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I finally finished this restoration of my grandfather's guitar. He passed away in the early sixties and for forty years the whereabouts of his guitar was a thing of legend. It was the one thing he was most remembered for, so long after he passed it wasn't a surprise that one out of his eight kids kept mum to being the keeper of the six string...

After a little prodding and many inquiries with the family, I was one day offered to have it since I was the only member of our huge family to actually play. Unfortunately the guitar was never kept in a case, and was actually handed to me in a black hefty bag.

The finish was crackled from water damage, the neck was bowed, and most of the hardware was missing. Fortunately there were no cracks in any of the wood parts so it was mostly a cosmetic makeover with the exception of adding a truss rod, which this guitar never had.

I knew little about archtop guitars, so I did a lot of reading online and asking the local guitar tech a lot of dumb questions..:blink: I've always wanted to build an acoustic, so this was a good primer considering it was mostly a makeover, but gave me an idea of what goes into guitar construction.

This is pretty much what it looked like. The neck mysteriously straightened itself out after being stored in an actual case for the last two years since I originally acquired it. +1:thumbsup:







After a lot of sanding I was shocked to see there was actually a pretty decent figure underneath what seemed like ten coats of varnish. Believe it or not I only nicked one little area in a bad way with the orbit sander. Hand stripping was out of the question, I had a very small window to get this thing finished


After a couple coats of sanding sealer it was time to remove the old fretboard with a heat gun and some patience.



Some leveling and filling of the neck to prep the surface for the new fingerboard



A new rosewood head stock veneer shaped out of a 3/16 thick blank.
I reshaped the headstock on my drill press with a barrel sander to sharpen the lines that were mostly missing.



routing the groove for the truss rod...



new fingerboard being glued up



board got fretted, holes drilled for new tuning machines, abalone dots cut in and a new string nut that I didn't have the right files for so they are temporarily notched close to where they should be, but somebody else will do the final set-up for me.



shaping the new rosewood bridge to the contour of the soundboard


A rattle can black lacquer finish on the neck. The neck was poplar and ugly as hell no matter what I did to it...so it got a nice paint job and wet sanded up with 800 grit.



All dressed up with new tail piece and strings...





The man and his guitar...
 

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I think this has got to be one of the best posts I've seen here so far. You did your grandfather proud in a big way. I imagin you'll be handing this to your own grandkid one day, with quite a story to tell.
 

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Yeah....I agree with Blockhead...what a great post! That's an incredible labor of love and you did a super job.....got goosebumps while looking through the post.

Outstanding! :thumbsup:
 

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Thanks guys...It has become the most valueble possession I own. Funny how as bad as money is at times, you couldn't give me enough money for this guitar.
 

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Joe - I'd love to see some more finished pics, and wouldn't mind putting the two you posted on my Photo Editor to enhance them and get a better look...if it's ok with you....
 

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Wow, that's a great post... Thanks!
 

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Joe - I'd love to see some more finished pics, and wouldn't mind putting the two you posted on my Photo Editor to enhance them and get a better look...if it's ok with you....

no problem..I'll post some more tighter shots when I get a chance.
 

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first off i love the pictures i love the angles you took them very out of the ordinary but then the guitar i am just awed good job
 

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first off i love the pictures i love the angles you took them very out of the ordinary but then the guitar i am just awed good job
Thanks Jake, it was a pretty cool project.
As far as the pics. In my previously life (prior to woodworking) I did a lot of shooting.
 

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Ozark Hillbilly
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Nice work, dude... Do you play? How does that ol' arch top sound? Did you buy the fingerboard precut or do that yourself? (I know I would not trust myself to do that...)

Very nice looking piece of work. You did "the man" proud....
 

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Thanks again guys. Terry, yeah I've been playing for about 10 years. I should be better by now but...!:laughing: I usually pick up my Taylor everyday and grab a new tune to play off chordie.com, great site. The fretboard was precut. There's no way I was going to be able to create the correct radius on it for a first attempt at a restoration.

Overall the guitar in the pics needs to be professionally set-up which was my intention after finishing all of the stuff I did to it. The bone nut needs to be reshaped and the intonation corrected. The roller saddle was something new to me so I hadn't a clue where to begin. I did get it in tune and amazingly there were no buzzes anywhere, but it sounds a little flat. I'm used to my Taylor which has a brighter sound with a clean tone. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out and I'm pretty sure my grandfather who was a man of few words was nodding his head with approval...
 

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restoration

Joesdad,
Very nice job and a touching story to go along with it. Looks great. It's always cool to see something neglected get brought back to life in a grand way. I too was wondering how it plays and sounds now.
Mike Hawkins:thumbsup:
 

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Ozark Hillbilly
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Well, I've been playing for about 40 years and I should definatley be a lot better than I am for sure... :laughing:

Yeah, find a good luthier who can set that critter up for you and I bet he'll first of all make you and offer (which I know you will not take even if it is a billion dollars...) and then, if the right guy, will treasure the chance to fine tune the old gal...

I'll tell you, if you play Taylors, you'll never think the sound of an archtop will be anything close to it. Archtops have their own sound for sure and a place in the guitar world, but I've never heard one that had more than a "dull" rich sweet note to it. Just the nature of the beast.

But you certainly have a treasure there and fond memories to go with it. If it never plays another note it will still be the same guitar. If you do get it set up and tuned, it will be even more of a treasure...

Good luck with getting that sweet ol' gal back in fine tune...
 
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