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View Full Version : Need help with this 35 years old guitar



Paisa
11-16-2009, 02:59 AM
Hello all. Sorry to post this here but it's the only luthiers forum.. and I need something to do while I wait for my Uke to come in :P

Anyway, this was my dad's guitar. It was handmade by a luthier in 1974 (so it says the label inside it) and hasnt been played in a long while. I use to play some songs on it every now and then but I never really bothered in chaging the strings really since I play the electric guitar mostly.

But I'd like to restore it the best I can now so I need some help. I took some pics and this is what I'm mostly concerned about:

1. Can you tell the kind of wood by looking at the pics? I have no idea about woods, or if it's solid top or laminated, etc. Need help here.

2. Tuner pegs look old (pic), screws are in bad shape so it goes out of tune easily. I was thinking of polishing the pegs so they look nice and changing the screws (not the pegs). Would this help at all anyway?

3. Scratches. Can I make them disappear? They are all over the guitar. Although it gives some character to it, the ones on the top of the guitar look bad.. like the result of a frustating moment :P

4. If you spot anything else, let me know :P

http://img689.imageshack.us/img689/9508/s7301751.jpg
http://img689.imageshack.us/img689/7672/s7301752.jpg
http://img689.imageshack.us/img689/6181/s7301753.jpg
http://img689.imageshack.us/img689/7558/s7301755.jpg

Paisa
11-16-2009, 02:59 AM
Last pic. Sorry for double post.

http://img260.imageshack.us/img260/5176/s7301754.jpg

dave g
11-16-2009, 04:20 AM
The top looks like spruce. The rest of it, hard to say as it is stained... Worm gear tuners are incapable of "slipping" - change the strings and it ought to stay in tune. While you have the strings off clean it up real good and it will look a lot better.

Paisa
11-16-2009, 04:29 AM
The top looks like spruce. The rest of it, hard to say as it is stained... Worm gear tuners are incapable of "slipping" - change the strings and it ought to stay in tune. While you have the strings off clean it up real good and it will look a lot better.

Ok thanks. Is spruce a good wood? Hard or whatever? And how can I know if it's a solid top or laminated? Is it a matter of how thick it is?

DaveVisi
11-16-2009, 04:38 AM
Can we get a look at the label tool? This looks like a beautiful instrument. I'd like to learn more about it too.

Yes, the tuners can slip but it's rare. The barrels that are attached to the gear could have worked their way loose over the years. Only a full disassembly and inspection could tell for sure.

Refinishing might just destroy some of the "character" and tone of this guitar. Unless it's totally unplayable I'd leave it alone, at least until a professional restorer can look at it.

Judging from the quality of tuners and carving on the headstock, this is probably solid wood. Spruce is a soft wood, not as soft as Cedar and is an excellent top wood. Laminated wood is a fancy term for plywood. The thickness is still the same, but you can usually see the layers and grain differences by looking at the raw edges around the soundhole.

Paisa
11-16-2009, 05:18 AM
Then it seems to be solid. It definitely doesnt look like plywood.

And yeah, as bad as I might describe it, it still sounds great. It has a warm sound despite the age of the strings (the top 3 are even oxidated).

And of course I'll take a pic of the label for you if you meant that by label tool?. Keep in mind I'm from S America so this is not made by any known luthier :P

http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/2910/dsc00176pb.jpg

The label says Fine Guitars, Guitar N° 1020, year 1974. Also the name of the luthier. Not much.

I was thinking of taking the tuners out to polish them with some metal cleaning product. That way I could replace the screws too. But I dont know how many little parts they might have.. or is it just the pegs and the metal thing between the wood and the pegs? That sounds easy enough..

RevWill
11-16-2009, 05:31 AM
Take a look at the edges of the soundhole.

http://www.musicfolk.com/images/Features/SoundholeGrain.jpg
Grain running vertically in places like that indicate a solid top.

http://www.musicfolk.com/images/Features/SoundholeLam.jpg
Horizontal lines (especially parallel lines) indicate a laminate top.

DaveVisi
11-16-2009, 06:28 AM
The barrels (pegs) are held by the screw that you see that runs through the gear. Removing the tuner set from the guitar shouldn't hurt anything, and you can see if the barrels are wobbling or if the screws into the barrels are stripped (causing slippage). Unscrewing that screw should release the barrel and unless they're crimped into place the worm gear and knob should come loose from the bracket.

Not knowing what the knobs are made of, I'd be careful polishing them up. If they're nitrocellulose plastic, they deteriorate with age and could crumble if messed with.

If the screws holding the tuners into the headstock are loose, a toothpick in the hole might be enough to tighten it up.

I prefer the vintage look myself, so other than removing the obvious grime, I wouldn't worry about shining up the metal parts.

itsme
11-16-2009, 09:18 AM
That's a fine looking classical guitar. :)

While spruce does tend to darken with age, given the orangish hue, there's a chance it may be cedar. Also, given the age (pre-CITES), the back/sides may be Brazilian rosewood. Most Indian rosewood I've seen tends to be darker and have a tighter grain.

Before messing with the tuners, I'd try new strings. The ones on it now may be just too worn out to stay in tune. D'Addario Pro-Arte EJ45 normal tension would be a good choice.

If there are no cracks in the wood, I wouldn't worry about the dings and scratches for now. At some point, you might opt to have the guitar completely refinished.

Paisa
11-16-2009, 10:18 AM
Yeah. I dont think there's anything wrong with the wood that makes it sound bad. Actually like I said, with the horrible strings it does have a warm sound and all :)

About the pegs, I meant cleaning the metal parts on them. Not the white parts (I dont know what's the material but I guess it's plastic?). The bridge looks good as well. I was wondering if I can put some oil on the tuning pegs? They look too dry? And also replace the screws that attach the pegs to the wood through the metal thing. Sorry I'm spanish I dont know many terms :S

Steiner
11-16-2009, 02:13 PM
I love how UU.com is in the background of your pics

Philstix
11-17-2009, 01:46 PM
I've done repair work on many guitars. Yes you can and should oil the worm gears. Use a very small drop of machine oil. Don't put so much on that it drips onto the wood. In what way are the screws bad? If they don't grip the wood the toothpick solution will probably work. I would put small drop of carpenters glue in with the toothpick end. Can't tell from pictures what woods are used. To find out if the top is solid or laminated look at the grain lines on the top and then look at them inside with a mirror. If the lines match up it is solid. Repairing a finish is very difficult. Chances are it would look worse when you were done. There are ways to minimize the scratch problem but I wouldn't advise trying them for the first time on a guitar you care about. Take that to a local luthier who does repairs if you really want something done. I hope some of this is helpful.

Paisa
11-17-2009, 02:30 PM
I've done repair work on many guitars. Yes you can and should oil the worm gears. Use a very small drop of machine oil. Don't put so much on that it drips onto the wood. In what way are the screws bad? If they don't grip the wood the toothpick solution will probably work. I would put small drop of carpenters glue in with the toothpick end. Can't tell from pictures what woods are used. To find out if the top is solid or laminated look at the grain lines on the top and then look at them inside with a mirror. If the lines match up it is solid. Repairing a finish is very difficult. Chances are it would look worse when you were done. There are ways to minimize the scratch problem but I wouldn't advise trying them for the first time on a guitar you care about. Take that to a local luthier who does repairs if you really want something done. I hope some of this is helpful.

Hey thanks. Actually the screws arent so bad. I bought a set of strings today. I couldnt figure how to remove the pegs but I could clean most of the metal parts there without removing anything (just the strings). The screws are brown on the head, but the inside is still as new so I didnt change them. I just adjusted them.

I put machine oil on the pegs. They are still hard to move (some more than others), but they stay in tune so I cant complain I guess.. I also put some wood oil on the fretboard and all over the guitar. Overall, it still looks pretty much the same since the only major change are the new shiny strings :P The scratches are still there and I dont think I'll remove them. I dont feel like sending it in to a luthier.. I dont want to spend a lot of money when it sounds great already.


I love how UU.com is in the background of your pics

It was right before I made the thread :P