What should I do with this guitar?

AndrewLP1081996

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
840
Reaction score
114
So here's the story. A lady at my church have me this guitar today. She believes that it is her stand fathers guitar. From what I can tell there are no makers marks or signatures on the guitar. She said that it might be hand built by him. (Which is pretty neat since I'm building my first.) but anyway she said I could have it if I could get it playing again. All it needs is new strings to be "playable" but the finish is old and cracking and the sides are cracking as shown in the picture. It's fixable I think. With that said should I just put strings on it or should I try to fix the crack and clean up the finish a little?

Also there is a tuning peg missing. Do to know what to do about it. I think this guitar is pretty cool definitely an old guitar and something very unique.








 

fatdaddypreacher

V.I.P. Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2011
Messages
6,817
Reaction score
4,980
that is indeed cool..the guitar and the story. me personally, i wouldn't do anything to it i didn't have to do. clean it a bit, but leave the aging, check the neck/fretboard, restring it and see how it plays. you can always do something to it later, unless it just simply comes apart, but i'd give it a whirl the way it is.
 

kevinpaul

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2011
Messages
17,660
Reaction score
27,247
I would put some more butter on that bitch and turn it over. This is a throw away society is it not? He only got a C in shop class.
 

Fred

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2010
Messages
260
Reaction score
71
Andrew, It kinda looks like an old "Stella" or maybe a "Kay". If I'm not carefull I'm gonna tell my age.
 

tnt423

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2010
Messages
1,396
Reaction score
981
Kay or Harmony, definately has that Chicago made vibe. I would repair the open seams and replace the missing tuner knob and see how she sounds.
 

B. Howard

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2014
Messages
697
Reaction score
624
Typical of a student level guitar from the period. Fix the crack, stew mac should have a new tuner button, clean it up and string it. The value is all in her sentimental attachment to the instrument.
 

Archer

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2011
Messages
906
Reaction score
466
It's a Kay 2091 made in 1938 or 39. I would glue the separated top or back, replace the tuner knob and string her up. Play it for as long as it will hold up, then try a repair.
 

AndrewLP1081996

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
840
Reaction score
114
Ok thanks guys thanks for the infoation about the guitar. That's what I was thinking cleanit up because it is dusty and dirty and put new strings in it. Probably will put light gage strings on it so it won't damage the neck. How would I go about gluing the cracks on the back?
 

straightblues

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2007
Messages
1,526
Reaction score
1,085
I would get a big clamp and glue up the crack on the back. Then I would polish the frets and oil and board. Then I would pull off the tuners and clean them really well then lubricate them. I would then string it up. At that point you will be able to tell if the bridge is too high or not. I would them adjust the bridge as necessary.

I have several similar guitars. They tend to sound really good. Most are a bit hard to play, but it is worth it to get the old time feel.
 

straightblues

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2007
Messages
1,526
Reaction score
1,085
Probably will put light gage strings on it so it won't damage the neck. How would I go about gluing the cracks on the back?
Don't worry about the neck. If it has held to this point, it will hold. Vintage strings were a lot heavier gauge.

For gluing, use Titebond glue. Get a clamp that reaches from the front of the guitar to the back with the side in between. Put the clamp on and clamp it down dry to make sure it is going to come back together. If it does, then apply the glue and clamp it and leave it overnight to dry. Don't over tighten the clamps or you could crack the side of the guitar. Clamps are very powerful.
 

AndrewLP1081996

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
840
Reaction score
114
Ok thanks guys I will post more when I start working on it. I think this will be a cool project.
 

Barnaby

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2010
Messages
8,964
Reaction score
10,871
Liking the guitar a lot, and I think it's a brilliant piece of Americana. I agree that it's cool to keep it as original as possible. The history behind the instrument makes it special rather than the construction or materials, I believe. :hmm:
 

AndrewLP1081996

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
840
Reaction score
114
That's what I think to I'm not going to try to refinish it. I like the old vibe that it has and want to keep it as original as possible.
 

Ronsonic

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Messages
416
Reaction score
151
Do NOT let my wife see that guitar. She gigs stuff like that. Her main guitar has cowboys painted on it and I keep it running.

Glue the cracks. I'd say replace the tuners, if you just do the knob you'll be back for the tuners later.

How is the neck / action from what you can tell?
 

AndrewLP1081996

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
840
Reaction score
114
The neck seems straight and it feels pretty good. I can't tell if it has a truss rod or not. I'll replace the peg first and if the tuners work fine I'll leave them. If not I'll replace them.
 

jkes01

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2011
Messages
4,066
Reaction score
3,840
That's a really cool old guitar! It's worth fixing up just to hang it on the wall.

To add to what's already been said, here's some things to consider:

  • Check the neck angle. Here a good article FRETS.COM. If the neck needs to be reset, now would be the time to do it.
  • Check for loose braces. This will be difficult because the seams are already separated, they will rattle until you re-glue them. To add to that, it does not have a traditional sound hole, don't think you will be able to clamp through it or even get your fingers in there to feel the braces. If you have loose braces, you want to fix them before re-gluing the back as you will probably have to remove the back to glue the braces.
  • Re-glue the back/sides. Here's a trade secret article STEWMAC.COM : Issue 104, Using a "swiss cheese knife" to fix the back on a 1923 Gibson
  • Check the neck relief. It may not have an adjustment, but you should know where it's at.
  • Polish the frets and condition the fretboard.
  • Clean it with a soft damp cloth with a drop of Murphy's oil. Wipe on and wipe off with a clean dry rag. I would not use any kind of creme polish as it will get in the finish cracks and make them look worse.
  • You could try to clean/lube/straighten the tuners and add new buttons STEWMAC.COM : Issue 14, Replacing damaged tuner knobs
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkeS8HDzCH0]How to clean dirty old guitar tuners - YouTube[/ame]
    If everything else works out good, you might consider replacing them. These would be perfect except for the white buttons.
    STEWMAC.COM : Golden Age Restoration Tuners for Solid Peghead Guitar with Scallop-end
  • Slap on a set of stings new/old, doesn't matter, just see if the saddle or nut needs any fine tuning.

Be sure to post progress and lots of pics :thumb:

-John
 

AndrewLP1081996

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
840
Reaction score
114
Thank you for those articles they will help me a lot. I'll be sure to post pictures. Going to start on it today.
 


Latest Threads



Top