Stay in Tune vol # 77
By Luthier Patrick Podpadec
The season's are a changin! My son's back to school and all settled in with his friends, the garden has slowed way down in it's production of vegetables and there seems to be a nip in the air in the early morn. I do believe the month of Sept. may very well be my favorite. We have been seeing 80 degree days without the humidity that the summer months bring, the lawn doesn't seem to need mowing quite as often and the nights are cool enough to have a nice fire out back to sit around and play guitar.
I'm not sure if the economy is coming back or what , but it sure seems that I have been getting a little busier in the shop than normal. I have been trying to clear out many old projects to make room for new ones and the guitars just keep coming in. in the past two weeks I have fixed a top crack in 70's solid top Epiphone classical guitar and restrung it up, I re glued a top on a Tacoma “papoose” ( a small ½ size guitar tuned in A) . These little instruments, at least the ones I have seen come with cedar tops, a mahogany body with a simple bolt on neck. They sound incredible. They have a “angelic” tone that I think would add very well to a second guitar in a duet.
I refinished the the side of a 1930's Waymann Tenor guitar. It had a scale length of 21”. which is very short for most tenor guitars, but a bit too long to be considered a baritone ukulele which is generally set at about 19” . Anyway as most older Waymann instruments that I have seen it is very well crafted out of solid mahogany. Waymann was a major manufacturer of all stringed instruments that started out as early as 1864. They produced thousands of instruments well into the 1930's. I have seen many high end banjo's, mandolins, tenors, and guitars. If you happen to come across one in Grandma's attic don't think it's a piece of junk. They are quite collectible in the market today.
I finished up a 1919 A-O style Gibson Mandolin. I had to re fret it and touch up some finish work on the sides. What a beautiful sounding instrument. The other instrument that the same owner brought to me was 1926 K-2 Gibson mandocello. Someone over the years had attempted to change the tuning machines and drilled out holes in the wrong locations. I ordered up some vintage style tuners and re-drilled the proper holes. I had to refinish the headstock and along with some other touch-ups and a setup, I finally got to play it. What a gorgeous tone! It is my new favorite instrument. I have just cut up some wood to start my own.. I will write a whole article on this instrument in the coming weeks.
I got an older 1960's Harmony guitar in for a setup and the cool thing about it was that it was made for the “Heath” company by Harmony. For those of you that are not familiar with the electronic Heath kits that you could buy in the 60's and 70's. Here's a brief history. The Heath company offered a whole host of electronic parts and also “kits” that the young electronic “geeks” could build in their spare time. I'm Sorry ! That's just what we called everyone that was sitting in there basements soldering electronic stuff back in the 60's instead of playing wiffle ball or football in the back yard.
I also re-fretted two guitars, One was a late 60's Goya, made in Italy. This guitar is also another gem from the past. Although this particular model isn't as high end as some other models it has great tone and now plays like dream, thanks to the new fret job. Many of these guitars were manufactured by either the Hagstrom co. or a company called Levin. The Goya brand has a place in the collectible market also. Some of the ones produced by the Hagstrom Co. can bring in pretty good money. Another guitar that has been a long time in coming to fruition is my friend's Kay Kraft that I have been restoring for a long time . It turned out great .
Besides some of the major stuff I have been busy with the everyday setups that come by. I setup a very nice Martin D-16 that my fiend just purchased. Sometimes guitars either sit on the shelf at the music store too long or somehow just miss out on getting setup properly at the factory, That is where I come in . Speaking of that , I would like to remind everyone that now is a good time to get on the schedule for a tuneup of your instruments because at the first of the year the rates to my shop will be going up a bit to fray the cost of of some of the ever expanding costs of doing business. (electric rates, insurance rates, parts, etc. you get the picture) If you can schedule now before the first of the year I can still guarantee the current rates that are posted on my website www.wood-n-strings.net.
So now I'm getting ready to go and listen to some good music (Village Peddler's Festival) at one of the few remaining outside festivals of the season. I hope you all are still enjoying a few of these events while you still can before the weather gets to cold to have them. Well until next time, please Stay in Tune!
Patrick from Wood-n-Strings/ Liam Guitars