Friday, 13 March 2009

Repairing a hole in an acoustic side

I have a lot of tools. There are so many different jobs I do on guitars I need a lot of tools. Most I buy, many I have to modify and a few I make.

This little clamp I made for a specific job, it doesn't get a lot of use but when I need it it's the only thing that will do.

Its made from a small piece of Australian Blackwood that I had around the workshop and an old kluson style guitar tuner. I like using guitar parts to make tools - it feels right that old guitar bits can help fix damaged guitars. A bit like donating your organs.

This guitar is unusual - it was hand made in London by a small maker who only ever made a few instruments. It is made entirely from recycled wood. It has the most balanced, lively and sensitive sound i have ever heard from a guitar.

It was brought to the workshop by its very proud owner who is clearly deeply in love with his guitar

It needed a re-fret, a repair on a minor split in the top and a hole in the side - which is where the little clamp comes in.

The back and sides of this guitar are made of solid walnut. Solid wood has a much better resonance than ply but isn't as strong and breaks much more easily.

One small piece of wood was still hanging on to the damaged area and I found the other pieces inside the instrument. I decided to strengthen the area by putting a patch on the inside. I made this patch from koa simply because its a strong hardwood and I happened to have a suitable piece in the workshop from an old ukulele top - another example of organ donation.

I removed the piece that was still attached with tweezers and glued it to the inside of the koa patch. This piece of the side covers about 2/3 of the hole. I drilled a 1mm hole in the koa just above the piece of side and passed an old guitar string through it (recycling again). This way I can align the splintered piece of side and keep it flush to the side of the body as well as attach the patch all in one process.

Its then a case of applying the glue and fitting the patch. The string passes through the hole in the post of the tuner and I can tighten it up.

Once the glue has dried the clamp is removed and the remaining splinters are glued in place like a jigsaw. The patch gives them something solid to be glued to. Then its a case of touching up the finish and the job's done.

I was sorry to see this guitar go - I cannot remember playing a better sounding guitar. I got Bill in from next door to have a listen, he's an experienced sound engineer and really knows guitars.

He didn't want to put it down either.



Sunday, 1 March 2009

Pickup winding

I often have people bringing me faulty pickups. Sometimes it turns out there's just a loose wire and simply needs re-soldering. But sometimes the pickup needs re-winding.
With humbuckers its only usually one coil in which case I can measure the working coil and match the re-wind to it.
Its more common that I get Fender single coil pickups with faults. Older fender pickups can have problems with the insulation on the windings breaking down and the pickup looses its power and becomes thin and weedy sounding.

This is my winding machine. It lives in the corner of the workshop and a lot of customers comment on it.
It isn't possible to wind completely by hand as there are 7500turns on an old Strat pickup and more on a hot one.

The pickup bobbin attaches to the rotating spindle on the front of the machine (white).

The wire is very fine - its about as thick as hair and more brittle as ist made of copper. It's not cheap - the thinner it is the more expensive. I have a few guages for different pickup sounds.

The wire passes over a series of pulleys to tension it.

The machine has a counter with a cut off which stops winding when it gets to the correct number of turns.

so here's the finished product - an old Strat pickup restored to its former glory.

Feel free to contact me about repair work (if you are in NZ). I only check emails weekly so the workshop phone is always the best 09 307 6501.

Workshop Hours

Mon……. 8-6
Tues……. 8-6
Wed…….. Closed
Thurs …..8-6
Fri ……….8-6
Sat/Sun ..Closed

Mr Glyn’s Guitars

  21a Khyber Pass Road
New Zealand
09 307 6501, 021 912678