Restorations

“You take our battered pieces of wood and string – the fragile devices that we use to pluck the passion from our souls – and you repair them. You put them back together, and make the
missing parts they need, so that we can once again feel the subtle vibrations that free our anguish and carry our dreams to the world.”- Laurie (Maleny, Qld.)

“Your craftsmanship is world class…” Stuart  (Thailand)

“You truly are a master craftsman. I think I might just start buy older guitars with issues & send them down to you for refurbishment. Thank you again…” Chris (Sydney)

70s Gibson Les Paul

My friend Darren brought this Les Paul to me to rectify a split in the poorly repaired neck.

After much discussion, we decided that the neck had to be replaced. However, as it’s just not possible to buy a new neck, the neck had to be remade and the fretboard and headstock overlay was going to have to be removed from the old neck and transplanted onto the new one. I removed the old neck and made a new one using a piece of Honduras Mahogany that matched the original neck wood. The fretboard and headstock overlay were glued on and the new neck installed. The guitar was then completely resprayed and reassembled

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1963 Fender Jaguar

63 Fender Jaguar restoration

This 1963 Fender Jaguar arrived in pieces in a supermarket bag. On closer inspection, most of the hardware was there and the switches and controls could be made workable. A pearl scratch plate had to be made as the replacement item did not go even close to fitting.

The body was refinished in its original yellow-red-black sunburst, the fretboard trued and refretted. The owner rejected an offer of several thousand dollars while the guitar was waiting to be picked up.

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Washburn Acoustic

Washburn AcousticThis guitar arrived with a seriously smashed in top as the result of a pub altercation. Fortunately, the damage was confined to the top only and a new top and bracing returned it to its original condition.

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Gibson Flying V

This instrument had been painted red with a big paint brush and house paint and then the owner had second thoughts and attempted to remove the new paint with a chisel…it was refinished in its original two pack polyurethane.

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1949 Gretsch “New Yorker”

I received this old Gretsch with its neck having already been removed to rectify a faulty neck angle. The angle was corrected, the instrument refinished and reassembled.

1949 Gretsch "New Yorker"

1969 Gretsch Double Anniversary

This guitar was bought by local Gretsch enthusiast and rather good rockabilly player, Lachlan Grant. Lachlan brought the guitar to me to have its missing binding replaced and be refinished in its original colours, matched from the remnants of the original. (I just love old Gretsches!)

Early 60's Gretsch Double Anniversery

Gibson Nighthawk neck repair

The Gibson had suffered the usual fate- it was propped up against the amp and it fell over…Because the break was so clean, the neck could be repaired with an almost imperceptible repair job and after refinishing, who could know it had been repaired? Not all neck breaks repair this well, though.

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And another Gibson- a 335 Dot that had fallen over with the usual result, but a limited repair budget.

But the repair is only visible in bright light. Under normal lighting- very hard to find the repair…

Acoustic guitar repair

The joys of solid timber guitars- the chance of a good repair is much better if I’m not trying to knit back together damaged plywood…

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1960′s Maton Lute guitar

Maton produced the Lute guitar in the late 60s, I suspect in response to the tear-drop shaped Vox MarkVI that Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones played.

The guitar had been traded in at Mid West Music some years ago and Russell asked if I could do something with it to make it more saleable. I couldn’t resist a challenge like that and, with a bit of research of old Maton catalogues, refinished it to its former glory. Harvey James from Maton spied it hanging in Mid West and it now graces the Board Room at Maton’s new factory in Clarice Road, Box Hill.

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1959 Fender Jazzmaster

This wonderful instrument has been in the Ballarat area since new and was brought to me by the current owner for restoration to its original three colour sunburst. It started life as  Tobacco Sunburst but was painted to match a Fiesta Red Strat sometime in the early Sixties. It was then repainted cream around the end of the decade.

Russ- the current owner- stripped back the paint on the back to determine its original colour.jazz-12

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No one can tell me whether or not Leo Fender ever signed the underside of scratch plates in the early days, but these initials penciled on the back of the Jazzmater’s  scratch plate certainly look like “LF”…

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Jasper’s guitar back to looking the way it did in 1959.

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Gibson ES125, 1949 model

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This old Gibson was badly in need of a repaired fretboard and a refret. The guitar wasn’t worn out- just played until it couldn’t be played anymore…

The old frets were removed, the fret board resurfaced, the fret slots recut and new frets installed.

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Back to almost as good as new …

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Maton Flamingo, 1963 model

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fl7Not what I’d call a restoration, but more of a refurbishment… This old Maton was totally original but the frets were badly worn and not much worked as it should.

The still perfectly straight neck was stripped of its old frets, the  fret board relevelled to remove severe wear and new frets installed. The guitar was reassembled and restrung and given a setup.

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Perhaps it’s  the “World’s Best Amp”- or just perhaps this old Flamingo wasn’t too bad a guitar to begin with…

If it was a 63 Strat- what would that be worth? Still its good to see old Matons have become collectible.

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Fender Telecaster Custom, neck date 3Nov66.

This 1966 Telecaster has been in the Ballarat area since new. It was painted to simulate George Harrison’s Rosewood Tele in the late 60s but Russell wanted to use it in the band so he brought it to me to be restored to its original sunburst. At the time we decided against the refret that was really needed to make it usable, but he brought it back to me a couple of weeks ago have the worn-out frets replaced.

I should have taken some “before” photos…

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Gibson SG Special, control date April 1974

This Gison SG Special had been living in a garage for quite some time and was brought to me to fix up for the owner’s nephew to learn on. After a bit of cleaning and repair, I thought ” a bit too good just to learn on…” and sought the advice of Darren from Guitar Emporium in Albert Park. Sure enough, a 74 model SG Special, and now in really good condition and also rather valuable. The owner’s brother thought that perhaps an e-bay guitar would be more appropriate to learn on. I had to agree…

Gibson J45, 1968 model

Belonging to a Geelong enthusiast of old Gibson acoustics, this guitar was brought to me essentially to be made workable again. It had a split in the back and all of the back braces were either split or broken away. But the major problem was the bridge that had been repaired a number of times but now needed remaking.

And after fabricating a new bridge, rectifying the brass inserts that the saddle sits in, making a new adjustable ebony saddle, piecing together the splits in the back and front and a refret, the old Gibson sings again…

Dan Waters’ Martin J40

Dan bought this Martin knowing that the headstock had been repaired, but when it was shipped out to Australia, the headstock had parted company with the rest of the otherwise beautiful guitar.

The only solution was to make and fit a whole new neck…

…and now it’s back in one piece again.

1960 Gretsch Country Club

Here’s a story I like….

Lachlan bought this guitar in Sydney in 1999…

…and brought it to me to be refinished in Gretsch orange.

The Country Club was sold in 2002 and Lachlan always regretted having done so.

But it reappeared at Guitar Emporium seven years later and Lachlan just knew he had to reclaim it!

And the old Gretsch was just as he sold it, still resplendent in its orange, with its 1960 Filter’trons intact…

1964 Fender Jaguar

And a nice little note from Chris from Sydney…