6/04/2015

Workshop: SuperStella!


Yup, a 20s Stella 12-string. Note the un-compensated saddle slot and cheesy plastic pins...



Also, the original frets are OK but about 1/3 of them wiggle a bit when I move them. This does not bode well for an accurate fret level/dress nor does it bode well for good tone (frets need to be seated properly to get best sound). So, I'm gonna pull 'em all up and refret.


The bone nut (replacement), while cut well, was jacked-up with cardboard. Why do I always see this? Does anyone stop to think that a simple bit of ply veneer will do the trick with less tone-sapping consequences?


This has a 26 1/4" scale. We're going to need to get some compensation for the lower strings so, rather than fully fill the saddle slot and recompensate it, I'm going to install a wider saddle that'll get me the extra 1/8" I need for the low E. This will also give me enough room on the saddle's top to individually compensate the octave strings in each pair. Being an Oscar Schmidt, I doubt the fret-slotting is 100% accurate, but this work will make it play in much better tune.


The board had already been worked/mucked-on, so I had no reservations pulling these frets. I then planed the (dyed maple) board which meant it went back to "whitish" in a bunch of spots. The next part of the work was cleaning the slots and refinishing/relic-ing the board to get it to look right. You'll see that in just a bit...


Here's my micro-compensation on the strings thus far. I'm going to finalize the setup in the morning after the top settles under tension. It looks "backwards-compensated" only because the bass side of the saddle is taller than the treble side. Note added string ramps and new rosewood pins, too.


Here are my new frets and my "new" board finish. You'd be hard-pressed to tell, if you didn't know it, that the board had been planed and reworked. There's plenty of the old scritchy-scratchy and much of the original black on it to give it a proper underlay and I've gotten used to having to do just this kind of stuff on most old OS dyed-board guitars as the boards easily lose their original painted-on black finish when you need to do things like... use painter's tape during fretwork.

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