Thursday, June 13, 2013

Holiday H1214 Archtop – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

You know you can't hold me forever
I didn't sign up with you

The time had come, I needed to make room for another guitar.  Since my kids are still too young to move out of the house, and I was not about to add on a room, it was time to say goodbye to one of These Old Guitars.  After thinking it through for a few weeks, I decided I would list my Holiday Archtop for sale.

This was the first project guitar I had worked on in recent years, between October of 2008 through when I made some home digital recordings with her in September of 2010.

Before listing her on eBay, there were a few things that I had not yet gotten back to fixing and upgrading, as well as some other things that needed some attention.  It  was also time for a good cleaning and polishing.  I suppose someone would be willing to buy her as-is.  Instead of offering her  in her present condition, I wanted to offer her as a finished project, and something more representative of my current guitar repair and renovation capabilities.

Over the years, I had swapped out her tuners twice.  First, I had replaced the original 3+3 on a strip open-backed tuners with the individual Grover button tuners I had borrowed from another guitar.  When it came time to give those Grovers back, I had put a set of imitation Grover Imperial tuners on the Holiday.  Although they looked good, the rectilinear styling did not go well at all with her curvy tailpiece, and her relatively small headstock made tuning her with these relatively wide peg buttons a challenge.

I set out to simply replace the Imperial tuners with another set of button tuners.  But, with all of the tuners removed, I realized I was about to add a third set of screw holes into the rear of her worn headstock.

So, I filled in the extra screw holes by gluing in some oak.  I left just enough excess wood to be able to trim the repairs flat with a sharp blade and some light sanding.

Her end block area was in similar condition.  I had replaced her very utilitarian stock tailpiece and friction-type celluloid end pin with very decorative pieces of gold plated hardware.  This was the right time to fill in the extra holes in this area as well.

With a little sanding, a 5/16-inch oak dowel filled the original tapered end pin hole.

While waiting for all the glue to dry, I moved over to upgrading the output jack.  The tasks here were to swap out the chrome hardware for a gold jack, and add a matching Les Paul style mounting plate.

To attach the grounding shield to the plate, I removed the gold plating in a small area and roughened up the exposed metal with some #60 grit sandpaper.

Next came tinning the stripped wires and soldering the three connections to the assembly.

After checking the fit and electrical continuity with a patch cord, and enlarging the hole in her side, I predrilled the screw holes.  Getting back to the neck and end block area, I trimmed and sanded down the repairs...

...and installed all of the gold hardware...

I also had to reattach the nut before putting on some strings, so I took this opportunity to remove some excess glue still on the neck from last time.

When the glue had dried, I put on a coat of polish and lined up the floating bridge.  Some tape came in handy for holding the bridge in place while putting on a fresh set of strings.

Not too shabby looking for a playable 50 year old jazz box.  I brought her back into the house to let her acclimate for a few days, before setting her bridge height and intonation one more time.

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