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Author Topic: Project Guitar: Input on methods (NEW 12/22)  (Read 6666 times)
didymus21
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« on: December 02, 2005, 06:15:08 AM »

Some of you have seen this guitar before...I now have some crazy Christmas break ideas...I plan to modify my $50 (yet solid wood) "bulgaria guitar"

As it stands, The guitar is in good structural shape...no big issues.








There is one top crack that is cleated well...but is not level.  I should know, I fixed it  :UND>



Additionally...and this is by far the most embarassing aspect.  The pickguard is on for GOOD.  Uneducated as I was a few years ago...I put it on with 5-minute Epoxy...and crooked to boot...ouch.



I do not believe there is any part of this guitar where the finish has not checked...every microscopic spot has checking...





I believe this guitar was originally a "0 fret"...so I changed this...added a nut, but due to the large space, had to add a wood block to give it some extra height.  Not quite enough height though, as you can see.





My plans are to completely sand down all aspects of the guitar (This includes to some extent leveling the top crack.  I plan to sand away all of the sunburst paint, so as to be left with pure fresh wood.  To get off the pickguard and epoxy solution, I plan to just sand it down to wood as well.  The top is very thick, so I may try to sand it down a bit to make the gitar a little more responsive...not sure if this will be possible or not.  When all done I may stain it, or simply leave "as is" then re-finish via a french polish.  I plan to add pictures of my progress.  I haven't done any of this before, but with the help of "FRET.COM" I plan to just attack this and see what happens.  After all...the guitar was not an investment.  Any suggestions?


Thanks guys...and if what I plan to do is ridiculous...or no really "possible" let me know...before I do anything drastic.

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Mcilroy A30C, 2005
Yamaha FG-512, 1978
Larrivee LV-05E, 2005

Previously Owned:
Larrivee L-10 Special Edition, 2002
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2005, 07:40:50 AM »

Unless it has some sentimental value for you, I'd say just be brave and go for it, on a massive scale too ;).
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didymus21
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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2005, 07:48:04 AM »

HEH, YES!  I get so excited thinking about it...I'd love to cut down on the thickness of that fretboard (hard to tel, but there is one)...but I don't think it'd be possible due to the way the strings come off the tailpiece.  No way to get the saddle low enough to compensate a lowering of the fretboard.
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Mcilroy A30C, 2005
Yamaha FG-512, 1978
Larrivee LV-05E, 2005

Previously Owned:
Larrivee L-10 Special Edition, 2002
Larrivee Classical, 1977
Larrivee P-09
Larrivee OM-05 custom
Larrivee OM-03
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ronmac
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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2005, 12:13:40 PM »

This will be a great project to get you used to working with tools and beginning to understand how making changes can influence the tone and playability of the instrument.

One suggestion, be careful when determining the height of the nut. For a "zero fret" guitar it is there only as a string guide, not as a string contact point. If you raise it too much you will disturb the break angle at the zero fret and that can introduce some buzz.

Good luck and keep us posted as you progress.
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Ron

jimmyd
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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2005, 12:24:15 PM »

Be sure to ask santa for a belt sander before you start, and maybe a new guitar. ^_^
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didymus21
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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2005, 05:15:36 PM »

Be sure to ask santa for a belt sander before you start, and maybe a new guitar. ^_^
-_- yeah...I'm going to be going at this without any power tools.  I always have my L-10 if something goes seriously wrong...oh...and my dinky old yamaha.
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Mcilroy A30C, 2005
Yamaha FG-512, 1978
Larrivee LV-05E, 2005

Previously Owned:
Larrivee L-10 Special Edition, 2002
Larrivee Classical, 1977
Larrivee P-09
Larrivee OM-05 custom
Larrivee OM-03
Larrivee D-03R, 1997
didymus21
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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2005, 05:17:51 PM »

This will be a great project to get you used to working with tools and beginning to understand how making changes can influence the tone and playability of the instrument.

One suggestion, be careful when determining the height of the nut. For a "zero fret" guitar it is there only as a string guide, not as a string contact point. If you raise it too much you will disturb the break angle at the zero fret and that can introduce some buzz.

Good luck and keep us posted as you progress.


Can you explain what you mean by the break angle?  Will I know I raised the nut too much if string buzz results??  As of now the strings contact the end of the fretboard, just before reaching the nut.  No buzzing currently.
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Mcilroy A30C, 2005
Yamaha FG-512, 1978
Larrivee LV-05E, 2005

Previously Owned:
Larrivee L-10 Special Edition, 2002
Larrivee Classical, 1977
Larrivee P-09
Larrivee OM-05 custom
Larrivee OM-03
Larrivee D-03R, 1997
ronmac
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2005, 05:34:14 PM »

The break angle refers to the amount the string bends downwards as it crosses the zero fret. The break angle determines how much downward pressure occurs at the break point. If the angle is too shallow the loss in pressure may allow the string to bounce up and down as it vibrates. The result is a buzz. To the other extreme, if the angle is too great you could bend the string to the point that it may break if it comes under heavy strumming pressure.

Frets.com has an explanation of this (although his explanation is for the saddle you can use the same logic for your zero fret):

http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Musician/Guitar/Setup/Saddle/saddle01.html

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Ron

bhika
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2005, 05:36:20 PM »

If you're going to try and sand off that pickguard you better ask for a belt sander for Christmas. I wouldn't want to try and sand that off by hand.  :UND>
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jeff

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didymus21
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2005, 06:50:32 PM »

If you're going to try and sand off that pickguard you better ask for a belt sander for Christmas. I wouldn't want to try and sand that off by hand.  :UND>


Is there any chemical I could use to simply dissolve a majority of the pickguard away? Not too worried about the ruining finish since it is all coming off anyways...
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Mcilroy A30C, 2005
Yamaha FG-512, 1978
Larrivee LV-05E, 2005

Previously Owned:
Larrivee L-10 Special Edition, 2002
Larrivee Classical, 1977
Larrivee P-09
Larrivee OM-05 custom
Larrivee OM-03
Larrivee D-03R, 1997
jimmyd
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« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2005, 10:41:55 PM »


Is there any chemical I could use to simply dissolve a majority of the pickguard away? Not too worried about the ruining finish since it is all coming off anyways...

No matter how you go about it you are going to have to sand too much of the top to get it to bare natural wood. All of that stuff, stain, epoxy, finish has penetrated the wood. If that is a laminate top then you are most probably going to sand through the paper thin veneer top course before you know what happened. If not you are going to have a pretty thin top if you ever get it sanded to bare wood. Trying to sand off a pickguard and epoxy adhesive by hand with a sanding block is just setting yourself up for a frustrating experience. It ain't gonna work. You might try to find a solvent that will dissolve the epoxy and slowly work it under the guard but a solvent that strong might partially ment the pickguard plastic and surely will make some kind of sticky mess of the finish underneath.  I don't want to discourage you from experimenting but I think you should know what you are getting into. 
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ronmac
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« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2005, 11:02:33 PM »

Part of the trick in any reno project is knowing what to leave well enough alone.
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Ron

didymus21
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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2005, 12:09:26 AM »

No matter how you go about it you are going to have to sand too much of the top to get it to bare natural wood.

I don't think so, because as you can see some finish has already come off in the back, and the wood looks very natural there....there doesn't seem to be any seepage into the wood.  The sunburst on it doesn't appear to have done much to the wood at all...as strange as it may seem.

Here's the deal.  I'm going to do it no matter what so as I'll have something challenging to do over the break.  I do have access to a circular sander; if that will work, I'll use it.  I'll post pictures after I've sanded.  If it DOES turn out to be a horrible idea and/or I fail miserably, I'll keep the guitar as a reminder.  :GRN>
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Mcilroy A30C, 2005
Yamaha FG-512, 1978
Larrivee LV-05E, 2005

Previously Owned:
Larrivee L-10 Special Edition, 2002
Larrivee Classical, 1977
Larrivee P-09
Larrivee OM-05 custom
Larrivee OM-03
Larrivee D-03R, 1997
jimmyd
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« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2005, 12:17:19 AM »

I don't think so, because as you can see some finish has already come off in the back, and the wood looks very natural there....there doesn't seem to be any seepage into the wood.  The sunburst on it doesn't appear to have done much to the wood at all...as strange as it may seem.

Here's the deal.  I'm going to do it no matter what so as I'll have something challenging to do over the break.  I do have access to a circular sander; if that will work, I'll use it.  I'll post pictures after I've sanded.  If it DOES turn out to be a horrible idea and/or I fail miserably, I'll keep the guitar as a reminder.  :GRN>

Thats the spirit! Fun and learning. You can't really fail with that attitude. Hopefully the outcome will be that you enjoyed the process and learned a bit too and you might just have an interesting looking finished project. Please keep us posted.
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didymus21
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« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2005, 12:50:31 AM »

Thats the spirit! Fun and learning. You can't really fail with that attitude. Hopefully the outcome will be that you enjoyed the process and learned a bit too and you might just have an interesting looking finished project. Please keep us posted.

Thanks for the support.  I am taking a wood working class tis next term...If I enjoy fixing up this one...maybe I'll try to build a kit guitar.
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Mcilroy A30C, 2005
Yamaha FG-512, 1978
Larrivee LV-05E, 2005

Previously Owned:
Larrivee L-10 Special Edition, 2002
Larrivee Classical, 1977
Larrivee P-09
Larrivee OM-05 custom
Larrivee OM-03
Larrivee D-03R, 1997
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« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2005, 01:54:43 AM »

wow thats a seriously cool guitar in my opinion. id love to take a look at it in person...just to see what the deal is with that second soundhole. its so strange and different. are you sure its solid wood? in most cases that ive seen a ring like that on the inside edge of a soundhole its quite often a plywood top. although not everytime.
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didymus21
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« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2005, 02:42:17 AM »

wow thats a seriously cool guitar in my opinion. id love to take a look at it in person...just to see what the deal is with that second soundhole. its so strange and different. are you sure its solid wood? in most cases that ive seen a ring like that on the inside edge of a soundhole its quite often a plywood top. although not everytime.

FRETS, do you livein Oregon?

There is a litle discoloration on the part of wood that I could show you (the ring is mostly glued on).  If you follow the grain you can see it does appear to be solid throughout.  I could be wrong, but I've never seen a laminate that has grain all the way through lke that.  As you move to the right of that little soundhole you can see the discoloration start to fade.



Well....darn...the top is solid (almost positive) however, the back is not.  EEK!



Not all is lost though, it is a very small spot, and I made sure not to go through the veneer anywhere else.  Check the last picture of the back to see, in scale, where I rubbed off veneer.  It's on the opposite side of the cutaway...can't even see it. 

The sanding process went smoothly...though yes, very time-consuming.  I used an orbital sander. 







Overall...I am pleased with my progress thus far.  Unfortunately, there does appear to have been water damage to the guitar, mainly at the bottom.  I somewhat expected this because the guitar came to me with the binding "popped" off at the bottom.  Likely from the wood swelling?  Ayways.  Here's the back:



I am a little pleased with myself that I did not reveal veneer anywhere else on the back.  Phew.  It may take me awhile before I upload more pics...it's finals week after all, I should be studying.

There are still a few areas of "yellowing" on that back.  I'd sand them down more to expose cleaner wood, but now I am scared to go through veneer.  Anyone think it'd be worth it to try to sand lower to get rid of some of the yellowing?  Or should I leave it as is?

P.S.  I hope to cover with the remnants of water damage with a nice stain, think that's a pipe dream, or might that work?
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Mcilroy A30C, 2005
Yamaha FG-512, 1978
Larrivee LV-05E, 2005

Previously Owned:
Larrivee L-10 Special Edition, 2002
Larrivee Classical, 1977
Larrivee P-09
Larrivee OM-05 custom
Larrivee OM-03
Larrivee D-03R, 1997
didymus21
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« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2005, 03:04:12 AM »

Now I am toying with the idea of completely sanding off the back veneer, and putting on my own veneer.  Is this possible?  Is this something I should even attempt? 


Here's the top all sanded (Pickguard came off easily)...still haven't studied for any exams.  Appears to be a three-piece top.  Sorta odd.  Some areas have very nice, tight grain, others have tight grain the develops into very wide grain.  Any suggestions what I should do now?  Stain it.....Paint it?  WHAT SHOULD I DO?  (I'll sand the rest tomorrow)











The  black specs are where the old pickguard had been nailed into the top.

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Mcilroy A30C, 2005
Yamaha FG-512, 1978
Larrivee LV-05E, 2005

Previously Owned:
Larrivee L-10 Special Edition, 2002
Larrivee Classical, 1977
Larrivee P-09
Larrivee OM-05 custom
Larrivee OM-03
Larrivee D-03R, 1997
Calvin
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« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2005, 09:10:00 AM »

If it's just veneer, then why dont you sand everything off so you can thin it a bit more, and put on like flamed or quilted maple veneer (you can probably get back and sides for like 10 bucks).  Then you have a NICE LOOKING guitar too.
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« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2005, 09:11:29 AM »

Oooops you just said that you wanted to sand it off. lol. My head is not working hahaha.

Yes you can definitely do that.  And I think it would be a good idea too.
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