Monday, May 6, 2019

Maton EBG 808 TE acoustic guitar restoration.

This Maton acoustic guitar was brought to me for repair.
According to the owner it had suffered from freezing in Canada (-45C) to cooking in the back seat of a car (+45C) the kind of temperature extremes only a guitar made from carbon fibre could endure.

The result? Split sound board in lower bout, bridge coming off, split in lower bout rib to back block, the finger board was coming off near the nut and the neck had a severe "S" bend along its length.
 There was an excessive belly on the sound board, a result of the split in the lower bout.
This guitar was not able to be correctly set up to make it player friendly.

I had a difficult time after reassembly of this guitar with the Maton AP Piezo pick up system.
I had made no change whatsoever to the pick up or any of its components. Despite this the system hummed dreadfully when plugged in to an amplifier, something it did not do before I worked on it.

It took three attempts before I finally found the problem and solved it. All the components in the piezo, of which there are many, were slightly oxidised. I polished all the mating surfaces and re set all the 6 caps on the through bridge, porcelain transmission rods before the hum was finally stopped. I'm sure that the impedance was cumulatively increased by dirty, oxidised contacts.

The Maton as delivered to me. You can see the through bridge, aluminium transmission caps
quite clearly in the saddle slot. These were oxidised and hollow so contact with the metal under saddle
strip was poor

The bridge was lifting off the sound board.

Here you can see the fingerboard separated from the neck.

This view reveals the S bend in the neck.

I stripped the old finish off the entire guitar with a cabinet scraper.
Sound board split repair featuring my home made Stew Mac type cleat clamp.

Finger board removal revealed a mess at the end of the truss rod. The steel anchor block was proud of the surface and when tension was put on the truss rod the steel anchor block rose up out of its slot prising off the finger board.
This guitar had been returned to the Maton factory for a replacement truss rod after the original one broke.
Did they ask the janitor to fit the new one?

Here I've begun to level the end of the neck having first ground down the steel truss rod anchor block.

The whole area is now flat and fair. Next I filled the cavity with epoxy filler to lock down the steel anchor block.

Finger board, maple veneer packing wedge glued into place.

The Maton stripped and masked with faired neck ready for lacquer.

The guitar soon after an application of Mirotone Lacquer.

The guitar soon after an application of Mirotone Lacquer.

The guitar soon after an application of Mirotone Lacquer.

The guitar soon after an application of Mirotone Lacquer.

Finger board being glued back on to the neck.

Finger board being glued back on to the neck. Note the bicycle inner tube clamp and the radiused
caul clamping block.

Re fret underway

the new frets in place with stretched bicycle inner tube wrapped tightly around the neck whilst the glue dries.

The finished guitar before strings were fitted. It is now back with the owner who is very happy with the result.
The tone is exceptional, the result of the removal of a disproportionately heavy application of lacquer and a new ebony saddle.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Guild F30 Jumbo Blues Guitar 1973

This Guitar was brought to me by a musician friend. 
This Guild F30 has been flooded, dropped, burnt and stood on.
The damage was significant. The twice broken peg head had been repaired by an amateur with marine epoxy glue. Correct alignment had not been achieved and the truss rod  slot and adjuster nut were completely encased in epoxy resin. The faux tortoise shell pick guard has shrunk and stress cracked the sound board. The bridge was partially detached and there were several stress cracks around the rib and bottom of the guitar.
This is how the guitar came to me.
Note epoxy resin, blistered finish and faded logo

I begin to reattach the broken peg head.

I drilled 2 diagonal holes into the first two machine head holes right across the repaired break, in toward the nut slot in the neck

I routed a 5 mm trough in the back of the neck repair and inserted a 5 mm carbon rod I also inserted two  more 5 mm carbon rods into the diagonal holes, all bedded in neat epoxy resin.

I cut a piece of mahogany veneer to match the peg head and laminated it on to the face to conceal the damage.

Restored peg head prior to finishing. Note that all the epoxy from the previous repair has been removed with a dremel tool.

Another view of the repair.

Peg head stained to match the body of the guitar, GUILD logo hand painted on and clear finished.

A rear view of the repair.

Guitar now ready to reattach the bridge.

Re strung, neck relief adjusted, new truss rod cover, all in all a very playable guitar brought back from disaster.
I refinished the repaired body with french polish which binds well with NC lacquer and is reversible should someone want to do another restoration in the future.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

It's Mandolin season.

Here's a Neopolitan Bowl back mandolin which came in for repairs.

Its condition was reasonable for its age. The case was in a bad state.

The mandolin had lost its original bridge saddle. In its place someone had made a crude replacement which lifted the string action above a playable height.

The bowl back was split in several places but overall it was sound.

The frets had worn unevenly and needed levelling and crowning.

I repaired the cracks in the bowl and refinished the surface, removed the machine head tuners, re polished the head and neck, levelled and crowned the frets and fabricated a new bridge saddle.

String height and intonation are now as good as it gets.

The case was restitched. I sewed a new leather handle and new lid fastening toggles. I located some fresh red felt and patched up the interior. Lastly I refinished and waxed the exterior of the case. It still shows its age but is now intact and will continue to protect its contents for a further 100 years with good care.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

An old Neopolitan Mandolin comes in for repair.

I found that the neck joint had failed, the frets were worn, the saddle height and
intonation were going to need adjustment after the neck joint re set, the finish
was scratched and the strings needed replacing.

Buckled tail piece.

Failed neck joint

The dirt of ages.

Stripped and ready for repair.

Neck removed using a hot clothing iron and spatula.

Neck joint block is Poplar, not a particularly strong timber for this application.
The wood grain failed rather than the glue joint.

Next remove all traces of hide glue.

Mask and ready for glue.

Clamp joint in 2 dimensions.

While I was at It I decided to restore the case as well.
When I received it the mandolin fell out of the separation between base and the sides of its
original cardboard case, I removed the hard ware and re glued the separated parts and re papered
the exterior with Black Japanese paper and replaced the green felt lining.

Frets levelled, crowned and polished, intonation, string height, all spot on.
Re activated the shellac finish. What a surprising volume and tone this little  mandolin reveals!

One happy customer!

I coated the case with epoxy varnish to protect the paper finish. Looks like new again.