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gpcustomguitars

Melodia Menges acoustic guitar repair/modification

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Hi! Another project that I was doing for me on and off for a while now, for my acoustic duo with my next door neighbor :) I bought this guitar on a flea market some years back, meaning to restore it as my dad had a Melodia once upon a time.

First I removed the completely cracked back and some failed gluing attempts and found some cracking on the sides:

44451861024_48d023a531_z.jpg12-IMG_20181007_140419 by Goran P, on Flickr

The whole thing is plywood, but seems to have been a reasonably nice instrument - I found some attempts to repair some of the cracked braces etc...some binding was cracked and missing...

I decided to use some really nice plywood I have left from another project for the back, as the whole guitar is already plywood:

30235534807_e97b8aee74_z.jpg06-IMG_20181006_145505 by Goran P, on Flickr

and salvaged a few braces I could

30235534147_8e0e5ba5a0_z.jpg07-IMG_20181006_145515 by Goran P, on Flickr

This i what was left:

46900208105_49dd6dc694_z.jpg01-IMG_20190422_184734 by Goran P, on Flickr

Decided that I have to thin the sides down a bit, because of some cracks I couldn't patch reliably:

46900208545_bdba5c4b02_z.jpg02-IMG_20190422_185527 by Goran P, on Flickr

32872769727_e15234a64a_z.jpg03-IMG_20190422_192214 by Goran P, on Flickr

Tailblock was really small, so I added some stock there, no additional contact with the top. Reused some of the original linings, there was no bridge plate so I made one.

32872769727_e15234a64a_z.jpg03-IMG_20190422_192214 by Goran P, on Flickr

46900208045_5a13a1ef97_z.jpg05-IMG_20190423_204141 by Goran P, on Flickr

Previous attempt of repair was done with some rock hard glue , so I had to build up some of the cracked braces, rather that shave them down and replace them.

46900208495_cc40883904_z.jpg07-IMG_20190424_223651 by Goran P, on Flickr

Also, had to make some new lining and braces -

47027025604_6ce6251cc5_z.jpg08-IMG_20190426_174156 by Goran P, on Flickr

46900208465_f8e8074459_z.jpg10-IMG_20190426_175002 by Goran P, on Flickr

I even had to build up 2 braces, as I couldn't remove them

32872769647_683d2a0597_z.jpg11-IMG_20190426_184524 by Goran P, on Flickr

47764330732_005acea394_z.jpg12-IMG_20190426_190842 by Goran P, on Flickr

and glued the 2 back halves together - yes, the back was completely flat originally, so I'm repeating that

46900207945_90a16ae3c0_z.jpg13-IMG_20190427_211052 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

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Original tuners, slightly out of their proper place

47027025484_03f994506e_z.jpg14-IMG_20190429_123843 by Goran P, on Flickr

Decided to make some predictable modifications:

46900207885_07fd0b2f4e_z.jpg16-IMG_20190429_124807 by Goran P, on Flickr

33939348188_41f66b0043_z.jpg17-IMG_20190429_131127 by Goran P, on Flickr

47027026034_50c0f61362_z.jpg18-IMG_20190429_133037 by Goran P, on Flickr

33939348088_506c4c6e45_z.jpg19-IMG_20190429_141723 by Goran P, on Flickr

Had to sand the neck clean and glue the heel, no pics but I drilled 2 small holes and injected some glue in the seam and clamped. Using some waterbased lacquer and Stew-Mac Tobacco Brown started painting on some flame on othervise really plain maple:

47027025914_36bbf4b509_z.jpg20-IMG_20190429_150636 by Goran P, on Flickr

Decided to get rid of the zero fret:

47764329722_745ea24aec_z.jpg21-IMG_20190429_151122 by Goran P, on Flickr

46900207805_20b80b94ea_z.jpg22-IMG_20190429_151235 by Goran P, on Flickr

47764329532_bf8439f24f_z.jpg23-IMG_20190429_183557 by Goran P, on Flickr

46900207705_82c5b530e2_z.jpg24-IMG_20190429_184443 by Goran P, on Flickr

while that was drying,

47027025234_0d689e50d3_z.jpg25-IMG_20190429_190141 by Goran P, on Flickr

46900208295_f4cd1dc9b3_z.jpg26-IMG_20190429_193104 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

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wow, I wouldn't have guessed something like that could be saved but I know nothing (them me stop me right there) about building acoustics.  will be watching with fascination!

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A slight mistake - One end of MOP was a bit thinner, and after sanding it looks a bit off

47764329452_70acf38df9_z.jpg27-IMG_20190429_201009 by Goran P, on Flickr

Decided to build up the color around the heel to hide the damage/repairs

33939347898_b0eae094dd_z.jpg28-IMG_20190429_201218 by Goran P, on Flickr

46900207625_a8bdd07c5e_z.jpg29-IMG_20190429_201248 by Goran P, on Flickr

Then, I wanted to re-position the tuners and needed some 6mm plugs

47027025144_40cb70dc95_z.jpg30-IMG_20190430_171906 by Goran P, on Flickr

47027025804_f8d1ccc6d4_z.jpg31-IMG_20190430_172039 by Goran P, on Flickr

Then pulled the frets and radiused originally flat fretboard to 12". The fretboard is a realy nice rosewood

46900207545_c73a3c10a2_z.jpg32-IMG_20190430_190612 by Goran P, on Flickr

47027025054_8414eacf09_z.jpg33-IMG_20190430_195355 by Goran P, on Flickr

Decided to put the back braces to their original positions

47764329112_d836002b53_z.jpg34-IMG_20190503_205931 by Goran P, on Flickr

and added a strip of mahogany veneer over the seam

47027024964_2b8840f471_z.jpg35-IMG_20190504_121418 by Goran P, on Flickr

the braces glued

47764328992_18f073274d_z.jpg36-IMG_20190504_121427 by Goran P, on Flickr

and shaped

47764328702_292dac63bb_z.jpg37-IMG_20190504_152143 by Goran P, on Flickr

next stop, fixing a missing chip on the top, found some matching grain

32872769797_b97fd894e4_z.jpg38-IMG_20190505_112638 by Goran P, on Flickr

47764328602_244d9e73f3_z.jpg39-IMG_20190505_113633 by Goran P, on Flickr

40850067483_a078ecaebd_z.jpg40-IMG_20190505_122124 by Goran P, on Flickr

Also in the pic, small bit of back binding reused, I'll try to fix the details later on

40850067113_c4553b18d6_z.jpg41-IMG_20190505_122258 by Goran P, on Flickr

and after some skipped photos (sorry)

47117070684_0c8124400a_z.jpg03-IMG_20190517_184034 by Goran P, on Flickr

46990373835_1c5e24abd9_z.jpg04-IMG_20190517_184047 by Goran P, on Flickr

color coats were brushed on thinly in about 8-10 coats, the burst is (badly) brushed on, and 3 clear coats were sprayed. Not in the pics, I also tried to even out the sides, we'll see how well that worked in the final photos. The headstock is sprayed flat black and clear coated, Ive built up the missing thickness of MOP with some coats of CA, which worked reasonably well, pics also to follow.

Frets are ready to go next, and Gibson-style tuners and a piezzo are on their way.

 

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Thanks mistermikev! I hope this will be a useful guitar, that I don't have to worry too much about getting scratched etc when we play on the porch :) For me, projects such as this are a good place to practice and develop skills without the fear connected with more valuable instruments. I'm doing repairs from time to time, and a hopeless project is sometimes really useful in the learning curve, even pro bono sometimes, just for the experience points :)

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I've been watching Jerry Rosa's channel on YouTube. He has several times told people asking "can it be fixed" and the answer is "yes it can, everything can be fixed". The real question is, is it worth fixing? And that is where plain monetary value isn't the only variable. Restoring a 100 year old quality instrument can apply to the price tag, fixing grandpa's beaten-up old guitar he used to accompany nursery rhymes is a sentimental thing where money doesn't count. Or Willie Nelson's Trigger...

1 hour ago, gpcustomguitars said:

projects such as this are a good place to practice and develop skills

That's a very valid reason to spend working hours and materials for restoring and fixing a basically trash bin instrument.

You seemed to do a very nice job with it!

Edited by Bizman62

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3 hours ago, gpcustomguitars said:

Thanks mistermikev! I hope this will be a useful guitar, that I don't have to worry too much about getting scratched etc when we play on the porch :) For me, projects such as this are a good place to practice and develop skills without the fear connected with more valuable instruments. I'm doing repairs from time to time, and a hopeless project is sometimes really useful in the learning curve, even pro bono sometimes, just for the experience points :)

right on.  Its funny but I've found that on the occasion where I've worked on a guitar that I didn't care about much (not to say you don't care about this one) or rather didn't have much to loose on... anything I do is effortless and just goes off without a hitch.  Much like the rest of life... once the pressures on it's so much harder to not screw up!  Like you I've found that scenario the best learning experience and/or confidence builder.  also it's more funner!

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There are some great skills on show here!  I love the grain matching and the use of a screw die to make your plugs.  Genius! :)

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Thanks a lot I was preparing to make a quick jig for dowels like before, piece of wood drilled with a clamp and a chisel, when I saw my box with dies :) Pure luck :)

Here's where it's at now - I'll make a bone nut and drill for gibson-style tuners I got in the mail. Still waiting on the piezzo...

47941668313_9aa47c9d59_z.jpg2-IMG_20190526_124327 by Goran P, on Flickr

47941648462_d68f575832_z.jpg3-IMG_20190526_124347 by Goran P, on Flickr

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On 5/27/2019 at 9:37 AM, gpcustomguitars said:

Thanks a lot I was preparing to make a quick jig for dowels like before, piece of wood drilled with a clamp and a chisel, when I saw my box with dies :) Pure luck :)

I read the update and it completely passed me by what you had done there. Genius!

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Thanks a lot!

I've since glued the nut and installed the tuners, have to make a bridge insert and string it up! I wanted to use one of the spares I have, but they are a little too thin and tall. I'll instead make one from scratch. Also, installed the piezzo, just a simple one that goes direct to the amp. I doubt it will get much use anyway, but could be nice to have it sometime.

I discovered that the fret leveling file shapes the bone really quickly, leaving a nice finish also. After some light sanding, it polished nicely with one of those 4-sided nail buffers, pics to follow.

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