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Posts posted by Southpa

  1. Thanks for the reply.  The hard part is finding an insurance company that will readily agree with an outsider's unbiased appraisal.  It would have to be "official" , on paper and I'll bet there would be some fees involved.   Another sticky point is assessing a value on something that has never been done before.  I have one tele project that sports a SOLID 1 piece HOLLY neck with an ebony skunk stripe.  I don't think anybody has ever done that before so how do you appraise that, and who is going to believe you?  I guess I could itemize all the parts and materials, but would have to submit receipts.  It can get pretty complicated. 

    A good analogy would be a friend of mine who bought an '89 GMC truck.  The bluebook value for said truck is currently around $800-$900.  But its loaded with about $54,000 worth of racing accessories, ie. blower, racing suspension / drivetrain etc. (the truck will do the 1/4 mile in less than 10 sec.) not the mention the $10,000 paint job.  But the auto insurers have a special category for modified vehicles.  I don't know if the same exists for guitars.

  2. Hi folks, been a while.  I have a few relatively new builds but I've stopped for the time being.  No more room! Not enough cases either!  I have about 40 gits and banjos now.  I managed to get a few out the door but they ain't moving fast enough.  Anyway, I was wondering what would happen if the house burnt down or if someone busted in and cleaned me out.  I used to spend about $300 a year for apartment insurance but I felt it wasn't quite enough coverage for my unique, custom-built guitars.  Who's to say how much these guitars are worth?  And how do I prove it to an insurance company?  I own a few factory built Gibsons, an old Hagstrom, a few Fenders and assorted others.  Its easy enough to get a bluebook value for those  but the ones I built are basically in limbo.  I can put a value on my builds, ie. cost of parts and materials, man-hours etc.  but that is not acceptable to an insurance company.  When I asked them about it they suggested bringing them into some guitar store and getting employee(s) to assess value.  I DID bring a few in but the guy was too busy, I actually talked to his partner previously on the phone but he did not communicate my wishes to him.  So he was too busy at the time, told me to email him a few pictures and he could give me a number from that..  Sorry, that is not good enough for me.  How do you guys protect your property if the need arises?  and how do you convince an insurer that your work is worth it?

  3. I can't see any real technique involved aside from sliding the block back and forth over the fret board.  So long as the fb is straight, pre-slotted and pre-inlaid, I can't see any issues.  Like sanding anything it should be done uniformly, ie. no excess rocking and rolling as well as using a contrasting guide coat ( eg white chalk on dark surface.  

    This is simply a 20" long X 3" wide segment of a cone with radius graduating from 10" to 16". 

  4. A buddy at work finally got around to making these for me.  Was about a year and a half before he could swing this little "rabbit" between company jobs (shhhh, nuff said :))   But it was well worth the wait.  The faces merge from 10" to 16" radius over a 20" length.  3" wide and the chambering was his idea to maintain ridgidity, ie. WILL NOT warp.  I made the handles out of 1/2", NC bolts, he was nice enough to drill and tap those holes, and cut up oak broom handle.  Gotta admit I work with some of the best talent in the country.  I was only looking for one but he offered to do two so...what the hey!  I can use one for coarse sanding and t'other for fine sanding.  I'm looking forward to making accurate "true" radius compound fretboards. 


  5. I could make you one if my main computer wasn't down, been procrastinating a bit too much and relying on my laptop. Anyway, I get the numbers from the Stewmac fret calculator and then draw the fb template by inputting the numbers in AutoCAD with nutwidth and endwidth. The rest is just making a printout in 1:1 scale on two separate sheets, overlap and tape them together. Then cut out w/ scissors and tape onto proposed fb wood. Then cut initial slots with my jeweller's saw, pull off paper, rub in chalk then slot the proper sized kerf for your frets. Can't get anymore exact when inputting numbers accurate to 1 thou. :)

  6. OK then, lets get back to basics. I've worked on a LOT of guitars and have learned quite a bit about truss rods and about a variety people's playing preferences. I've also worked on a lot of cheap guitars and I've vowed to NEVER do another repair job on a guitar that doesn't have an adjustable neck. I've actually taken a few apart, ie. pop the fretboard, pull the steel reinforcing rod and replace with a single action adjustable rod. I make them work but it definitely does not justify the time, money and effort in making a cheap guitar playable, good expereince tho. :)

    So why would you want to build a guitar that does not have an adjustable neck??!

    I'm not just talking about how long a guitar neck "might" remain static. I don't care if its got carbon fiber, steel or even diamond for stiffening, eventually the wood is going to move and cause internal stress and your neck is going to bend. ALSO, I've had some people want (even NEED) to have a different action. I got one friend who uses a bigass plastic thumpick on his guitars and hes constantly complaining about buzzing after I do a normal (to us) setup. So I'm constantly adjusting his relief ie. loosening his truss rod, so he can have more room for his strings to vibrate. A non-adjustable neck is useless to me.

  7. Not an original idea, do a little research on Hagstrom guitars. they came up with the "H" or "I" beam (depends on what angle you are looking at it) truss rod sandwiched between two neck halves and then capped with a fb. This allowed for using less wood as the truss rod "I" shape is more stable in comparison to the traditional round truss rod...ie. no twisting. Thats why they are called the "fastest necks ever made".



  8. HPIM2634.JPG

    Funny how you miss some things along the way. All those years I've been using my palm sander with that useless little dust bag that clogs up in 10 minutes . I didn't even realize, until today, that the dust bag attachment mates up with the nozzle on my shop vac. :rolleyes: Talk about brain fartz. ^_^

  9. I just picked up a "previously enjoyed" '74 Gibson SG. Got it for $400 and it definitely needed some work Those old buggers are DEFINITELY worth the trouble and expense to fix. It originally came with mini-humbuckers, someone hogged wood out of the bridge position for a full sized HB, looked like they might have done the job w/ a sharpened spoon. I had to make a custom "hybrid" pickguard and made a new truss rod cover. levelled, crowned and polished the frets and rewired with a 4-wire Dimarzio SD w/ a series/parallel switch. This is an awesome guitar and is now my number one. ANY older Gibson if you can get your hands on one. I originally thought the guitar was one of the original walnuts but after taking hardware off i saw the cherry stain, so its totally faded back to clear mahogany...cooooolll :D

  10. Ah well, ya can't get blood from a stone...sometimes. I saw the guy last week at work (he on daysshift, I work 4-12) and he was very apologetic and ashamed of himself. We have a few mutual friends/acquaintances that I got to put the squeeze on him. But I think it probably was a little reckless on his part to approach me with the project in the first place.

    The paint is a candy pearl metallic urethane. I made a new pickguard out of clear scuff resistant acrylite and sprayed the back with gunmetal metallic duplicolor. All the broken area was soaked thru with West Systems epoxy (great stuff). If its going the break again it will be the surrounding wood. There was a crack runing along the front that wouldn't quite close so I laid down some light grey pinstriping and then sealed it up with urethane clear. I didn't do much with the neck, just cleaned it up and polished the frets and more epoxy in the heel crack. I'm glad I didn''t install one of my good high output DiMarzios (like I said I would:), just a regular HB and the neck HB came with the guitar. Its been so many guitars ago that I forgot if I supplied the TOM and stop tailpiece, one or the other, I forget.

    Next time I see him I'll just ask for the guitar, try to sell it and take my 250.

  11. Just going through what I've started and left unfinished. "Loose threads" as it were. So here is some closure for this particualr thread. The guy picked up the guitar way back in June and said, "Sorry, I don't have any money! The wife is spending it all!" I should not have let him take possession. I've talked to him twice since then, he has 4 kids and has split with his wife. Its a good thing I don't really need the money (only $250) and I DO feel like a bit of a sucker because I actually dropped 70 bucks on a case for the guitar. If this wasn't just a hobby I would have taken the usual precautions and got some money up front. You will always meet a few deadbeats along the way and sometimes circumstances will take you where you do not want to go, sh*t happens, kinda stinks too!

    heres the guitar:


    ... I hope he enjoys it.

  12. Every time I finish a project and show some pics to my Dad he says, "Why aren't you selling them??!" I smile, knowing that there are probably 14 guitars for every human on this earth already made. :)

    Make money FOR guitar building? Stay in school, work hard, study hard and get a steady well-paying job.

    Make money BY guitar building? Maybe later, you need to cut your teeth on getting LOTS of experience. I fix a lot of junk for next to nothing. Hell, I buy guitars just to fix'em! My motto?: Make 'em play, make 'em play. I don't expect to make a business out of this. I'll fix a guy's guitar for a box of beer and the experience. But my expertise over the years has risen as a result. Things that used to take me 4 hours I can do in 1/2 an hour now. Thats more money in my pocket if I were doing it for someone. So basically, my advice is get really good at it before you even consider getting serious about it.

    More tips, starting out is an expensive venture. You need the tools, materials, parts, a place to do it and the time to do it in. Oh yeah....you also need MONEY. Think of ways to avoid spending money. You can make some of your own tools or adapt existing tools and learn techniques to do specialized work. Example: I started out doing my fret dressing with an everyday triangle file. Take care of your tools. Its too bad there is a lot of junk out there and one thing I HAVE learned is that if you buy cheap you get cheap. I now believe that buying quality tools could mean that I only have to buy them ONCE in my life. You just have to take care of them. and also Keep your eyes peeled for free wood. :rock

    • Like 2
  13. Here are three capacitors that are different but the same ; ie. all the same values (.022uf). The one on the right (bumblebee?) came out of a '74 SG I just bought but I can tell its not from the factory by the solder job. The others came out of other guitars I do not remember. So whats the difference otherwise? Is one better than the others for use in a guitar with humbuckers?? HPIM2567.JPG

    • Like 1
  14. ... as soon as I finish this acoustic fretjob. (taptaptap) Its been a steady stream of repairs but the next one is gonna be fun. My newest acquisition for ME...



    I didn't think to take pics until I was halfway thru the dismantle, but its all there...sorta. :)

    All I did so far was strip the hardware, I won't continue until I get my buddy's Yamaki out of the way. More pics here

    I buy LOTS of "previously enjoyed" guitars, not so much just to own them, however I DO like fixing them and playing them. If the opportunity arises, they can be for sale to the right person. Lotsa middle-of-the-road stuff but occasionally I get a gem. This guitar is still very DO-able, but I know it cannot be put back to original specs, not worth going overboard. Just a couple issues that deviate from the norm.

    It was originally a mini-humbucker body, someone hogged wood out of the bridge pickup and made it fit a full-sized HB. It originally was built with a stop tailpiece, someone installed a Bigsby, then removed it, so there are a few extra screwholes. The neck was previously broken and repaired at the scarf joint, not pretty but it seems to be straight and solid, looks like epoxy.

    When I picked up the guitar I thought it was one of the walnuts, lol. Then I removed all the hardware and saw the original cherry stain. Fading does reduce the overall bluebook value, but thats a moot point now, I LIKE IT! Lots of nicks, dents, scratches, usual 38 yr old wear and tear, bucklerash etc., this guitar has been there and back again. I sprayed it down with Lysol cleaner and wiped off the road dirt, tar and nicotine and STILL didn't get it all! A little polishing with Meguiar's should do the trick.

    The guy gave me the Bigsby that used to be on the guitar and I think I'll put it back on, I have 2 other SG's w/ stoptails, so I may as well use those screwholes. I'm going to do it up nice, make a custom pickguard (small style) for a hybrid mini/fullsize humbucker setup. The neck pup is still there and works (6.1Kδ). The seller said the bridge pup was a burstbucker, bunch of wire sections daisy chaining to the pots. I have a HOT 4 wire Dimarzio Superdistortion (15.25Kδ!) to go in and I'm considering FZ's SG mod on the guitar from Roxy and Elsewhere. Otherwise I'll rig it series/parallel, theres a hole for a minitoggle.

    Anyhoo, thats what I'm up to, will keep you posted. :)

    • Like 1
  15. I've been using West Systems epoxy for quite a while now. I like it because I can control the viscosity with an additive. You can thicken it right up to a paste consistency if you want and it won't change its ability to stick. You can also mix it with wood dusts like ebony, rosewood and even maple and because the base is clear it can blend right in. Try doing that with ANY wood glue. I guess the big argument for the die-hard hide glue people is that you can't readily "unstick" epoxy...why the hell would I want to do that!!??

  16. I've repaired more guitars than I care to remember, but this one will remain in memory for a long time!

    Its actually a decent guitar, the Yamaki AY470S 12-string. I've worked on Yamaki Daions (6 and 12 string) and found them well worth restoring. I also remember owning a yamaki way back when and am wondering why I don't have it now. Looks like:

    Cedar top

    Rosewood back and sides (could be Brazilian)

    Rosewood fb


    I picked this one up for a hundred bucks WITH a hardshell case, I figure thats a pretty good deal. I don't expect to play it anytime soon, until I fix what someone else tried to fix. I basically bought it so I could fix it. If someone wants it bad enough when I'm done then I could probably turn a profit. But in the mean time I have a knack for these things and I like the challenge.

    Yamakis are notorious for "bellying" around the bridge. They are a nice sounding guitar because of the light bracing/top construction, unfortunately, humidity, temperature and pressure over time always wins. I can't really describe what some PO did to this guitar, here are pics...


    Hmmm, carriage bolts???!!! and....



    I am now scratching my head. <_< When you thought you've seen it all here comes something else!

    A few more pics

  17. I was living in an apartment during 2008/09 and I did the entire build (minus paint of course) on my balcony and living room table. Its amazing what you can accomplish with a small drill press and a few hand tools. Sometimes ya just can't stop no matter what the conditions! :) Its a 7/8 scaled down flying V with a few twists. Delta wings and set neck angle make it a very comfortable axe to play. Its all Honduras mahogany, neck came from a q-sawn piece of handrail.


    1 old school Dimarzio Super Distortion (16K Ohm)

    1 vol / 1 tone

    strat style plugin on inside edge of lower wing

    Grover locking tuners

    Nashville TOM bridge w/ stop tailpiece

    Paint is a result of some experimentation at work : swirling with urethane paints, various dips and clearcoats

    Abalone fb dot markers in rosewood

    Bone nut



    Pics of the entire build (minus painting) are here. Either way I sure am glad to be back in a house with a band saw, belt sander, router etc. at my disposal.

  18. My first acoustic from the ground up, that includes resawing back, sides and top from blocks. I threw quite a variety of wood at this thing ... to see what it looks like and what the hell, I figure if you got it you may as well use it! I found the build to be a rewarding experience and I've already got the gears turning on another acoustic as well as a custom Carved top LP, but those are for later.

    The guitar is based on the Ian Anderson signature Martin O-28. A little guitar with a huge presence, featured in songs like Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day etc. and you would never see him without it on stage. All measurements and dimensions are to spec (well, almost :)) but I took some liberties with the materials.

    Bookmatched figured maple back

    Bookmatched black walnut sides

    Bookmatched Sitka spruce top

    Bookmatched ebony fretboard

    Holly binding

    Spalted maple headstock cap

    Purpleheart headstock backing

    Honduras mahogany neck

    Polished ebony heel cap, volute and old-style pyramid bridge.

    Bone nut and bridge saddle.

    Inside consists ot sitka spruce lining and bracing (scalloped) as well as hard maple bridge plate.

    Grover tuners, basic single action truss rod and I even put my name on the headstock for a change. Clear high gloss lacquer finish. Soundhole rosette is abalone/MOP. 25" scale , 19 frets, 11 frets to body, (I know, should be 12) and custom wide neck (1 7/8" at the nut) 16" radius, medium/medium frets. MOP Martin style diamond fretboard inlays. My friend requested paddle headstock but my next one will be slotted.





    When I first strung it up I was surprised at how loud and clear this little guitar sounded! I mean equal to or bigger than most dreadnoughts I've played. I guess the secret is the neck position (hence the soundhole position more towards center), the scalloped bracing and the very thin spruce top. A couple more pics here

  19. I may as well start a thread for this critter. Its a repair/restoration of sorts on a Hamer Slammer Explorer copy owned by a co-worker. He says it was owned by someone living in the realms of meth-head culture :D More like "meathead" culture considering the repair attempts made on a cracked neck pocket. get a load of this!



    more pics here

    I figure this one is salvageable, and a challenge not to mention good practice. Repairs have already started but I'm curious to see what kind of input you folks have.

  20. HAWHAW, now that I've got your attention ... :D Here is a relatively rare sight. I just finished repairing these two guitars, owned by separate people but with similar ailments. (The guitars, not the owners)


    They are Yamaki Daion acoustics built between 1978 and 1984 in Japan. The 6-string belongs to a co-worker, and the 12-string to a friend of mine. Both had structural bracing issues, ridiculously high action due to top warping, bridges rolling forward, the usual. Either not enuf glue or temp/humidity applied to hide glue over a long time caused bracing to pop off and then string pressure took over.

    The 6-string just had loose bracing, fairly easy job, just glue and clamp, thats worth a box of beer. The 12-string was difficult to assess and repair thru the sound hole. I glued the loose braces back down (hope I got'em all :D) and I had to replace the bridge plate and remove and reglue the bridge to put the top profile back to original specs. A lot of work and my buddy owes me large on this one. B) The strings are right on the deck and ring clear as a bell, a real player!

    The Daions were made of good material, natural wood bindings and soundhole rosettes, very good tone just a bit lacking in the glue area. They also featured brass nut and bridge saddle. Cool guitar as far as acoustics go.

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