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Repair Spotlight: 1931 Martin OM-28 Bridge Repair


Repair Spotlight: 1931 Martin OM-28 Bridge Repair

Underneath a layer of overspray was this beautiful, original Martin 1931 OM-28 bridge, with all the contours and craftsmanship that we admire in these vintage guitars. Jim slowly cleaned out the over-cut string slots in order to fill them with new pieces of ebony to correct the breakover angle. While the shop has fabricated hundreds of replacement belly bridges over the years, and have all gotten quite good at it, we're always striving whenever possible to save the original appointments and details of vintage guitars such as this OM.

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Repair Spotlight: Andy McKee - Greenfield Harp Guitar Repair


Repair Spotlight: Andy McKee and Mike Horan

Life on the road can be rough for the touring musician, but even more so for their instruments! Friend of the store Andy McKee has been jet-setting around the world, playing his unique combination of top-tapping, fingerstyle and percussive acoustic guitar, and his gear has logged some serious miles with him. Unfortunately, the headstock on the bass side of his Greenfield HG Harp Guitar broke off while traveling back to Kansas. General/Repair Manager Mike Horan came up with a clean, elegant solution for repairing this truly unique instrument and let us tag along in this installment of the Repair Spotlight.

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Next Day Service on Guitar Setups


Next Turnarounds on Setups at Mass Street Music

The Repair Shop has been working hard this summer. Streamlining procedures, honing of skills, and bringing on more staff has resulted in some serious good news for you! Starting August 8th we're excited to offer Next Day Service, Monday through Thursday, on Guitar Setups and Restrings. Drop of any guitar for a restring or setup and we'll have it ready for you the very next day! 

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Repair Spotlight: Swimming Pool Route


Swimming Pool Route - HH Strat

The Repair Shop here at Mass Street is always up for a challenge when it comes to satisfying the requests and mods of our customers. This time around Matt H. was tasked with turning a three pickup Stratocaster into a dual humbucker configured guitar. The easiest way to accomplish this was routing out the entire pickup cavity, and creating what's known as a swimmming pool route. After carefully measuring, and marking out exactly what material will be removed from the body, Matt then setup a custom template/jig for drilling and routing out the excess material.

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Repair Spotlight: Gypsy Braces


Repair Spotlight: Panel Door
The Repair Shop sees their fair share of instrument disasters. Dropped, kicked,   water damaged, dried out are just a few of the many maladies that can befall a perfectly good guitar. When this particular Gypsy Jazz acoustic showed up in the shop it provided a new level of challenge in exactly how they were going to not only gain access to the top crack, but also how to get inside and clamp the braces. On a traditional dreadnought style guitar, the sound hole provides access for luthiers to make such structure repairs. But on a "Petite Bouche" guitar there's no way to stick a hand or clamps inside to glue things up. After sizing up the repair it was determined that taking the back off the guitar would be prohibitively expensive. As an alternative the decision was made to cut a panel to gain access to the damage. Click through for photos documenting the process.

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Repair Spotlight: New Banjo Old Tricks


There is no end to the unique requests that come through the Mass Street repair shop. Everything from gluing down a stubborn bridge, to restringing an elaborate lute, to performing free setups on new gear, the guys will do just about anything to keep your instruments performing. Sitting less than 10 feet from the shop I'm constantly amazed by the unique instruments that come through, and more importantly the craftsmanship required to make the right fix, using the right materials, the first time.

Recently, a customer wanted to have the synthetic head replaced with a natural skin banjo head on their open back. The thought being that the skin banjo head would give the instrument a much more natural and subdued tone, which fits in perfectly with frailing or clawhammer style playing. Mass Street Luthier Matt H was up for the challenge in retrofitting this particular banjo.

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Repair Spotlight: 1927 Martin 0-42 from Jim's Bench


vitnage 1927 Martin 0-42 guitarThis beautiful, no crack, vintage 1927 Martin 0-42 guitar is fresh off Jim's bench after getting a little TLC. He's owned this guitar for many years and has just recently started prioritizing some of these special guitars for restoration. Really fine guitars with primarily playability issues are some of his favorite projects. This 0-42 guitar has some obvious play wear on the top, but no rough use or damage. He very carefully removed and reset the neck, reglued the bridge, added a new bridge saddle and dressed the original bar frets. It was clear that this was a fine sounding guitar, even with the very high action, but now being playable once again, it's prime for every day playing for the next 88 years. It is currently on hold for a customer from Houston, but if he passes, it will be up for sale.

 

vintage 1927 Martin 0-42 guitar full body

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Repair Spotlight - Vintage Washburn Acoustic Guitar


Nye and luthier Mike Horan with restored vintage Washburn guitar

Mass Street Music luthier Mike Horan recently restored this circa 1900s Washburn acoustic guitar, a 'Style 1897' model. It was brought in by Mike Nye, whose grandfather gave it to him in 1967, when Nye was just 12 years old. 

 

Nye and sister with the Washburn guitar

When he received it, it had been well-loved and was no longer playable, so Nye, at 12, set about fixing it himself, even refinishing it. “He did a pretty good job at the time, especially for a youngster,” luthier Horan said.

Almost 50 years later, it was again in need of some major restoration and repair. This time Nye wanted it done right and researched many places before choosing Mass Street Music's Repair Shop - and he couldn't be happier with the results.

When it arrived at Mass Street, the bridge was bolted to the top and the guitar (likely braced for gut strings originally) was showing the strain of being strung with steel strings for many years. It had a multitude of cracks, some of the bracing was not intact, and the tail block was broken, among other things. Several of the back cracks had been glued unevenly as well.

serial number and label for Washburn 1900s guitar

“It was a mess,” Mass Street Music luthier Mike Horan said. Mike actually removed the back of the guitar so he could get to everything that needed to be repaired. He spliced Rosewood into some of the cracks, repaired them all, fixed the ladder bracing, and added a bridge plate to the top while the back was still off. He put new back binding on as well, after he put the guitar back together. The neck also got some TLC with a reset and refret. A new bridge was also added.

Mass Street Music repair luthier explaining guitar care

Mike talked to Nye about caring for the restored instrument in the coming years, went over humidification, recommending our favorite Kyser humidifier and telling Nye to watch the action. Nye asked if Mike would miss the guitar after having done so much work to it.
“Well, some guitars you get done with and you just want to play it. It's ladder braced, not as powerful as scalloped, but has a really nice resonance with a sweet high end. It sounds great, particularly for this size and being ladder braced,” Mike said.

Mike horan, luthier checking out his handiwork

“This is awesome!” Nye said of the restored Washburn guitar. He was anxious to share it with his dad, who has been sick for some time. “I can't tell you how excited I am to be able to show this to him tomorrow.” Nye is ready to play some tunes for his dad on the guitar, which is now ready for the next several generations.

Nye with his restored 1900s Washburn acoustic guitar

Mike Nye and his sister did indeed play the guitar for their dad - check it out here or click the image below. 

Nye and sister playing restored Washburn guitar for father

 

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