Tanglewood TW55 Heritage Neck Reset


I really like these Tanglewood TW55 Heritage acoustics; decorative bindings in Walnut and Rosewood, Piano Black Ebony fingerboards, AAA grade Engelmann Spruce tops (or AAA Canadian Red Cedar). B-Band A5 EQ systems, luxury Waverly style hi ratio machine heads etc . . .

They are just over £1000 new, but you can pick them up second hand for only a couple hundred quid, there’s a lot of second hand ones knocking about and there’s reason for it. They all seem to develop a pretty bad belly hump raising the action and making the guitar virtually unplayable. There doesn’t appear to be sufficient internal bracing to keep the top flat, but this is also one of the reasons I think they sound so good.


On this one the action is over 8mm at the 12th fret and not much room at the saddle to take it down.


You can seethe belly hump here against a straight edge.



I don’t what to start adding bracing inside the guitar as this will kill it’s sound. It has amazing sustain and resonance. So this neck needs to come off so we can change the angle and get this thing playing again.


To loose the glue hold on the tongue I’m using a very strange device I found in my house under the stairs. You plug it in and it gets hot and steam shoots out of it. What will they think of next.


Carefully does it.



Almost there!


With the tongue removed it’s time to fire some steam into the neck joint. I’ve disassembled a Tanglewood before and the neck was held on with three large dowels, so I’m assuming this is the same. If this had a dove tail joint I would have picked the 13th/14th fret instead.


Drilling into the neck pocket


Steam going in now for about ten minutes and I can smell Titebond or some kind of alphatic resin.


Starting to move.


Here we go!


It was a dovetail after all.


Bit of mahogany shim in there to help for a good tight joint.


Offset tennon on one side to add strength to where the body cutaway is. not sure about the scoop!


Cleaning up some of the glue around the trussrod.


Let’s patch these holes with some ebony and dust. And put a new fret in.



Neck re-angled and glued with a tongue shim, fret dress and a new 1.5mm action at the 12th fret – and It still sings. More pics to follow . . .

One response to “Tanglewood TW55 Heritage Neck Reset

  1. Great post – love the pics (in the garden – really?!) Just about to attack a TWRSFCE with the same problem. Thanks for the courage top-up!

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