Saturday, April 30, 2011

Martin C-1 C-2 C-3 1931-1933? (I didn't build this)

A co-worker let me borrow this guitar with the requirement that I find out what it is, what it's worth, and play it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Vintage Gretsch Phase II- Coloring

I ran over the body quickly with 400 grit, 800 grit, and finally 2000 grit paper to get rid of some irregularities in the remaining paint. I think someone had already tried repainting this guitar and did an awful job because the inside of the guitar is covered in this gross bluish overspray. It's a shame, because they sprayed over the original label too. Also, this junk probably deadens the vibration somewhat, so I will figure out a way to get rid of it. Maybe some steel wool affixed to a probing arm of some sort... in the future. I tried using some MIXOL tinting paste to color the exposed maple of the Gretsch. I was originally going to use some high quality dyes, but I thought I'd try this first because it was cheaper and the description seemed to be right. This stuff worked out really well... it covers enough, but allows enough grain to show through. The darkened olive tint still works on the back and sides, but I used a lime green tint to get that funky green on the top. Also, there was a chip on the upper right corner of the headstock which I'm gluing a piece into, hence the blue tape.

Vintage (EARLY '60's) Gretsch Anniversary Model

So, this guitar is basically my dream project: taking a vintage Gretsch archtop and restoring it to its former grandeur. This particular model was apparently a step down from the nicer 6120's, etc., which means that it isn't nearly as valuable. This means I can drill holes without guilt. The original colors of this guitar (as seen above) were so heinous that a previous owner, in a fit of rage and disgust, stripped all of the paint and parts off, leaving the guitar for dead in its case. That weird light green vs. olive green... it's certainly distinctive. And as a solid paint job... it's weird, but not interesting enough to me. I want to see some grain. Since the guitar has been cosmetically abused, I will take some liberties; I'm staining the natural wood approximate colors. I'm going to sand the body down slightly, but leave many of the dark patches of color as a relic of what the guitar had been. The only significant physical alteration I will have to make will be drilling a hole for another TV Jones classic pickup to fit in. I will use 1 pickup selector switch, 1 tone knob, and I will drill a hole in the large pickguard to install a volume knob (without drilling into the guitar top). This might seem like a bad place for a volume knob as it may be hit if the guitar was being strummed, but I think it will be handy for quick volume changes and interesting technical effects. My picking / strumming style isn't wild and loose, so accidental volume shifts should not be an issue.