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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:21 am 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 1707
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
We have had a few discussions in the past about doing repair on guitars that just don't justify the effort. Hesh, Chris, Brian and others who have to make a living at this game argue very convincingly that turning away work can be the best business they do (or don't do). For Conor or Roy or me, sometimes these projects do make sense.

This has been UNDER my work bench for way too long. A friend has a pretty interesting collection of funky old archtops - every now and then he asks me to help him with something on one of them. The last time he was over we worked on his 1954 Epi Zephyr and he brought along another old clapboard guitar case. "What's in that?" I asked. "My mother's old acoustic guitar from the 1960's, would you take a look at it."

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IMG_5240.JPG


Well, it was a 1959 Harmony and it had a lot of issues. I tried to tell him it wasn't worth his or my time working on it, but then he twisted the blade. "I was hoping to play it for her before she passes"....

Well, I said to my self "self, looks like a good chance to practice your neck setting. And a whole lot more......"

First big problem is the neck angle is totally bad. Action is a mile high

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IMG_5237.JPG


Not surprising. What was surprising is that the frets weren't really all that bad. Tuners are wonky but work, strings are probably original

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Bridge is a little loose

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A really big issue is that the bridge plate is just destroyed and a piece missing out of the middle

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IMG_5587.JPG


Oh, and the dog had kicked in the side

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IMG_5238.JPG


It sat under my workbench for quite a while.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:27 am 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 1707
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Over the weekend I decide it was time to either fix the old Harmony or give it back. Drilled a couple of holes in the neck and fired up the espresso maker

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IMG_5579.JPG


Neck fought me a bit but finally popped off. You can see that I had to go in at a bit of an angle to hit the pocket. You can also see 60 year old hide glue

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Flossed

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and shimmed

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and moved on to the bridge plate. Its a big hurking thing that goes all the way across the guitar. In theory it would come out with heat and work, instead I filled the blown out part with some maple mixed with epoxy and I made a little piece to cover the damage out of graphite fiber

Attachment:
IMG_5592.JPG


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IMG_5593.JPG


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IMG_5595.JPG


Drilled out the old pin holes and reamed them to fit the pins.


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These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: dpetrzelka (Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:24 pm)
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:32 am 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 1707
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
For the crack on the side I first worked all the broken pieces back into position and clamped them with two rare earth magnets (no picture, sorry). I tacked the pieces together with CA and accelerator and moved the magnets - just rebuilt a little bit at a time. Then I bent a piece of mahogany to the shape of the waist and made two cauls the same shape (one is inside the guitar, trust me)

Attachment:
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Sprayed a little lacquer over it, just barely hide the repair without looking like it was finished

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Installed the neck

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Heel isn't pretty but looks OK

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IMG_5606.JPG


and so does the angle

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IMG_5604.JPG


Took it in the house, opened a nice cold adult beverage and played some 1960 hippy folk songs. The old Harmony is happy


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These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: Johny (Sat Aug 24, 2019 7:14 pm)
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:35 am 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:09 pm
Posts: 585
Location: Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada
First name: Conor
Last Name: Searl
City: Duncan
State: British Columbia
Zip/Postal Code: V9L 2E5
Country: Canada
Status: Semi-pro
Thanks Freeman! I've found step by step pictorials to be one of the best learning tools for me. I especially find especially helpful your description of triaging this project, and your decision making process in how to move forward.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:49 am 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 1707
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
The bridge plate was almost the straw that would have stopped me. First I thought about trying to remove it - it is hide glue and should have come out relatively easily. But this guitar is ladder braced and the bridge plate goes all the way across. Then I thought about buying or making one of those "plate mate" things - I had cut a piece of thin aluminum and was fitting it when I remember that I had some 0.003 graphite from a headstock repair. Bingo - the repair went smoothly and the rest of it kind of fell into place.

Is there irony that a 60 year old piece of junk guitar was repaired using carbon fiber and high strength epoxy?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 12:04 am
Posts: 4126
First name: Chris
Last Name: Pile
City: Wichita
State: Kansas
Country: Good old US of A
Focus: Repair
Status: Professional
You did good.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:26 pm 
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Location: Southeast US
City: Lenoir City
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Country: US
Focus: Repair
Nice save.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:32 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:49 am
Posts: 10391
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
First name: Hesh
Last Name: Breakstone
City: Tecumseh and Ann Arbor
State: Michigan
Country: United States
Status: Professional
Very nice work Freeman.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:22 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2005 5:17 am
Posts: 853
Location: United States
I sure admire great work like that. Some day when I retire from the office grind, I hope to try my hand at some. Between builds that is. Great job!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:24 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:54 am
Posts: 546
State: Texas
Country: United States
Focus: Repair
Those old Sovereign style Harmonys are some of the VERY few "vintage entry level" acoustics that I do those kind of repairs on. They usually have a decent story and sound fairly good when rebuilt well.

Nicely done sir!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:09 am 
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First name: Ed
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Freeman

Nicely done

Ed


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:18 pm 
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Koa
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:42 am
Posts: 1126
Location: Hudson, MA
First name: Kevin
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Focus: Build
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Nice work. That must have been a very angry dog to kick a hole in the side


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:43 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 1707
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
DanKirkland wrote:
Those old Sovereign style Harmonys are some of the VERY few "vintage entry level" acoustics that I do those kind of repairs on. They usually have a decent story and sound fairly good when rebuilt well.

Nicely done sir!


I was pretty sure they had dovetail joints and when I saw the hide glue smeared all over the insides I figured there was a reasonable chance of getting the neck off. Unlike a lot of other cheap guitars from that era.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:40 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:06 am
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First name: Roy L
Last Name: Smith
City: Apache Junction
State: Az
Zip/Postal Code: 85119
Country: USA
Focus: Repair
Status: Amateur
dang, you did all this while in how long? I'm just hoping to get a new top on by the end of winter. Nice work.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:58 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:54 am
Posts: 546
State: Texas
Country: United States
Focus: Repair
Freeman wrote:

I was pretty sure they had dovetail joints and when I saw the hide glue smeared all over the insides I figured there was a reasonable chance of getting the neck off. Unlike a lot of other cheap guitars from that era.


I've only ran into a few of the super cheapos that didn't have hide glue on them from that 60s-70s era. So usually if people want work on them I charge appropriately and then do the work like you did here. But like I said before I limit it only to the Sovereigns and a *very* select few other models/makes.

I had one once last month that had a superglued neck (home gamer job). It did come off with some chemistry work but that was honestly the only one that was super challenging.


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