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Nice Wood! Ewww... Crappy Guitar. (i Don't Care!)


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Okay.

I've had my first go in the solidbody forum and have gotten some good advice. However, my grandmother used to tell me "why ruin a perfectly acceptable guitar when you could ruin TWO at the same time?"

So although I haven't bought, borrowed or stolen the tools etc that I'll need to mod my Ibanez RG, I'm going to go ahead and ask a question I haven't found on the forum reguarding ACOUSTIC guitars (though I only went back about a year and a half, admittedly)

::does a quick search for "top"::

Nope, less than 4-letters

::tries LAMINATE top::

Nuh-uh, nothing matching what I'm wondering.

Alright then, here we go!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

((Let me state before I begin that my guess is this will be a no-go... just seems too easy and one would think you'd hear a lot more about it were it feasible but it never hurts to ask!))

Since I've yammered on, let me slap out the basics to start with.

~Galveston Acoustic-Electric 6 string with lower cutaway

~$130 USD in 1997

~bought as a way to "expand beyond the bass"

~became primary instrument, owner went from metal bassist to folk guitarist in 6 months

~replaced with Gretch historic in 2004

Now, "Gally" is not a nice guitar by any stretch of the imagination but what she IS, without a doubt is a trooper. She has always stayed in tune, taken her share of abuse, performed on several albums, many shows and around more campfires than I care to figure. She's a slimline, so doesn't offer much low-end or volume but I love her dearly for introducing me to a whole other musical realm and staying with me as I wandered down that new path. Her action is astonishingly good, her frets fast and true and, having since played a number of other Galvestons that I've run into since finding her (the first of her brand I'd ever even HEARD of) I can honestly say that she is one of those "happy accidents" that rolls off a low-end assembly line from time to time. She has consistently out-performed all other members of her family and I'm proud to call her my first.

My wife said a few months ago "why do you need TWO acoustic guitars? You never play that other one anymore." :D After shaking off the initial slap, I told her that to begin with, Gally was my first real guitar and I wrote a lot of songs on her so she was special and secondly that she was a lower-end instrument that I bought for less than 150 bucks new which meant that she would have practically no resale value anyway... she was only valuable to me. Finally, I pointed out, it's always a good idea to have an emergency backup at a show. "Well," my wife said, "I still don't see the point in having two guitars. I think you should just sell that other one to a kid or something."

:D

...So I divorced her.

B)

Okay, I know. "too much information, dude... get to the point!"

Well then, fine, Mr. Fussy-britches.

I'll never get rid of my first guitar no matter what happens to her. But I don't have to leave her in the dark. I figured on upgrading all of Gally's hardware with high-quality replacements (including a hand-carved bridge I'll be making myself) and giving her a whole new finish so she not only sounds and plays better, but looks better too. A run-in with a pub table flaked off a chunk of veneer on her headstock, so I was planning on peeling the rest of it off and applying a new veneer.

All fine and dandy, but that got me to thinking:

FINALLY THE QUESTION!!!

"Is there any reason why one couldn't (or shouldn't) apply a veneer to the top of an acoustic? I've seen it done on solidbodies before... would it deaden the sound even on a lower-end piece that doesn't really sound THAT good anyway? Is there any chance that in that sort of instance it might actually IMPROVE the sound somehow?

Gally's top is in fine shape, it's just very bland and VERY thin. I thought that if it were possible, a veneer would not only make her sparkle but give her a little added strength as well. I doubt I have the skill (and know I don't have the tools) to remove and replace the whole top, but I do have what it takes to glue a flat piece of wood to another flat piece of wood and trim off the excess.

Am I a n00b, an idiot and way too fond of my little "junker" for wanting to do this? Can it be done? SHOULD it be done? ( shouldn't it be done?)

Gally eagerly awaits your opinions!

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FINALLY THE QUESTION!!!

"Is there any reason why one couldn't (or shouldn't) apply a veneer to the top of an acoustic? I've seen it done on solidbodies before... would it deaden the sound even on a lower-end piece that doesn't really sound THAT good anyway? Is there any chance that in that sort of instance it might actually IMPROVE the sound somehow?

Gally's top is in fine shape, it's just very bland and VERY thin. I thought that if it were possible, a veneer would not only make her sparkle but give her a little added strength as well. I doubt I have the skill (and know I don't have the tools) to remove and replace the whole top, but I do have what it takes to glue a flat piece of wood to another flat piece of wood and trim off the excess.

Am I a n00b, an idiot and way too fond of my little "junker" for wanting to do this? Can it be done? SHOULD it be done? ( shouldn't it be done?)

Gally eagerly awaits your opinions!

If the guitar has that much sentimental value leave it alone. If it plays well you are in good shape. If you change the bridge it may lose it's asset of playing well, unless you really know what you are doing. Veneering the back will probably do very little to the sound if you are swapping veneer for veneer. However you run the risk of not "getting it done" and being worse off than when you started. Adding a veneer to the top is going to dampen the soundboard, not improve it. Done improperly it may damage the soundboard.

I would recommend you pick up a "fixer" acoustic to play with. You can pick up fixers for less than $25-$50 (sub-$500 original retail). Play with repairing a fixer to get a feel for working repairs (losing a fixer is not a huge risk, and if you do a good job you can re-coup your money while practicing),

Peace,Rich

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If the guitar has that much sentimental value leave it alone. If it plays well you are in good shape. If you change the bridge it may lose it's asset of playing well, unless you really know what you are doing. Veneering the back will probably do very little to the sound if you are swapping veneer for veneer. However you run the risk of not "getting it done" and being worse off than when you started. Adding a veneer to the top is going to dampen the soundboard, not improve it. Done improperly it may damage the soundboard.

I would recommend you pick up a "fixer" acoustic to play with. You can pick up fixers for less than $25-$50 (sub-$500 original retail). Play with repairing a fixer to get a feel for working repairs (losing a fixer is not a huge risk, and if you do a good job you can re-coup your money while practicing),

Peace,Rich

That's about what I figured, concerning a veneer top, thanks for the info, Rich.

I'll still be going ahead with the other repairs/modding though. The harsh fact of the matter is that she plays really well but doesn't SOUND good enough to even be a backup for me at this point. The guitars I'm looking at now would put my GRETCH into the "backup" category. A lot of good will come out of replacing the nut and saddle, bridgepins and the like, all of which are pretty low-grade plastic. The bridge itself is in a pretty sad state of repair I think, being made of what appears to be a really soft type of rosewood, so definitely requires replacement. Though she does have sentimental value, when it boils down to it, she IS one of those flea-market (car boot sale) specials. The best I'm hoping for is to turn her into a traveler for camping. At worst, even if she never plays again, I'll still keep her cause she's not playing now anyway.

Thank you for the advice, I'll be sure to study up on Bridges till my eyes cross!

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That lightweight looking Rosewood Bridge may be a very good thing. Lighter bridges are a plus to producing more from your soundboard. You are on the right track though with replacing plastic with a material that will be a bit stiffer. You want to grab as much string energy as possible, and reducing losses in the coupling(saddle/pins) helps.

Peace,Rich

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