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 Post subject: Many unglued braces...
PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:17 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:09 pm
Posts: 46
First name: Conor
Last Name: Searl
City: Duncan
State: British Columbia
Zip/Postal Code: V9L 2E5
Country: Canada
Status: Amateur
I have a friend's Alvarez artist series guitar. The strap came off when another friend was playing it and it landed on its face on a mic stand or something and got a pretty nasty crack. The crack closed up to practically invisible on its own, so that's a pretty easy fix. It also popped the braces off inside right where the crack happened which are also a pretty straightforward fix. However after closely inspecting the guitar inside I've found a total of 11 spots (including the two that I expected) where I can slide a .003 feeler gauge between the brace and the top of the guitar. Looking at the quality of gluing that went on at the time of construction, it seems unlikely that this one fall is the cause of all the loose braces, but maybe?

This guitar has already had a couple cracks in the top fixed with glue and cleats between the bridge and bottom of the guitar, from drying out too much. I'm on the westcoast but the guitar came from the prairies where its very dry and cold. I know without first hand experience its impossible to give me a definitive answer, but is it reasonable to think most of these loose braces are from exposure to the cold dry climate, and not necessarily from the impact of the fall? I ask because the friend that dropped the guitar wants to pay for the repair, but I don't feel like I can in good conscience only repair the obvious damage at this point, but I'm not sure how much is her responsibility and how much was pre-existing? They are both great friends and totally understanding about the situation.

Then the question also arises, fixing a crack in the top, plus re-gluing 11 spots on the braces will probably come up to the price of a brand new Seagull S6 with a pickup. This guitar is a little nicer than that but still...

Conor


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:46 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 4:02 am
Posts: 1701
Location: United States
There is no way to know, even if I had the guitar in hand to inspect it.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:00 pm 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:49 am
Posts: 9827
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
First name: Hesh
Last Name: Breakstone
Country: United States
Status: Professional
I price repairs such as this one by an estimated number of sessions that it will take me using best practices and even some unique, time saving tooling to do the repairs.

You're right, based on the quantity of things to address alone with some being more difficult to do than others AND depending on the going rates in your area repairing this one would be competitive with the price of a lower level, brand new Seagull. We often will say to clients that the economics are not there and that they would be better off buying a new Seagull. We recommend Seagull by the way because we believe in Godin, the parent and how they pay a living wage to their employees AND they are able to manufacture a decent product in North America. We see less and less of this so we support it when we can.

Anyway this happens to us a couple of times a week where the economics are not there but that's ultimately not my decision to make. Simply provide the quotation, don't spend much time on it, build in some padding since these things often are worse than we know and let it ride.

I know this is a friend of yours so this is non applicable but in our world these ones where the repair costs exceed the market value of the guitar when repaired have dangers for the Luthier even if the client does agree to the work. Because it will be pricey for many people AND because what will result is an older guitar that now has decent bracing but is still the sum of it's parts there are higher than normal chances that the owner will stick you with the guitar.... Or in other words when push comes to shove with their budget and the resulting guitar is not anticipated to be any better than it was pre-accident-abuse folks tend to abandon these instruments more often than instruments in better shape. Because of our recognition of these situations now in advance where we once suffered from maybe two abandoned instruments annually we not rarely have any.

We're doing less and less of these bigger jobs that require multiple sessions and are basically being done out of an "emotional" decision by the owner. Our daily work is more profitable, we get paid more reliably and faster, and there is less risk. But if it's likely to be a wall hanger the risk is very high for abandonment.... Again this does not apply to you.

If it's a friend, if your not busy as can be with other jobs and if you wish to do so go for it. If not recognize that the greatest occupation hazard for repair Luthiers is the wrongful.... thought that we have to be all things to all folks. I could even make the case that if you don't do what it takes to be profitable and instead fall into the trap of attempting to repair every POS that someone "won" on eBay your business will fail and you will be nothing to anyone.

But again if you have the time, inclination and motivation go for it, this is not something that anyone else can answer for you. I can point out the risks based on the experience of thousands of repaired instruments and human interactions but ultimately only you can answer as to what you wish to do.

We sometimes suggest that one option is to list it for sale for say $50 as a "project guitar" needing things with the anticipation being that someone who aspires to be a Luthiers will be willing to lose their soul on the thing. Just one more option that does not always mean the scrap pile.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:40 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 863
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Conor, I don't know where you are in your lutherie/repair journey but for me, a relative novice, this might be an opportunity to remove the back and do the repairs with an open box. As you know, the Artist series is not an expensive guitar (typically 400 or so US) and they have a dovetail joint. You would have to pull the neck, route the back binding off, open the seam (probably AR or PVC glue so it will be difficult but possible). You'll have to deal with back braces inlet into the sides and probably best to reattach the top braces with a radius dish ion a go-bar. Put it all back together, deal with binding, finish and setting the neck. I can pretty much promise that the guitar won't be beautiful but it might be functional and you will learn a heck of a lot.

This is not the sort of thing I would expect Hesh to take on - he is in business to make money when he does a repair (I have the highest respect for his ability to turn away work that doesn't make sense). It is precisely the kind if thing I MIGHT take on, a learning experience without too much danger of screwing up a nice guitar, with the possibility that you can save a poor broken instrument.

Since you are doing the work for a friend I would expect payment in beer, maybe a really nice bottle of wine if it comes out good.



These users thanked the author Freeman for the post: Hesh (Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:57 am)
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:51 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:27 pm
Posts: 1906
Location: South Carolina
First name: John
Last Name: Cox
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
For a friend I would do it. Its a hobby for me - and so I wouldn't factor in the value of the instrument.

One of my buddies inherited a 1970's Aria that his dad had played. It needed some work - so I took care of it for him. It was the only thing he had left from his dad...



These users thanked the author truckjohn for the post: Hesh (Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:58 am)
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