Acoustic guitar repairs

Any experts here?

I’ve just acquired a Tanglewood bowl back electro-acoustic guitar that is in dire need of TLC.

It belonged to a friend of mine (I helped him buy it about 15 years ago), but he’s kept it in the loft/attic for the last 10 years and it has suffered. He’s written it off as beyond economic repair (they go for less than £100 on ebay - probably about $150 US)

It’s playable (just), but the action is now very high. The neck has too much relief but that is probably sorted by the truss rod adjustment.

I think the biggest problem is at the bridge. The temperature/humidity changes where it was stored have caused a very slight bow in the top (convex). There is a 1/2" section of the bridge that has become detached (but other than that the bridge is still firmly attached), and I think the bow has caused the raised action.

I consider myself to be fairly handy but I’ve never attempted any serious work on an acoustic. I quite fancy having a go a sorting it out - after all it’s destined for the bin/trash anyway and I didn’t pay anything for it.

So, any thoughts? Any comments? Any resources to point me at?

Appreciated.


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Check this out…


Mike

Thanks Mike, will check it out.

Sorry Son, no answer to your question, just a question of my own I’d like to add here.

A small section of wood has split off the neck of my strat, where one of the four screw holds it to the body.

I’ve just glued it and clamped it, and now waiting.

The glue instructions say clamp for 30 minutes, then leave to set for 24 hours.

Are there any advantages to clamping for longer than the 30 minutes? Or is that a bad thing?

My apologies, I meant to type ‘Xon’, not ‘Son’. Those two keys are far too close together. :D

Quote (Guest @ Feb. 09 2007,23:06)
The glue instructions say clamp for 30 minutes, then leave to set for 24 hours.

Are there any advantages to clamping for longer than the 30 minutes? Or is that a bad thing?

I can see absolutely NO disadvantages to clamping longer than 30 minutes. In fact, I would venture that it is preferable.

Thanks Bill.

It’s been an hour and a half now. I was just wondering if the joint had to relax or something before the glue went too hard.

Or something. ???

But I really don’t have a clue; because we did latin at school, they wouldn’t let us do woodwork! :D

It depends on the glue. Most wood glue sets quick but takes a while to fully cure. It may appear to be cured and strong but it’s not really done yet. My rule of thumb was to always clamp for at least 24 hours and let it set a week before putting any stress on it. After that, the joint was usually stronger than the wood.

Ok, I’ll take your word for it guys. The clamp stays.

But, sliding up to those high notes and whacking my hand against that clamp is really doing my left hand in! :laugh:

Quote (phoo @ Feb. 09 2007,23:09)
It depends on the glue. Most wood glue sets quick but takes a while to fully cure. It may appear to be cured and strong but it's not really done yet. My rule of thumb was to always clamp for at least 24 hours and let it set a week before putting any stress on it. After that, the joint was usually stronger than the wood.

Phoo is on the money with this one. I generally clamp for 24+ hours when using your basic yellow wood glue. Letting it set a week is a good idea also, (although I am often too impatient and will let it sit maybe another day before putting it all back together). Fortunately, never had any problems with glue joints coming apart after a proper glue and clamp cycle.

Where is some wood to knock on....

Mike

Thanks Mike.

Well, I’ve taken the clamp off now, it was on there a good 24 hours, so now started a wee bit of gentle sanding. I’ve just finished with the ultra fine grade, and the neck is as smooth as ice (I also removed a few historical dings).

I want to get the first coat of varnish on as quick as pos. It’s a solid maple neck and I don’t want it absorbing any moisture 'cos it’s quite humid here.

I still don’t know how it happened though. The guitar has been its case for almost two years, I hadn’t even opened it till a couple of days ago.

I can only think that some customs officer used it as a cricket bat or something. :(

Strange thing is though, the grain lines don’t match, and I mean big time, over an eighth of an inch out.

But the piece of wood fits perfectly, so I can only think that the original baulk of timber had been broken and glued or summat, perhaps that’s why it broke there, a weak point.

Anyway, varnishing time. :)

Hey, this was my topic! :slight_smile:

Anyway, I have removed the bridge piece from my guitar and a friend (a carpenter) is going to shave a few mm from the bottom. I’m then hoping that I can glue it back and I’ll get a guitar with slightly better action.

So please continue talking about glueing… I’ll need that info soon.


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Sorry Xon, but it seemed like such a warm cuddly topic. :D

So, did you try using that thingummy Mike linked to, or was that too much to spend on an inexpensive guitar?

Anyway, as the guys said, patience seems to be the secret with these repair thingies.

I’m using polyurethane (checking the tin for spelling! :D) varnish, and that is supposed to be re-coatable after 3 hours, but I give it a whole day between coats, otherwise the emery paper loads up too quick, and instead of just keying the surface it seems to plough it up instead.

So, once again, my a polly loggies for the hijack. :cool:

Hey Zon,

Check the braces unerneath the bridge to be sure they havent come unglued. This happens quite often and will cause the top to bow more than normal because it doesn’t have anything to hold it down. You will need an inspection mirror unless your head is considerably smaller than mine! :)

If they are loose you can reglue them also, otherwise the newly glued bridge will keep pulling the top loose.

Hope this helps, got the information from one of my repair books by Dan Erlewine…you may want to google him to see if this subject is listed on the net.

Hey guys the thingamygig suggested by Mike seemed a bit much to spend on this guitar and I’m not sure how it works with a bowl back.

The structure of the guitar looks sound - I checked the bracing etc and the top seems to have flattened a little since returning to “normal” conditions.

Looking closely this guitar has has an action problem for some time. Someone has already removed as much of the bridge saddle as possible and has tried to remove some of the bridge mount already.

Anyway, if it doesn’t work, I ditch it or string it up for slide work.

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Just ran across this. It mentions the 24 hour wait (to be safe)and a week wait for glue curing to be really done as “maximum water resistance after 5 to 7 days”.

http://www.gorillaglue.com/pdfs/technicalDataWood.pdf

Thanks Phoo, a very interesting link.

Anyway, patience be buggered! It’s only been five days, but I couldn’t wait any longer! :D

As I screwed the screws the final 1/4 inch, there was an 'orrible crunching noise, and my heart stopped. :(

But I reckon it was dried varnish in the screw holes, 'cos the join looks fine. I even held the guitar á la Geoffrey Boycott, and hit the neighbour’s cat clear over the garden wall for a 4 (it would’ve been a 6 but it bounced off a tree on the way over :( ) and the join is still holding.

So thanks again for your advice lads.

But one final question: The strings are a wee bitty rusty, so what’s the best, (free), way to clean them, and, should I put them back the same way they came off, or ‘rotate’ them, like car tyres? :cool:

I say rotate your stings every few years. Ask Teryeah about it…he undersands me. :)

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I say rotate your stings every few years. Ask Teryeah about it…he undersands me.


Now now! :D

Actually, back in my ‘Status Quo Tribute Band’ days, the other guitarist was like that, the bugger would never change a string until it finally broke, and then he’d only replace the one.

His Tele was impossible to tune, the strings were so work hardened, only the centre 12 inches of them could vibrate! :D