Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Holiday H1214 Archtop – Part III

One of the defining features of an archtop guitar is the tailpiece. If ever there was an opportunity to showcase an instrument, this is it!  The one I had on my Holiday was way out of proportion; it just seemed too small for this old guitar. After making sure the electronics worked and setting the intonation at the bridge, it was time to do something about that tailpiece. After searching on eBay for a few days, I came across this one:

Back to the shed with my new tailpiece in hand, I marked up the holes to go into the end block. This tailpiece even covers up all of the old holes. After drilling the pilot holes and a few turns of a screw driver, I reattached the strings, and was pleased to find that the weight of this tailpiece was just right. Not only does it look right, she feels balanced with this heavier tailpiece.

After another bridge intonation adjustment, I plugged her in to my humble home recording studio and was pleased to find that the new tailpiece even added some sustain to this old guitar.

It has almost been a year since I've done any work on this guitar.  The short scale length make it lots of fun to play, and it has a bright, clear tone.  I've even made some amateur audio recordings with it, including a virtual multi-track jam with my friend Richard in New York.

Shortly after replacing the tailpiece, I started work on my current project, a 50-ish year old Harmony Sovereign. That's her in the upper-left corner of the picture below. While shopping for replacement parts for the Sovereign, I came across what should be the last of the parts I put on this Holiday: a set of Imperial-style gold tuning pegs, a gold "Les Paul" style jack plate and some black ABS binding. The Imperial-style tuning pegs are already on, and I put the gold Grover-style set on my Samick Dreadnought. Installing the new jack plate and binding on this old guitar are on hold for now, until I get to putting the replacement back binding on the Sovereign this summer or fall.

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