• Bridge Repairs
  • 1976 Gibson SG Refret and Custom Bridge Bushings

    76-gibson-sg-refretbridge-install-kent-scheffler-23 76-gibson-sg-refretbridge-install-kent-scheffler-48

    76-gibson-sg-refretbridge-install-kent-scheffler-31   76-gibson-sg-refretbridge-install-kent-scheffler-27 76-gibson-sg-refretbridge-install-kent-scheffler-30 76-gibson-sg-refretbridge-install-kent-scheffler-35

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The owner of the 1976 Gibson SG wanted to have it refretted, Sperzel tuners installed, and a roller bridge installed to replace the original harmonica bridge.  When doing repairs or upgrades on vintage instruments I always look for ways of installing hardware doesn’t alter the guitar and if possible is easily reversible.  The sperzel tuners were a good choice because the small hole for the locating pin is within the footprint of the original tuners.  Switching back would be quick and easy and the modification would not be visible.  The roller bridge, while it had the same post spacing required very different inserts.  Installing the new inserts would mean plugging the original holes and redrilling.  To avoid this I decided to make a pair of brass bushing that thread into the original inserts and are tapped to accept the new bridge posts.

  • Bridge Repairs
  • 1976 Gibson SG Refret and Custom Bridge Bushings

    76-gibson-sg-refretbridge-install-kent-scheffler-23 76-gibson-sg-refretbridge-install-kent-scheffler-48

    76-gibson-sg-refretbridge-install-kent-scheffler-31 76-gibson-sg-refretbridge-install-kent-scheffler-27 76-gibson-sg-refretbridge-install-kent-scheffler-30 76-gibson-sg-refretbridge-install-kent-scheffler-35

    The owner of the 1976 Gibson SG wanted to have it refretted, Sperzel tuners installed, and a roller bridge installed to replace the original harmonica bridge. When doing repairs or upgrades on vintage instruments I always look for ways of installing hardware doesn’t alter the guitar and if possible is easily reversible. The sperzel tuners were a good choice because the small hole for the locating pin is within the footprint of the original tuners. Switching back would be quick and easy and the modification would not be visible. The roller bridge, while it had the same post spacing required very different inserts. Installing the new inserts would mean plugging the original holes and redrilling. To avoid this I decided to make a pair of brass bushing that thread into the original inserts and are tapped to accept the new bridge posts.

  • Pickguards
  • Silvertone 1377 Pickguard Reproduction

    silvertone-1377-pickguard-01 silvertone-1377-pickguard-10

    silvertone-1377-pickguard-16   silvertone-1377-pickguard-07 silvertone-1377-pickguard-09

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This ’54/’55 Silvertone 1377 had a broken pickguard that had been repaired by adding a piece of 1/8″ masonite.  I have never worked with heat molding plastic so it gave me a chance to experiment with a new process.  I found several online videos demonstrating suction molding using an oven to heat a sheet of plastic that is then quickly transferred to a mold.  I figured for the small size that I required I could heat the sheet of plastic with a heat gun right on the mold using a shop vaccum for suction.  It took a few tries but the result was quite good.

  • Pickguards
  • Silvertone 1377 Pickguard Reproduction

    silvertone-1377-pickguard-01 silvertone-1377-pickguard-10

    silvertone-1377-pickguard-16 silvertone-1377-pickguard-07 silvertone-1377-pickguard-09

    This ’54/’55 Silvertone 1377 had a broken pickguard that had been repaired by adding a piece of 1/8″ masonite. I have never worked with heat molding plastic so it gave me a chance to experiment with a new process. I found several online videos demonstrating suction molding using an oven to heat a sheet of plastic that is then quickly transferred to a mold. I figured for the small size that I required I could heat the sheet of plastic with a heat gun right on the mold using a shop vaccum for suction. It took a few tries but the result was quite good.

  • Pickups
  • Gibson L-50 Custom Pickup

    l-50-custom-made-humbucker-pickup-21 l-50-custom-made-humbucker-pickup-22

    l-50-custom-made-humbucker-pickup-01   l-50-custom-made-humbucker-pickup-05 l-50-custom-made-humbucker-pickup-06


















    One of my customers brought in this Gibson L-50 wanting to add a pickup but without modifying the guitar and without external wires.  Drilling for and endpin jack was acceptable so the challenge was to make pickup thin enough to fit under the strings and mounting it without drilling into the top or fretboard.

    To keep the pickup thin I decided that the pole pieces would need to be magnetic rather than mounting the magnet underneath.  I don’t have access to short Alnico magnets so I decided to use 1/8″ diameter by 1/4″ rare earth magnets.  I machined brass cylinders to hold the magnets and give a more traditional humbucker look and to stagger the  polepicese.  The bobbins were made with a clear acrylic core and tortoise celluloid top and bottom to match the pickguard. I wound the bibbins with 5000 turns of 43 gauge wire giving an output of 11.5k.

    To mount the pickup I made a copy of the existing pickguard that has an extra extension to surround the pickup and mounted a volume and tone thumbwheel pots underneath. The wires from the pickup run behind the pickguard and into the f-hole and out the endpin jack.

    I am very pleased with the outcome.  The pickup sounds good and the output i well balanced.

  • Truss Rods
  • Gretsch Super Chet – Burns Truss Rod Repair

    gretsch-burns-truss-rod-repair-01 gretsch-burns-truss-rod-repair-04 gretsch-burns-truss-rod-repair-12

    gretsch-burns-truss-rod-repair-21   gretsch-burns-truss-rod-repair-25 gretsch-burns-truss-rod-repair-37 gretsch-burns-truss-rod-repair-52

     

     

     

    This turned out to be a very interesting repair.  This Gretsch Super Chet has a Burns geared truss rod and the adjustment shaft had broken completely off.   I hadn’t encountered a Burns truss rod before and had difficulty finding information online about how they are constructed.  Removing and opening the gear box revealed that it works much like a tuning key on a guitar with a 16:1 gear ratio.  Each revolution of the adjustment rod turns the nut 1/16 of a turn.

    Fabricating a new worm gear and shaft turned out to be the most challenging part of the job.  It required a 10tpi acme thread which is rather large for my tiny Sherline lathe but going very slowly I managed to turned the required threads. Originally I had planned to leave a long, robust adjustment rod but later figured out that the clearance hole in the body was not lined up exactly so had to cut is close to the neck tenon.  I made a simple slot for a flat head screwdriver to make adjustments.

    Reassembling everything was pretty straight forward. I adjusted the neck angle and tightened the neck joint with shims before reinstalling the large wood screw.  Unfortunately I caused some cracks in the finish on the back of the neck along the center line where it was very thin with the truss rod removed.  I drop filled the missing lacquer chips and it is just barely noticeable.

    All in all I’d say it went very well for a complicated repair.

  • Truss Rods
  • Gretsch Super Chet – Burns truss rod repair

    gretsch-burns-truss-rod-repair-01 gretsch-burns-truss-rod-repair-04 gretsch-burns-truss-rod-repair-12

    gretsch-burns-truss-rod-repair-21 gretsch-burns-truss-rod-repair-25 gretsch-burns-truss-rod-repair-37 gretsch-burns-truss-rod-repair-52

    This turned out to be a very interesting repair. This Gretsch Super Chet has a Burns geared truss rod and the adjustment shaft had broken completely off. I hadn’t encountered a Burns truss rod before and had difficulty finding information online about how they are constructed. Removing and opening the gear box revealed that it works much like a tuning key on a guitar with a 16:1 gear ratio. Each revolution of the adjustment rod turns the nut 1/16 of a turn.

    Fabricating a new worm gear and shaft turned out to be the most challenging part of the job. It required a 10tpi acme thread which is rather large for my tiny Sherline lathe but going very slowly I managed to turned the required threads. Originally I had planned to leave a long, robust adjustment rod but later figured out that the clearance hole in the body was not lined up exactly so had to cut is close to the neck tenon. I made a simple slot for a flat head screwdriver to make adjustments.

    Reassembling everything was pretty straight forward. I adjusted the neck angle and tightened the neck joint with shims before reinstalling the large wood screw. Unfortunately I caused some cracks in the finish on the back of the neck along the center line where it was very thin with the truss rod removed. I drop filled the missing lacquer chips and it is just barely noticeable.

    All in all I’d say it went very well for a complicated repair.

  • Bridge Repairs
  • Gibson LG-1 Bridge Replacement

    gibson-lg1-bridge-replacement-02 gibson-lg1-bridge-replacement-16 gibson-lg1-bridge-replacement-15

    gibson-lg1-bridge-replacement-01   gibson-lg1-bridge-replacement-04 gibson-lg1-bridge-replacement-07 gibson-lg1-bridge-replacement-17

     

     

     

    The plastic bridges used by Gibson on many acoustic models in the ’60s look and sound terrible.  Over time the plastic can deform an pull away from the top of the guitar.  Replacing this bridge with a traditional rosewood bridge can greatly improve the tone of the guitar.  This repair requires a new bridge to be fashioned with the same footprint as the original and plugging the screw holes used to attach the plastic bridge.  

  • Headstock Repairs
  • Les Paul Headstock Repair – Backstrap

    les-paul-headstock-repair-02 les-paul-headstock-repair-24 les-paul-headstock-repair-25

    les-paul-headstock-repair-05   les-paul-headstock-repair-10 les-paul-headstock-repair-12 les-paul-headstock-repair-18

     

     

     

    This Les Paul came into the shop recently with a particularly bad neck break.  The neck had been broken before and splines had been added to strengthen the repair but the splines were broken as well.  An attempt to glue the neck again proved too weak for the string tension and the crack is visible through the new finish.  In a case like this, where the glue line is either too short or a repair has already been unsuccessful, a backstrap is a good option.

    To get as much strength out of the repair I wanted to replace the splines.  I set up my Sherline mill column on the X-Y base to closely remove the old broken splines and replaced them with new maple ones.  Then, using a Wagner Safe-t-planer I removed material from the back of the headstock, about 2/10 of an inch, and blended it into the neck.  The ideas is to glue a bent piece of mahogany with continuous grain across the broken area.  Here I have sandwiched two pieces of mahogany to make up the thickness needed.

    Once sanded an finished the repair is barely visible and very strong.

  • Structural
  • 1959 Les Paul Custom hole repair

    1959-les-paul-custom-hole-repair-02 1959-les-paul-custom-hole-repair-05 1959-les-paul-custom-hole-repair-31

    1959-les-paul-custom-hole-repair-09   1959-les-paul-custom-hole-repair-27 1959-les-paul-custom-hole-repair-15 1959-les-paul-custom-hole-repair-16

     

     

     

    This ’59 Les Paul Custom is well worn from 50+ years of use.  It has a great patina and checking of a guitar that has been played hard throughout its lifetime – this ins’t a relic job!  Along the way someone drilled several extra holes, one in the back, two by the control knobs, and one where the pickguard was drilled into the top rather than use the L bracket. The trick for this kind of repair is to blend the new lacquer to look as rough and aged as the rest of the guitar.

  • Refinishing
  • Baritone Sonex Refin

    baritone-sonex-refin-01 baritone-sonex-refin-09 baritone-sonex-refin-13

    baritone-sonex-refin-02   baritone-sonex-refin-03 baritone-sonex-refin-11 baritone-sonex-refin-10   baritone-sonex-refin-12

     

     

     

    My friend Joe from Robot Monster Guitars came across this old Sonex body with a baritone neck and Bigsby Tremolo. It looked terrible but was structurally sound.  I refinished it in metallic green with a custom headstock decal, cut a custom pickguard and truss rod cover, cut a new bone nut, and wired it up.  It’s ready for the next Cutthroat’s gig!

    If you haven’t become a customer at Robot Monster yet, you’re missing out. Check out the segment that aired on Fox 29 last week.

     

  • Structural
  • Washburn Bowlback Mandolin

    washburn-bowlback-mandolin-04 washburn-bowlback-mandolin-05 washburn-bowlback-mandolin-10

    washburn-bowlback-mandolin-14   washburn-bowlback-mandolin-08 washburn-bowlback-mandolin-07 washburn-bowlback-mandolin-15

     

     

     

    This old Washburn Mandolin came into the shop suffering from being stored in very dry conditions.  Several braces were loose, the top was separating near the tailpiece, there was a separation in staves of the bowl, the binding and purfling were loose in several places, and several pieces of the lining had come loose.  With a little patient gluing and clamping I managed to get everything solid again.

    I wanted to bring the action down a bit. Not wanting to modify the original bridge too much, and possibly going too low, I decided it would be safest to make a reproduction bridge and store the original.

  • Bridge Repairs
  • 1968 Rickenbacker 420

    rickenbacker-420-15 rickenbacker-420-19 rickenbacker-420-08

    rickenbacker-420-13   rickenbacker-420-20 rickenbacker-420-21

     

     

     

    This Rickenbacker came into the shop having had its bridge replaced with a later adjustable bridge, a rough replacement pickguard installed, and the wiring altered.  The original tailpiece had been cut down to accept the new bridge but by a stroke of luck there was a bridge from 1965 420 for sale on Ebay.  Fitting the bridge required redrilling a recess in the body which had been filed previously.  The tricky part was cutting a pickguard to match the original.  The shape and controls were a close match for the original but the cutouts for pickup and bridge had to be carefully reconstructed.

     

  • Pickguards
  • 1968 Rickenbacker 420

    rickenbacker-420-15 rickenbacker-420-19 rickenbacker-420-08

    rickenbacker-420-13 rickenbacker-420-20 rickenbacker-420-21

    This Rickenbacker came into the shop having had its bridge replaced with a later adjustable bridge, a rough replacement pickguard installed, and the wiring altered. The original tailpiece had been cut down to accept the new bridge but by a stroke of luck there was a bridge from 1965 420 for sale on Ebay. Fitting the bridge required redrilling a recess in the body which had been filed previously. The tricky part was cutting a pickguard to match the original. The shape and controls were a close match for the original but the cutouts for pickup and bridge had to be carefully reconstructed.

  • Refinishing
  • G & L Refinishing with Comfort Contouring

    g-l-refin-01 g-l-refin-09 g-l-refin-14

    g-l-refin-10 g-l-refin-08 g-l-refin-15 g-l-refin-16

    A good friend of mine decided he would like to have his G & L ASAT contoured for more comfortable playing and routed for a humbucker in the bridge position. I rounded and relieved the waist, lower bout, and the backside of the horn to facilitate playing high up the neck. The original flat finish was a little opaque and obscured a really nice ash body but after filling the grain with a dark filler and finishing in transparent red mahogany the beauty of the wood really came through. With the addition of a custom cut pickguard and a half tele bridge it was ready to go. This is a really nice sounding guitar with a great feel.

  • Pickups
  • Silvertone 1420L Pickup Rewind

    silvertone-1420-l-pickup-rewind-01 silvertone-1420-l-pickup-rewind-03 silvertone-1420-l-pickup-rewind-10

    silvertone-1420-l-pickup-rewind-04 silvertone-1420-l-pickup-rewind-06 silvertone-1420-l-pickup-rewind-11 silvertone-1420-l-pickup-rewind-12

     

     

     

    This old Silvertone 1420L came into the shop missing a bridge and with a dead bridge pickup.  I made a replacement adjustable bridge and set about rewinding the pickup.

    These Silvertone pickups are commonly known as “Hershy Bar Pickups”.  They can be quite a challenge to rewind because the windings are supported only on one side.  I had to make a temporary support on the outside of the bobbin/magnet to allow for winding and then remove the temporary support without damaging the coiled wire.  It took a couple of attempts to perfect the process but I finally managed to get the pickup wound and reassembled.  I was unable to save the original rivets so I had to turn a replacement set on my Sherline metal lathe.

  • Pickguards
  • Martin 0-15 Pickguard Removal and Replacement

    martin-0-15-02 martin-0-15-03 martin-0-15-17

    martin-0-15-04   martin-0-15-06 martin-0-15-09 martin-0-15-10 martin-0-15-18

     

     

     

    This 50’s Martin 0-15 was flipped and played left-handed for 30+ years. An additional pick guard was added, as well as the original replaced with new guards made from Formica.  The bridge was never altered and even the nut showed little suggestion that it had been strung in reverse.  Other than securing a few cracks all that needed to be done was to removed the additional guard and restore the original one.

    I was worried that the finish would be damaged under the additional pick guard and that the wood and finish may have aged differently underneath.  Luckily, other than a little pitting and finish crazing there was almost no difference.  A little heat loosened the glue and both pick guards came off with no trouble.  I used shellac to fill the pitted areas and to seal the bare wood where the original pick guard went then cut and installed a new celluloid pick guard.

    This is a sweet sounding little guitar and now it is back to its right-handed configuration.

  • Pickguards
  • Martin 0-15 Pickguard Replacement

    martin-0-15-02 martin-0-15-03 martin-0-15-17

    martin-0-15-04 martin-0-15-06 martin-0-15-09 martin-0-15-10 martin-0-15-18

    This 50’s Martin 0-15 was flipped and played left-handed for 30+ years. An additional pick guard was added, as well as the original replaced with new guards made from Formica. The bridge was never altered and even the nut showed little suggestion that it had been strung in reverse. Other than securing a few cracks all that needed to be done was to removed the additional guard and restore the original one.

    I was worried that the finish would be damaged under the additional pick guard and that the wood and finish may have aged differently underneath. Luckily, other than a little pitting and finish crazing there was almost no difference. A little heat loosened the glue and both pick guards came off with no trouble. I used shellac to fill the pitted areas and to seal the bare wood where the original pick guard went then cut and installed a new celluloid pick guard.

    This is a sweet sounding little guitar and now it is back to its right-handed configuration.