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Gottaplay
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« on: May 21, 2019, 02:49:43 PM »

Hi All,

I`m a new member to this forum and this is my first thread. Recently picked up a repaired 2008 L-03M for $750 and thus far am quite pleased with it. After a ten year hiatus from serious playing it’s time to get back in the saddle thanks to inspiration from Doc Watson (Deep River Blues) and Mark Knopfler (Song For Sonny) two songs I`ve long vowed to be at least respectfully decent at.

Although mainly for fingerpicking I wanted a new instrument that would flatpick and strum well. Given my champagne tastes and beer budget the L-03 works just fine and thankfully my research led me to Larrivee. In the last two weeks I`ve tested out at least 100 different guitars in many different stores in three cities and two provinces. Absolutely bewildering experience that gradually led to a bit of understanding in terms of my preferences and priorities. I played Gibson’s, Martins, Taylors, Beneteau’s, Blueridge’s,Eastmans,  a custom $12000 Boucher Studio Goose and a $12000 vintage Martin 000-18, Guilds, Simon and Patricks, Godins, Seagulls, Collins and a bunch of brands I can’t readily recall in all price ranges.  Wow if you’ve never thrown yourself at a BUNCH of decent to good guitars in a short period of time try it. Made me really confused for awhile. But by the end I could tell pretty much what I thought of any guitar within a few chord shapes and notes. Really cool evolution. Long story shortened… the L-03 spoke to me as they say and for the price even new it spoke to me clearly.

The caveat on my bargain is the repair. The previous owner had it in Central America for two years and when it came back home to the Great White North winter it got upset. Classic dual sound board splits from near the bridge to near the butt. It was cleated and a spruce filler strip added where the gap remained which may indicate the crack did not get repaired soon enough. The oxidation of the existing top and slightly miss matched new wood used have left noticeable darker lines in addition to being slightly raised above the surrounding surface. My finishing carpenters’ eye of course wants to make it better but the practical side tells me to adopt the “shuddupanplayyerguitar” rational and just let it be. I had a Martin Factory trained tech look closely at the repair and he figured it would remain stable and the guitar was otherwise in good shape. The neck does have a minor 14 fret hump and dive from the drying but it’s truly minor and won’t effect the playability at my level. The projection and sustain are remarkable given the cost…nothing touched it new for under $2000. The ol’ one chord and I was sold doctrine was realized.

I have a decision to make because I am planning to make this my primarily six string acoustic. Before doing the following I need to decide whether or not to solve the cosmetic dual crack dilemma. I don’t know UV cured poly from pre catalysed lacquer but I`m pretty handy and actually am a finishing carpentry so I`m going to glean as much info as is required to make a good practicable plan and get on with it.

1.buff out the satin to quiet it down and pretty it up. I have Novus compound for motorcycle windshields and am currently leaning toward that method while considering all other options.
2.lower the action a tad at the saddle.
3.tranfer the K&K on board Trinity PU system from my “73 Norman Special Edition serial number 00001 Dread to the Larry.

Any advice?...

So that was a fair sized introduction/feedback hairball to have coughed up but hey…swing for the fence right?

Seriously this site is a tremendous resource and I`m grateful to have stumbled upon it. Keep it up.

Gottaplay
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2019, 03:29:38 PM »

I don't do finish work any more so I'm behind the time's when it come's to finishes but as a tech for 50 years I leave it and just enjoy it.If your going to semi gloss the satin finish there are a few threads that have been posted.French polish would be the way to go.
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jpmist
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2019, 04:04:04 PM »

Welcome! First off your mention of Knopfler's "Song for Sonny Liston" put a smile on my face thinking I've run across a fellow Knopfler fan. I did a Youtube video of how I figured out how to play that song which I just reviewed and found it hilariously out of sync https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clnj1LTLLaA. – but you might get a sense of how I worked it out and the general chord shapes. It's quirky rhythm makes it one of the more difficult Knofler songs I've worked out.

Second, congratulations on lucking upon a Larrivee guitar who's tone spoke to you. An older opened up Larrivee is a treat. As for the top cosmetic fix you're dealing with a light catalyzed finish that is harder than anything solvent based that you might be familiar with. If you're thinking that might be your one and only all time forever guitar, you might give some thought to sending it to Larrivee for a repair and top refinish - worth a thought. I only know about the light cure stuff because, being a retired dentist, I used light cure materials a lot for sealants and white fillings. If you're really dead set on learning how to use it, there are used dental light cure wands you can get off eBay that will work for a small repair and you can even find Chinese vendors for the clear sealant material. (US vendors will only sell to licensed dentists, guessing the Chinese aren't as fussy . . .)

Buffing out a satin finish is an evergreen topic that pops up once or twice a year, do a search and you'll find several threads on it. On the AGF forum you'll find even more. Bottom line is to lower your expectations and after all your work expect to see orbital swirl marks because satin guitars aren't prepped as perfectly as gloss prior to spraying.  I tried it on a satin Larrivee I had and it came out decently but to get a excellent result was more work than I wanted to put into it. I do want to steer you away from using "Virtuoso Polish and Cleaner" as it put a persistant chemical layer on the finish that made it look a bit gaudy.

Thumbs up on the saddle lowering, an easy fix. I have K&K's in my guitars and recall that I once looked into how to remove the three piezo pads and then decided to just buy a new pickup. There's a small risk of damaging the pads, but if you're good with your hands and can get a razor blade under it you might be able to pop them off ok.

Best of luck with the L-03 and the Knopfler stuff. He's got at least 4 songs on his new album I've played to death. See if "Matchstick Man" floats your boat!

  .      gotpics?
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2019, 11:25:32 PM »

Hi Rob,

I hear ya. I just caught wind of the French Polish technique last week...(doesn't that sound dirty). Simple yet effective is a hard combo to out do so i`ll look more closely into that option thanks for reminding me about it. I`d better start a private file on this crack repair to keep the myriad options organized.  


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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2019, 11:45:05 PM »

One of forum members Danny did a complete refin of a top with crack repairs I can't tell you how to find it as I am user idiot when it come's to computers {if it doesn't have strings on it I'm useless} but a beautiful job.If you ever want to contact me my phone number is on my website in my signature.Call any time always willing help.
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2019, 11:54:24 AM »

Hi jpmist,

Nice work on the vid. You made "Song For Sonny" your own and it has a good feel. It's most always enlightening to view someone's take on something you yourself are working on. While our styles differ there lot's to be learned, adapted or just plain stolen. Oh and your thumb is ginormous man. Seriously that sucker outta be able to play a bar chord all on it's own. So i`m go over your video a bunch so whatever helps me get it down. You use a few alternate positions from Knopfler that may make it a bit easier to play. 

Yeah I feel really lucky to have found that L-03. I took it into Long and McQuade yesterday to verify it's sound quality and was pleased how it sounded in the high end room. A little all black special edition 1 of 70 limited run L-00 Gibson stole my heart but otherwise the tone of mine despite needing a string change was reassuring.

UV curing lights really? now we're getting high tech here now boys. I`m a do your own oil change kinda guy but if that option is affordable and within my skill set I`ll look into it. Bottom line is I can't afford to send it cross continent nor would I be inclined to even if I had the dough, so it's all on me.

I read that the satin finish guitar may show sander swirl etc and anyone buffing out the satin will need to realistically lower there expectations accordingly so i`m good with that. The question uppermost in my mind regarding the potential repair is what is the simplest cost effective method yielding lasting results that closely match the existing satin finish after it's buffed up? I doubt I`d be willing to go to the trouble of sourcing Chinese UV curing equipment and finish but that's an interesting way to go for luthiers. The French Polish technique is thus far the most likely way to go but I`ll do some digging in that regard and see how it would apply to my situation.

Thanks guys
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2019, 11:59:08 AM »

Hi Rob,

I`m pretty sure that a complete refinishing of the top isn't in the stars but that is an interesting option. I would be interested in seeing some before and after photos along with details of the work. If anyone knows where to source that info please chime in.

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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2019, 02:26:56 PM »

Thanks for checking back, I've gotten a few hand comments on my YouTube vides, mostly about my thin spidery fingers. I am most proud of my my 90 degree angle thumb but I very rarely use it 'cept maybe to fret the E string when needed. "You use a few alternate positions from Knopfler" seems to imply you know of a live video of him playing that song? Would love to know. I learned a lot of technique copying Knopfler's songs over the years.

My understanding of "French Polishing" is that it starts with raw unfinished wood. Which implies that you'd have to completely strip the top of all finish theoretically risking a change in the tone of your guitar due to the reduced mass of your soundboard. Maybe polishing the entire top to satin once you've improved the repair cosmetically is a better way to go. But I dunno, I'm just being an armchair luthier here, spent the night at a Holliday Inn and all that . . .
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2019, 03:27:14 PM »

As far as I know french polish is the only finish that can go over most other finish's.You can just apply it were needed,its a pain in the arm and take's time.
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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2019, 05:12:19 PM »

Hi JP

Here are three YouTube video's that are really good examples of playing Song For Sonny. The first is a live electric version that still makes my hair stand up especially when the band kicks in. Well on second thought I`ll start on new thread in an attempt to stay on topic.

Regarding finishing unless otherwise advised I plan to buff out the satin AFTER the repair for sure waiting until whatever finish I use over the crack area has fully cured. No way am I willing to strip the top...that's just crazy talk n'est ce pas?
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2019, 08:42:09 PM »

Regarding finishing unless otherwise advised I plan to buff out the satin AFTER the repair for sure waiting until whatever finish I use over the crack area has fully cured. No way am I willing to strip the top...that's just crazy talk n'est ce pas?

Whew, glad to hear . . .

Uncle Rob, I'll be happy to be wrong, but the current catalyzed Larrivee finishes are bulletproof as far as any type of solvents dissolving into it so I don't see how the French polish would work, but having said that, perhaps Gottaplay could do both the French polish over the area of the crack repair then a whole top semigloss and they might even come close to matching each other. . .
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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2019, 11:08:49 PM »

In the interest of knowing where to begin I tried a google search "Larrivee Guitar Finish" and darned if it didn't send me right back to this forum...go figure. Anyway if you're interested here's the link: http://www.larriveeforum.com/smf/index.php?action=printpage;topic=26161.0

Looks like my 2008 L-03 is indeed finished with a UV cured polyurethane that would require a complete sanding down to bare wood. As a finishing carpenter I could do that but as a guitarist the eleven year aging of the top and the typical tone improvement points me towards leaving it alone. I remain hopeful of a mid ground alternative.

I`m thinking along the lines of masking the cracks followed by careful sanding to reduce the ridging then careful application low viscosity CA glue to fill any low points. All of that depends on finding an affordable miracle top coat that will bond and blend to whatever UV cured poly Larrivee used in '08 on their satin bodies. This ain't no Bob Villa project we got going on here. 

Regarding using French polish technique as long as it will bond to the poly does it really matter if it doesn't dissolve into it?
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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2019, 03:39:13 AM »

I have used french polish on a couple of cracks on Larrivee's since the only area to be polished was the crack area only.It doesn't need to desolve any finish and I have used it on all sorts of finish with no issue.
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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2019, 09:39:57 AM »

That's really good news Rob thanks. What type of shellac did you use flaked de-waxed blond in a two pound cut, or maybe a premix can?
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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2019, 06:08:18 PM »

Blond wax free rocks mostly 1"x1" blocks I got more then 30 years ago from a violin builder I trained with.He had a bunch that was maybe 50 years old at the time.Mostly with de-natured achohal.
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 OB LA DE OB LA DA,LIFE GOES ON---BRA,It is what it is,You just gotta deal it,
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« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2019, 05:02:19 AM »

My advice is leave well alone.
Now spend the money you were going to spend on a Larrivee  OO O4 or a OM O4, your choice of Rosewood or Hog back and sides.
The thing about Larrivee's is that they are all darn fine guitars.
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