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Monthly Archives: September 2014

  • Dave's D55

    This is a beautiful mid 70's Guild D55 that has come all the way from Texas to have a number of things done.  Unfortunately in my haste to get started I neglected to take a picture of the guitar in its original condition, that is not a super close up, so you will have to be patient and I promise I'll put a good one at the end.

    Jumping right in, as you can see in the photo, the fingerboard projection is quite low and neck reset is in order. Jumping right in, as you can see in the photo, the fingerboard projection is quite low and neck reset is in order.
    Fist I'll pull the 15's fret . I always use a soldering iron to heat the frets before I pull them.  This softens any glue that might be hiding in the fret slots and insures a cleaner pull. First I'll pull the 15's fret .
    I always use a soldering iron to heat the frets before I pull them. This softens any glue that might be hiding in the fret slots and insures a cleaner pull.
    pulling a fret Number 15 coming out with my hand ground fret puller. I should say a quick thanks to Rob, my old friend, who made this for me when I was just starting out. I can't tell you how many frets it's pulled since.
    drilling steam holes Here you can see me drilling the two seam holes down to the gap between the neck and the neck block.
    heating the extension I use an ordinary iron to apply dry heat to the fingerboard extension in order to loosen the glue. Corrugated cardboard makes a good insulator to keep the top from getting too hot.
    releasing the extension I use a custom ground spatula to gently release the extension from the top.
    sleepy pup Callahan, the quality control specialist, is hard at work.
    steam time It's time for some steam.
    the neck is out. About 5 mins or so later and the neck is free. I like to give the joint a good cleaning while the glue is still soft.
    out go the frets While the neck block drys out, I usually give it a week or so, I'll move on to other things that need doing, like a fret job.
    epoxy on the fret Remember when I said there could be glue in the fret slots? Well you can really see the epoxy the last luthier used on this old fret tang.
    cleaning the slots Once the old frets are out, I use a tiny saw blade to clean out the old glue and junk from the fret slots.
    removing a nut the hard way The old nut was also epoxied in, so I had to cut it out. Never use strong glue for guitar nuts. You only need to keep the thing from falling out when you change the strings. Now I have to ruin this nut to get it out.
    cut nut I don't cut all the way through the nut. The last thing you want to do is damaging the guitar.
    split nut This is what's left after I split the nut out.
    fitting the neck After a sufficient drying period, the neck angle is altered and the neck joint is re-fitted.
    This is one of my favorite tools.  It neck alignment easy. This is one of my favorite tools. It neck alignment easy.
    neck alignment This is another view of the alignment tool. As you can see it lines up perfectly with the center of the guitar, so I know the neck is perfectly straight.
    checking neck projection Here you can see we have perfect neck projection as well. Remember there are no frets in the neck at this time.
    making the glue Now that I'm happy with the alignment and tight fit, it's time to mix up a fresh batch of hot hide glue.
    reattaching the neck Here you can see the neck being clamped in place while the glue drys.
    lacquer chip Now that the neck is back on, I'll start on fixing the chips in the lacquer. I'll start with this big one on the back.
    Lacquer drop fill After the chip is cleaned out, I slowly build up new lacquer one drop at a time. I try and get this stage done right away so I can work on other issues with the guitar while the lacquer takes a leisurely 6 weeks to fully cure.
    more chips There were a few little chips on the rib that I filled at the same time. Later on I'll show you how I level and polish these out.
    dressing the fb Now that the glue is fully cured I can start working on the neck. Here you can see a fancy sanding block I use to dress the fingerboard. This particular one has a 16" radius built into it.
    polished fb What a beautiful piece of ebony. It is completely jet black. You almost never see ebony this good anymore. There is no ink on this what-so-ever. The board was sanded out to 800 grit and polished with micro mesh and treated with a few coats of raw linseed oil. It's just stunning in person.
    The new jumbo frets are in. The new jumbo frets are in.
    frets are leveled The frets are all leveled, beveled and polished to a mirror shine.
    reglue bridge The bridge was lifting just slightly, so I re-glued it to the top.
    re-glue pic guard The pickguard was coming loose in a few spots so that was re-glued as well.
    loose binding The binding was coming loose in a few spots.
    fixing binding Very carefully, the binding was re-glued using heavy tape as a clamp.
    pick up time Next is the pick-up installation. The customer chose a D-Tar multi-source which we carry here at the store. It's a very nice sounding unit.
    old transducers First off, I needed to get the old transducers out from that last system that was in it. You can see one of them here in the mirror.
    old pickup And here they are. Those buggers were glued in tight, but with a little patience and a lot of naphtha, I was able to remove them without damaging the top of the guitar.
    re-routing the saddle slot One of the most important things to make an under saddle pickup sound good is having the saddle slot perfectly flat, so you can see my rig for re-rerouting the saddle slot.
    new slot This is the result. A perfectly flat and even slot. I hardly had to remove anything, but a pickup in compression won't work right without even pressure.
    new pickup The bridge is then drilled and the pickup is placed in the slot.
    in goes the mic Next the microphone and controls are installed together along with the battery pack and the cables are all neatly routed and tucked away inside the guitar.
    lacquer level, scraper Time to finish those lacquer chips. I first level the bulk of it with a razor that I have turned a burr on.
    wet sand Then I wet sand to 1500 grit.
    buffer Then I go to the buffer and polish with med, fine and extra fine compounds
    and the chip is gone And here are the results. A mirror shine and not even a hint of the old chip.
    tuners come off The head stock needs a little loving too, so out go the tuners.
    The tuners get oiled and cleaned. The tuners get oiled and cleaned.
    The head stock gets a good cleaning and buffing out. The head stock gets a good cleaning and buffing out.
    Everything gets reassembled, and a new bone nut is fitted. Everything gets reassembled, and a new bone nut is fitted. No those aren't scratchs, just some residue from the buffing compound that I missed before snapping this shot.

     

    This one is going to take a while, so be sure to check back in every so often to see how it's going.  Thanks for reading, and feel free to share links and post comments or questions.

  • Classical Refret

    This is a cool old Pan classical guitar.  I has a quirky lacquered fingerboard that just doesn't feel right.  My job is to sand off the old lacquer and refret the board. This is a cool old Pan classical guitar. It has a quirky lacquered fingerboard that just doesn't feel right. My job is to sand off the old lacquer and refret the board.
    The first step is removing the old fret wire. The first step is removing the old fret wire.
    Next, I sand down the old lacquer and reprofile the fingerboard.  Cutting in the proper amount of relief is crucial at this step. Next, I sand down the old lacquer and reprofile the fingerboard. Cutting in the proper amount of relief is crucial at this step.
    The wood we found underneath the lacquer was striking.  Given the option to keep the natural grain of the board or ink it to a more traditional black, the owner chose to keep it natural.  I approve. The wood we found underneath the lacquer was striking. Given the option to keep the natural grain of the board or ink it to a more traditional black, the owner chose to keep it natural. I approve.
    New fret wire is hammered in  New fret wire is hammered in.
    The new frets are now leveled. The new frets are now leveled.
    The frets are then crowned, beveled and polished.  Then a few coats of linseed oil is applied The frets are then crowned, beveled and polished. Then a few coats of linseed oil is applied.
    The gaps under the fret ends are filled will hot stick lacquer. The gaps under the fret ends are filled with hot stick lacquer.
    The lacquer is leveled and polished for that perfect feel. The lacquer is leveled and polished for that perfect feel.
    fin That's all there is to it.

    As always, thanks for reading the post and feel free to share it and leave comments below.

  • Pietro Moretti bass repair

    Pietro Moretti in for repair A local teacher in the area recommended me to one of his students who had an accident with their beautiful Moretti double bass. Somehow the upper bout of the bass got squeezed, and both of the upper ribs cracked. Ouch
    Here is the largest of the two cracks. Here is the largest of the two cracks.
    The other crack is so small that I have marked it in the picture so you can find it.  If these cracks were left alone, they would eventually grow could cause major problems.  The other crack is so small that I have marked it in the picture so you can find it. If these cracks were left alone, they would eventually grow and could cause major problems.
    To fix this right, I am going to remove the top to gain access to the inside.  For this I use an opening knife and a lot of patience. To fix this right, I am going to remove the top to gain access to the inside. For this I use an opening knife and a lot of patience.
    The top came off clean and relatively easy.  This is a good sign of quality construction. The top came off clean and relatively easy. This is a good sign of quality construction.
    Once again I have marked the location of the crack in the picture to make it easier to find. Once again I have marked the location of the crack in the picture to make it easier to find.  The pencil marks are from the factory.
    The second crack as seen from the inside. The second crack as seen from the inside.
    To repair the cracks I made thin spruce veneers glued with hot hide glue and clamped with rare earth magnets. To repair the cracks I made thin spruce veneers glued with hot hide glue and clamped with rare earth magnets.
    This is what the finished patches look like from the inside. This is what the finished patches look like from the inside.
    And the other side And the other side.
    While the patches were drying I did a little touch up on the damaged rib.  There was a considerable amount of buckle rash that I fixed while I was at it. While the patches were drying I did a little touch up on the damaged rib. There was a considerable amount of buckle rash that I fixed while I was at it.
    With the work done on the inside, I can now glue the top back on. With the work done on the inside, I can now glue the top back on.
    After a second round of touch up the bass is finished. After a second round of touch-up the bass is finished.

    Once again, thanks to everyone who reads the post.  Please feel free to share it.

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502 W Webster Rd. Royal Oak, MI 48073