Monthly Archives: May 2010

Re-vibrating a guitar, pt II

Given that the guitar is now without strings, I took the opportunity to give the fretboard some care and attention. Step one: clean it up!

Clean fretboard

There, much better. I used a very simple method of cleaning: liquid dish washing detergent (is that the word?) in luke warm water, applied with a slightly abrasive sponge. Note that this can really dry out your fretboard, so make sure you do the following as soon as you have dried off the water:

Fretboard with oil (and focus)

Apply lemon oil to the fretboard, in this case made by Dunlop. As you can see I have rubbed down about half of the fretboard with the rag visible top right in the photo.

Finished fretboard

And this is the end result: a happy fretboard! I will make sure that any oil remaining on the surface is gone before I put on the new strings.

Acoustic fretboard

Less happy, however, is the fretboard on my acoustic guitar which has been given basically zero attention in nine years above some cursory scraping off of grime. As can be seen above, which is after some much needed cleaning, it is very very dry.

Oiled acoustic

It actually took two coats of oil for this guitar, the first coat was simply sucked into the wood immediately! I will keep it under observation, it would not surprise me if it needs one more eventually – maybe after the summer.

Next step is to string up the guitars again so I can begin practising, but that part is not all that interesting or photogenic. Eventually when I have the time and money I will get the new pickup installed and do a final update on my guitars for this time.

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Re-vibrating a guitar, Pt I

It is very high time to give my main guitar, a Hagström Swede reissue, some love and care and to install the new pickup I have bought for it. First, some de-dusting.

Hagström Swede

Here we are with the pickguard taken off. Dust, dust and then even more dust! The strings are not looking pretty, either.

Swede tailpiece

The strings are off and so is the tailpiece cover. Lots and lots of dust! Including what looks like saw dust under the clear plastic bit. That plastic part surprised me the first time I noticed it, and I can not help but feel it is a bit cheap looking. The string anchors are very firmly, um, anchored though, so I guess it does not matter.

Fretboard

This is the state of my fretboard I am embarrased to admit: very dirty! Also some clearly noticeable fret wear, though not very clear in this miniature.

Häussel P90

And now, time to install the new pickup! This is a humbucker sized P90 pickup that once had its home in a Ruokangas Mojo guitar. It was handmade by Häussel in Germany or Ruokangas in Finland: matters are a bit unclear but both are fine with me! I found it used in a music store webshop and have been eyeing it for about a year and now it is finally here.

So, out with the old: the Hagström Custom 58 humbucker is unscrewed – and then immediately screwed back as I realise I need to access the control area in the back.

Like so. And this is where I realise I am in over my head and need to have a professional person do the rest. I could probably pull off some basic soldering, but a Swede has an additional tone switch which adds a great deal of extra wires. I would only do harm here! Besides, I need someone to have a look at the neck relief as well as I have some string buzzing and a truss rod that will not move a millimetre. Thus: a phone call to be made tomorrow.

Stay tuned for the exciting resolution of this adventure! Future modifications include adding a Bigsby B7 vibrato and an Earvana compensated nut. Maybe a new bridge pickup: I rarely use it, so I’m not sure about that yet.

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