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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

'64 Guild F-212 twelve strings acoustic guitar restoration: Maestro Roberto Lanaro almost completed the job...

Maestro Roberto Lanaro - a friend and my trusty luthier for ALL my instruments since early '80s - received few months ago a restoration job request from yours truly.

I bought by chance a nice, yet quite battered, '64 Guild F-212 12 strings acoustic... I bought it because I loved its scuffed, humble work-horse appearance.

The previous owner(s) were not too tender with "her"... they hardly picked the top spruce down to bare wood near pickguard, there was a little damage to spruce top and a true "genius" installed a set of black Mini-Grover's tuning machines, usually used in electric guitars (see pixes...).

Something more? ... yes, of course... the headstock was (badly) re-routed to instal the above ugly Grover's, and the headstock back mahoganny was cracked.

... but, hey, it costed to me peanuts, so well worth some lovingly executed overhaul and restoration, at last.

First stroke was finding (at Hans Moust, the Guild's guru from The Netherlands) a N.O.S./N.I.B. Grover's V-312C Sta-Tite tuning machines from the sixties; then, after obtaining a "Go!" from luthier extraordinaire Frank Ford about the way to restore the poor headstock with "Guild" logo, ruined by the awful black Grover's installation - i.e. he hinted to go for an ebony headstok faceplate without loosing time with cheap "wannabe/original" black plastic like it was originally fitted... exactly what Roberto hinted.

Appreciating the wisdom of both Maestro Ford and Lanaro... I was in business!

My luthier ordered two german made solid ebony headstock plates (one as a spare...) with old-style "Guild" angled logo, with no "Chesterfield" as it was on original and on my '65 Guild F-312 Adirondack/Brazilian Rosewood 12-strings.

The german made parts were a long wait, but worth it... in the meantime, Roberto completed the other restorations, including the filling in mahoganny of old headstock "wrong" tuning machines holes, ready for the correct Grover Sta-Tite's routing and installing ...

An ugly duckling returned at its shiny rank and beauty, after 45 or so years of hard work on the roads, an overseas air-flight and some bad-tasting abuses.

Will receive it back from luthier workshop in next hours... can't resist in publishing some pictures of the new ebony layered headstock (and an ugly, nasty pix of how it looked before...).

A labour of love.


Tom Johston said...

I mean no offense by my comments but that's probably how it will come across.

First, I hate to be picky but you really should spell-check your writing. It's really poor.

As for your guitar: I am not a luthier but I have a 1967
Guild F212 that was in far worse condition than your guitar and I did much more extensive repairs than yours required and they came out better than the ones you show. In fairness, I have many years of experience in woodworking and repairing fine antiques but the repairs you had are very basic. You didn't need a luthier and I hope you didn't pay much for the work you had done.

You seem to knock the Mini Grovers and I agree with you that the black ones look terrible. But I would have replaced the black tuners with Chrome Grover Mini Tuners simply because they are far better tuners than the crumby in-line tuners that the guitar originally came with. Nickel or gold would be options too but I think gold looks best on fancy guitars with lots of inlays, etc. It's a little dressy for an F212, in my opinion. I threw away the crappy original in-line tuners and used the Mini tuners and it was a huge improvement. In fact, new Guild 12-strings use the Minis and most people replace the in-line tuners with Minis on older F212 guitars because it is an improvement. On the other hand, whoever put the Grovers on your guitar did a terrible job of aligning them and you are right that black looks silly.

On my guitar, I had to repair a spit headstock, install a new headstock veneer (as original), repair a crack in the back, make a new pick guard, re-glue some ribs, refinish the entire guitar, and replace the tuners. I gave it many hand-rubbed coats of oil and it is incredibly beautiful now - much more beautiful than original. It makes the cheap original lacquer finish look terrible by comparison. I took it to a luthier who reset the neck and setup the guitar. He commented that my work was as good as any he had ever seen and that the guitar was one of the finest sounding 12-strings he had ever heard. I showed it to a professional musician who plays a super-expensive 12-string and he was absolutely amazed at how it sounded, looked, and played. He practically drooled on it!

I like your headstock veneer but I also like the replacement that I was able to locate and it has the original Marlboro inlay. I think it is made of a better material than the original which I agree looked like cheap plastic.

In my opinion, you should have left the tuner holes alone and replaced the ugly black Mini Grovers with a new set of chrome Mini Grovers instead of those crumby in-line open tuners. All that would have required would be to fill the old screw holes that hold the tuners in place and make new holes. When done right, it's invisible. The Minis not only look better, but they are simply better tuners.

twogoodears said...

Dear Tom... no offense at all... I love swapping ideas from knowledged people with a skill and an attitude... not my case, unfortunately.
My choice for N.O.S. Grover's Sta-Tite is a matter of proper restoring with period-compliant parts... sure not any Mini-Grovers fulfill this.
I paid a small amount of money on this restoring... no need for neck reset and the sound... it's maybe the best sounding of my 12 strings.
So, I'm sure your '67 to be a winner... and I'm happy for you.
When I write on my Blog, I'm mostly writing for myself... if someone read or not it's nor up to me, neither something I'm in tears if I go unread for years... so, humbly, "my" F-212 little overhauling is not intended to became a Don Teeter or Frank Ford compendium;-)
It's a little statement of being content having found a well sounding guitar.
I hate to say and being picky as well... please trust I'm much more fluent in my mother-language - italian.
My basic english allows me to be in touch with people around the world and that's pretty enough for me, as I'm after my interests and sharing them... next life, maybe, I'll get better;-)

For same reason I don't care if someone says my F-212 (or F-312 or F-112...) is the best 12 strings and drool on it or not... I have and cherish my own tastes and "know" when "something" is good (or not)...
Thanks for your message, Tom, enjoy you '67s and best regards.

Unknown said...

Twogoodears, I truly like the authentic tuners that you took the care to return to you F212. I am currently restoring a 1965 F312, and will loearn a lot doing it. But your completed project is a beauty that is a good one to hang onto for playing and to appreciate. Craig.

twogoodears said...

Thanks a lot, Craig... I also own, by chance, a '65 Guild F-312... small world, as not so many were done, don't you?!?!
Best wishes for your restoration project... and Season's Greetings,