Hey! Sorry for the extreme length of time between updates. We’ve been so busy in the shop lately that while I’ve done some work on this guitar, there hasn’t been time to write. I plan to remedy this now.
Having let the guitar soak up ambient moisture it’s easy to tell that the guitar seems somehow happier. The wood feels less brittle and actually sounds different when you tap on it. The process of humidifying the guitar even returned its smell!
First things first, I made sure to remove the pickguard and check internal braces. I wasn’t prepared for this, but in checking the braces two of them just came out with little pressure. There was barely any glue on them, so I made sure to mark their positions and set them aside.
In the spirit of improving tone an playabilty, a bridge replacement was in order. Let’s be honest: Gibson’s plastic bridge was a horrible idea. Why? For starters, it’s plastic. That’s not going to sound good. Also, it’s hollow and therefore is not good for vibrational transfer from the string to the top, not to mention that it’s mounted via 4 giant bolts screwed into the top. Unfortunately, this bridge was already so brittle that even the act of unscrewing it led to its utter demise. The pieces are saved and I may put it back together, but for now, baby, it’s gone.
The real goal that day was addressing a few of the larger cracks in the body, but while I would usually start by taping up the body to protect the finish from stray glue, this finish required some safer handling. I was sure tape would only lead to more problems and unsightly blemishes, so I used a small piece on the upper bout as a test. The flaky paint came right off, nixing any hope of the use of tape.
The actual gluing of the cracks went as smoothly as possible, with things evening out relatively well with minimal fuss. Sadly, with the finish as liberated as it is, there was no way to spread glue without losing some of the heavily crazed laquer. If you look at the repaired (and fully stable!) crack, you’ll see less finish present there. It’s a shame, but again, we’re going for playability and not looks on this one. Ultimately, I would recommend a refinish for this guitar.
In looking at the previous photo, I’m not certain one can easily see the difference between a crack and one that has been repaired. In any case, it’s solid now, and with the appropriate cleating this guitar should be ready for string tension within a week or two. Still, there’s much more work to be done including 2 more crack repairs and the fashioning of a new nut and saddle, as well as mounting the new rosewood bridge we picked up for it. Oh, and the braced. Can’t forget those.
I’m excited to see how all of this turns out!