Should I be scared

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by billygoat, Apr 25, 2008.

  1. billygoat

    billygoat Member

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    Last night I left my new-to-me 51 J-45 at the local guitar store (a reputable dealer who has done decent work for me before) to have the action lowered. I thought it would take a neck reset but he thinks he can take the belly hump behind the bridge down enough.

    Today I really have the feeling that he was wrong, and the neck should be reset before he goes in there and messes with the bridge plate.

    Am I being irrational, being afraid his repair will alter the tone, or should I leave it to the experts? Thoughts?

    I'd hate for someone to ruin my guitar. Yet, I am not a guitar repair person, and he is.

    billygoat
     
  2. in a little row

    in a little row Member

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    he might just need to re-glue a brace under the top to lower the hump/lifting---this is an easy and generally non-intrusive repair...no alteration of the bridgeplate in this case...also, the saddle could be replaced or shaved downa bit to lower action if the neck is alright

    neck resets are expensive and tricky repairs, wait until youre sure you need one

    plus any tech worth a damn will inspect, come up with ideas, and consult you before making any repair...so no, dont be scared, be excited
     
  3. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    That depends on a lot of things - first, did you leave the guitar with a reputable music store, or with a reputable repair tech? I would never leave something like that with a music store clerk, make sure you talk directly with the tech and know that they're experienced more than music store setups. Some stores work with very good techs, others not so good.

    Second, I don't see many guitars in which flattening out a belly would remedy a low neck angle. Typically it is the opposite, where correcting a rotating bridge will raise the front and saddle slightly, requiring an even steeper neck angle in relation to before, or at least come out about even.

    Third is that it would be nice to know by what means they intend to flatten out the top. Are they going to pull the bridge and bridge plate, and if so do they plan on replacing it with a larger one? Are you certain the tech is competent to do this, or are they just going to screw in a bridge doctor to the thing? :worried

    Maybe the tech is great and has evaluated the instrument well and knows what actions are appropriate to take. Maybe not. No way to tell from here, but the key is that you really have to trust whatever luthier you leave an instrument like that with, and it sounds like you may not be so sure. If that's the case I would try to get it back before they start work if it's not too late, or at least talk things over a bit more with the tech to make sure it's in good hands. Understand what they plan to do and go over any options.
     
  4. Stubee

    Stubee Member

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    +1 David Collins. A '51 J-45 can be a fine guitar. I'd not leave it anywhere unless I knew exactly what they were doing, and why, and agreed with it. It could have a loose bridge plate or X-braces, but you should know. A good tech will show you the problem with a mirror and light.

    I speak from experience. Years ago I left my first good guitar with a tech, who has since become more than just "reputable", for a neck reset. He instead pulled the pronounced belly bulge down & glued a gigantic bridge plate to hold it in place. He actually cracked the top in about six places by the bridge in doing so. This did "fix" my action & intonation problems, but it absolutely killed the tone of that guitar. This was years ago, and he was a bit heavy-handed back then, but he should have told me it could not benefit from a reset (my top & bracing were a mess though not loose, that's another story) and explained what he was going to do, because I would have said "no thanks", even as a fairly naive flattop guy back then. I now go to only one shop--a big and well known one--and have had no problems.

    I'm guessing your guy sees a loose plate/braces & can take out some hump by fixing those & lower the action a bit w/o hurting anything, but you should be clear on this.
     
  5. billygoat

    billygoat Member

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    First, I did leave it with the tech, and he will phone me before any repair is made, so I should feel better there. He really wanted to get a look inside with his mirror which was at his shop (rather than the store) .

    He seemed to think the top hadn't collapsed around the neck and that the heel showed no sign of pulling up, so he thought neck angle wasn't the problem.

    At any rate, I am a bit of a novice with respect to flat tops. I know fender electrics inside and out, but when it comes to bridge plates and bracing and acoustic repairs, I am completely lost.

    So I should probably veto any gluing inside the guitar unless it's a loose piece then?
     
  6. Steve Gambrell

    Steve Gambrell Member

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    Just stay in close contact with the guy. About 20 years ago, my '55 Martin D-28 started pulling up behind the bridge. I took it to a VERY reputable tech, who put a light bulb inside. Heated that old hide glue enough to slide everything back into place.
     
  7. RadackGuitars

    RadackGuitars Supporting Member

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    This is trouble some. What happens to a guitar that requires it needing a neck reset is usually not visable. It has nothing to do with the "heel pulling up"
    It sounds like this tech may not have a full understanding of neck-angle and the very subtle specifics of neck angle, top arch, bridge/saddle height, etc...
    a '51 J45 is worth putting some money into. Find an expert.
    I'd recommend Mark at Folkways Music. He's a vintage Gibson nut.
     
  8. billygoat

    billygoat Member

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    Well I'm in milton so guelph isn't far. I'll get it home and take it to folkway. Thanks guys
     
  9. RadackGuitars

    RadackGuitars Supporting Member

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    Excellent. Mark at Folkway rebuilt a '51 Gibson LG3 for me years ago, great work. Spend some time on his website, including the recentaly sold and repaired instrument galleries and you'll see he knows and loves old Gibsons.
     
  10. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    +1 on Mark at Folkway, good shop if you can get to Guelph.

    J
     
  11. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

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    always make certain your guy communicates what he's going to do before he does it. i once brought in a nice 60's guitar to have the action lowered, so the guy just shaved the damn saddle down without saying so. that poor brazillian rosewood saddle, hard carved...now had a crew cut. not going back there again for sure.
     
  12. GtrDr

    GtrDr Member

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    Why not ask Dave Collins to look at it?
     

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