Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

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Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

Postby LesFromChicago » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:03 am

I have a Harptone jumbo acoustic guitar, flat top, round hole, arched back, that is supposedly worth over $1000 US dollars. I got it at a pawn shop for about $275 or $300 in the mid 1970s.

I want to attach a strap post thing on the back of the neck like most electric guitars have, instead of having to have the strap attached at the head stock.
Would a mod like that reduce the guitar's value?

I would certainly try to match the strap thing that is at the bottom of the guitar, or failing that, get a matching set and replace the bottom one.

To me it is stupid to have the top end of the strap way up at the head stock, so I want it in the more sensible location behind the neck like an electric guitar.

I suppose I should go and do it regardless how it affects the guitar's dollar value, because I intend to keep and use this guitar, not sell it,
but who knows when anyone will need to liquidate cherished possessions?

Any opinions on this? Thanks.
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Re: Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

Postby allanlummox » Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:18 am

Playability!

Put the strap button where you want it. Make the guitar as much fun to play as you can. Play it until it needs a fretjob. Play it some more!
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Re: Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

Postby ricochet » Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:57 am

I don't have any problem with tying straps to headstocks. And it's the way it was done when that guitar was young. But I don't think carefully mounting a strap button to the heel will ruin your guitar.
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Re: Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

Postby goldbrick » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:20 pm

Tie it to the headstock--it was good enuff for Jimmy Reed 8)
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Re: Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

Postby jeffl » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:42 pm

The value of vintage stuff is droppin' like a rock in this economy. Set it up to play it...I agree. I don't think vintage stuff is gonna come back any time soon, unless you got something that is extremely rare and worth scary big bucks.
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Re: Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

Postby birddog » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:27 pm

Hey Les
I'm planning on doing the same thing on one I have.
I was considering installing on the heel of the neck as well as it would be the easiest.
That was until I read this.
http://www.stewmac.com/tradesecrets/pro ... rapbuttons

Wally
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Re: Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

Postby LesFromChicago » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:53 pm

Thanks to all for your replies. :wink:

I might just use a cup hook like I have on my Kay archtop, that would entail a much smaller hole than a standard strap post and be easy to remove the hook and hide the hole if ever I need to sell the guitar.
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Re: Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

Postby jaybee » Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:19 am

birddog wrote:Hey Les
I'm planning on doing the same thing on one I have.
I was considering installing on the heel of the neck as well as it would be the easiest.
That was until I read this.
http://www.stewmac.com/tradesecrets/pro ... rapbuttons

Wally


that's a great link, thx!!
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Re: Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

Postby allanlummox » Sat Feb 14, 2009 2:52 pm

Great article!

Years ago I had a 1972 Martin D-18 and I went through the whole "strap button or headstock" argument then...I put it on the bottom of the heel, right where Erlewine says most of his customers put it.

Sold that guitar LONG ago...the strap button wasn't an issue.


My old Gibson acoustic, on the other hand, I never put a button on - I generally play Acoustic guitar seated, and I've found that an acoustic guitar has a better tone if it's NOT right up against me...so that the back of the guitar can move as well as the top.
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Re: Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

Postby ricochet » Sat Feb 14, 2009 6:38 pm

Letting the guitar back vibrate freely really opens up the sound!
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Re: Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

Postby Sheb Whitebred » Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:18 am

Standing up to play an acoustic guitar is just dorky. I do want to figure out some sort of strap peg for my tricone, though. Not because I'm going to stand up and play it, but to stabilize it a little more when playing seated.
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Re: Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

Postby LesFromChicago » Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:43 pm

Sheb Whitebred wrote:Standing up to play an acoustic guitar is just dorky. ....


Maybe you're right, but maybe I am feeling a bacllash reaction to my aging, Seems like my mentors of the 1970s like Homesick James and Floyd Jones they were always playing sitting down, that was with electric gutars on numbers of all tempos, and I associated the sitting down with being old, heck, even the used-to-be jump-around-the stage Howling Wolf was performing from a chair by the middle 1970s. so now that I am getting old, now I want to play standing up so I don't feel like an old man. That IS dorky, I guess :lol: But on the other hand, I might be playing somewheres sometimes where there is nothing good to sit on.
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Re: Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

Postby Sheb Whitebred » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:24 pm

Hey, Les

I'm no spring chicken myself. But standing up to play an ACOUSTIC guitar just reeks of 1960's body odor ridden hippy/folk/protest singer. Besides, it's hard to really play an acoustic standing up.

I wouldn't let the urge to feel youthful overcome the desire to play well. If you want to play your electric standing up, I'll give you a pass on that. Plenty of greybeards play electric standing up, and it's not dorky.

I recall seeing Frank Zappa many years ago and he spent most of the concert playing seated. At the time, I thought it was really un-rocknrollish. Lately, I've been playing electric sitting down most of the time. I find it a lot easier to focus on what I'm doing.

I hope you haven't drilled a hole on that acoustic yet.

-Sheb
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Re: Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

Postby LesFromChicago » Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:34 pm

Sheb Whitebred wrote:Hey, Les

I'm no spring chicken myself. But standing up to play an ACOUSTIC guitar just reeks of 1960's body odor ridden hippy/folk/protest singer. Besides, it's hard to really play an acoustic standing up.

I wouldn't let the urge to feel youthful overcome the desire to play well. If you want to play your electric standing up, I'll give you a pass on that. Plenty of greybeards play electric standing up, and it's not dorky.

I recall seeing Frank Zappa many years ago and he spent most of the concert playing seated. At the time, I thought it was really un-rocknrollish. Lately, I've been playing electric sitting down most of the time. I find it a lot easier to focus on what I'm doing.

I hope you haven't drilled a hole on that acoustic yet.

-Sheb



Sheb I disagree about the execution being better when seated, perhaps I am just not all that good anyhow for standing up to matter much :wink:
BUT I must admit that I prefer to play sitting down, especially with an electric that seemingly weighs half what I weigh.
When I was younger and stronger I could play a big old heavy 12 string standing up with no strap for 45 minutes non-stop.
Maybe that's why I had a painful left wrist off and on for years (glad that has cleared up). But this Harptne weighs next to nothing.
So the question remains, do I want to be Pete Seeger or Andres Segovia?
I got this one new song where I just have this peculiar desire to play and sing it standing up, and my archtops (when unplugged) do not deliver the fullness of bass lines like the round-hole Harptone does and which this song needs.
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Re: Modifying Vintage Gear - wisdom or folly?

Postby titaniumslide » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:15 pm

Les,
Get one of those straps that Willie Nelson uses. You won't be drilling holes.
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