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  • Pictures of projects

    Just curious if anyone on here would be interested in seeing some of the instruments I work on. I tried making a facebook for my repair company a few years back and I put a lot of effort into making it work for me, but I've had no luck having it take off. This audience is very instrument focused so maybe this would get more responses. I'm not trying to capitalize on that interest, I would just like to share some of my projects and hopefully bring something unique to this community.

    I've attached a couple pics of the mandolin I'm working on. This is a 1910 bowl back (believed to be a Washburn) mandolin that needs a lot of work. I have since taken the top off and repaired most of the back and the cracks in the top and I am currently building a fretboard for it.


    Not everything I do is this interesting, but let me know if you want to see more! Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    Wow! That's a very cool project. Make sure to post pics when you are done.

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    • #3
      Very much so. I dug that Tele-style guitar you built. If you can do some mods for guitars (adding a tremolo to my PRS 7-string comes to mind), then I'll be a customer.

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      • #4
        Hey all. Sorry it has been so long since I posted. All the pictures were on my ipod which I had some trouble with soon after posting this originally, but I have some more to share!
        Click image for larger version

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ID:	158 This is the mandolin with the leftover fretboard removed. All those cuts in the neck are from whoever worked on this before me.

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ID:	160 I wish I had filmed this part, but I then removed the top. I had to do this in order to fix all of the cracks on the back. There were slivers of wood missing which I had to replace and I needed to be able to shape them from the inside. 2 of those cloth strips have been removed because they are falling off and falling apart. I will replace them.

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ID:	161 This is what the crack in the top looks like from inside. This was a delicate and tricky thing to fix.

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ID:	162 ......And this is what I came up with! Worked surprisingly well.

        I have made a new fretboard for it. I will get some more shots uploaded this week!

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        • #5
          This project was a cheap-o Epi acoustic my buddy picked up at a yard sale for $20. He just wanted it to play. I was a lot of fun, I had never done a heel repair like this before and I love fixing cracked bridges.

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ID:	164 It didn't even put up a fight. It just looked cracked when he brought it over, but I tugged on it a little bit and it came right off... We had a good laugh about that.


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ID:	166 Good as new!


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ID:	167 Before....ew. Cracked between the pin holes and buggered up all around.

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ID:	168 After!

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          • #6
            I forget to take pictures of the projects when they are done sometimes, so I apologize, but thats all I have on the Epi. I'm still working on the Mandolin, so more to come on that.

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            • #7
              Click image for larger version

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ID:	169 I also did this Gretsch Corvette. I have had this for years and I regret getting it. It's a cool guitar, but I did not inspect it properly before buying. The neck is junk. with the truss rod all the way loose the neck is dead straight, which may not sound like a problem, but it means I can never add relief to the neck if it starts to back bow which is not a good position to be in. I tried putting super heavy strings on it, I tried heating it while it was clamped into an up bow and I even tried a refretting technique which helps relieve some of the tension the frets put on the neck (I can explain this more in another post if anyone is interested), but nothing brought the neck to where I wanted it to be so I decided it's time to take drastic measures!

              What I did was remove the fretboard. I then forced the neck into an up bow and clamped the new fretboard on while it was like that. The idea is basically to force the neck to be in a slight up bow while the truss rod is all the way loose. This gives the maximum amount of control when using a single action truss rod.

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ID:	170 Trusty iron. Basically using that, a wet rag and a putty knife to very very slowly remove the fretboard. This took about an hour. I filmed it, but this is the only picture I took before it was removed.

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ID:	171 Fretboard off.

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ID:	172 This picture shows the up bow before the new board in glued on.

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              • #8
                And this is the clamping technique used for the Corvette. A big old green rubber band!
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                Works extremely well for even clamping pressure. Neck thing to do is fret the neck and hoe it works. I have never done this before, but I have read about it and I'm hoping it turns out well. I will post updates soon!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Steveincollins View Post
                  Attachment I also did this Gretsch Corvette. I have had this for years and I regret getting it. It's a cool guitar, but I did not inspect it properly before buying. The neck is junk. with the truss rod all the way loose the neck is dead straight, which may not sound like a problem, but it means I can never add relief to the neck if it starts to back bow which is not a good position to be in. I tried putting super heavy strings on it, I tried heating it while it was clamped into an up bow and I even tried a refretting technique which helps relieve some of the tension the frets put on the neck (I can explain this more in another post if anyone is interested), but nothing brought the neck to where I wanted it to be so I decided it's time to take drastic measures!
                  Quite interested here. Your posts here are quite informative. Since you're in this field, what do you consider a proper inspection?

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                  • Steveincollins
                    Steveincollins commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Good question! I think it's very important that people know what to look out for when buying an instrument. Heres a few things to look for.

                    Frets)
                    Feel the fret ends (if they are sticking out and sharp it could be a sign of a dry instrument) and look to see if any of them look loose (they will stick up from the wood a bit and move when you press on them).

                    Electronics)
                    Test all the electronics to make sure all pickups/pots/switches work and that nothing is scratchy or feels loose. Check the jack for sure, make sure it is snug and doesn't cut out.

                    Truss rod)
                    This is hand down the most important thing to inspect. You want to have enough play in the truss rod to induce a back bow if tightened and to put a lot more relief than you would need when loosened all the way. This gives you maximum control over the neck and if the truss rod is ineffective you will never get the instrument to play the way you want it to.

                    Bridge)
                    On an acoustic guitar look at the bridge... really look at it. Especially if it is used. Look for any sign of cracking and especially make sure it is not lifting away from the top of the guitar. And check the saddle height. Make sure its not super low or super high and on electrics the height adjustment screws will ideally be in the middle. You don't want them bottomed out or all the way up. This is like the truss rod, you want as much adjustability as possible.

                    Intonation)
                    On acoustics you want it to be damn near perfect. It's not very easy to change acoustic intonation. On electrics just make sure it's at least close to perfect with plenty of adjustment available from the screws. Again, adjustability is key.

                    Otherwise just play the instrument. Every fret and check for buzzing. There are several things that can contribute to fret buzz.
                    If you don't feel comfortable checking any of these ask a tech. Most stores have them, but they also just want to sell you stuff so I recommend doing research and at least learning how to check and adjust a truss rod. That is probably the single most important thing to check because it is the hardest thing to remedy... believe me, I'm doing it now haha

                  • Steveincollins
                    Steveincollins commented
                    Editing a comment
                    If any of this doesn't make sense just let me know what you need me to elaborate on.

                • #10
                  Luckily, my local music store has sold me enough stuff they take care of my adjustments with no cost. One of the earliest adjustment things I learned was the straightedge capo-on-the-1st fret test to check obvious problems. But a few questions:

                  1) How do I determine if a neck has warped beyond what a truss rod adjustment will fix?
                  2) Assuming the neck is straight, I've used a ruler as a level of sorts on the frets to detect unevenness. What else should I be looking for in terms of fret buzzing?
                  3) What do you recommend for dry wood? Along those lines, is there any particular environment I should store my guitars for optimal lifespan, like temperature and relative humidity of a room?
                  4) If there are issues with the guitar, what's a good rule of thumb (besides price) on which issues are easily remedied vs. not worth the effort?

                  Speaking of electronics (maybe should be its own thread):

                  In my JS1000, recently there's a horrendous 60Hz hum that's developed that's not present in any other guitar. I've checked for ground loops. Everything I have is either in a power conditioner or an isolated power supply fed from a dedicated circuit. I've put isolation tabs in my rack, replaced cables, etc. but still it persists.

                  It started happening when this guitar had its pickups and pots replaced. The pickups are new DiMarzio Air Zone/Tone Zone in the neck and bridge respectively -- slightly higher output than before but nothing near as hot as some of my other guitars. At first I suspected the input jack, but replacing it didn't help. This guitar has a push/pull coil tap and a high-pass filter, but engaging these modes don't reduce the hum.

                  The tech who did the work can't seem to reproduce the problem(?!!), and he does know what he's doing -- he's replaced all of my pickups and routed a Sustaniac (really cool thing BTW).

                  Is there anything I'm missing?

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