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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:47 pm 
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Cocobolo
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First name: peter
Last Name: havriluk
City: granby
State: ct
Zip/Postal Code: 06035
Country: usa
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
A few years ago I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a week at a luthier's cave in order to build my first guitar. Gloss finish looks good considering the time constraints. The time constraint also did not allow for binding. My teacher, whose opinion I trust thoroughly, said it's about the nicest D-18 he'd ever played. But I've always wanted to continue the finish, nitrocellulose lacquer, and install bindings. Doing that amount of work will require the neck and bridge to be removed and reinstalled. Construction is unique to the luthier's design, but the neck bolts on, M&T, no dovetail, similar to Martin's. So far the guitar is unmarked and it has an angel's voice, and as I gain experience, details on the guitar that enhance playability become evident.

My question is whether to leave the instrument as-is or risk...what? The existing finish will not be removed but scraped and treated as intermediate finish coats. Cutting binding is invasive, but I think the instrument looks unfinished without binding. But I do not want to compromise its sound, durability, or longevity.

I'd like to get an idea of the risks associated with returning to complete the guitar.

Thanks very much.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:34 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:50 pm
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Location: Seattle WA
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I would go for it. Of course, there is a chance of pulling some wood up with the bridge or the fretboard. But then again, it is going back in the exact same place so...

There is a lot of info here about removing Bridges. Of course, you always risk dinging the top somewhere along the line too...

I don't think you are jeopardizing the sound of the guitar in any way. Unless your finish is a lot heavier or you use lead bindings.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:02 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:15 pm
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First name: Ed
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Country: Canada
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I'd leave it as is and start another...



These users thanked the author meddlingfool for the post: Glenn_Aycock (Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:06 pm)
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:37 am 
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Koa
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First name: Trevor
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What Ed said.

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Trevor Gore, Luthier. Australian hand made acoustic guitars, classical guitars; custom guitar design and build; guitar design instruction.

http://www.goreguitars.com.au


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:33 am 
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What they said ^^ ;) . If it's your first guitar, you'll learn a lot more by building another, instead of backtracking somewhat and spending a lot of time on stuff that don't matter all that much for the function of the instrument. That said, removing a neck and bridge are fairly trivial tasks, and adding binding and fixing the finish are good things to learn, but as the saying goes, if its not broken...

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:02 am 
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Leave it the way it is and build another. Who knows what mischief will occur while you are trying to improve a guitar that already functions really well as a guitar? Some of what you are planning to do is fairly invasive. Plus, this way, you get two guitars in the end instead of just one.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:40 am 
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You're fortunate enough to have a #1 that sounds awesome to you then I say play it and move on to #2.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:18 am 
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Koa
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As the others have said.
Leave this one alone.
Move on to #2.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:28 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Binding an instrument will change the tone somewhat. So will adding finish.
I wouldn't do it if you fancy the tone...

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:13 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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I also believe that binding has an influence on tone. Leave it and move on. If it aint broke don't fix it ;)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:34 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Well I was about to tell you to leave it as it is and move on to the next one but I see that has been covered. . .

I'll just add another "why" to the list for not doing it. Leave this first guitar as a benchmark of where you started. Years from now your ideas of what you want a guitar to be will have changed in many ways visually and perhaps tonally. You will be glad you have that first one the way it was when you made it. It will feel more special to you then, than it even does now, just in a different way.

Doing your first binding job does have some risk and you could do some damage. Would you rather do that damage on the unfinished box of your second guitar (one that you don't already love) at a point where you can move on if it is unfixable, or, find yourself trying to find a way to recover from that mistake on this one?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:56 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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"So far the guitar is unmarked and it has an angel's voice, and as I gain experience, details on the guitar that enhance playability become evident. "

If by that statement you mean there are playability issues you think could be made better, then I would build a few more and then maybe revisit those issues.
If a bridge is well stuck, I would finish around it rather than remove it. Some factories also finish with the neck on.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:04 pm 
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If you really like the tone, leave it alone. Martin and Taylor have lotsa guitars out there sans bindings if that makes
ya feel any better:)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:34 pm 
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Cocobolo
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Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:49 pm
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First name: peter
Last Name: havriluk
City: granby
State: ct
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Country: usa
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Folks, I appreciate everyone's taking time to comment and advise. Thanks to everybody. The idea of having an 'initial point' impresses me, and I hadn't considered that. As for building, I have three scratchbuilt instruments making their way through the shop. But I was working through the fantasy of making the first guitar over. I was working through the notion of bringing the finish up to what I thought I could get if I took the time to 'finish' the finish. My second guitar has a neck texture that I just adore, and I was considering trying to bring this one up to that level. But it would be achieved only by disassembly of a beautifully-playing instrument and risking the very thing the instrument exists to do - - - play well.

I think I'm leaving it alone. Plenty enough to do on the three projects on the bench.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:10 pm 
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Koa
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First name: Freeman
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It sounds like you have decided and your decision is a good one. However I was also going to add that if not being bound bugs you then you have a perfect guitar to bind after the fact. The neck will come off easily and should go back to the same set, your choice of lacquer makes it easy to add coats and repair (and might even help avoid tear out when you route the channel). I happen to think that an unbound guitar looks unfinished and even when I do reproductions of some of those Depression era guitars that weren't bound (like a series 17 Martin) I still do bind them (and try to make it as unobvious as I can). Remember that one of the main purposes of binding is to protect that end grain spruce.

I have built a could of guitars that had something that bugged the heck out of me - neck size and shape in one case, finish in another - and I took the time to correct it even tho it meant invasive work. I've been much happier with them as a result


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:25 pm 
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Koa
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I don't know if this will inspire you or scare you, but this is a 1970's Ibanez copy of a Gibson L5. It was bound in white cellulose acetate or nitrate - the binding had simply decomposed over all the years. The neck, headstock, f-holes are all bound and they were fine, as well as the purfling strips. The guitar has a beautiful sunburst finish in nitro and a dovetail joint that I didn't want to take apart. It also had the neck block separating from the back and sides. The top and back binding looked like this all the way around

Image

I routed the old binding back and scraped to the purfling lines

Image

Rebound it and scraped back just to the wood trying not to disturb the old finish

Image

Shot a couple of coats of amber and six or so of clear, did a lot of drop filling

Image

Image

Its not perfect but sure a lot better than before


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