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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:53 pm 
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Mahogany
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My great uncle left this guitar to me before he passed. It was given to him as a 10th birthday gift, which would have been sometime in the mid 40s. So lots of sentimental value - and a really great tone as well - but not necessarily a lot of monetary value. I'm not really afraid to modify it because as I see it, anything to make it more playable will only increase how much I enjoy it.

I don't believe it has a truss rod, so I usually play light gauge strings tuned to E flat. The fretboard seems to have an almost negative radius, the frets are very tiny, and there's enough of a hump at the body joint to make it buzz out for several notes. My plan is to level and radius the fretboard and re-fret it with my new favorite fretwire. That's it.

Anyone see a potential problem here? I had initially thought I'd do a 12" radius, but that may be a bit too much. Only other thing I can imagine having to do is deepen the fret slots if I take too much off the edges.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:18 pm 
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Koa
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Wow. What an interesting tailpiece and bridge. Never seen anything like that.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 6:41 pm 
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Koa
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Chowlie wrote:
Anyone see a potential problem here? I had initially thought I'd do a 12" radius, but that may be a bit too much. Only other thing I can imagine having to do is deepen the fret slots if I take too much off the edges.



I see three potential problems. First, 12 inch radius is not period correct - I would be surprised if they were using any more than 16 back then. Tighter radius fretboards developed with electric guitars - they are nice for doing barre chords and for bending notes, however that really wasn't the style for this guitar.

Second, you are going to need to match the f/b radius at the bridge. That original bridge is just too funky and cool to make it 12 inch on top.

Third, the f/b inlays are pretty wide (and look to be kind of interesting). If you start taking a lot of material off the sides of the f/b you will dramatically thin the outside edges of the inlay - maybe enough to cut thru to the wood.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:50 pm 
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Not period correct? Gibson used 9" radius on some archtop guitars in the pre 1920 era. That's what Perry Bechtel asked Martin to do with his first OM style guitar in 1929 or so. They settled on 12".

Often enuf these old timers need a bit of extra clearance under bass strings, so flattening the bridge isn't the worst thing that could happen.

Bottom line: make it play nicely, and everybody will be happy.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:00 pm 
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Mahogany
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I've actually rethought the radius, I think I'm going with 16 now. I do seem to prefer it more flat.
As for the bridge, it's not original anyway. The one currently on it is a replacement.
The fretboard markers are just painted on, not actual inlays. I'm trying to think of a way to take photos of them beforehand and make a template.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:55 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Chowlie wrote:
The fretboard markers are just painted on, not actual inlays. I'm trying to think of a way to take photos of them beforehand and make a template.


I use a vector program to copy inlays and make new inlay designs. This is what I use https://inkscape.org/en/

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:58 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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One thing that comes to mind when you mention painted on markers..... I bet the FB is ebonized and not actually a nice dark wood as it appears. You would have to deal with this to re-radius.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:49 am 
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Mahogany
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B. Howard wrote:
Chowlie wrote:
The fretboard markers are just painted on, not actual inlays. I'm trying to think of a way to take photos of them beforehand and make a template.


I use a vector program to copy inlays and make new inlay designs. This is what I use https://inkscape.org/en/


Very cool, I just downloaded that program last week but haven't had time to play around with it yet. I typically vector .jpg images using Mastercam for engraving stuff, but it's not the best.

B. Howard wrote:
One thing that comes to mind when you mention painted on markers..... I bet the FB is ebonized and not actually a nice dark wood as it appears. You would have to deal with this to re-radius.


Not a big deal, I'm sure...


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:15 pm 
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Mahogany
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I've been able to get a decent amount of work done here in the last couple months. Kinda hit it hard for a day or two and then gave it a break until my new roll of fretwire got here.

All the old frets came out, but not without some damage. The old fretboard just chipped everywhere and really came apart on the fretboard extension.

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Fortunately a lot of it sanded out, but there are still many places I have to superglue dust into.

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I photographed all the fret markers beforehand so I can reproduce them later if I choose. I'll probably just leave the board plain, or go for some dot inlays later down the road.

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I used a piece of fretwire to make a check gauge for the slot depth, as well as for cleaning the slots out.

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There are a couple of fill spots I missed, but I'm sure I'll be able to get them later. So far the frets are going in decently, but at least two of them wouldn't stick any whatsoever without superglue. I'm trying to not use any adhesive if I can help it.

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Side note, I'm really eager to play this guitar again. Can't wait to see how the new fretboard radius and frets will increase its playability.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:44 am 
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Mahogany
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First time using the Tapatalk uploader, hope it works right!

Got all the frets in and it looks better than I expected. I think I like it better with no fret makers, at least not the big painted ones.

Only a bit of fret dressing to go, and maybe a new nut.

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Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 4:37 pm 
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Mahogany
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Location: Central KY
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I think it's all done! Turned out great. I ordered a new bridge on Amazon for only $11, and it works beautifully. It was quite tall at first, so I had to mill off .250" from the bottom of the top section. Plays and looks better than it ever has.
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Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk


Last edited by Chowlie on Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:15 am 
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Koa
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That turned out really nice! How's the tone? vintagey?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:42 am 
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Mahogany
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DanKirkland wrote:
That turned out really nice! How's the tone? vintagey?


Thanks! And yes, definitely. Pretty subdued and mellow. Kind of like a metallic-sounding classical guitar.


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