The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    I'm working with a luthier to replace the horrible pickguard on my LH-650 with a 3-ply laminate (maple sandwiched between 2 strips of nicely veined ash painted near black). I'm going for a design that leaves the right f-hole uncovered as much as possible.

    3 quick questions:
    - does anyone have or know where to find a template I can print 1:1?
    - I'm telling myself this can only have a positive effect on the (acoustic) sound, but will it be audible?
    - I was a bit surprised to be able to feel the output sound up to about 10cm above the (left) f-hole. Has anyone every measured air pressure there?



    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    When I removed the pickguard from my Heritage Eagle to fix something there was a small but noticeable increase in volume. So there is an effect. Whether it matters in a real situation is another matter. Since it holds the pickup and volume pot, removing it is not really an option, but it would be nice to replace it with something narrower.

  4. #3

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    My PU is attached to the neck extension. I've ordered a WD 500w (or something like that ) pot, basically a budget version of the Schatten thumbwheel pot. It'll be glued underneath, for which there should be plenty of space. I guess we'll see that when we get there

    I'm drawing up something based on a mosquito wing shape as we speak.

  5. #4

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    Here's a 1st draft that I quite like; I don't think I've ever seen a PG of this shape either:
    Attached Images Attached Images Of f-holes, pressure and pickguards-pg-study-wing-jpg 

  6. #5

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    @sgosnell: re: mounting the thing: I'll just use the existing mounts: the bracket which is just visible, and the screw that goes through the top into the block underneath. I punched holes in the cardboard at the (approximate) locations of the screws; I presume we'll be using the existing PG as a template to drill the holes at their exact location.

  7. #6

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    I deleted my post, because I was confused by the photo. I thought I saw a mounting ring, but it appears to just be a reflection of the pickup on the top, no ring so no possibility to use non-existent screws. Nevermind.

  8. #7

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    No, the pickup is a Kent Armstrong, fixed to the next extension with 2 braces (and 4 screws).

    One of the sources of buzz I got the guitar with was a contact area between the PU and the pickguard, so I'm going to keep the 2 as uncoupled as I can. There's going to be a thick rubber washer under the PG and around the screw that goes through the top. Thicker that what's there now (a bit of polyvinyl aquarium hose?) so hopefully I will no longer need to put a piece of leather underneath to keep the wires off the top.

  9. #8

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    So, new pickguard day it is!

    Custom-made 5-layer dark-grey tainted ash with a single layer of smoked oak in centre, rounded off at the rim so the oak appears as a binding.

    Glueing the WD pot underneath was a bit of a challenge (underside is not varnished to prevent warping) and we had to open the 90° angle of the brace a bit to prevent anything from touching. It actually got opened a bit too much and hindered my picking. Rather than bending it back or bending the far end downwards to give the PG the usual slant away this was corrected by loosening the screw holding the brace into the body a bit. That bothers me a bit but this isn't supposed to be a (significant) load bearing structure anyway.

    The wire goes down through the upper circle of the f-hole, just as planned.

    There was some coming and going and a (probably) well-meaning "hoverer" so in the end I find myself with a volume pot that increases the volume turning CCW and not turning CW as just about every other volume pot. I'll just have to remember that it works as a tap

    Oh, the photos ...
    (sorry for any stiff necks; the pics do show up as they should on my phone?!)

    Of f-holes, pressure and pickguards-img_7480-jpg

    Of f-holes, pressure and pickguards-img_7481-jpg

    Of f-holes, pressure and pickguards-img_7482-jpg

    Of f-holes, pressure and pickguards-img_7486-jpg

    And in the workshop:
    Chrislutherie - Chrislutherie added a new photo.

  10. #9

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    Very nicely done!

  11. #10

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    BTW, those are a De Oro "flamenco loco" guitar support, and an Armadillo arm rest.

  12. #11

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    The reason for the backwards volume control is reversal of the connections for the ground and output hot wire. As I said, it's easy to get them reversed, because up and down can be confusing. That's why I always check this before attaching the thumbwheel to the guitar, and why I use mounting tape. I'd bet you get it right on the next one. And you know there will be a next one.

  13. #12

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    Oh, I know why, and given how things were progressing (and the price we agreed upon) I didn't want to pester Chris into changing the wiring - I actually got the impression this is how he usually wires them.
    The 3M tape he had (5mm wide) seems like a RPITA to work with, hard to get the red protective cover off and hard to manipulate without touching with your fingers. In the end we had to put a squarish patch of other DS tape on the (untreated) wood to get a proper attachment.

    Seeing him use a soldering iron on an overcrowded workbench I remembered coming across "cold solder" years ago, a kind of conductive, quick setting glue. I never used it, but it could be a boon in this kind of situation; did you ever try?

    Why would I want to change the set-up on this guitar as long as it continues to work? I'll be toying with mixing in the electric sound now that I have a 2-channel interface that will allow me to do so but I plan to remain an acoustic player above all.

  14. #13

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    The 3M mounting tape isn't hard to work with at all, with a little practice. For this application, you strip off the cover from one side and put it on the thumbwheel, then the other side and stick it into place. You only need to touch the edge with your nails, and even if you touch a little more with your fingers it's not a problem.

    Solder absolutely will not work. It's conductive, so it will short everything together. Hot glue might work, but getting the glue gun inside the guitar is a problem. Mounting tape. That's what it was invented for. It holds securely enough, but it can be removed without damaging the wood, unlike adhesives, and reapplied with a new strip. There is nothing better, IMO. But whatever works...

    You don't need to change anything for that guitar, but surely you don't intend to have just one. That is not normal.

  15. #14

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    Erm, it wouldn't occur to me to solder anything to wood. My question about cold solder was for soldering (stripped) wires to each other or to (metal) contacts...

    If and when I have money and space for another guitar it'll be for a nylon string archtop. Until then I'm going to try very hard to restrain myself (but I might sell the jumbo...)

    Nails were exactly what was missing for handling the tape. So ultimately "we" unrolled a bit of the tape, got the cover off somehow, cut and discarded the sticky piece that had been touched, and then used the now free bit of protective cover as the main manipulation handle.

  16. #15

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    If no nails, a knife or scapel blade works even better. I've never tried cold solder for making wire connections. Standard soldering techniques have worked for me for 60 years or more. It ain't rocket science, it just takes a little practice and steady hands. I have the former, the latter isn't what it once was, but still adequate.

    Trying very hard to restrain oneself is not a guarantee of success. Trust me on that.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    Trying very hard to restrain oneself is not a guarantee of success. Trust me on that.
    I have help in that department, with frequent questions if I bought another guitar, AGAIN. Last times when I was seen leafing the brand history brochure Pyramid shipped with custom strings order, and when I held up the Loar to show the new pickguard (I think she still finds it looks ... vulgar).

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    The 3M mounting tape isn't hard to work with at all, with a little practice. For this application, you strip off the cover from one side and put it on the thumbwheel, then the other side and stick it into place. You only need to touch the edge with your nails, and even if you touch a little more with your fingers it's not a problem.
    With the red still on both sides, I cut the tape to size with a single edge razor blade or an Exacto knife, depending on whether I need a straight, sharp cut or a shaped one. Then I use a small, sharp, thin knife blade to lift the red cover from one side of the tape without touching it. I hold the tape down with a fine forceps. If the piece is too big to lift and position with the forceps, I either use two or tightly roll a small piece of masking tape to use as a self-adhesive handle on the side with the red cover tape still in place.

    Other tips: automotive gasket hole punches are sharp enough to cut round pieces of 3M hi tack tape with the red intact. These little dots are great for irregularly shaped parts. If you need to remove a piece secured with double sided hi tack adhesive tape, use dental floss. Touching the adhesive surface can weaken or reduce duration of a good bond - you’ll find out a year or two down the line if you’ve done this, so it pays to be careful.

    Once the loose part is secured to the exposed adhesive side, I use the thin blade to remove the red from the other side and position the part in its place.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit
    With the red still on both sides
    The one we worked with came rolled up into a large, thin wafer without as much as a spindle in the centre...

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by RJVB
    The one we worked with came rolled up into a large, thin wafer without as much as a spindle in the centre...
    That’s how they all come. I have it in multiple widths and thicknesses in black and clear - it’s really useful! I even mounted a home built, tub-to-ceiling Lexan shower shield with it, and that sucker’s been up for 5 years so far.

  21. #20

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    We all have CFOs who disapprove of our gear purchases, at least most of us. Learning how to manipulate them is part of the process. If you haven't, you need to.

  22. #21

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    @RJVB: Good work! I did something similar with a Robelli archtop about five years ago. The wood I used is single-ply, can’t remember the specific type but it’s an exotic hardwood of some sort. What you see it its natural color; I added no varnish/polyurethane. The original (stock photo, not my guitar) is on the right, the new with the hidden volume and tone controls is on the left. Getting those knobs out of the way was huge from an ergonomic standpoint

    Of f-holes, pressure and pickguards-16bc3c74-b7a4-4738-aae9-cfce4265a74b-jpeg

  23. #22

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    I see you also left more of the treble f-hole exposed; did you notice any improvement in the acoustic sound?

  24. #23

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    FWIW this home-brew guard on my Eastman El Rey 4 mounts through the pickup-ring holes (which slightly longer screws).

  25. #24

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    @Sam Sherry: that’s beautiful! Looks fantastic. Is it rosewood?

    @RJVB: I did not notice any difference in acoustic sound. Then again I’m the one playing it, so I don’t hear it from “out front” - and it’s virtually always plugged in for ensemble playing, so any acoustic differences would not register in that context.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by coyote-1
    @Sam Sherry: that’s beautiful! Looks fantastic. Is it rosewood?
    Sorta. It's zircote, cordia dodecandra ,which is sometimes sold as 'Mexican rosewood' although it's not a true dalbergia. Pretty, yah?

    Search EBay for "guitar headplate" to find a wide variety of attractive pieces pre-sawn to be thick enough for use as pickguards or laminated-up as you wish.
    For example, in this listing $11.00 US gets you a piece big enough to make two pickguards.

    It's really easy.
    The tools are few and common, the work is exceptionally straightforward and there's no finishing required.
    The results are attractive and your guitar will look unique!