3/15/2015

Workshop: Harmony Hawaiian-decal Parlor Take 2


This same guitar is back for another trade-in! Oh well! It hasn't found the right home so I'll hold onto her for a bit. I wanted to share, though, because it's sometimes fun to see "evolution" in progress. Each time it's returned in trade, too, there have been other structural details changing over time. Instead of arriving with action that's drifted higher, this time the action was more or less right (if a bit low), but both the upper bout top brace and the back mid-brace had come undone.

I replaced the upper bout brace with a much stouter new one (still extra-lightweight cedar brace stock), made a new saddle from a round brass-plated steel pin of some type that was floating around in my house-repair hardware bins, made a new vintage-looking pickguard to cover up the nearly picked-through top wear, and gave it a setup with "Nashville" strings. I know -- that word has been coming up a lot, lately... but it's because I use the chime of that tuning for recording... especially since I've kept my tiple strung as a mandola for a couple years now.




Here's my "steel pin" saddle. It's round, but I did file a compensated bit for the B string. I like my "Nashville" sets gauged to: 20w, 16, 11, 9, 14, 10 low to high. This is slightly lighter than normal because I think less tension tends to give you more of a relaxed "ocean breeze" kind of chime vs. a "I play in a Brazilian choro group" kind of tight chime.


As someone who likes side dots... and can't stand 10th fret markers... this was my "clay dot" inlay solution.


The new pickguard is standard StewMac brown tortoise stock. I cut it to follow the outline of the rosette and purfling which is a style you see on old parlors from time to time.

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