Friday, 18 July 2014

JULY 2014

Hey everyone. Yup, I've decided to (finally) do the journal thing. I'll try to do it once a month. Depends how busy I get. And how my enthusiasm for this Google shit waxes and wanes.

I'll give updates on interesting repairs, interesting guitars that come through the shop, nice stuff I have for sale, and the good, the bad, and the ugly things that cross my path. There may even be photos (when I work out how to do that!).

This month: the GOOD things include a few nice guitars that have come through for sale:

1). a splendid 1973 Martin D-18 that I have previously owned personally, and was the main guitar that I used on the "Drift" CD (see the "Drift" pages for photos). This is a VERY good example of an affordable vintage Martin dreadnought.

2). a 1977 Guild D-50 that is perhaps the best example of a 1970s Guild that I have seen. I've seen lots, and have been an authorised repairer for them since time began. I was always a bit foggy about '70s Guilds, but this one is a cracker. It's on consignment. At $1995 it's a very good buy... if you like it, of course. My guess...if you've been thinking about Guild guitars, you will like it.

3). a 1937 Kalamazoo KG-14. I've seen a few of these over the years, and this is easily the best-condition one I've seen. The KG-14 is the ladder-braced version of the Gibson L-00 and has the same build-quality and material-quality, admittedly without the x-braced top. But it plays and sounds dead good. I bought this from the grandson of the original owner - it was imported by the Sydney music company Palings (!!) in '37 and comes with the original, Sydney-manufactured "Manok & Renkert (432 Kent St., Sydney) case!

Also got a '57 Gibson  VOS Les Paul; a 1974 Ibanez 2617 Artist; a 1974 Ibanez 2453 Howard Roberts; a 1991 Alembic Bass; a Peavey T-70 bass; and many others.

Please email for more details if you're interested.

Ok, the BAD: I'm still seeing way too many counterfeit guitars to make me comfortable. I've seen fake Fenders, Gibsons, Martins, Rickenbackers, Gretschs, PRSs, Music Man Stingrays, Taylors, lots more - you name it. All bought on eBay. Almost all from China. If you DO bring a counterfeit guitar into my shop I am duty-bound to tell you that it is a fake. This is very hard for me to do (face-to-face) but I have to do it. If you have unwittingly bought a fake guitar and bring it into my shop then I must tell you. Please don't shoot the messenger.

Next month I'll post some pictures of counterfeit, Chinese-made guitars.

Finally, the UGLY:

We recently had a chap open up locally as a"guitar-repairer", saying that he'd "worked in the States". Turns out he did a two-week repair course over there. First job he did here was an attempted neck-reset (not a job for a beginner) on a new Gibson acoustic. Not only was the neck-reset completely NOT necessary, he screwed it up completely and ruined the value of the $4000 instrument. Yikes! His website now states that he has "retired from guitar-repairs to concentrate on making ukuleles".

Another disturbing thing: one of the world's "most respected" guitar-repairers, a fellow that has a major internet presence via his own website and the luthier's supply shop that he is affiliated with, recently posted a video of how he "set-up" a bass. The bass had a "buzzy" note on one string. This "legendary" repairer decided that he had to choose between "adjusting the neck" or "adjusting the saddles" to fix the problem. He chose to "adjust the saddle" because this was 'easier" than adjusting the neck. Yikes! Double Yikes!!

The first thing you have to do, ALWAYS, when approaching a set-up , is to assess the position of the neck. It may have too little relief, too much relief, or be within correct tolerances. Whichever way, this is the first port of call. If the neck is not adjusted within correct tolerances, then you have to adjust it so that it is. You do not skip this stage just because a  following stage may be "easier". Every other adjustment must be made with respect to the correct adjustment of the neck. The neck adjustment on this particular bass may have been just right, but the video skips this entirely, instead focussing on selling the tool that you need to buy to follow this chap's idea of correct set-up (a tool not surprisingly sold by the company that he is affiliated with, and which is not actually an accurate device either, being of the fingerboard radius rather than concentric with it). This video is VERY BAD, and is typical of the mis-information rife on the internet.

Phew. First Journal entry.

Feel free to email with questions. I'll try to post a rant about the crazy world of guitars once a month. I'll try to make it fun sometimes, and not as heavy as the last half of this one!