A Couple of Freebies

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A Couple of Freebies

Postby Lo-Fi » Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:08 am

Been a good couple of weeks for snagging some free instruments. Started off with a fiddle and then today a couple of guitars. While I was able to get the fiddle in playing condition pretty easily the geetars will require some work (if not they would not have been free).

First - a late 1920s or so Regal. All birch. Got a few big old cracks to fix. Since most of the bracing has fallen out, I may try and go with an X brace. I have played these before and they tend to be really good sounding guitars.

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Next - this one is a mystery. All mahogany. It is a lap guitar but I do not have a clue who made it. It possibly was made for a certain store. It is mostly all there but the top is collapsing. Not sure how to fix that so will have to do some studying on it.

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It will take some work but I enjoy this stuff so what the heck. I really do not need any more guitars so if I can get them playable and end up not being out a ton of cash I might just find some good homes for these and call it a day.
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Re: A Couple of Freebies

Postby s1120 » Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:33 am

Very cool!! I love a good project like that!!!

Im always on the look out, but you realy just need to kinda fall into those deals... they only come when you are not looking. :D
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Re: A Couple of Freebies

Postby gaucho » Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:39 pm

I love little vintage parlor guitars. Especially when you can score the cheap (or free!). I got this one for 15 bux and fixed it up and put a homemade piezo tab pick up in it. It's a great sounding little slider, both unplugged and and thru my little busking amp. It's very satisfying to play something you saved from the landfill! It's the one on the left....
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Re: A Couple of Freebies

Postby Lo-Fi » Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:24 pm

Yeah, these will be a good winter project. Things is with me since I am in no way a professional repair guy, the results are hit or miss. And these really need alot of work. I am hoping only to get them in playable condition which means the cosmetics may not be the best. I would never attempt these kinds of repairs on any guitar that was really rare or worth any kind of money. Not sure if I posted this before but here what I ended up after my last project.

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It ain't real purty but for about $100 spent and a whole lot of time this thing now plays as good as any factory fresh geetar.

And the feeling you get when you bring a guitar back from the dead is something else.
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Re: A Couple of Freebies

Postby ricbleu » Sun Sep 04, 2011 2:41 am

Yeah, right on, Lo Fi. It's a really good feeling, especially when there's so much destruction going on all around us. Those look like very interesting little axes. Pity they can't whisper their history as you work on them. I saved a lovely bowl backed mandolin a couple of years ago. All the top braces had come unglued but were unbroken and I got them all back in place and glued up tight working through the soundhole as big as a duck's egg. I dropped in a little LED light thingy and worked with an inspection mirror. Man I have a lot of respect for dentists now. Also I got a couple of early Chinese guitars by Kapok. One of them I got right back and the other one I took the fretboard off and replaced it with a fretless board and strung her with three nylon strings and three flatwound steel. Works well and sounds....interesting. Keep it going, brother. Peace :D
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Re: A Couple of Freebies

Postby Lo-Fi » Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:36 pm

I have started working on the Regal. Looking at it, I might be able to do the work through the soundhole (I hate removing backs as lining them back up with the sides can be a royal pain in the buttocks). I am thinking I am going to keep it simple. Repair and cleat the cracks and copy the ladder bracing found in a ca. 1930 Stella.
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Re: A Couple of Freebies

Postby zhyla » Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:41 am

Man, clamping an X-brace in there is going to be a complete nightmare. Not to mention the fitting of the braces. Unless you're pulling the back I would stick with simple ladder braces.
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Re: A Couple of Freebies

Postby Lo-Fi » Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:37 pm

zhyla wrote:Man, clamping an X-brace in there is going to be a complete nightmare. Not to mention the fitting of the braces. Unless you're pulling the back I would stick with simple ladder braces.


Ain't that the truth Brother. Getting a back re-aligned properly is a flippin' nightmare. I quickly gave up on the X brace idea and as I said, now plan to copy the ladder bracing used in Stellas although I will probably go ahead and taper the sides just a bit so the braces are thicker in the middle. Like some of the Stellas, the Regal has a "bridge plate" that runs the entire width of the body. Not the best thing for sound but I am planning on leaving it for the time being. I will also add a brace down at the butt end. I hope to get started shaping the braces this weekend. Depends on how it plays out.

One of the strangest things about the Regal is the saddle - it is just an incredibly thin piece of metal. I am going to leave it for now just to see what the heck the guitar sounds like with it but will go ahead an order a bone saddle blank just in case as I need to get a nut for the guitar anyway. Unfortunately only one of those funky wood bridge pins that came with the guitar has survived.
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