to cut through the rosewood at the bottom of the 18th fret. The next step is to heat the fingerboard tongue loose and take it off.  The glue holding it together melts at 120 degrees. I use a Watlow heater blanket.
    You have now exposed the mortise and tennon. Drill holes and inject steam into the joint until it comes loose. Clean off as much glue as you can while its still wet.  Let the neck and body cavity dry thoroughly, at least over night. Then, working very carefully, remove wood and add shims until the neck fits the slot perfectly and has about a 3 degree drop back from the plane of the top.
    These necks were originally put on with hide glue. By the 70s they used polyvinyl resin white glue. I would use Titebond or Elmer's Carpenters glue.  It's still PVR but it will hold stain and it melts at a little higher temperature.  Now glue the neck on. One big clamp pinching from the top of the tennon to the back of the guitar should do the trick. Now refit and reglue the tongue.  Then reglue the binding and reseat the 18th fret. Now finish up with an action set and new strings, and you are ready to rock.

Steve Mason

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