My Norlin is back from the shop!

Discussion in 'Norlin Years' started by NorlinBlackBeauty, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    I've learned an awful lot in the 40+ years I've had the LP.

    I've done all I know how to. My LP needs professional fretwork and setup. One thing I am able to address is the tuners. I also recently installed a Faber Tone-Lock ABR-1 bridge to replace the somewhat shaky original Tune-O-Matic.

    The OEM Grover Rotomatics seemed a bit wonky with a fair amount of shaft play. With a 12:1 ratio, they make tuning more of a chore than needed.

    I had a set of Schaller M6 Vintage tuners in gold I bought on eBay a while back at a good price. Finally found a use for them. They are now on my LP Custom. I needed to widen the holes in the LP headstock by .01" or so with a tiny bit of sanding. They now fit more snuggly than the OEM Grovers ever did. This has to be good for stability ...

    I re-used the Grover washers as they are wider in diameter than the Schallers and used the Grover screws on the back of the headstock.

    I have a set of modern (Asian made) Grover Rotomatic chrome take offs from one of my Martins. The M6 Schallers are closer to the 70s USA made Grovers from my LP dimension-wise than the modern Grovers. The modern Rotomatics would have required more hole sanding to fit the headstock.

    The M6 are 16:1. I put a set of M6s on my HD-28 and am able to keep it in tune quite well. I'm hoping for something similar once the LP comes out of the shop.

    A set of M6 on my HD-28:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  2. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    Yikes!

    According to the luthier, the refret done nearly 40 years ago was absolute rubbish. I did not know nearly as much back then as I do now, but clearly recall not really liking the way the LP "felt" afterwards. There seemed to be too much fretboard sanded down. He then showed me why and now I that know a lot more I'd have to agree.

    It was indeed a badly done job, got f'd up along the way and they had to remove too much fretboard to try to save the work. It ended up having a compound radius fretboard in the wrong direction; flatter where it should have been rounder and too round where it should have been flatter. The frets were dressed down to about .034" - too low in his opinion. They were too hard on the binding as well.

    So it needs all new frets and fix the radius issue. Lastly, they borked the original nut adding a shim I was never aware of. He showed me - sure enough there was the shim. Never noticed it. A new nut is needed.

    The one bit of good news is the truss rod seems OK despite the two drops on the headstock. He was astounded the drops were not fatal.

    I'm afraid to mention how much $ the quote is. I don't know what that level of work should cost.

    This guy builds acoustics from scratch. The examples of works in progress looked impressive. It is a well equipped shop.
     
  3. scozz

    scozz Senior Member

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    Hope it turns out well for you. I'll bet it'll play and feel great when you get it back!
     
  4. scozz

    scozz Senior Member

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    How about some pics when you get it back?
     
  5. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    Change of plans ... I contacted a repair guy I've know for many years about the repair shop the LP is at. He said DO NOT use them and rattled off a lot of info about his previous work. Should have hit this guy up in the first place. He may have saved me $475 worth of grief! I have a new reference I trust and will be calling them soon. He'd do the work himself, but he said the referenced shop is better at the type of work needed.

    Seems there is a fair bit of incompetence out there ...
     
  6. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    Picked up the LP today - no hassles.

    I did notice something while I was waiting for this guy to finish work on a Yamaha acoustic. There was one of his made from scratch acoustic bodies sitting on a shelf that had some bits of the top ripped out of.

    I asked about it and he said it was a project he abandoned after realizing the top was too thin. There was some herringbone inlay on the top and back that did not look quite right fitment-wise. A cautionary yellow flag?
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
  7. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    Did the new guy give you any names/numbers of former clients/customers of his to contact to check on his work?
     
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  8. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    I trust the repair guy I've known for some 40 years with his recommendation. He is the one who warned me about Mr. top too thin. We had a good chat yesterday. I thought he was giving me the brush off several months back (it is complicated), but we are on good terms again. Just a matter of giving the suggested luthier a call.

    I'll post up any further developments. :)
     
  9. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    Left voice mail with the recommended luthier.
     
  10. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    Hope it works out for you. Definitely +1 on the references.
     
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  11. ElectricKaibutsu

    ElectricKaibutsu Member

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    Good luck! I hope everything goes well. I'm looking forward to seeing pics when it's finished.
     
  12. Oatie

    Oatie Member

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    Too bad Gibson does not have a restoration shop for the general public. I hope you get it back better than new.
     
  13. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    Better than new would be far too much to ask. Better than the refret done 39 years ago would be nice. Not sure how much ebony is left for that. This has me somewhat concerned.

    Still waiting on a call back. :/ I reached out to the guy who gave me the reference. He said he'll check in with him soon.
     
  14. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah The Worst Premium Member

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    I'm not sure it is a good sign that someone to whom you were recommended still hasn't returned your call.
     
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  15. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    I'm inclined to agree. Don't have a good feeling here.
     
  16. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    Just got the call back from Jack. He started off apologizing not getting back to be promptly - says it is unlike him.

    Very talkative - seems genuinely interested to help and excited to see the LP. I'll head over there Monday. :D
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
  17. HardCore Troubadour

    HardCore Troubadour Senior Member

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    busy time of the year, if he seems genuine and was give a good recommendation, go check him out.
     
  18. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    Met with the new repair guy today - left my LP there. He is taking a very different approach. Rather than just taking measurements and stating it needs all new frets and a nut (like the previous guy did) he wants to give it a proper setup and take it from there. I dropped it off without strings on it, but left a set for him to use in the case. I'll check back toward the end of the week and see what he has to say. He had a customer there when I arrived and another show up while I was there. His reputation is first rate. I'm putting a lot of faith in that.

    He was also very surprised the drop damage on the back of the neck has not spread or made thing worse - or killed it. He has some ideas of how to address that if need be. Some sound scary. I'll need to check on those ...

    I also took my HD-28 there for him to eye up as the lower frets are starting to wear just enough that they make an slight odd noise under just the right conditions. He had a quick look and proceeded to play it. He is quite good, far better than I will ever be or was. Flatpicking and finger style.

    This bit floored me - he said it is setup just they way he likes. I did the setup myself - could not believe he said that!! I do not think he was just shinning me on for an ego stroke as it really does play well. I pointed out all I had done to it and he said: "you're hired". Fairly certain he was not serious. Flattered and amazed I told him I took a very long time to do the bits of work, in stages and it was the first acoustic I had ever worked on. I read an awful lot online, took what I thought was best and slowly made the modifications. My head is still in the clouds ...

    He told me what to expect wear wise and how my setup methods / maintenance would need to adapt. I will need to get the frets worked on before long - he described what he would do. Some selective very light filing here and there to extend the life of the affected frets. That is out of my ability now. Most everything I've done to it is reversible - fret filing surely is not.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
  19. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    The guy was able to salvage the fret job as is. Picking it up tomorrow. :) I'm quite happy as I do not know how much ebony is left to work with. The nut was previously removed and reglued with layers of PAPER as a shim! After all of that it was still not setup correctly. All of that has been sorted out and properly refitted using maple instead.​

    If for some reason I'm not pleased with it, a refret is next. He said he'd credit me some $-wise for the work already done to it. This guy seems to have high standards and says it plays perfectly. I cannot imagine I will not love it. SO glad I did not have Mr. top too thin do the work!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  20. NorlinBlackBeauty

    NorlinBlackBeauty Senior Member

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    Wow! A short little word that is often overused, but really works here.

    The LP now plays far better than I was expecting and seeing as how little I played it in the past ~15 years I truly did not know what to expect. There is little to no difference visually, but the frets now do their job very well. All of them.

    I'm literally relearning how to play basic clean notes coming off of a Martin 6 string with .013" - .056" strings with good low action for an acoustic. The LP is surely lower and with .010"s on it, so little effort is required to get this beat up old guitar to sing out. In fact I have to continually keep from pressing too hard.

    This is going to take time, but I'm on my way. I'm back in the fold with the rest of you. Finally! :D

    I left my HD-28 there for him to level out the worn frets so if I want to play 6 strings, it'll be my dear old friend I've abandoned for far too long.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
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