Vintage Silvertone Repair

Dan

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I just bought this '62 or '63 Silvertone. There's a full thread with more photos in the Other Guitars section:

http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/my-other-guitars/145731-ngd-vintage-silvertone.html

As the photos below show, it's got a few issues.

First, the mahogany bridge is broken. As far as replacing it goes, wouldn't an acoustic guitar bridge blank be the best material to work with? Instead of trying to cut a diagonal strip across the bridge for intonation and notching it, as the original is done, I was think on cutting it so it has a peaked point across the length of it that could just be notched for string spacing. Also, I was thinking I could bastardize an acoustic bridge with the ivory bridge insert to get better intonation and make the radiusing a bit easier.

DSC_8420.jpg


Secondly, the neck and fretboard separated at some point. The gap was then filled in with some sort of rigid plastic putty material of some type. The fretboard is sorta straight, but the actually neck wood is very bowed. The end result leaves any hope of a playable action impossible. I've got to get the gunk cleaned out, but I don't know how to take off the fretboard. No news on the trussrod. It's an odd size and I have to get a wrench from Stewmac before I even know if it's operational. My question is, do you think there's any hope of re-gluing this neck so that it's playable? If so, how might I go about disassembling it and reassembling it properly?

DSC_8421.jpg


DSC_8421.jpg


Also, the neck pocket has a 1/16th of an inch gap on one side. Should I not even bother with it, seeing as how this is an el cheapo in the first place?

Please understand, I'm not trying to turn this into a superb instrument, However, I'd love to get it into playing condition again.

Thanks for any suggestions!
 

TKOjams

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does it have a TR?

is the neck twisted?
 

Dan

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does it have a TR?

is the neck twisted?

Yes, it has a trussrod, but I don't know if it's functional. The pocket is tight and the Gibson wrench doesn't fit. The fretboard doesn't have any twist and is fairly straight. The actual neck is bowed forward, but I don't know how that'll change if I remove the putty between then.

The only part of the neck where the fretboard and neck are actually connected to each other is the very base. the rest has the putty center. The upper part of the fretboard is separated from both the putty and neck, although it lays down flat.
 

TKOjams

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If it were me, I would try to remove the fretboard, clean off all the puddy stuff, and try to get the truss rod to funsion. If it doesn't work, replace it then glue the FB back on.
Also, try to assertain why the heel of the neck isn't flush with the body.
 

TKOjams

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If you get the TR to work, and before you glue the FB back on, clamp the neck face down to a work bench and over time tighten a clamp on the center of the neck untill it's completely flat.(don't rush it or the neck could crack) At this point I would leave it alone for a couple of weeks. This should allow the wood to acclimate to being straight again.
 

Dan

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If it were me, I would try to remove the fretboard, clean off all the puddy stuff, and try to get the truss rod to funsion. If it doesn't work, replace it then glue the FB back on.
Also, try to assertain why the heel of the neck isn't flush with the body.

If you get the TR to work, and before you glue the FB back on, clamp the neck face down to a work bench and over time tighten a clamp on the center of the neck untill it's completely flat.(don't rush it or the neck could crack) At this point I would leave it alone for a couple of weeks. This should allow the wood to acclimate to being straight again.

Yes, I'm already keen on these points. Nothing is getting glued down, or even taken apart, until I have an idea as to how functional the trussrod is. The idea of clamping the neck was what I had in mind.

I need suggestions as to how to remove the board.
 

mattinthehat7492

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heat. I start at the bottom and work up, although since it's already separated at the top, it would be easier to start at the top and work down. I use a wet rag and a clothes iron with steam to soften the glue. I then get a putty knife in where it separates and work my way down the neck.
 

Thumpalumpacus

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Also, might you remove the fret markers and send some steam in through them?
 

Dan

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First off, thanks to everyone for their help and suggestions.

The board is off, and boy did I find some surprises. I found that a combination of heat and steam really softened the material between the neck and fingerboard. Turns out, it was all some sort of glue. I worked from the top, then some from the bottom, going along with my flatblade. Also, I used a small razor knife to score along the edges. It really helped. Once she came off, this is what I found :shock:

DSC_8427.jpg


Aside from the glue, there were wood and paper shims.

DSC_8428.jpg


DSC_8425.jpg


The paper turned out to be cardboard from a carton of vanilla fudge ice cream. Looks like I've found this guitar's name!

DSC_8429.jpg


After some scraping she's cleaned up fairly well.

DSC_8433.jpg


The trussrod appears to be in good working order and didn't appear to be under much of a load. I was able to get the nut off. However, the bottom section is still stuck due to a big glob of glue.

DSC_8431.jpg


DSC_8432.jpg


I have no idea why the previous owner did this to their guitar. The little wooden block over the trussrod makes me thing they were trying to get a backbow on the neck and it either split the neck or couldn't adjust it enough.

Any suggestions on how to get the remainder of the glue off the neck and fretboard? Thanks again for all your help and suggestions, guys.
 

longan

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Just keep doing what your doing. Its working by the looks of it.

On the bridge, maybe getting a tune-o-matic bridge and fitting a bigsby style unit might be a good choice
 

mattinthehat7492

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You could continue scraping, but if that's going slowly, you could try standing the glue off. It might be a bit quicker, and you'll probably have a better gluing surface.
 

Dan

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Just keep doing what your doing. Its working by the looks of it.

On the bridge, maybe getting a tune-o-matic bridge and fitting a bigsby style unit might be a good choice

No, not enough real estate for that. The bridge is probably 3 inches from the back edge of the body. Also, I want to keep this thing as original as possible.
 

longan

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No, not enough real estate for that. The bridge is probably 3 inches from the back edge of the body. Also, I want to keep this thing as original as possible.

Ok then. I thought you were doing a modernizing resto on it. If you want to keep the looks it the original but still have better intonation you could always use a fender style unit under the coverplate.

Damn, this is giving me ideas :hmm:
 

Thumpalumpacus

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For getting the rest of the glue off, perhaps warming it with a flatiron heating through a cloth, followed by a few passes with a putty knife?

Or as mentioned above, simply sanding it.
 

Dan

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Update: I was able to get the majority of the glue and gunk off the neck with a combination of heat, steam, a metal putty knife, and elbow grease. I also made a few passes with a piece of sandpaper, although I'm avoiding sanding too much until I get that bow out.

TKO, I'm going with your suggestion of laying the neck face down and clamping it. If after I've flat-clamped it on a level surface for awhile and it still has some bow, would the next step be to chalk up the ends of the neck, then apply very gradual counter-bow pressure?

Thanks again for all your help, guys.
 

TKOjams

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I guessing you got the TR working?
The TR should be able to take care of the bow.:fingersx:

I would just clamp it flat and leave it set for a week of so. Maybe mist it with a little water to get some moisture into the wood first, it's really old and dry but don't soak it, ya dont want a rusty TR. In fact , if you could get the TR out of the neck, I would do so first. It looks to be glued in there pretty well though.
 

Dan

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I guessing you got the TR working?
The TR should be able to take care of the bow.:fingersx:

I would just clamp it flat and leave it set for a week of so. Maybe mist it with a little water to get some moisture into the wood first, it's really old and dry but don't soak it, ya dont want a rusty TR. In fact , if you could get the TR out of the neck, I would do so first. It looks to be glued in there pretty well though.

I was able to get her out once I started steaming the glue. It was rusty, but a little steel wool shined it right up. I tired putting some pressure on the trussrod, but it wasn't able to take the bow out. It took about half the threads and it looked like the disk at the top of the trussrod, right behind the nut, was starting to sink and dig in. The bow is pretty significant in the neck, as the photo shows. I've got it clamped now, been that way overnight. I'll follow your suggestion of spraying it with a little water to soften things up.
 

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