This last weekend after the memorial service, my grandpa gifted me with two guitars he picked up at a yard sale for free. “They aren’t much,” he cautioned, “but all they need is some new strings and they’d work for a student or you can resell them or something.”

Love you, grandpa, but they needed a tad more than just new strings… 🙂 Thankfully, I like tinkering with instruments, and was grateful to have a small project to keep my hands busy.

Unfortunately, these poor instruments were used and abused. 😦

It really frustrates me when I come across instruments that have obviously not been treated well. I was raised to respect items of value, especially something as delicate and expensive as a musical instrument. Didn’t matter whether it was worth $50 or $500 or more — it deserved gentle treatment!

Whomever owned these poor instruments did not follow the same code as I. The one that still had strings was not only strung with steel strings instead of the nylon it was made for, but the strings were crossed over the headstock to the wrong tuning machines. (Can you tell I was appalled?) They had used a twisted wire to raise the saddle, which had weakened the delicate device so it broke in my hands when I removed it from the bridge. The other guitar was missing its saddle in addition to its strings. Add to both a layer of grime, chipped varnish and binding, and assorted dents and dings, and they become a very sorry picture indeed. Many may have pitched them in the trash at first look, but a careful inspection revealed no serious cracks in the construction, smooth fret edges, and decent resonance in the soundbox. They are not pretty, but I believe they are rescue-worthy.

Guitars 001Time for some TLC. I have strings and saddles on order, and while I wait for those to arrive, I gave each guitar a quick “bath” (a wipe-down with a damp rag, quickly followed by a hefty polish session with my guitar chamois). I used a razor blade to smooth the sharp edges on the worst of the chips in the finish and I adjusted the tuning machines so they didn’t rattle. Today I used some special gasket glue to fill the worst of the spots where the binding was missing — it’s a weird little experiment, but I wanted something to seal the holes  to keep the guitar’s side and back from separating right there. Husband helped me re-crown a couple frets that turned out to be flattened, and so now we wait for the rest of the parts.

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7 thoughts on “Sad guitars, part I

  1. Lovely thing to do Heather, glad your grandpa found them and gave them to you, maybe now, after you fix them up, they will get to be played, and cared for, the way they should have been from the start.

    1. That’s what I’m hoping. I’m going to keep one of them as “travel” guitar for myself for when I go camping and the like, so I know it will be taken care of! I haven’t decided what to do with the other, yet. BUT, I guess I need to remember that this is all dependent on whether they actually *play* after I get the parts & strings for them. 😛

  2. Glad you found a project that keeps you busy and employs your love of music and all that goes with it. Hope you’ll enjoy them or enjoy passing one along to foster that love of music in someone else.

  3. Sounds like they were meant to be in your possession. I would say it was a “God Thing” I will be waiting for an update to see if you are pleased with the results:))

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