Old Trainwreck Archtop Restored

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Diane Kauffmds
Posts: 2699
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm

Old Trainwreck Archtop Restored

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

You can go to the repair section to follow the restoration of this guitar. It's finished.
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Diane Kauffmann
Country Roads Guitars
countryroadsguitars@gmail.com
jread
Posts: 389
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:52 am

Re: Old Trainwreck Archtop Restored

Post by jread »

Beautiful restoration. Your work is really inspiring.
TEETERFAN
Posts: 102
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:43 pm
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: Old Trainwreck Archtop Restored

Post by TEETERFAN »

Superb job, Diane. A guitar with that much personality had to be saved!
Kevin Doty
Kansas City
tippie53
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Re: Old Trainwreck Archtop Restored

Post by tippie53 »

you purddyified it nice
John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
president of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans
http://www.bluescreekguitars.com
Diane Kauffmds
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Re: Old Trainwreck Archtop Restored

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

Well, I stole the mop tuner buttons off of the quilted mahogany, because my supplier is out of stock for 2 months, and like a 5 year old, I want them now. I also decided on a Waverly ivoroid endpin and strap keeper, which look really nice on it.

I tried lowering the wood on the back of the pickguard, but it's definitely the hardware that's causing the pickguard to stand too high. I'll just get an adjustable side piece to reinstall it.

I've put Martin Marquais Silked Flexible Core light strings on it. I wasn't completely sure if they'd be strong enough for an archtop. But, I've found that not only are they strong enough, I really like
the sound! Plus, they don't have near the string tension of 80/20 bronze lights, which is much better for this old guitar. Plus, they have a couple more added benefits.

With the arthritis in my hands, they're much easier to play. Also, the added string tension was pulling the neck in a forward arch. This guitar is so old, that it has no neck reinforcement at all. Luckily, I level my fretboards 3 times, ensuring they're really level, and making it easier to level the frets.

I started with the bass E on the 12th fret at 3/32" high. Since putting the Flexcore strings on, the action has come down to just over 2/32" (1/16"). There's no buzz anywhere along any string, not even below fret 14. This is low for any guitar let alone an archtop. I prefer low actions. I play lightly, fingerstyle.
Diane Kauffmann
Country Roads Guitars
countryroadsguitars@gmail.com
phavriluk
Posts: 421
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:49 pm

Re: Old Trainwreck Archtop Restored

Post by phavriluk »

I've been following - and learning from - Diane's adventures with this project. Thanks for sharing it with us.
peter havriluk
Diane Kauffmds
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Re: Old Trainwreck Archtop Restored

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

phavriluk wrote: Fri May 06, 2022 8:58 pm I've been following - and learning from - Diane's adventures with this project. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Thank you Peter.
Diane Kauffmann
Country Roads Guitars
countryroadsguitars@gmail.com
Diane Kauffmds
Posts: 2699
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm

Re: Old Trainwreck Archtop Restored

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

I had what can only be described as "weirdness" that appeared. There seemed to be a weird vibration that sounded like a wolf note that appeared on the B string. It wasn't a buzz, but a strange resonance. I had noted that the string would slip partially out of the nut slot.

I don't throw anything out, unless it's plastic. As a result I have a large collection of nuts and saddles, some are ones I've made and later changed. Since this is my guitar, I just used what I had on hand. So, I changed the nut.

The sound moved to string 5. I tested the nut and saddle by putting pressure on the other side of the break angles. It seemed to help at the saddle, so I changed the saddle.

It moved to G.

Now, I'm really perplexed, then I saw it...when the string vibrated, it moved side to side on the saddle. I never slot the saddle, but in this case, I made shallow slots to ensure the strings stayed pretty much where they're supposed to. The sound moved to Bass E.

This time, I couldn't pin it down to the nut or saddle. But, when I made the new bridge, I used my pattern gauge to replicate the arch. I saw a very slight gap in an area about 1/2" on the bass end, so I took the bridge off and corrected the bottom.

It didn't help. If anything, the resonance worsened and was compounded by the long sustain. It wasn't a loose brace. I was back to the wolf note theory.

As a scientist, we used a principal called Occum's Razor (and I'll paraphrase), which is the principle that, when presented with a problem with the possibility of several solutions, usually the simplest solution will apply. I should have remembered this principle.

I changed the strings. It sounds wonderful! I had tried Martin flexible core strings on it. The guitar hates them! I replaced them with plain old phosphor bronze and the guitar loves them.

So, the lesson here is to KISS a problem. Keep It Simple, Stupid!
Diane Kauffmann
Country Roads Guitars
countryroadsguitars@gmail.com
Stray Feathers
Posts: 453
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Re: Old Trainwreck Archtop Restored

Post by Stray Feathers »

Your great story is a good segue for me to describe a similar thing that happened recently. I asked a recent acquaintance who plays an old Ibanez 12-string if he would come and help me assess my recently built 12. Not long after, because he discovered that I am a "luthier", he brought his 12 over to see if I could figure out a new buzz in the guitar. The setup looked good, and, of course, it wouldn't buzz for me. So he took it away, happy - sort of. It seemed to be okay for a time, but then the buzz came back. He tried to figure out where the buzz was, and as he got more focussed, he removed the hoodie he habitually wears. The buzzing stopped. And it hit him: It was the plasticized ends of the hoodie strings touching the guitar that was causing the buzzing. I was very glad we did not get into a neck reset or something! Bruce W.
Diane Kauffmds
Posts: 2699
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm

Re: Old Trainwreck Archtop Restored

Post by Diane Kauffmds »

Stray Feathers wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 12:39 pm Your great story is a good segue for me to describe a similar thing that happened recently. I asked a recent acquaintance who plays an old Ibanez 12-string if he would come and help me assess my recently built 12. Not long after, because he discovered that I am a "luthier", he brought his 12 over to see if I could figure out a new buzz in the guitar. The setup looked good, and, of course, it wouldn't buzz for me. So he took it away, happy - sort of. It seemed to be okay for a time, but then the buzz came back. He tried to figure out where the buzz was, and as he got more focussed, he removed the hoodie he habitually wears. The buzzing stopped. And it hit him: It was the plasticized ends of the hoodie strings touching the guitar that was causing the buzzing. I was very glad we did not get into a neck reset or something! Bruce W.
Haha. I can laugh because I had a similar thing happen with one of my guitars. Mine happened to be caused from a strap tied on the headstock.
Diane Kauffmann
Country Roads Guitars
countryroadsguitars@gmail.com
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