I like fixing thing. Some of my friends/relatives might say it is an obsession (South Low, the Series 2B, clocks and now guitars!).
I thought at one time I would like to make a guitar from scratch. I bought an excellent book on how to do this and very soon realised that it might not be such a good idea. Life (that is, what’s left!) is too short and a whole lot of new tools would need to be made or purchased. So next best, I would buy up cheap ‘broken’ guitars on eBay and fix them; I have not paid more than £15 which is often exceded by the carriage costs. I have got a lot of satisfaction and understanding on how guitars are put together and also how different they can sound.
BM (Barnes & Mullins) Sevilla
My first 'refurbishment' purchase was a BM (Barnes & Mullins) Sevilla. B&M import and distribute Admira guitars with the same name. The Sevilla is still marketed although now has a solid cedar top. The one I have is laminated but otherwise looks very similar.
It was in a seriously bad way when I received it. The bridge was almost detached from the soundboard, the soundboard and the back were also parting company with the sides of the guitar. There were also a few minor knocks and scrapes and the tuning pegs needed replacing.
It took a few weeks and quite a bit of experimentation but it is now playable and actually sounds quite good. However my attempts a lacquering were disappointing and the finish is not so good.
I have also fitted it with a piezo pickup under the bridge saddle; the sound is poor through an amplifier and it might not have been such a good idea.
Half size guitar
"Guitar junior half size classical (spares or repair) new but neck broken - buy in now, £4.99". That is how it was described. I re-glued the neck and it is now living with Jasmine and Leo. It is not easy for an adult to play but the sound, for what it is, is not bad. It might justs encourage one of them to take up the guitar when thay are a bit older.
My third acquisition was a Delgada DCG-35 Classical Guitar marketed by Hobgoblin Music. It has a solid cedar top, rosewood fingerboard, wood binding and, what particularly attracted me, a piebald ash body. It was generally in good condition BUT the fretboard/neck had bowed backwards (away from the strings) and the previous owner, I guess trying to make it playable, had raised the bridge saddle, and broken the bridge.
Using “Titebond” I glued the bridge parts together, rather than attempting to replace it (it worked!). I then tensioned the neck, using strings and weights, to try and encourage it back to the shape it should be. After several months (yes, months!) the fretboard was eventually flat although still with quite a low action. Keeping it strung and in tune it has been pusuaded to keep its shape. It now plays quite nicely although the tone is not as pleasing as the Yamaha or the Flamenco.
This was described as “Nice, old KAY Model KC-333 Classical Guitar MADE IN GDR (German Democratic Republic) and believed to date from the mid-to-late 1970s. Lovely, full-sounding guitar with bags of character!” A fair enough description although full-sounding might be considered an overstatement.
However, that is not why I bought it. It was apparent from the eBay photos that the fretboard was fairly worn and I wanted a guitar to practice planing down the fretboard and re-fretting before I attempted the same on the Ryioji Matsuoka. So, for £12.99 it seemed worth it and I will end up with a cheap plywood, but playable, guitar. Bags of character? - well perhaps not. For some reason I also acquired another almost the same for £10
Vicente Tatay Thomas
Another eBay acquisition again for £15. Considerable confusion over the purchase as I did not win the auction but someone in Puerto Rico did who backed out when he found the cost of carriage was going to be "£100s"! I picked it up from Preston when we were on the M6 travelling north.
I have recorded the refurbishment of this guitar more than previous ones so I have put together a separate page; click here Vicente Tatay Tomas