The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    Hello, sorry for the mistakes, I do not know English well.

    I bought a rare Japanese archtop from the array when he arrived, then I found very serious cracks on the top. Today I was at the master, who told me that I need to make another top, and remove this one and throw it away. I consider this inappropriate, since it will be a different guitar. as I understand it. I have a question for people who understand these issues - is it possible to remove it, glue it and straighten it? And how difficult is the work, will the violin maker cope with it. If you have links to such cases, I will be very grateful.

    Thanks for answers.

    Vintage Japan archtop restoration-c1cf41ea-c98b-4efc-9042-c3eebb6be67d-jpg

    Vintage Japan archtop restoration-baf7dc77-d43e-42c6-b331-dfe06b0447d6-jpg

    Vintage Japan archtop restoration-66d1232b-1cac-4d44-bd9d-01beaacc330e-jpg

    Vintage Japan archtop restoration-91da7004-2273-4f96-8a07-a95166d8a42c-jpg

    Vintage Japan archtop restoration-93d4e5a8-1bc9-426e-88c5-05724a0dadf0-jpg

    Vintage Japan archtop restoration-71b8812d-c1fa-4d30-9ff7-4e0e540ae9d3-jpg

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  3. #2

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    No doubt the crack can be repaired

    https://shuriyaguitarcraft.com/galle...uitar-details/

    However, if you can find a luthier in your area who would take the job with confidence is another thing

  4. #3

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    What is the market price for that guitar in all original, very good condition? After you pay for all the work needed, with new top and finish cost, it will be worth about half of the value of the all original, very good condition guitar.
    I don't think you can do anything but lose by going forward. In addition, a newer Asian made in the last 15 years will likely out play the vintage at a fraction of the cost.

  5. #4

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  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by whiskey02
    I don't think you can do anything but lose by going forward. In addition, a newer Asian made in the last 15 years will likely out play the vintage at a fraction of the cost.
    Depends on who made the guitar. Japan has some exceptionally good luthiers. Their vintage hand-build guitars are expensive and highly sought after. Less known in the West of course. Better ask for a second opinion if it is a hand-build one.

  7. #6

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    I would repair the crack and set the guitar up to play as a guitar to play. It is completely lost any real value in the market and no extensive repair will be worth the trouble. Putting a new top on it is crazy that would cost more than the guitar complete is worth. This simply needs to be made to play with the least done to make it guitar to play in any kind of weather. I hate to give you the bad new but that is just where we are today in guitars.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark View Post
    [INDENT]Putting a new top on it is crazy that would cost more than the guitar complete is worth.
    Well, it does look as if it'd be a good idea to take the top off and treat full-length crack as an off-centre seam between 2 parts that were carved before joining. It might even be a good idea to tap-tune the repaired top, which makes it almost a new one...

  9. #8

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    I'd think it would be easier to take the back off rather than cut open the f-holes and repair them.

  10. #9

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    I've done repairs like this, and you can wind up with nice results. In some cases, I'll prefer to remove the back keep the joined neck and corpus intact. I would suggest you wait until the dry season to do this so it has the least chance of drying out (resplitting) when the guitar goes from humid season to dry.
    With the split so long and wide, there may likely be an option to match a thin spruce wedge in the cleaned out crack. It's going to be a long one on that repair, but it can be done.
    I take it there's a lot of sentimental value to this guitar? And you don't want to change the guitar's sound?
    There have been numerous times when re-topping a guitar is easier, and better, and certainly faster in some cases. I can also understand the luthier's reluctance because there's a chance that after all the work, you may not like the results and as a luthier, I don't like taking that much time and money when I know I could've done better from scratch.
    If it's an instrument built by a master who imparted a magic into it and you're conserving that luthier's touch, then yes, that's restoration.
    Weigh your options. It's a shame to write off a top on an instrument, but sometimes that IS the best route even if a repair is possible.
    If you find a luthier who can match the frequencies, then you can have a new top with the same feel.

    I was working with Al Carruth and Allan Block, a seasoned fiddler with an even more seasoned fiddle came in. His fiddle had been repaired so many times and the top was starting to sink. He said he wanted it repaired so the top was "unsunk". Al proposed a new top. But this violin had a feel he could never find on any other violin. But he trusted the luthier and said 'do your best, you can always put the old one back right?
    Popped the top, took the graduations, took the chladni patterns and nodal frequencies, matched the grain count and made another top which he carved to the same frequency signature. Then he stained and relic'ed each nick and gouge.
    When Allan picked up the fiddle, he played it and looked at it. Played it again for about 15 minutes and said "You didn't put a new top on this." It wasn't until Al went downstairs and brought up the original top, complete with dozens of patches and a wide range of repairs, that Allan's jaw dropped.

    You always have options. Find the luthier that has the chops for what you need and consider his/her best advice.

    I will note that from the first photo, there has been some serious collapsing and the curve of arching has lost a lot. Look at the original curve as indicated by the bottom of the bridge foot, then look at the mismatch in the top which should match perfectly. This bespeaks possible bracing failure or at the very least change in the wood over time in neglect. Read as: Far from a straightforward patch and cleat job.

  11. #10

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    I'm sorry to hear that. Did the seller misrepresent the condition of the guitar to you? Or was it damaged in shipping?

    If the seller misrepresented the condition do you have any recourse in sending the guitar back and recovering the amount you paid? If it was damaged in shipping could you file a claim against shipping insurance?

    I gather that you did not knowingly buy a guitar in this condition and that it came as an unpleasant surprise to you. If you paid by credit card perhaps it is time to get the credit card agency on your side.

    Fixing a broken guitar that you did not knowingly purchase as a broken guitar is not your responsibility.

  12. #11

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    That bridge base doesn't fit the top at all, but it may have been put back in place reversed. If so, the top is, probably was, rather unsymmetrical. The top can be fixed, at least to some extent, but it probably won't sound very good, and may not be stable under pressure even after repair. I tend to agree that a new top would be preferable. That said, you're going to be spending a lot of money for a guitar that may not be worth the money. I think I would try to get my money back for it and look for another.

  13. #12

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    How much did you pay?


    I found this info on the guitar, Mr Shiino from Vestax/D'angelico might have been involved as a consultant...Some of their models do fetch a good price : Attention Required! | Cloudflare. and this Argus DJ-23 Solid Carve L5 Jazz Archtop Hidesato Shiino ( | Reverb

    Tough call, there seems to be substantial top damage all the way to the neck....I guess the bridge was set for the picture only....I'd get second opinions from the best local luthiers.....and a thorough inspection of the rest of the guitar....

    There's also an excellent wiki on the should and shouldn't restore/repair Conservation and restoration of musical instruments - Wikipedia. Look at factors for and against near the end of the page..
    good luck

    Ray
    Last edited by RayS; 05-22-2022 at 12:38 PM.

  14. #13

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    Very curious as to how this happened. The times I've seen damage of this nature and degree, it was due to excessive downward pressure, being crushed under weight. And it was a whole lot worse inside.
    What's the story behind this guitar and its catastrophic history, Zokobrain?

  15. #14

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    Always interesting to se ongoing projects

    Just happened to see this ad Levin mod 185 walnut -30 #73531, beg. (Stockholm) - Jam.se

    From what i understand they have added a piece of wood to fill a crack in the top to save a unique swedish Levin archtop (or maybe its a flattop...). That guitar has a sound hole to work through though. Unusual banjo tuner solution.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swede View Post
    Always interesting to se ongoing projects

    Just happened to see this ad Levin mod 185 walnut -30 #73531, beg. (Stockholm) - Jam.se

    From what i understand they have added a piece of wood to fill a crack in the top to save a unique swedish Levin archtop (or maybe its a flattop...). That guitar has a sound hole to work through though. Unusual banjo tuner solution.