Restoration

Restoration covers many aspects of luthiery as an individual instrument often displays a number of problems, perhaps from... lack of use or care, incorrect storage (attics, sheds, garages), age related deterioration or poorly executed previous repair work. A combination of specialist techniques are frequently required to bring the instrument back into full working order.

The information below highlights some common problems.....

Age related problems

 Old acoustics often deteriorate with age due to prolonged constant string tension often causing bellied tops, damaged bridge plates, body cracks and warpage.  Old glue can fail, leading to loose braces and other structural issues. Sadly many old instruments end up stored in attics which can cause severe or additional problems such as neck to body angle problems.

The first 4 pictures show a 1937 Gibson J35 that needed extensive repairs to restore the integrity of the top which had been sanded too thin during a previous refinish and was bellying badly. There had also been some reinforcement work attempted at some point, which hadn't worked. With the back removed we were able to tackle the many issues and restore this fine guitar to playing order.

The '60's  Framus fretjet had neck angle issues resulting in a high action. Some reinforcing scews had been added through the heel during an attempted previous repair. We removed and reset the neck and finished the heel area in a matching nitro gradated tint. We made a new pickguard and fitted some new parts which the customer supplied.

1937 Gibson J35 rebuild © 2021 Guitar Angel
1937 Gibson J35 rebuild © 2021 Guitar Angel
1937 Gibson J35 rebuild © 2021 Guitar Angel
1937 Gibson J35 rebuild © 2021 Guitar Angel
Framus fret-jet neck reset and refurb © 2021 Guitar Angel
Framus fret-jet neck reset and refurb © 2021 Guitar Angel
Framus fret-jet neck reset and refurb © 2021 Guitar Angel
Framus fret-jet neck reset and refurb © 2021 Guitar Angel

Returning an instrument to original spec

It was quite fashionable during the 70's to customise, modernise and modify guitars, perhaps by adding routs to accomodate the latest pickups and coil split switches. Bass de-frets were popular too. Fretboards often got a coat of lacquer and bodies got repainted in wild colours and graphics. As 60's and 70's guitars gradually gained vintage status, many customers wish to restore their guitars back to original spec.

The Fender precision bass in the first row is from 1966. It had an added rout for a jazz pickup which the customer wanted filling to restore the body to its original spec. Once wood filled, we touched in the area with some colour matched paint, then aged it to blend with the original finish.

The second Fender precision is from 1975 and it had been defretted. We could see the the original defretted board had been covered with a rosewood veneer. With the aid of some heat we were able to cleanly remove the veneer, level and reprofile the original fingerboard before adding the new frets.

Fender Precision bass 1966 daphne blue, rout repairs © 2021 Guitar Angel
Fender Precision bass 1966 daphne blue, rout repairs © 2021 Guitar Angel
Fender Precision bass 1966 daphne blue, rout repairs © 2021 Guitar Angel
Fender Precision bass 1966 daphne blue, rout repairs © 2021 Guitar Angel
Fender precision bass 1975 fingerboard veneer removed, original fingerboard reprofiled and refretted © 2021 Guitar Angel
Fender precision bass 1975 fingerboard veneer removed, original fingerboard reprofiled and refretted © 2021 Guitar Angel
Fender precision bass 1975 fingerboard veneer removed, original fingerboard reprofiled and refretted © 2021 Guitar Angel
Fender precision bass 1975 fingerboard veneer removed, original fingerboard reprofiled and refretted © 2021 Guitar Angel

Deterioration/wear and tear

Many parts can deteriorate with age, particularly bindings on some'50's / '60's Gretsch, Premier, and Grimshaw models. Hardware can tarnish along with electrical components causing pots to seize, switches and jacks to fail, pickups to short and wires/solder to harden and break.

The first 4 photos show complete rebinding of a 1966 Gretsch Viking. We also part refinished the outerburst on the body and refinished the neck.

The 2nd row of pics show rebuilding an old switchcraft switch and 'before/after' servicing, cleaning and polishing of some 60's Bigsby tailpieces.

 © 2021 Guitar Angel
 © 2021 Guitar Angel
 © 2021 Guitar Angel
 © 2021 Guitar Angel
 © 2021 Guitar Angel
 © 2021 Guitar Angel
 © 2021 Guitar Angel
 © 2021 Guitar Angel

Abandoned projects

We are often presented with disassembled, incomplete, or basket case projects which had been started with good intentions. Parts are often missing, damaged or broken. Where possible we favour repairing rather than replacing parts in order to retain vintage values. When original parts are unavailable or cost prohibitive, reproduction parts are an excellent alternative. We can age any new hardware, plastics and paintwork in keeping with the aged appearance of the guitar.

The first 4 pics show a rare '60's Danelectro guitarlin which arrived disassembled and with the neck finish stripped. The body had been repainted many times. The customer wanted the guitar refinishing back to its original colours, then rebuilt with the existing parts, which we serviced and restored.

The Gibson SB400 arrived already stripped of an old refinish. It had at some point been fitted with some non original parts. Correct vintage parts were sourced and we finished it in see thru cherry, which is the colour that it had originally been.

Danelectro guitarlin rebuild and refinish © 2021 Guitar Angel
Danelectro guitarlin rebuild and refinish © 2021 Guitar Angel
Danelectro guitarlin rebuild and refinish © 2021 Guitar Angel
Danelectro guitarlin rebuild and refinish © 2021 Guitar Angel
Gibson SB400 restoration, refinish and rebuild © 2021 Guitar Angel
Gibson SB400 restoration, refinish and rebuild © 2021 Guitar Angel
Gibson SB400 restoration, refinish and rebuild © 2021 Guitar Angel
Gibson SB400 restoration, refinish and rebuild © 2021 Guitar Angel