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North Branch Instruments: Before & After

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Before
I bought this Morgan Monroe mandolin from a pawn shop in Florida. Once it was delivered to my shop I un-crated it and although the strings looked pretty spent on it, I tuned it up and played it for a short time. I soon decided it would need a new set of strings. The sound volume did not change much. I eventually removed the multi-layers of acrylic finish and found that the top was still quite thick. So using a pneumatic sanding gun and a Hacklinger Thickness Gauge, I brought the thickness of the top down to a reasonable thickness which really opened up the sound of this instrument. The new color scheme came from an early 1900 Gibson A that had that pumpkin color top and a sort of reddish-brown back and sides. I replaced the original bridge with a Randy Woods bridge and replaced the tuners with a nice set with ebony buttons.
 
After


Before
This is a 1958 Guild "Granada" X-50 that was brought into the shop to be re-furbished. Most of the original binding was missing and what was still attached was curled and brittle. All of the electronics were corroded and no longer usable. The finish was peeling off the back and sides. So I removed the old finish, installed new binding, sent it out to have the body sprayed, replaced the P-90 pickup, the tone and volume pots, and the output jack. I also found some "chickenhead knobs" to replace the ones either lost or broken.
 
After


Before
This Washburn MG-44 electric guitar had spent some time in the corner of a machine shop out of it's case. The first photo shows quite a bit of grime but the real project was to get the Floyd Rose style bridge cleaned up and working again. The after photo shows a more playable instrument.
 
After


Before
During the winter with its cold dry air, the wood stove keeps some of us toasty warm. But the heat and lack of humidity in the air raises issues with wood instruments. This is a 1922 Gibson Mandola that just "let loose" one day. The customer was actually playing it when it happened. The largest portion of the split on the top was 3/32 of an inch. I didn't even start the gluing process until I let the mandola sit in a room with 58% humidity for three weeks. That alone closed up the crack enough to make the rest of the repair process come together.
After


Before
The before photo tells it all. It really doesn't take much of a blow to the headstock to have this result. And I usually cringe when I see this because I can almost bet it was an accident and the person who owns this was most likely devastated. Some are repairable and some are not. Luckly this one was.
After


Before
This was a fun little project. The owner of this Epiphone "Sheraton" really love playing it, but he wanted a little different look. When he bought it, it had gold-plated hardware and exposed Humbucker pick-ups and he was wanting a more subtle look to it. So he bought all of the chrome-plated hardware and pick-up covers and asked me to make the conversion. It turned out just how he wanted it to look. Another happy customer.
After


Before
A customer came in with an eleven string lute and said that in the middle of the night he was awoken by such a sound that he didn't really know how to describe it. The next day he found the bridge to his lute as it appears in the first photo. I removed the part that was still attached and repaired the bridge as a whole. I cleaned up all the old glue and sanded the bridge footprint on the top so that I had a clean and even surface to work with and re-glued the bridge back on the instrument.
After




These are photos from different angles that I took of a replacement bridge that I made for a Lyons & Healy parlor guitar. The original bridge was fatigued and the saddle was needing to sit at a slightly different angle to correct the intonation. I would have liked to have filled and re-cut the saddle slot but there just wasn't enough room to get the correct angle. So I replicated the bridge and I also had to fill the original bridgepin holes on the top and bridge plate so that I could re-drill the new bridgepin holes in their new location.



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