Particle board headstock!!!!!?????

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As a private guitar teacher, I often perform repair and setup work at cost of materials for my students. I figure if they have a proper playing instrument they are likely to play more. And of course I encourage them to invest in quality instruments.......that said.......

A new student started the other day. She has a well setup Squire Strat and also brought an acoustic that she said "has a broken string". OK, let's take a look....she pulls it out of the bag and one of the tuners is missing. The guitar is a "Spectrum".....cheap as all hell, but the joints are clean and the neck is straight, nothing wrong but a cheap guitar and a missing tuner. I check on StewMac, $33 for a set of tuners, plus some strings and she has a playable acoustic......nowhere near as good as a $200 Yamaha, but not much money and her dad says "sure, fix it".

So the tuners eventually arrive and I start pulling the old ones out. The screws practically fall out of the back and the bushings indeed literally fall out. The holes look like they were drilled with a rusty drill bit operated by a drunk. Eventually I conclude that drilling them clean, plugging with hardwood dowels and re-drilling is the only option. So I start doing just that, only to discover the headstock is some kind of particle/chip board! There is a hard "shell" around the outside, but it is particle/chip inside - like a cheap shelf board.

I should have taken some pics, but didn't think about it until I had already plugged all the holes. I figured the body was all ply, but never would have guessed the neck was some sort of press board. Insane! Anyone else seen anything like this?

BTW, this is the same brand and similar to the guitar in question....slightly different model number though. https://www.amazon.com/Spectrum-Acoustic-Natural-AIL-36S/dp/B008AD88EY
 

LtDave32

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Have you ever dealt with one of those Esteban guitars?

There were tales of the guitar's formaldehyde glue joints under string pressure literally exploding.

Bridges flying off.. fretboards coming off..
 

Brek

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Have you ever dealt with one of those Esteban guitars?

There were tales of the guitar's formaldehyde glue joints under string pressure literally exploding.

Bridges flying off.. fretboards coming off..
Wow, were they some kinda pressed composite then?
 

Zeegler

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I wonder if the entire neck is made of Weetabix too?

That reminds me of some cheap BC Rich electrics that were made in the late 80s or early 90s that had bodies made of some kind of foam wrapped in a hard shell. I don't know where manufacturers come up with these ideas, but I wouldn't want a guitar made out of any of that garbage.
 

LtDave32

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Weetabix. Lol.

I can just see an infant teething on the headstock.
 

LtDave32

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Wow, were they some kinda pressed composite then?

I have no idea.

I did read of several accounts of whatever the fret board was coated in coming off on the fingers like some oily goo.

And that there were flies trapped in the finish.
 
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I wonder if the entire neck is made of Weetabix too?

That reminds me of some cheap BC Rich electrics that were made in the late 80s or early 90s that had bodies made of some kind of foam wrapped in a hard shell. I don't know where manufacturers come up with these ideas, but I wouldn't want a guitar made out of any of that garbage.
There is a scarf joint just below the headstock (or at least a picture of one on the veneer, LoL). My guess is the headstock is this pressboard crap and the neck itself is some kind of cheap wood (flat sawn with lots of grain runout btw). But no flies in the finish.....
 

cooljuk

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Seen that on some Chibson a guy sent in. Some tuner holes were also drilled crooked, filled with putty and wadded up masking tape, and redrilled (slightly less crooked).
 

Uncle Vinnie

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Have you ever dealt with one of those Esteban guitars?

There were tales of the guitar's formaldehyde glue joints under string pressure literally exploding.

Bridges flying off.. fretboards coming off..
esteban.jpg
 

pblanton

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I found this thread in a search for "Chibson Particleboard". I have a Chibson that I picked up from a local guy for $100. It's a '56 goldtop knockoff with P90s. The woodwork looked good though it clearly has a mahogany veneer on the back. The tuners work well and are smooth. Neck is straight, frets are a little on the small side but are smooth and level, and the truss rod works. The electronics were crap, but that was to be expected.

I bought a used set of Gibson P90s and swapped them out and it's been a fine beater guitar. Sounds good, plays well.

Recently I noticed that one of the screws in the neck pickup stripped out under spring pressure, leaving one side sticking up a bit high and unable to be adjusted. Also the three-way switch was loose and would wobble about. I removed the nut and poker chip and noticed that the hole was too big, so I decided to strip it down and replace all of the electronics. I bought some IronGear P90s and some new pots, switch and cloth wire.

While tearing it down, I noticed that there was some wood particles in the switch hole. After I took it apart I noticed that the top is made of particleboard, and the switch must have gotten hit, or just wiggled a bit until it took a chunk out of the top with it. :mad: The cavities are shielded with shielding paint and that covered the evidence that the top is particleboard. I scraped some of the shielding paint away and the body seems to be a three piece block of some sort of solid wood, but the carved top is clearly particleboard.

So, I cleaned out the switch cavity, put a piece of tape over the top of the switch hole, mixed up some epoxy and poured it into the cavity to reinforce the switch cavity top. It's curing now. After it's cured, I'll re-drill the switch hole. It should work fine and fix the switch but I'm wondering if anyone has seen this kind of crappy woodwork in a Chibson. I've seen and handled a number of Chibsons over the last few years and they all seemed like Epiphone quality craftsmanship with much much worse than Epiphone quality electronics, but I am shocked with a PARTICLEBOARD TOP!!!

Even though it plays fine and sounds good, it's little more than a stage prop for someone to smash. In fact, I'm wondering if that is what I should do with it. :confused:... retrieving the IronGear pickups from it's smashed husk later.
 

ehb

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I hate oatmeal wood in general....

I've wondered what cheap ass oatmeal shit did they build cheap guitar fretboards out of years back.... That shit that is almost like worn sandpaper and painted some flat black Dollar Gentrul level shit....

SOme customers want fixed what they want fixed... I patched a chunk missing on one a good while back... I used some scrap soundboard wood we saved... trued the missing contours, cut to fit the soundboard scrap wood, TB, a bit of scrape & rough sand, and yep, Dollar Gentruk lfat black shit paint to match the rest...


Lotto Dave's love for all things Esteban is understandable... Shit wood and plastic....
 

the great waldo

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If I remeber correctly I think Ibanez made some guitars a while ago with mdf bodies!
Cheers
Andrew
 

E.X

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Jokes aside, there's way too many of us and as nature's perfect virus, we sure do our part; just not enough wood out there for all this to remain sustainable.
You think it's a coincidence the not enough animals "vegan" trend started? The polymer/oil-based burgers?

Makes one wonder what it's gonna be like, half a century later.
I've seen vids of resin guitars, glass guitars, hell, cement guitars. Also not a coincedence, though as usual, the brainless promoting them tend to not grasp the implications.

It's sad, but this stage -cheap guitar and particle or thermally laminated- is but the first one; it's happening. Has to. What it's gonna end up being like..?
 

ehb

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I don't have an issue with laminate..... not in the least.... My tech has what I call a 'green guts' Martin.... Excellent guitar, both playing and sounding... That plywood neck ain't gonna never go anywhere either... Damn incredible guitar for the bucks.... every bit a Martin.

I LOVE the Bakelite boards too.... Stability that regular wood will never reach..... Those boards ain't going nowhere either...

My fretless Jazz has a Bakelite board on it. I love it....

Wood pulp into sheets, layered with some kinda of epoxy, cured with heat and pressure... Ain't going nowhere.... Won't soak up nuttin....ever....
 

marksoundguitars

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Have you ever dealt with one of those Esteban guitars?

There were tales of the guitar's formaldehyde glue joints under string pressure literally exploding.

Bridges flying off.. fretboards coming off..
My wife's sister has one of those somewhere. I'll have to look for it next time we're out there. :rofl:
 

pblanton

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Here's a picture of the cavity with the epoxy clear-cast resin curing in it. You can clearly see the top is particleboard. The epoxy layer is about 3/8" to 1/4" thick. I know it has a mahogany veneer on the back as you can see around the edge of the guitar; but I just noticed that the wood grain under the cavity cover (next to the shielding foil) looks like mahogany grain. It may be mahogany and the veneer is to prevent you from seeing clearly that it's made of three pieces.

It's a mystifying guitar for sure.

2021-07-14_18-03-27.png
 
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LtDave32

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My wife's sister has one of those somewhere. I'll have to look for it next time we're out there. :rofl:

My advice? -wear gloves and a face shield before opening the case.

In fact, wear gloves and a face shield at all times when within 3 feet of the guitar, trying to tune it, etc.
 

geddy

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If a guitar plays well and sounds good...why is it only fit for smashing? That's cork sniffery.

It's also worth reminding people that guitars using non tone wood construction have been used by many well known guitar players to record great music....for example Danelectro.
 


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