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Hello there, everyone!

I am really excited about the guitar I have for you this week…

Today, I bring you a repair I completed today, and let me tell you it was an experience!

A while back a customer came in with a a guitar that she had acquired from someone who found it in a barn. Now when we heard this you could only imagine what was going through our minds before she opened the case.  *gives you a moment to imagine*

When she opened up the case we were shown a beautiful, late 1920’s Gibson L-30. This is a fantastic small bodied arch-top guitar. And despite the fact that it was left in a barn for God knows how long, it was in relatively good shape. The neck was slightly warped. and it was in desperate of a re-fret. There were a few minor body cracks and a number of loose back braces as well.

When I began working on this instrument, I was blown away by the craftsmanship and was honored that I had been given this opportunity. One of the mantras we have at the shop is that we want to make a repair look as if we were never there. This mantra stems from a desire to honor the builders before us by making sure their work is left intact. Seeing this old of an instrument and bringing it back to life really made me think about the fact that this guitar in front of me was once just an idea in someone’s head and then that someone had the guts to make it a reality. Then nearly 90 years down the road. the idea winds up in my hands needing me to bring it back to life and allow the music to flow through it once more with its original glory.

Interestingly enough, I was surprised that it had a truss rod, because many instruments from this time did not have one.  Martin guitars for example did not adopt the usage of a truss rod until the 70’s. However, Boot was quick to remind me that it was an employee from Gibson who invented the truss rod sometime around 1921.  For those who may not know, the truss rod is the stabilization bar that runs down the neck that can be calibrated to adjust for string tension and neck movement.

This guitar has a carved spruce top with a birch back and mahogany sides. My favorite part of this guitar is the beautiful Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, which had a little water damage and took a very steady hand to clean and repair. After much sweat, stress and love this guitar went to a very happy customer.  This Christmas, she is surprising her son with it, and I can’t wait to hear about it.

Repairing the Gibson L-30 was a privilege, and I will cherish the knowledge that I gained from being able to work on it.

Picture time! I am including two before photos so you can see how it started.

L30 L30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L30 L30 L30 L30 L30 L30

 

 

Once again it’s your favorite time of the week!

It’s guitar of the week time!

Our guitar this week is one owned by my friend and mentor Boot, the mastermind behind BA Ferguson guitars.

This guitar is a Vantage dreadnought style acoustic that has had some modifications. First off, as you will notice from the pictures, there is a pickup that has been attached to the inside of the sound hole and the volume and tone knobs have been placed on the upper bout for ease of access. There is also a selector switch in the top to switch between the pickup in the sound hole and the piezo pickup under the bridge.  Another modification is that the neck has been sanded down to a slimmer profile, which helps by making it more comfortable to play.

You might not have heard much about Vantage guitars previously.  I had not either, until I began working at Frets and Necks. Guitars with the trademark Vantage were produced in Japan at the Matsumoku plant from 1977 until the late 80’s. The name was picked back up in 1990 and production was moved to Korea. This guitar is an example from the  90’s variants made in Korea.

To me, this guitar is a great example of the name issue.  What exactly do I mean when I say “the name issue”?  Well, these days we become so caught up in the big names and gimmicks that plague the instrument world, that we miss out on a lot of great instruments. Sometimes it is the name on the headstock, or what pickups are hot at the moment, or the ease of self tuning machines or something crazy, like the Super Duper Ultra Max Self Deprecating Truss Rod 3000 (patent pending)……

I can’t count the number of time I have run into someone who scoffs at a guitar and throws it away because they haven’t heard of it. And they refuse to try it.  Refuse, I tell you! Next time you go into a music store, try that guitar with the name you have never heard of. You never know, it might be a sweetie. There will be some junk, and I mean junk. But every now and then, you will come across one that blows you away.

Although this guitar has an all laminate oak back and sides with a spruce top., it is surprisingly resonant and has great tone. The pickups that Boot added make for great sonic fun when plugged into a system.  It’s a great gigging guitar, one that you wouldn’t have to be worried about acquiring all the bumps, dings, cracks and whatnot that happen while on the road. She may have her battle scars, but she is a delight to play.

Alright enough words…

Time for pictures!

Vantage Vantage Vantage Vantage Vantage

 

Good morning everyone!

Time for the Guitar of the Week!!

This week we have a bass guitar.  As many of you probably know, bass is my main instrument these days. I love thumping on those 4 strings!

The bass we have this week may not look like much, but I like to call this a workingman’s bass. A no frills, rock solid bass. She plays great and sounds even better, but like I have said before, all guitars have a story.

When I started playing bass in junior high, I had an older friend, David, who played the bass also, and I looked up to him very much.  In fact, part of the reason I started playing bass was because of encouragement from him to pick up the instrument.  I was a brass player at this point in time. When I started high school, I wanted to play in the jazz band. David was the bass player for that group. Sitting from my section, as I was playing bass trombone, I would watch David play.  Then, I would attempt to duplicate what I saw on my bass when I got home. I can remember that when I left for Governors School at the end of tenth grade he wrote in my year book, “You better not stop playing bass, and if you stop for any reason I’ll ‘kill’ you and take your Mustang bass” Well, I am still here, and we will see that Mustang bass in a few weeks.

I remember David having a couple of jazz basses, one made in Mexico and the other made in America. David made some modifications to these instruments. He combined them into what is commonly known as a “Frankenbass”, meaning that he took parts from different instruments and put them together. He liked the way the neck of the Mexican-made bass felt, and he liked the pickups from the American -made bass, so he put the neck of the Mexican bass on the American body and vice versa. But he didn’t stop there!  He then took the American neck and removed the frets, turning it into a fretless bass. This left him with a very versatile line of of basses to choose from. His main instrument became the fretted Mexican neck with the American body, with the backup bass being the fretless.

After a few years, he sold off the American neck fretless bass and forgot about it.

Then, one day when I was working at Frets & Necks,  a customer came in and asked if we would like to buy an American Fender bass from him. It had a broken fretboard and was in need a lot of other work. We bought it from him, and I set to work on it a few days after to fix it up and get it ready for resale. Once I took the neck off I saw a name (David C——) written in blue sharpie at the bottom. I immediately called Boot over and said “Dude! I know this bass!”  That made restoring this instrument that much more fun and special for me. It was tall order, as I literally had to rebuild the fretboard. Also, I decided to refret it because it would sell easier and because it was great practice for me as an apprentice luthier.

Alright, already!  I will stop rambling and get to the pictures

Last thing, just so you know, it is for sale over at Frets and Necks in Hartsville SC.  If you want to snag a great playing bass with some history mojo hit us up!

Keep thumping ya’ll!

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