A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC
arumako
Posted 2018-01-25 11:10 AM (#540927)
Subject: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 843

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Hello OFC-BFLG! Been a long time since my last post. Still struggling to move forward with most of my personal projects. Brutally busy, with just time enough to glimpse through Dan's mesmerizing Parlor Project for Patch (ooh that's some good consonance!). But I came across this rare and interesting nylon string Celebrity that suffered a failed neck reset attempt. It's called a CS249-4Y, an MIK model made in 2000...

CS249 Label

The failed neck reset split the heel from the neck. Not good, but definitely fixable...

CS249 Broken Neck

The separated top and neck support block will need to be glued back together as well as a lot of cleaning up around the neck/body joint...

CS249 Top & Neck Support

The CS249 features an interesting bracing pattern called the "K-3 Classical" (Thanks to the JP Brochures at Ovation Tribute). Never seen this one before! Still, a very clean layout...

CS249 K-3 Classical

Opened the manhole cover and was suprised to find that this laminated maple top was actually a spruce sandwich with maple on both sides...and with flames at that!

CS249 Cover Off

Probably for the Asian market only. Not sure how folks would respond to a nylon string guitar with a 14th fret neck/body joint and a laminated flame maple top in the States...

CS249 Flame Bridge

However, being an O... an Elite with sunburst maple Epis and all... I must say she has a mysterious appeal to her...

CS249 Face

Well, first things first...need to get the neck heel repaired. Decided to go with Z-Poxy's 30 Minute Formula. It's not exactly the strongest adhesive, but a well fitted neck heel does not undergo a lot of stress like a bridge/top. So, I'm thinking it will suffice?

CC249 Neck Heel Repair

If I'm wrong, I'll have to redo the job with some Hysol 9462. Dan's been using Hysol 0151 a lot recently, and I would sure love to give that a try, but Hysol is hard to come by in Japan! Z-Poxy's never let me down before though; so I think it'll be okay...

Back in the day in Japan, these guitars retailed for about a $1000 with a street price of $800 (soft case included). They were like the "AX" O models being sold today, and they were pretty popular. You'll find them auctioned off at premium prices over here, but they don't come up very often. Sure hope I can get this thing back to its former glory...come to think of it, a nice nylon stringed O would round out my collection nicely. Wish me luck!



Edited by arumako 2018-01-25 11:12 AM
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-01-25 12:04 PM (#540935 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1937

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Yep. That's an unusual guitar, all right.

The 14-fret nylon is the same as the 1124/1624 Country Artist series. FWIW, Patch's parlor will also be a 14-fret nylon.

Zpoxy 30-minute epoxy should do fine for this application.

The two main differences between 9462 and 0151 is that 9462 is white-ish and has a Tg of ~350 degrees. 0151 is clear and has a Tg of ~160 degrees.

The clear makes it easier to glue because, well, it's clear. The lower Tg means that the glue can be softened and joints separated without burning the wood or finish.
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arumako
Posted 2018-01-25 5:01 PM (#540939 - in reply to #540935)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 843

Location: Yokohama, Japan
DanSavage - 2018-01-25 2:04 AM

Yep. That's an unusual guitar, all right.

The 14-fret nylon is the same as the 1124/1624 Country Artist series. FWIW, Patch's parlor will also be a 14-fret nylon.

Zpoxy 30-minute epoxy should do fine for this application.

The two main differences between 9462 and 0151 is that 9462 is white-ish and has a Tg of ~350 degrees. 0151 is clear and has a Tg of ~160 degrees.

The clear makes it easier to glue because, well, it's clear. The lower Tg means that the glue can be softened and joints separated without burning the wood or finish.


Yeah, the CS249 is kind of a funky combination, but was really popular over here. Can't wait to hear Patch's parlor. That is one beautiful guitar and you've really perfected your craft! Btw, I meant to ask, and I shoulda asked in your thread, but since your here... did you get that rosette from the Mother Ship?

I really appreciate the info about Hysol 0151 too. 9462 is now a regular part of my adhesive arsenal, but it is really intense. I like the lower Tg and clear color of the 0151. Definitely will pick some up the next time I'm out in the States!
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-01-25 9:01 PM (#540942 - in reply to #540939)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 1937

Location: Lake Forest, CA
No, Patch supplied the rosette.
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DetlefMichel
Posted 2018-01-27 7:00 AM (#540953 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 570

Location: Muenster/Germany
The bracing of this guitar should easily stand the tension of light steelstrings. It has more braces than my old Ovation 12string guitars. I would even say that it is "over-braced". This guitar top will never make any trouble...and probably low feed-back when played loud.
The look is phantastic.
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arumako
Posted 2018-01-30 10:43 AM (#540999 - in reply to #540953)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 843

Location: Yokohama, Japan

DetlefMichel - 2018-01-26 9:00 PM

The bracing of this guitar should easily stand the tension of light steelstrings. It has more braces than my old Ovation 12string guitars. I would even say that it is "over-braced". This guitar top will never make any trouble...and probably low feed-back when played loud.
The look is phantastic.

Hi DetlefMichel. Your right, those bracings are completely overkill. Not sure what the overall effect on feedback will be, but the top is structurally bullet proof and then some...However, the underside of the neck joint is a bit of a problem...

This probably came from the factory with a stressed neck joint area. You can tell there is bowing on both sides of the neck cavity. The laminated support blocks have been removed in the picture below.

bowing under the neck

Buldging tops like this are not uncommon with Celebrities, but they wreak havoc on the reassembled guitar. Even good adhesives (at least for this kind of application) will give after several years of use. In most cases, the adhesives used on instruments are intended to maintain the structural integrity of components that are built with precision. Good fit enables the adhesives to do their job. Keep things rigid, but when components fit poorly, the adhesives need to work extra hard for a long time to keep things bent or filled eventually leading to failure.

rocking neck joint

I can glue this back together as is, and the guitar will probably hold together for several years, but eventually the neck will start rocking back and forth and the joint will fail again.

Since the laminated support blocks are always problematic when removing the necks from Celebrities (they inevitably split and crack as the neck is removed) I've decided to rebuild this area. After removal of the laminated support blocks, I cut out some new braces to replace the blocks.

old blocks new braces

Years ago, a friend of mine gave me a bunch of old hockey sticks that he wasn't using. They are made from high quality Birch and they are perfectly suited for high stress bracing areas like this.. The laminated blocks are on the outside and the new Birch braces between them. Birch can be cut with intricate patterns without losing integrity. My Dremmel Moto-Saw comes in handy for jobs like this. The left Birch brace is cut to fit right under the cutaway side of the neck joint.

Carefully clamped the right side and waited 24 hours for full-cure of the adhesives.

clamp right

A good clamping strategy is really important. Dry runs, dry runs, dry runs! Clamped the left side and waited another 24 hours for full-cure.

clamp left

This guitar is going to get a bolt-on neck, and my drilling jig had to be upgraded. The unit is made from acrylic and is used to accurately position the drill for the inserts in the neck heel and the holes in the bowl.

From this position, the bolt inserts can be positioned precisely in the neck heel.

neck heel bolts

From this position, the holes can be drilled into the bowl with precision. The key is alignment!

bowl holes

The center lines in each component has to be marked with precision. At this point, I'm ready to start drilling the holes and preparing the neck with the inserts. Making progress surely but slowly! More to come in a couple of days!

 

 

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DanSavage
Posted 2018-01-31 10:00 AM (#541021 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 1937

Location: Lake Forest, CA
It's coming along nicely, Ken.

I like your neck bolt drilling jig.
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DetlefMichel
Posted 2018-02-01 9:38 AM (#541031 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 570

Location: Muenster/Germany
All this looks familiar. Your drilling jig is great! And I love your constructions, most of the time better than the original.
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arumako
Posted 2018-02-05 8:46 PM (#541094 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: RE: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 843

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Thanks Dan and DetlefMichel. Yes, it does look familiar doesn't it. I did similar work on my CC247-GS. For that one, I had to rebuild the neck housing in the bowl because the neck was misaligned by about 3~5mm depending on where the measurement was taken. It seems that I am seeing more and more Celebrities from the mid-nineties to about 2005 needing neck resets like this one. Fortunately over here in Japan, these carry their value pretty well and are, for the most part, worth the trouble. Since my CC247-GS project was based in PhotoBucket the photos are no longer visible. I figured leaving another one of these projects might help somebody, somewhere, someday...

So, the bolt hole drilling jig worked out really well. I also made a jig for SSBs, that works great too. These are keepers for sure and will continue to see a lot of use in the future. When the center-line of the jig is aligned to the center-line on the guitar, you can't miss...

bolt holes bowl

The Birch bracing has flattened the top nicely too. Before installing the inserts, the holes are lined with Hysol 9462. The adhesive provides a bit of moisture and lubrication while the inserts are being screwed in, and provides the inserts with enormous holding power when the adhesive dries completely. My CC247 bolt-on conversion used 6mm bolts/inserts, but the joint doesn't need that much support; and so, I opted for double 4mm bolts/inserts this time. When Dan rebuilt Darren's Ultra he stayed with a glue-on construction for fear of insert "tear out", which is a real concern when working with inserts. The tenon joint needs to be clamped to make sure it doesn't crack. Clamping pressure needs to be balanced - too much or too little can increase the chances of cracking the tenon...

neck bolts

The inserts are seated 3mm into the hole and covered with more Hysol 9462 (this stuff really is amazing) with the bolts screwed in. After 24 hours, the adhesive is basically cured, but will allow the threads to cut-out of the inserts without clogging or compromising the insert's ability to receive the bolts. After 48 hours, Hysol gets really hard, and I don't want to find out that I've got a bolt stuck in the insert with no hope of removal!

In addition to the bolt and insert holes, there was a need to rebuild the heel of this neck. The process is the same as when I worked on the CC247, but years of rocking in an unstable neck joint wore down the neck heel/body joint area. it was also probably chiselled a bit as well. The Birch braces that helped to flatten the top really amplified this issue. Again, I filled the neck heel with Smooth-on's Smooth-Cast Onyx black casting resin. Like Hysol, this stuff really works great.

heel cast

In the photo, the resin is already hardened, and needs to be shaved down to fit final specs. When compared to the previous photo, you can kind of tell that a lot had to be shaved off. To ensure proper intonation and fit (including neck angle and alignment) about 2mm to 2.5mm needed to be shaved off leaving approximately 1mm to 1.5mm of black resin. That is a lot of added material to a neck heel.

Now, just wait 48 hours for full cure. Assemble and wait another 48 hours and we're done! And now, a fine quote from the Silver Screen to articulate my thoughts most intimately...

Inigo Montoya: I do not suppose you could speed things up?
Man in Black: If you're in such a hurry, you could lower a rope, or a tree branch, or find something useful to do.
Inigo Montoya: I could do that. I've got some rope up here. But I do not think that you would accept my help, since I am only waiting around to kill you.
Man in Black: That does put a damper on our relationship.
Inigo Montoya: But I promise I will not kill you until you reach the top.
Man in Black: That's very comforting. But I'm afraid you'll just have to wait.
Inigo Montoya: I hate waiting...



Edited by arumako 2018-02-05 8:48 PM
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arumako
Posted 2018-02-09 11:09 PM (#541137 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: RE: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 843

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Chiselling and scraping down the neck heel took quite a bit of time, but the adhesive needed to dry anyway...just glad the long wait is over (for now, at least) to make a little bit of progress. It's time to glue the neck back into place. Contemplated just going with CA glue, but there were still some gaps that needed to be filled, and it became apparent that there was going to be some amount of 'load' where the neck extension glues to the body. Decided to go with a Japanese brand epoxy for this step. After administering a thin coat of glue to both the body and the neck (not the heel as that will be secured using the bolts), the neck is positioned in the body and bolted on lightly.

bolted neck

You can see how the neck-joint cut into the body is skewed to the left (more space on the left side than the right). This kind of skewing sometimes results in the neck being misaligned on Celebrity models. The unfortunate risk and reality of mass production. As you work through the construction of the Celebrity models, it's really evident that the 'mass production process' is prioritized in the design of the guitar itself. You can also see how the bracing can interfere with the fit of the truss rod wrench. The 'neck-end' of the center brace needed to be cut a bit (1 cm) to ensure clean fit of the truss-rod wrench. Otherwise, the neck would have had to be removed every time the truss-rod had to be adjusted! Had it not been for the dry runs, I would have missed correcting this flaw! Whew...

With the bolts in place, the neck is clamped into position. Elite style guitars are a real challenge when it comes to clamping strategy. I usually use a small clamp through the holes in the Epi's, but this time I needed to apply considerable amount of clamping force to get the top and neck extension to sit flat. There's always the risk of clamping too tightly forcing a brace to pop loose or worse yet the sound board to cave-in. Fortunately, nothing popped, cracked or caved in...for this attempt anyway...

clamping the neck

My "door-stop" clamping jig actually works really well. It is hard enough to provide clamping power, but soft enough to "give" without destroyed the clamped components. Once the clamps are in place and position is verified. I go in and tighten the bolts to about 80~90% tightness.

THERE! Almost done...Now, let the guitar sit and don't touch the guitar for another 3 days. Let's see - Oh yeah! Gotta fix up the scraggly wire on the piezo...

piezo wire

THERE! Now, let the guitar sit for 3 days Ken...Whew...,

...but then I suddenly hear a voice inside my head, "You can do more Ken. You can do more!"

No, no, no, I say to myself, "Don't touch the guitar...just let it sit. Just 3 days! 3 days! You can wait 3 days!"

But again, "You can do more Ken." Oh, oh,

Oh NOOOOOO! Just one more thing...

pegs

Decided to change out the old and tired white tuning pegs for some new/but inexpensive black ones....HMMMMMMM! I like it!

...and you know, this is how impatience ruins perfectly good projects before they ever reach completion! One dropped tool; one drop of the guitar or bang into a wall or door post and it's over... was fortunate that didn't happen this time! Sheesh...at this rate, I'll never be a real luthier, I hate waiting... oh, but she is coming along nicely...can't wait to string her up and take her for a spin!



Edited by arumako 2018-02-09 11:17 PM
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Jonmark Stone
Posted 2018-02-11 9:01 AM (#541154 - in reply to #541137)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC


Joined:
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Posts: 1377

Location: Indy
Thumbs up!
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-02-11 4:23 PM (#541157 - in reply to #541154)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 1937

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Really nice write-up Ken.

I haven't been commenting too much, but I have been avidly following your progress.

The braces on this guitar are complete overkill, especially for a nylon string guitar.

Dan
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-02-11 5:20 PM (#541158 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 1066

Location: What week?
You guys are so much more brave than me. If I were to attempt any of this, and post it here, it would be more like watching a wreck happen in slow-photo-motion.
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DarenSavage
Posted 2018-02-11 11:01 PM (#541159 - in reply to #541158)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC


Joined:
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Posts: 98

Love O Fair - 2018-02-11 5:20 PM

You guys are so much more brave than me. If I were to attempt any of this, and post it here, it would be more like watching a wreck happen in slow-photo-motion.

Who doesn't love a slo-pho-mo wreck? EweToob is full of 'em!

arumako: Like Dan, I've enjoyed reading your build. Love the drilling jig!

Edited by DarenSavage 2018-02-11 11:03 PM
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arumako
Posted 2018-02-12 8:17 PM (#541164 - in reply to #541158)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 843

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Love O Fair - 2018-02-11 7:20 AM

You guys are so much more brave than me. If I were to attempt any of this, and post it here, it would be more like watching a wreck happen in slow-photo-motion.

Thanks for the encouragement everybody! Now, I wish "courage" was my source of inspiration; however, my slo-pho-mo projects are the ones that never get posted! Oh, and there are a few of those...just a peek into my make shift tatami mat shop with the caved in tops and peeled off bridges decorating the walls testify of that! May this project not end this way!

With that, let's push forward!
Strung-up this interesting nylon Celebrity, and some final adjustments were in order. First, a simple re-dressing of the frets. I am indebted to FlySig for his "A beginners guide to re-fretting your guitar" and EVO Gold frets on a Deacon" posts here...

http://ovationfanclub.com/megabbs/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=40319&posts=21&start=1

http://ovationfanclub.com/megabbs/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=40376&posts=17&start=1

Thanks to these posts and many of Dan's posts, I now do all my fret work in-house. This is most helpful when you live in a country where full fret jobs are 300 bucks a pop! Here the truss-rod is tightened until the neck is completely flat...

straight neck

I then used my fret hammer (basically a urethane tip hammer) and lightly tapped the frets to ensure they were seated properly. Many of the frets were floating just a tad. Needed to whip out the CA glue to adhere them into position. A drop of high viscosity CA glue is applied to the tip of an exacto knife...just touch the tip to the joint between the fret and the fretboard; and viola, the adhesive wicks itself into the groove.

CA wicker

This was performed on every fret from both sides. Once hammered and glued into place the fret level seemed to be in good order. Called my fret level checker into service...

fret level checkers

These are perfectly straight aluminum bars that are sold at a nearby hardware store for about two bucks. Took a hack saw, cut them down to size and filed the edges. Tool A is used for the 2nd to 5th frets, tool B for the 6th through 12th frets and so on...works great! The tool is placed over three frets at a time and if the middle fret causes the tool to rock at all (you can tell by the "click" sound), you've got a fret that needs to be leveled (shaved down). Each of these rockin' spots are marked with a black marker...

marked frets

Every fret that is marked is leveled with a fret crowning file (in this case my 2mm file) until the rocking is eliminated. It's a pretty time consuming job, but absolutely necessary to ensure "fret-buzz" freedom. The last thing to do, was to get the battery case installed. The bolts and backing plate were completly rusted together and had to be drilled for removal. No backing plate availability here, and so I opted for some nylon locking nuts.

battery case

The "Ovation" screw cover needed some fresh double-stick tape on the back, so that was refreshed and put back together. Now, I think we're ready to take her for a spin!

Assembled again

Oh, I should mention this amplifier. It is a Yamaha KS-50, a small (& heavy!) super reliable 40W keyboard amp. I've tried a lot of acoustic amplifiers, but this little baby delivers like no other amp I've tried. It is not designed to make the player 'sound' good. It is designed to amplify and reproduce the source with exacting efficiency. The circuitry is pretty simple, and these are auctioned over here in Japan for anywhere between 25 bucks to 75 bucks. My other fav amp is a Peavey Session 400 steel guitar amp (she's getting maintenanced right now with all new caps throughout), Not exactly "forgiving" amps. These are no frills simple discrete circuit amps, but they are true tone producers.

Anyway, this nylon string guitar is easy to play. As is typical of most Os, the action is very low for this sort of configuration. She's currently wearing medium gauge/medium tension strings, but they feel a bit loose, so I ordered high-tension strings for her. The wider classical-ish neck feels really good in my hands too.

Now, how does she sound? Electronically she sounds fine, a bit on the bassy side, but relatively balanced - I think; however acoustically? Well, how should I put this? I think...it sounds like, you know, if I put strings on the MDF coffee table I bought from IKEA (they have IKEAs in Japan, meatball lunches and all!)...let's just say, I'm not inspired.

So, as you all might have guessed, the K-3 Classical bracing is a kind of resonance killer. I'm no engineer, but as DetlefMichel suggested, it seems the bracing is designed to bring balance to the sound produced by the pre-amp. It definitely is not my mother's classical guitar (well, literally, the classical guitar "standard" in our home is my Mom's '68 Saburo Nogami - Brazilian Rosewood, German Spruce handmade true Luthiery beauty). The laminated flame maple top, the 14th fret neck/body joint, and the bracing suggests that this nylon string was intended to be played through an amp only.

That begs the question, "Can a laminated maple table, 14th fret neck/body joined nylon string guitar sound good acoustically?" I think...I want to find out...

the real fun begins from here! Oh I hope, I don't demolish this thing and turn this into a slo-pho-mo project!

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2wheeldrummer
Posted 2018-02-12 8:56 PM (#541165 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 466

Location: moline,illinois
Very nice work and an excellent job resurrecting a unique O,
I love to watch you guys fix these and someday I may aspire to some minor luthery.

So how are you going to try to improve the sound acoustically,shave braces ????
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jay
Posted 2018-02-12 9:33 PM (#541166 - in reply to #541164)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 1222

Location: Texas

I have owned a couple of 1624's and a 1613. Plugged in...great nylon/classical sound...unplugged acoustically...they are just not up to the resonance of an all wood classical....low volume, short on sustain, imo.  I wouldn't blame it on the bracing...for some reason, the nylons don't drive the soundboard or maybe the bowl is to blame. Or maybe it is me. 


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arumako
Posted 2018-02-13 1:13 AM (#541167 - in reply to #541165)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 843

Location: Yokohama, Japan
2wheeldrummer - 2018-02-12 10:56 AM

So how are you going to try to improve the sound acoustically,shave braces ????

Thanks 2wheeldrummer! Yes, the idea is remove, cut, shave and scallop bracing to change the acoustic voicing of the guitar. Very risky and potentially life threatening (for the guitar, I mean)...however, if the project goes slo-pho-mo, I can revise the top completely, and rebuild her with new bracing, etc...

jay - 2018-02-12 11:33 AM

I have owned a couple of 1624's and a 1613. Plugged in...great nylon/classical sound...unplugged acoustically...they are just not up to the resonance of an all wood classical....low volume, short on sustain, imo. I wouldn't blame it on the bracing...for some reason, the nylons don't drive the soundboard or maybe the bowl is to blame. Or maybe it is me.



Thanks for the timely input/caution jay. Are the 1624 and 1613 X-braced? Fan braced, maybe? Either way, I'll give serious consideration before proceeding. If the 1624 and 1613 aren't acoustically inspiring; then it might be the bowl or some other factor that I'm completely missing.

Food for thought!
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jay
Posted 2018-02-13 9:29 AM (#541168 - in reply to #541167)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 1222

Location: Texas

The best I could do on short notice was this

1116 - Concert Classic, Nylon strings, Deep bowl, VT 10 bracing, 2" nut width. 

1124 - Country Artist, Steel strings, Artist bowl, VT 8 bracing, 1 7/8" nut width.


I would think that the 16 and the 13 were similarly made...but the 13 had cedar and the 16 had spruce

You will probably find a consensus that the deep bowl did make a profound difference acoustically between these two nylons.

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moody, p.i.
Posted 2018-02-13 11:47 AM (#541170 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC


Joined:
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Posts: 15269

Location: SoCal
The deep bowl most people thing about is the 1113/1613/1763 -- the deep bowl classical. It had fan bracing.
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-02-13 1:17 PM (#541172 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: RE: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 1937

Location: Lake Forest, CA

The 1113/1613 used Ovation's double-fan braces.

But, IMO, there are two things that kill the response of these classical guitars:

1) The top is too thick.
2) Tucked braces.

Traditionally, steel string guitar tops are ~.100" thick. Nylon string guitars are ~.093" thick.

Ovation guitar tops are tapered top-to-bottom from ~.140" to ~.100".

Thicker tops means better durability, but lower response, especially with nylon strings.

Guitar manufacturers started tucking braces under the lining, not because it sounds better, but because it reduces warranty work due to bracing glue joints that have popped off the top.

The problem is that tucked braces also reduce top response.

The end result of these two features means that the nylon topped Ovations will be less responsive than their traditionally-built wood brethren.

WRT this guitar's braces I'm reminded of an expression we used when describing the construction of model airplanes -- The more you beef it up, the more it'll fly like a cow.

Same for guitar construction. Personally, I would leave this guitar alone. No amount of shaving is going to make these braces sound good when played acoustically.

 

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DanSavage
Posted 2018-02-13 1:18 PM (#541173 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 1937

Location: Lake Forest, CA
FWIW, the top on Patch's parlor is ~.095" with no taper.
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moody, p.i.
Posted 2018-02-13 1:21 PM (#541174 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC


Joined:
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Posts: 15269

Location: SoCal
What is the top thickness on my 1113?
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-02-13 1:23 PM (#541175 - in reply to #541170)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1937

Location: Lake Forest, CA
As I recall, tapered from ~.110" - ~.95".

But, it's also Adi spruce, with is stiffer than cedar or Sitka spruce.

Edited by DanSavage 2018-02-13 1:24 PM
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moody, p.i.
Posted 2018-02-13 3:11 PM (#541180 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15269

Location: SoCal
And it sounds wonderful. Don't forget that......
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-02-13 4:25 PM (#541183 - in reply to #541180)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 1937

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Nope. Won't forget it.
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Mark in Boise
Posted 2018-02-13 5:50 PM (#541184 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC


Joined:
March 2005
Posts: 12647

Location: Boise, Idaho
I'm happy with the sound of my 1713, which was one of the first Ovations I got after joining this forum. 1713s are cedar topped. 1613s are Spanish Pine, which is basically a cedar. I've never compared them directly to other nylon string guitars, but mine has plenty of volume. There's just no really good way to compare it to a "traditional" cedar-topped, classical guitar. They are generally smaller and lighter and seem to me to have a little less bass. Plus there's the usual difference between a flat backed guitar and an Ovation.
A Country Artist has a smaller body, but I thought it always sounded a little thin. Also, it had a narrower, radiused, neck and 14 frets to the body as I recall. There's a lot of variety out there. Plenty to bore anyone who asks why I have so many Ovations.
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-02-13 7:01 PM (#541185 - in reply to #541184)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1937

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Yep. None of my guitars sound alike, which is why I have as many as I do.
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arumako
Posted 2018-02-14 10:36 AM (#541193 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: RE: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 843

Location: Yokohama, Japan
Hey Everybody! Thanks for chiming-in and giving me some perspective on my nylon string Celebrity.

After some consideration, I figured I'll just leave her as is. Despite being a Celebrity, she is a rare O and sounds fine electronically. Probably won't ever use her for gigging or anything, but kind of a beater/conversation piece for the living room or something...

I did go back to Dan's 1113 Project that he did for mood,p.i. to see if there was some hint to help things along. The only thing was that high tension strings really helped moody, p.i.'s 1113; but of course, THAT was a torrefied Adi top. The CS249s sound board is thick at .118" (3mm including finish) with no taper. Of course, being a spruce (1.5mm) sandwiched between two maple veneers (0.5mm each), and a 0.5mm Poly finish makes for a pretty stiff combination. Although I never intended to compare her to an all wood authentic French polished classical, she responded very strangely to acoustic input...like the sound board was not moving at all...like she was a dead stick or something. I was expecting a bit more than that. The bracing seemed to be the culprit at first, but after reading all of your comments, it was apparent that this guitar had a lot more against it than just bracing. Oh well...

So, the EJ46 high tension strings arrived today. Didn't want to waste perfectly good strings, but decided to put a set on the CS249-4Y for pity's sake, and...WAIT-A-MINUTE! What is this? The sound board feels like it's moving. Tuned her up and played a bit, and as the minutes passed by, the guitar began to resonate more, and more, and more...! Holy cow...she actually sounds half-way-decent acoustically now! WHAT THE ??????

Apparently, the regular gauge medium tension strings previously installed didn't have the strength to drive the sound board, but these high tension Da'ddario's provided the drive needed to get the sound board to respond! Whoa! Cool!

Will try to post a video in a couple of days. I'm so glad I didn't do anything stupid! Thanks for helping me to think through this project everybody! This didn't turn out to be a slo-pho-mo Project after all! Whew, and she is sounding better and better as the sound board loosens up too! Cool!
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-02-14 2:47 PM (#541198 - in reply to #541193)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1937

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Great news, Ken!

FWIW, primeVibes are still only $33 each with $23.99 international shipping costs.

One of these might go a long way to make guitars like this sound better.

http://prime-vibe.com/

Edited by DanSavage 2018-02-14 2:48 PM
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arumako
Posted 2018-02-14 6:44 PM (#541201 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 843

Location: Yokohama, Japan
Hey, thanks for the tip Dan! Just ordered the Prime Vibe and am re-evaluating my project. Frankly, I am so pleased but bewildered! I must say that the wealth of information that you and the other BFLGers provide is a treasure trove of useful data. I found that I made a mistake in my original assessment of this guitar.

The catalog on the Tribute site under the heading "Strings" says (a bit hard to read), "Adamas Century #4545 High Tension". That means this guitar was engineered to perform with high tension (or tighter) nylon strings, but will not respond to lower tension strings? If that is the case, that means the bracing and top were "designed" to respond at these higher tension levels? I must say, our O engineers are superb designers, and I was remiss to jump to conclusions, and jay was absolutely correct when he said, "I wouldn't blame it on the bracing..."

In addition, the maple used on this top is apparently (like a lot of other figured maples) European Maple or Sycamore Maple, considerably harder than spruce, but a bit softer than the hardwood maples that I was imagining.

Of course, she's still no 'piece de resistance' of resonance; but the high tension strings have given her a sweet acoustic voice and a punchy electric voice. Now, her popularity of years gone by is clearer to me. Hoping that the PrimeVibe will shake things up further.

Thanks for the interest and encouragement OFC/BFLG!
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moody, p.i.
Posted 2018-02-14 9:35 PM (#541204 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15269

Location: SoCal
Try Savarez Corum strings (model # 504J). High tension and the treble strings have a great response. It's what I use on my 1113.
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arumako
Posted 2018-02-14 11:17 PM (#541206 - in reply to #541204)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
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Posts: 843

Location: Yokohama, Japan
moody, p.i. - 2018-02-14 11:35 AM

Try Savarez Corum strings (model # 504J). High tension and the treble strings have a great response. It's what I use on my 1113.

Thanks moody, p.i.! Will most certainly give the Savarez a try. The EJ46s sound really good, but the Savarez's are on sale and less than half the price of the D'addario's! Yes!

Edited by arumako 2018-02-14 11:18 PM
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DetlefMichel
Posted 2018-02-15 3:34 AM (#541208 - in reply to #541206)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
May 2011
Posts: 570

Location: Muenster/Germany
It´s good to read that this great looking guitar produces some nice tones;-) you did a great job with the resurrection and I guess the guitar is very easy to play?
But the problem that remains are IMHO the thick transversal braces. No guitar top wil be able to move with a "stabilizer" like this. It´s the same problem with my beloved 12 string custom legend gitar, it´s easy to play, has a great sustain but thin basses and is comparably silent. The guitar has A-braces AND a strong transversal brace under the bridge which is the sound killer. The 1538 with the longitudinal Elite style bracing (and no transverses) sounds like a grand piano and has no issues like warping or bows.
I really have no idea if this is possible but if one could completely remove the second great transverse (that near the bridge) completely the guitar surely would sound much more like a "spanish" style guitar should. And the remaining fan braces are still strong enough for any kind of strings. Look at the tiny braces under the top of a classical guitar.
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arumako
Posted 2018-02-16 10:48 AM (#541240 - in reply to #541208)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 843

Location: Yokohama, Japan

DetlefMichel - 2018-02-14 5:34 PM

It´s good to read that this great looking guitar produces some nice tones;-) you did a great job with the resurrection and I guess the guitar is very easy to play?
But the problem that remains are IMHO the thick transversal braces. No guitar top wil be able to move with a "stabilizer" like this. It´s the same problem with my beloved 12 string custom legend gitar, it´s easy to play, has a great sustain but thin basses and is comparably silent. The guitar has A-braces AND a strong transversal brace under the bridge which is the sound killer. The 1538 with the longitudinal Elite style bracing (and no transverses) sounds like a grand piano and has no issues like warping or bows.
I really have no idea if this is possible but if one could completely remove the second great transverse (that near the bridge) completely the guitar surely would sound much more like a "spanish" style guitar should. And the remaining fan braces are still strong enough for any kind of strings. Look at the tiny braces under the top of a classical guitar.

Thanks for the encouragement and comment DetlefMichel. Yes, like all Os that are assembled properly, my CS249 is now very very easy to play. I've got her setup more like a Flamenco than a Classical (I want a little bit of string buzz when played hard) with string heights set at 2.6mm for the 6th string and 2.0mm for the 1st string at the 12th fret.

With the high tension EJ46s, she even sounds halfway decent - that means I enjoy playing the instrument. and would even play her as a gigging guitar. As far as nylon electric acoustics go, she's got a decent voice. But "halfway decent" is a far cry from good or excellent. Although I don't think the braces are the only problem, I think your assessment regarding the transversal brace being a "sound killer" is right on. All of the Celebrity models that use a K-3 bracing pattern have that transversal brace. Surely if the bracing pattern was effective for producing better acoustic resonance, the K-3 bracing would be used on Os made in the USA, but I'm pretty sure that is not the case.

I also agree that removing the transversal brace would improve the overall resonance of the guitar. I am seriously contemplating removal of one of them eventually. The CS249-4Y is a rare item, and so I think I'll try the removal on a more common model. No doubt the removal will make the top more resonant, but my concern would be more in the area of balanced dynamics. If I ever get the courage up to do it, I'll certainly post the results here. Meanwhile, here's a nice shot of my bolt-on conversions that are on hand at the moment...

Bolt-on Celebrities

The Celebrity Bolt-On Trio! Actually, the CC257-YB SSB Celebrity Deluxe on the left is a repair for a friend (same neck joint failure issue). He dared me to make his CC257 sound like an 1868. Of course, that is not possible, but we discussed taking the transversal bracing off to see how close we can get the guitar to sound like a USA O! Unfortunately, his Celebrity never sounded so good after the repair/bolt-on neck conversion, and he chickened out on his own dare! Lol. I think my CC247-GS (on the right) might be worth a shot though...

Perhaps another project; perhaps another post...



Edited by arumako 2018-02-16 10:50 AM
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arumako
Posted 2018-02-23 10:34 AM (#541358 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: RE: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 843

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Well, here's the video demo of my CS249-4Y. Hope you all don't mind my sharing. Despite the aggressive bracing, this nylon O resonates quite well...surprisingly so. She's got a very crisp/clean acoustic voice, and she's a joy to play. 

All 3 of my Classicals are shorter in scale with 12th fret neck joints. It took quite a while to get used to holding this 14th fret neck jointed O like a classical guitar. In the typical classical position (resting on the left thigh) the bowl really begins to slip, and she requires an additional reach to play open chords. Held in the standard acoustic position (resting on the right thigh), there's no bowl slippage, but I have difficulty getting the right attack angle with my picking hands. Got comfortable enough to record a basic E minor exercise after some fiddling around. I think you can here my dog, Chocola...

Chocola

licking her fur in the background (hope it's okay to post an introductory pic). I've been pleasantly surprised by this oddly configured Ovation nylon. I'm hoping for some additional resonance via Prime Vibe which should arrive fairly soon. At this point, I dare say, I'm having a lot of fun playing this nylon O, and am looking to increase my nylon song repertoire! Thanks for letting me share OFC/BFLG!



Edited by arumako 2018-02-23 10:44 AM
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d'ovation
Posted 2018-02-23 11:34 AM (#541360 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC


Joined:
December 2003
Posts: 749

Location: Canada
Congratulations on completion of this project. Thank you for the video I quite enjoyed it and your playing. I don't have much appreciation of nylon strung guitars, but the CS249 sounds nicely crisp and clear to me.
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-02-23 12:34 PM (#541365 - in reply to #541360)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1937

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Wow! It sounds pretty good and looks even cooler.

Nice job.
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DetlefMichel
Posted 2018-02-23 12:48 PM (#541366 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: Re: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
May 2011
Posts: 570

Location: Muenster/Germany
Super video! The music and the pictures of all the work you had with it. And you did a really great job with this guitar, she sounds a bit like an old 1900´s small spanish guitar, I would say, charming.
I have a 14-fret classical guitar with radiused fingerboard, you´ll get accustomed to the additional frets pretty soon.
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Patch
Posted 2018-02-23 2:51 PM (#541367 - in reply to #540927)
Subject: RE: A Rare Elite Style Nylon in Need of TLC



Joined:
May 2006
Posts: 4135

Location: Steeler Nation, Hudson Valley Contingent

Well done! You should be every bit as proud as that guitar sounds!

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