View Full Version : Setting the neck dovetail advise needed please.

05-26-2017, 11:48 AM
I had a very frustrating day at college today. I spent the entire day trying to fit a dovetail neck joint. I cut the body end of the joint out ok then I cut the neck end out. Annoyingly the centre line was around 5mm to the right of the guitar centre line. So I proceeded to remove wood from the lower potion of the pin on the right hand side and wood off of the lower part of the shoulder also on the right hand side to move the neck to the left to meet the centre line. After removing around 2mm of material, the neck did not move any closer to the centre line. So frustrating. This is my first real attempt and I just don't get it. I have two uke bodies waiting for necks and I dare not attempt it until I get how to set the neck. I hoped maybe someone in hear could advise me or suggest a good article on how to set the neck. It would be greatly appreciated.
Not that it should make any difference, but I do this all by hand so I do not have a router jig for cutting the dovetail.

Thank you in advance.

05-26-2017, 03:55 PM

05-27-2017, 12:01 AM
I enjoyed watching that...I go throught that routine on almost every uke I make..It's difficult for me to explain what is needed to get the compound joint right..but this Guy does a good job of explaining..After a couple of hundred joints it starts to get easier, but now and again you get one that really becomes a struggle, especialy after a night on the booze :o

05-27-2017, 02:57 AM
I wish I would have seen this video before I started on a guitar that I have sitting on the shelf because I was not getting it right. He has a couple of previous ones out but I think this one explains it better.

05-27-2017, 04:44 AM
I notice he fits the ready cut neck block .. the same as I do:)..but it is a flat ended guitar not radiused..so it's not too difficult a job.

Michael N.
05-28-2017, 03:25 AM
Dovetail is my favourite neck joint even though I also do others such as the Spanish heel. Some people really struggle with this joint. There are two things that you can do to limit the difficulty. Make sure the ribs (at the mating surface of the joint) are flat and true. If you don't do this the joint will seem impossible. Also undercut the shoulders of the male part of the dovetail slightly, doesn't need to be a huge amount. The rest is knowing where to remove material and frequently checking to make sure that it's moving in the direction that you want it to. It's a fairly challenging joint, practice and experience is your best friend.

05-28-2017, 07:11 PM
Some people really struggle with this joint.

I know I do. For me this is the most difficult part of building. Also maybe the most important too. My experience shows that simply getting your parts perfectly square is so important. Basic carpentry. Not always easy when everything is rounded and the bodies can get slightly out of square as well as the neck heal. Get these two absolutely square to each other and you have won half the battle and hopefully everything else will fall into line. To true up the body, I use a simple form that is 90 degrees and stick sandpaper to the horizontal part and then sand with the soundboard against the vertical part. This knocks the high points down and really trues up the body. When no pencil marks show you are perfectly square. The trick is keeping your radius true. Not that hard with a rocking motion.... Also, a little metal luthiers square makes things so much easier. I bought one from SMD and this is a great tool.


05-29-2017, 02:06 AM
I just took a trip 8 years back in time ..To when I got this dovetail bug..Some interesting reading and plenty of aurguments to ponder over :) also a lot of advice.

read about it here

06-01-2017, 09:46 AM
Thank you all, the advise has been really helpful.