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 Post subject: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:33 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:14 am
Posts: 101
First name: Jan-Alexis
Last Name: Tremblay
City: Montreal
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Hello all, here is my latest project.

My good friend bought a guitar for 3$ in a yard sale. He bargained it from 5$.
That's pretty much what it's worth.

It's been stripped off of its hardware, bridge and fingerboard, and rather crudely.

Image

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That's an interesting pin-up decal. Someone seems to have scraped it with a screwdriver.
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The back is falling off the guitar. Looks like humidity damage.
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But the neck seems to have been played a lot, which is a good sign.

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So my plan is to restore that thing to its past glory and to give it a chance to live another couple of decades without falling apart.
It's not worth much, so I'll not put up much money into it.

Hope you like it.


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 Post subject: Re: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:39 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:14 am
Posts: 101
First name: Jan-Alexis
Last Name: Tremblay
City: Montreal
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
After removing the back, we see the ladder bracing pattern with the big spruce bridge patch that got eaten through by string balls.
Also, I was surprised to see that this guitar is made of solid, not laminated wood. Spruce top with maple back and sides.

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Removing the back also allowed to see why that guitar once became unplayable.
That neck block is split side to side.
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So I drilled it off.
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Image


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 Post subject: Re: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:49 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:14 am
Posts: 101
First name: Jan-Alexis
Last Name: Tremblay
City: Montreal
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I made an ebony patch for the bridge pins/string balls.
I added some longitudinal bracing above the bridge location and around the soundhole.
It's really rather small and will hopefully prevent the potato chip deformation ladder braced guitars sometimes develop, without choking the top too much.
I also cleated the centre joint behind the bridge.
You can see I also replaced the neck block with a birch ply one.
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Having the longitudinal braces allowed me to shave the other braces a good bit to reduce top mass, especially around the top perimeter.
This is in progress.
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Which gives this.
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 Post subject: Re: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:55 pm 
Offline
Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:14 am
Posts: 101
First name: Jan-Alexis
Last Name: Tremblay
City: Montreal
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
You can see the back braces have come unglued sometime in the past.
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So I removed them and reglued them cleanly.
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This is while sanding the rim to radius.
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And the back is getting glued back on.
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The back has no binding, so regluing it left it standing slightly proud at some places, so I had to scrape it a bit and play around with felt tip brown/yellow/red/black pen to camouflage this.
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And working some patina back in there also.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:00 pm 
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Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:14 am
Posts: 101
First name: Jan-Alexis
Last Name: Tremblay
City: Montreal
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Working on the neck.
I routed a truss rod slot, added a maple dowel in the heel to support two brass inserts to convert the neck to a bolt-on.
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This is the neck block after routing and drilling.
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Tapping the frets in a preslotted and radiused ebony fretboard from LMI.
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Gluing the fretboard after dropping a light silicone bed for the truss rod to lay in.
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And filing the frets flat and then after crowning and polishing.
Image

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:08 pm 
Offline
Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:14 am
Posts: 101
First name: Jan-Alexis
Last Name: Tremblay
City: Montreal
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
The neck angle is a bit off.
Image

Getting it right.
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This is the new bridge outline compared to the old one. Hopefully the extra surface will be enough to compensate for the irregular gluing surface the violent removal of the old bridge left.
I messed up a bit by filling the old holes with sawdust and black CA... It was thin enough to wick a bit but not outside the bridge outline.
Image

I used some chalk to mark contact points between the bridge underside and the top. After about an hour or so of marking and scraping, I got a pretty good fit.
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Getting the bridge glued on. I was stupid enough to buy just two of these clamps, so I use screws to "clamp" the middle of the bridge. It works surprisingly well, considering it bites in the ebony patch underneath and pulls everything together.
Image


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 Post subject: Re: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:24 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:27 pm
Posts: 1914
Location: South Carolina
First name: John
Last Name: Cox
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
That's a beautiful project going on there.

I am glad to see you are making the most of modern technology (bolt on neck, radius the back, radiused fretboard, proper bridge placement for good intonation, etc). That makes these old guitars so much more fun to play.

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:29 pm 
Offline
Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:14 am
Posts: 101
First name: Jan-Alexis
Last Name: Tremblay
City: Montreal
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Thanks John!

After gluing the bridge comes some aesthetic touch ups.

I cleaned and repolished the pickguard.
From that:
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To that:

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And used again child felt tip pen to hide some scratches. Please note the weird decal involving a sombrero and a cactus.
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I refurbished some old cheap tuners I had laying around.
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After removing the casing and oiling them up, I dulled the finish on them like that:
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After shaping the nut, the string layout.
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Image

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:33 pm 
Offline
Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:14 am
Posts: 101
First name: Jan-Alexis
Last Name: Tremblay
City: Montreal
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
And here is the completed guitar:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:45 pm 
Offline
Cocobolo
Cocobolo

Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:14 am
Posts: 101
First name: Jan-Alexis
Last Name: Tremblay
City: Montreal
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
This is a short video of my friend having his guitar back.
Should be good for another 72 years or so!
Thanks for watching.





Last edited by Johny on Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:59 pm 
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Contributing Member
Contributing Member

Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:58 pm
Posts: 596
First name: Ed
Last Name: Minch
City: Chestertown
State: MD
Zip/Postal Code: 21620
Country: United States
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
You did a very thorough job and it is better than new - well done. How does it sound?

Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:32 am 
Offline
Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:27 pm
Posts: 1914
Location: South Carolina
First name: John
Last Name: Cox
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Very nice. Your friend is very lucky.


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 Post subject: Re: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:59 am 
Offline
Cocobolo
Cocobolo
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 198
Location: Creedmoor, NC
First name: Tim
Last Name: Benware
City: Creedmoor
State: NC
Zip/Postal Code: 27522
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Professional
These are so much fun to do. I've done a dozen Harmony re-dos and they always amaze me when done. Try converting your next one to x-brace, makes them sound great.

_________________
"I've been had again"
Tim Benware
Creedmoor, NC


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 Post subject: Re: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:36 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:15 pm
Posts: 27
First name: Jarrod
Last Name: Halberg
City: Princeton
State: IL
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Nice job.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk


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 Post subject: Re: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:41 pm 
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Contributing Member
Contributing Member

Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2005 12:50 pm
Posts: 678
Location: United States
First name: John
Last Name: Lewis
City: Newnan
State: Georgia
Zip/Postal Code: 30265
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
That's worth a bit more than $3 now - good job!

_________________
John Lewis
Wannabe builder owned by 3 crazy dachshunds


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 Post subject: Re: Old 1945 Harmony
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:06 am 
Offline
Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:23 pm
Posts: 24
First name: Christopher
Last Name: Parker
City: Fatetteville
State: AR
Zip/Postal Code: 72701
Country: USA
Focus: Repair
Status: Professional
Ben-Had wrote:
These are so much fun to do. I've done a dozen Harmony re-dos and they always amaze me when done. Try converting your next one to x-brace, makes them sound great.

I disagree. I think the latter bracing is what gives these guitars their unique sound. X bracing would rob this kind of guitar of all of its character. If you want X braces, get a Martin or a Martin knockoff. These guitars do something completely different. You can't get a good guitar to sound as good as one of these.

My hat's off to Johnny for making a guitar that was hardly worth fixing into a player. Way to go man!


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