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1967 Balladeer Rebuild...

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DanSavage
Posted 2014-09-19 9:05 PM (#494306)
Subject: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA

So, after my adventure rebuilding my 1619-4, Jay contacted me asking if I would like to take a stab at his 1967 Balladeer.

Being the adventurous-type, I naturally said, "You betcha!"

It arrived in the mail today.



We had discussed many different ways to proceed. Among these was using bearclaw spruce and the forward X-brace I used on my 1619 and using one of the rosettes I bought off eBay. We also discussed using hardwood binding instead of the plastic binding.

In the end, we decided to make a 3-piece top using straight-grain Sitka spruce like the original. I'm also leaning toward recreating the plastic binding it already has. I contacted JB and he managed to find a couple of 40th RI rosettes, one of which he was willing to sell me.



All I can say about these rosettes is: CHEAP!!! They're printed on pearloid paper which was glued into place after the guitar was finished.

Also, for the 40th RI, it looks like they used the original printing plates because all the detail of the grapes seen in the original rosette is all but gone and all the lines are thicker, which is what happens as printing plates wear out.

Jay already had a 5-point rosewood bridge, which he included in the guitar case when he shipped the guitar to me.

I've heard from a few people that the original X-bracing used by Ovation sounded really good, so I was looking forward to hearing how it sounded and to comparing to the forward X-bracing I used on my 1619.

In short, it sounds really good. I'm very impressed. It's hard to make an accurate comparison because Jay's guitar is strung with PBs and mine is strung with 80/20s. I bought a set of the same strings I put on my 1619 (Elixir 80/20 Lights) and I'm going to restring Jay's guitar so I can see how it sounds with 80/20s.

Because the bridge on Jay's guitar is lifting, I hope it doesn't pop off when I restring it for aural testing.



But, based on what I'm already hearing, I can see real benefit to using Charlie's original X-bracing. The pic below shows what braces are on the inside of Jay's guitar. If I decide to go with the original X-braces, I'll probably also use the fiberglass reinforcement strip seen in the lower bout.



I'm not sure why Charlie changed the original brace pattern unless he was a "dyin' to improve it" kind of guy. Martin tends to be a "benign neglect" kind of manufacturer, which is to say, "if it works, don't fix it." But, from what I gather from all the different brace patterns Ovation guitars had on them, and from what I read in the "Book", Charlie was always chasing after the 'perfect' brace pattern. IMO, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's hard to beat the sound of his original, simple X-braces.

Another thing we discussed was the fading logos on the head stock. I've already got artwork for the Ovation logo in vector format. It will be easy enough to duplicate the Balladeer text. I've got an ALPS 5000 printer that can print gold leaf, and I'm familiar with how to create decals having done it for many years for my model airplanes. My only real concern is whether I can make sure the clear carrier sheet of the decals are able to disappear under the finish. When I get to that point, I'll do a few tests to make sure before I do it on Jay's guitar.

More to follow...

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arumako
Posted 2014-09-19 11:22 PM (#494307 - in reply to #494306)
Subject: Re: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 846

Location: Yokohama, Japan
Wow DanSavage! Another exciting project. Can't wait to follow your progress! As always, thanks for sharing!
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marenostrum
Posted 2014-09-20 5:12 AM (#494310 - in reply to #494307)
Subject: Re: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
August 2007
Posts: 1002

Location: Tuscany, Italy
arumako - 2014-09-19 6:22 AM

Wow DanSavage! Another exciting project. Can't wait to follow your progress! As always, thanks for sharing!


+1
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BanjoJ
Posted 2014-09-20 5:26 AM (#494311 - in reply to #494310)
Subject: Re: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
September 2012
Posts: 778

Location: Thredbo, NSW, Australia
maremagnum - 2014-09-20 10:12 PM

arumako - 2014-09-19 6:22 AM

Wow DanSavage! Another exciting project. Can't wait to follow your progress! As always, thanks for sharing!


+1

+1

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DanSavage
Posted 2014-09-20 12:44 PM (#494318 - in reply to #494306)
Subject: RE: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Thanks, guys.

Well, I restrung the guitar with Elixir Nanoweb 80/20 Lights (.012-.053) which are the same strings that are on my 1619 and the two guitars sound very, very similar.

The Balladeer has a little more bass on the low E and A string, but only just a little. I attribute this to the lack of tone bars and finger braces, which allow the top to resonate a little more freely.

All-in-all, I'm very impressed with how good it sounds. IMO, the best thing for this guitar is to replicate the braces and keep the guitar as original as possible.

I'm going to start putting together a list of supplies, such as top wood, braces and binding, then get the parts ordered in the next couple of weeks.

It's interesting to note the differences between this guitar and later Ovations. The first thing is the headstock is noticeably smaller, as is the size of the body. The pic below, which I got from Talbert shows this difference between the size of the 1st Gen bowl and a later generation cloth bowl.



Another thing is that the binding is narrower than on later guitars. The binding on this one is just under 3/16". The binding on later Ovations is ~1/4".

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jay
Posted 2014-09-20 1:12 PM (#494319 - in reply to #494306)
Subject: Re: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
January 2009
Posts: 1224

Location: Texas
I must say that this is extremely exciting, selfishly speaking. I cannot express how grateful I am that Dan agreed to 'restore" this early shiny. This guitar has been passed around between several folks on this board, I am pretty sure. I know that Nick Black owned it and then sold it to another gentleman on the board, after Nick realized it was a bigger restoration than he wanted to tackle $ wise. (I haven't seen Nick around in more than a year. I emailed him about this project and hopefully he will peek in). As it has gone through many hands, it has been triage'd here and there. Since it was in pretty poor shape, it was the house guitar. Thankfully the 40th RI came out. That made it possible to score the 5 point, Klusons and rosette from leftover stock, through the years, by some of the owners. You just don't see many 67's on the secondary market anymore. You certainly would be hard pressed to find an early one in playable condition...with a 2 piece neck. So, there are a couple of cool factors about this guitar and with Dan offering to take it on...it should see another 48-50 years of use, before I send it back to him. Thanks Dan!
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DanSavage
Posted 2014-09-20 3:40 PM (#494321 - in reply to #494306)
Subject: Re: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA
You're welcome Jay.

I'm looking forward to jumping into it. I'm going to enjoy playing it with the new strings for a few more days, then start taking it apart and pulling the top off.

I'm going to tackle this a little differently than the 1619. The kerfing inside is a different style than the 1619. It's molded fiberglass and is thinner, which means it's more delicate. Instead of simply ripping the wood off the kerfing, I'm going to split the binding from the top and bowl, then use an Xactco chisel to carefully split the top from the kerfing. I'm going to try to get the top off in one piece.

FWIW, I think you can still get these Kluson tuners. They go for $60 a set. See: http://www.wdmusic.com/3_on_side_kluson_nickel_for_mosrite_double_r...
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SOBeach
Posted 2014-09-20 7:46 PM (#494325 - in reply to #494306)
Subject: RE: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...


Joined:
April 2010
Posts: 823

Location: sitting at my computer

Dan, threads like this encourage voyeuristic tendencies.  Yay!!! 

 

 

    "All I can say about these rosettes is: CHEAP!!! They're printed on pearloid paper which was glued into place after the guitar was finished."

I've seen that guitar rosettes are commonly just paper labels, but it is a bit of a let down to see that this one is too. Now I wonder if that's the case for the other O rosettes also. ??

 

 

    "Another thing is that the binding is narrower than on later guitars. The binding on this one is just under 3/16". The binding on later Ovations is ~1/4"."

Did the early models have pop'd top problems that prompted the switch to wider bindings? Or maybe it was just a supplier / manufacturer change?

 

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DanSavage
Posted 2014-09-20 9:42 PM (#494326 - in reply to #494325)
Subject: RE: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA

SOBeach - 2014-09-20 5:46 PM

Dan, threads like this encourage voyeuristic tendencies.  Yay!!!  :laugh


 

I'm glad you approve. :D

SOBeach - 2014-09-20 5:46 PM

I've seen that guitar rosettes are commonly just paper labels, but it is a bit of a let down to see that this one is too. Now I wonder if that's the case for the other O rosettes also. ??

 

I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but it looks to me like all the O rosettes use the same cheap paper in their construction, even the (very expensive to buy) abalone rosettes.

 

Here's a few pics:


First, the rosette with which we're all very familiar:

 

Next, the dark underbelly of the beast. (DUBOB):

If we take a closer look at how it's constructed, we see that it's the same cheap pearloid paper glued to the back of the plastic rosette.

 

 


The oak leaf pattern is, either printed or silk-screened to the back of the clear plastic frame. The pearloid (or, abalone) paper is glued to the back of the frame, then the whole thing is sprayed with flat black paint.

 

The back of the abalone rosette I used on my 1619 looked just like this.

 

SOBeach - 2014-09-20 5:46 PM

Did the early models have pop'd top problems that prompted the switch to wider bindings? Or maybe it was just a supplier / manufacturer change?

I don't know the answer to that question. Going to the wider bindings could have been a result of using different molded kerfings. Once I get the top off Jay's guitar I'll take a couple of pics to show what the early molded bindings look like. They don't have the same radiused (filleted) underside as what I saw on the 1619.

 



Edited by DanSavage 2014-09-20 9:48 PM
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TJR
Posted 2014-09-21 5:47 PM (#494349 - in reply to #494306)
Subject: Re: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
July 2002
Posts: 272

Location: Maine
The early abalone custom legend rosettes had sectional abalone pieces glued into the rosettes frame. The oak leaf pattern pretty much masked the butt joint of the individual cut pieces of shell. I'm my opinion they look a lot nicer than the later ones as it's a more subtle "bling " effect.
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DanSavage
Posted 2014-09-21 9:36 PM (#494352 - in reply to #494306)
Subject: Re: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Thanks, Talbot.

I agree and it's too bad they had to resort to using artificial pearl and abalone instead of the real thing. Costs often rise quickly and a company can't always raise prices to remain profitable.
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DanSavage
Posted 2014-10-05 11:51 PM (#494707 - in reply to #494306)
Subject: RE: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA

So, I'm back to work on 485. I wanted to finish up a 3D printed parts project for my brother.

In the meantime, I've been looking here and there at the guitar assessing it's general condition and what will need to be done during the re-top.

Not only does 485 sound really good, it also plays pretty nice. The action is a little higher at the nut end than I prefer, but it's still playable. The action at the bridge end is also pretty low.

While checking the neck angle I found the fretboard does point slightly above the top of the bridge. But, the bridge has a funny profile for an O.

I compared the bridge height to the replacement 5-point bridge. =8^0 (Yikes!)



I compared the 5-point bridge to an OEM walnut bridge and they're both the same height.

I used a small carbon fiber rod to get a basic idea of the neck angle. I laid it on the bowl.



Then, I looked at the neck from the side. It should be angled slightly down away from the bowl, but it's angled slightly up, which explains the shaved bridge.

I moved the CF rod to different positions to get an idea of how the top was warped. Overall, the top is cupped inward.

There is a noticeable bulge below the bridge.

Looking at the guitar from the top to the bottom, the reason for the deformation of the top is that the sides of the bowl in the upper bout area have warped inward. This is most apparent when compared to the lower bout in the next few photos.

I compared this guitar to all my other Ovations and this is the only one with the warping on the upper bout. All my other Os are flat in this area. Here's a close-up that shows the warped upper bout.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the neck position once I get the top off it. Ideally, 'stretching' the sides with piece that's slightly oversize will pull the neck back into proper alignment without having to heat the bowl. If 'stretching' the sides of the upper bout doesn't pull the neck into alignment, then the only other thing to do is a bowl bend, like what MWoody did recently to his 12-string.

While I was messing around in the bridge area, I decided to measure the scale. This was about 1/16" short. I used my strobe tuner and found the intonation was sharp on all six strings at the 12th fret, so this confirms that the bridge location is slightly off. It could have been glued into the wrong place when the replacement bridge was attached, or it could be a result of the top warping.



The plan is to put a new top onto the guitar and new binding. I used my CAD program to make samples of lines with differing widths to determine the thickness of plastic I'll need. The one below is the winner.



Unfortunately, while I can buy binding that's a close match to the ivory-colored binding used on Os, what I can't buy is binding that's the same thickness used in 485's binding. Which means I'll probably need to design and build a machine or a tool that will allow me to precisely thickness-shave or grind the binding.

More updates soon...

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jay
Posted 2014-10-06 7:26 AM (#494714 - in reply to #494707)
Subject: RE: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
January 2009
Posts: 1224

Location: Texas

"found the intonation was sharp on all six strings"

 No wonder this was the only guitar I could sing in tune with.

Dan...holy cow...she was in pretty bad shape. It was evident that there was buzzing on the neck around the lower middle...but no one ever complained.  

I guess my question is...is it the tension/age that caused the multiple shifts...the lack of hydration on the top... 

Is it a good bet that the original 5 point was removed (and possibly damaged?) so that the guitar could be playable?

This is fascinating to watch.

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arumako
Posted 2014-10-06 8:26 AM (#494717 - in reply to #494306)
Subject: Re: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 846

Location: Yokohama, Japan
Ooh, ooh, ooh...can't wait to see all the creative stuff you do to this guitar. Your preliminary observations are even fun to read! Thanks!
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Mark in Boise
Posted 2014-10-06 11:36 AM (#494719 - in reply to #494306)
Subject: Re: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...


Joined:
March 2005
Posts: 12655

Location: Boise, Idaho
I can imagine that most of the issues with this guitar were caused by the collapse of the neck and top into the sound hole, which is a problem with all guitars over time. It would be interesting to see if other standard box guitars of similar age had the same problems. This was one of the reasons for the Adamas multihole design. It would also be interesting to see what happens to a 1537 or Adamas when they get to be the same age.
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DanSavage
Posted 2014-10-06 11:54 AM (#494720 - in reply to #494714)
Subject: RE: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA

It looks like it's mostly tension/age related. The splits in the lower bout probably contributed, too. 

My guess is that over time, the tension of the strings caused the top wood to cup inward. The plasticity of the bowl sides allowed them to be warped as the cupping top wood rolled the top of the sides inward.

Based on my experience with fiberglass, I'd say the sides have probably taken a set to this new shape. The tricky part is whether the upper bout sides can be warped back into shape.

Maybe. It's hard to say why the bridge was replaced. I can say that once this one comes off, it's not going to work on too many other guitars.

Thanks! I'm proceeding slowly right now so I can make a list of what needs to be done and map out the course of action so everything gets done in the right order. 

amosmoses - 2014-10-06 5:26 AM

I guess my question is...is it the tension/age that caused the multiple shifts...the lack of hydration on the top... 

Is it a good bet that the original 5 point was removed (and possibly damaged?) so that the guitar could be playable?

This is fascinating to watch.

 

 

 

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DanSavage
Posted 2014-10-06 1:09 PM (#494722 - in reply to #494719)
Subject: Re: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA
I agree. It looks to me like this is exactly what happened.

I've got a 1975 Yamaha FG-260 12 string. It's got a bit of a bellying problem that's caused an increase in the action over the years. I'll take a look at it tonight to see if the sides have warped at all, or if it's just top wood itself that's caving in.

I did compare 485's top wood to the other Os I've got and they're all warped to some degree. Interestingly, the least warped is the Book Elite, which has the Adamas quintaid bracing.

Mark in Boise - 2014-10-06 9:36 AM

I can imagine that most of the issues with this guitar were caused by the collapse of the neck and top into the sound hole, which is a problem with all guitars over time. It would be interesting to see if other standard box guitars of similar age had the same problems. This was one of the reasons for the Adamas multihole design. It would also be interesting to see what happens to a 1537 or Adamas when they get to be the same age.
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moody, p.i.
Posted 2014-10-06 1:17 PM (#494724 - in reply to #494719)
Subject: Re: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15289

Location: SoCal
Mark in Boise - 2014-10-06 9:36 AM

I can imagine that most of the issues with this guitar were caused by the collapse of the neck and top into the sound hole, which is a problem with all guitars over time. It would be interesting to see if other standard box guitars of similar age had the same problems. This was one of the reasons for the Adamas multihole design. It would also be interesting to see what happens to a 1537 or Adamas when they get to be the same age.


My 1537 is 31 years old and shows no sign of problems with the top. We'll see what the next 10 years bring.

I've seen a lot of the early guitars with the original 5 point rosewood bridges gone and replaced by the walnut rounded bridge. I don't know why that was necessitated except maybe the original glue wasn't good and they came up?
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FlySig
Posted 2014-10-06 4:04 PM (#494731 - in reply to #494306)
Subject: Re: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
October 2005
Posts: 3849

Location: Utah
My 1537 is dead flat across the top. It looks like a brand new guitar. My Patriot on the other hand has a bit of bellying behind the bridge. There may be many differences in construction other than multi-hole vs single hole, but there is no question the single hole looks aged.
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moody, p.i.
Posted 2014-10-06 4:09 PM (#494732 - in reply to #494306)
Subject: Re: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15289

Location: SoCal
That's interesting. Isn't the Patriot A braced?
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FlySig
Posted 2014-10-06 5:51 PM (#494734 - in reply to #494306)
Subject: Re: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
October 2005
Posts: 3849

Location: Utah
Yes it is A bracing.
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DanSavage
Posted 2014-10-14 8:33 PM (#494988 - in reply to #494306)
Subject: RE: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA

So, after a bit of thought and research online, I think I have a pretty good idea of how to proceed.

The first thing to do is to remove the strings, tuners, TRC and bridge saddle.



These were stashed into a compartmentalized container.

Next, remove the bindings. And, as it turns out, the purfling, too.

Now the edges of the top are exposed.



I used an Xacto chisel to split the glue joint holding the top into place. As you can see, the style of the kerfing is completely different.



Voila! The top is off. This poor, poor top. What a hard life it's had. More on that later.



I used the Xacto chisel to clean the kerfing of all the wood fibers. That looks 100% better already. Of note in this photo are the molded kerfing and the vertical lines around the sides of the bowl underneath the kerfing. This is an important feature. More on this later, too.



The only step remaining in the top removal is to clean out the area between the underside of the fretboard extension and the top of the neck block.



I used the same tools and techniques as on my 1619. And, for whatever reason, the progress stops right around the 15th fret. These next two pics also show the molded cloth kerfing really well.



IMO, the molded kerfing is an important factor that makes the the early Os sound so good. This, along with the simple X-bracing allows the top to vibrate really freely. The molded kerfing reminds me of the patented suspension ring used on the Adamas guitars.

Moving right along...



Nah! Just kidding!

Seriously, I used the practice top wood from my 1619 so I could check the neck geometry. (Ewww...)



One idea I had to push the sides of the bowl back into place was to cut down some Go-bars. (didn't work --the bowl flexes in all the wrong places.)

Getting back to the top. It has had a hard life. It's got several cleats used to reinforce crack repairs. These look to me like bass wood. (Think: popcycle sticks) Whomever did the repairs obviously loved epoxy as it was generously slathered on.



But, let's talke a little about how its construction. It's a 3-piece top. But, what's interesting is that it's hand-made and full of pencil marks for the alignment of the bracing. Here's a few pics that show the pencil marks, starting at the upper bout and moving down to the lower bout.

The fiberglass tape reinforcement across the lower bout looks entirely ordinary and should be easy enough to duplicate.

Noteworthy is the extra tone bar across the lower bout between the two lower legs of the X-braces. Obviously, not a part of the original construction. It was probably done as a doubler for the crack repairs.



Also interesting is the 'loose' manner in which the bracing parts were aligned to the marks during assembly. So loose that one of the reinforcement strips overlapped the sound hole and needed to be sanded to match the opening.



Since I had the top off the bowl, I was curious about comparing the 1st Gen bowl vs. a 2nd Gen bowl. If you'll recall from my The History of the Bowl thread, the 1st Gen bowl was a cloth and resin layup vacuum bagged over a male mold. The 2nd Gen bowl was also cloth and resin, but was done inside a female mold and without vacuum.

From my own knowledge of molding fiberglass parts, I know what difference these methods makes in the final part, but I was curious what if any difference it made in the bowl, i.e.: weight, resonance, etc.

Luckily, I just bought a BFLG 1978 1617 project off eBay that was missing its top and hardware, so it's a fairly accurate apples-to-apples comparison between 1st Gen and 2nd Gen.

First, the weight. The two are within ounces of each other. The 1617 weighed in at 3 lbs. 8 Oz. while 485 weighed in at 3 Lbs. 4 Oz. So, the 1st Gen. is lighter than 2nd Gen.

I tried a tap-test of both bowls. What a difference. The 1st Gen. has real tone. The 2nd Gen. sounded dull. It still had tone, but it was being muted. It was about then that a light bulb went off.

From a purely construction standpoint, the two guitars, although separated by 12 years, are nearly identical. But, the 1619 weighs 4 ounces heavier. The 2nd Gen. layup method can result in heavier pieces, but not 4 ounces in a piece this size. And, the 1617 kerfing is beefier, but not significantly heavier than what was used on 485. The only difference between these two that would add that much weight is the finish applied to the bowls.



When flying model airplanes, weight is critical. As a result, serious modelers are very weight conscious. One thing I've learned is that paint is heavy. Thick paint is really heavy. And, thick paint can easily add ounces on a piece the size of the bowls on Os. But, more importantly to guitars is that thick paint impedes the vibration of the parts.

IMO, this is just one more thing that gave the early Os the reputation of good sounding guitars. And, any Ovation knock-offs I produce will have thin paint on the bowl.

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DanSavage
Posted 2014-10-14 8:34 PM (#494989 - in reply to #494306)
Subject: RE: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA
So, getting back to the vertical lines on the inside sides of the bowl.

When I first saw these, I assumed they were just drips of epoxy.

A closer examination revealed that they're actually wrinkles. And, not just any wrinkles but the type of wrinkles that happen when a molded part is vacuum-bagged.

So, what 485 represents is a transitional model between the 1st Gen bowl and the 2nd Gen bowl methods.

To wit, 1st Gen bowls were vacuum bagged over male molds. 2nd Gen. bowls were hand-layups inside a female mold.

485 is a vacuum bagged part molded inside a female mold, which is very unusual.

Obviously, Charlie was looking for ways to speed up the layup process, but still keep the quality.

In the end, it's clear they decided to just lay up parts using the fastest and easiest methods. (2nd Gen.)

Edited by DanSavage 2014-10-14 8:45 PM
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jay
Posted 2014-10-14 9:05 PM (#494991 - in reply to #494988)
Subject: RE: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
January 2009
Posts: 1224

Location: Texas

WOW Dan, 

A couple of questions...

I have read where the bracing is supposed to be a little ways away from the soundhole ... 

and I noticed that the bracing around the soundhole did not come in contact with the cross bracing.

Going for optimal soundboard response, do these two things inhibit that?

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DanSavage
Posted 2014-10-15 10:35 AM (#494997 - in reply to #494991)
Subject: RE: 1967 Balladeer Rebuild...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1949

Location: Lake Forest, CA
My Stewmac Dreadnaught plans show the reinforcement strips spaced at about 1/8" away from the sound hole. That's where I placed them on my 1619. I don't think the placement of these strips is very critical. They only keep the sound board from splitting around the sound hole.

When I was getting ready to brace my 1619, I read up on whether to tuck the braces or not. What I mean is making notches in the X-braces for the tone bars and finger braces and making notches in the kerfing for the ends of the X-braces.

The Stewmac plans show the braces tucked. They also show the reinforcement strips butted up to the X-braces, but not tucked under.

I looked at my 2078TX-5, which has the LX bracing and my Alvarez PD100S, which also has X-braces. None of the braces on these two guitars are tucked.

No one really seems to know the true purpose behind why some guitar makers tuck their braces. The general consensus is that manufacturers do this to keep the braces from popping off the sound board if the guitar gets bumped. From what I read, it's best to keep the bracing spacing at about 1/8", which is what I did on my 1619.

IMO, yes, tucking the braces would inhibit response because it limits the top vibration. I did not tuck the braces on my 1619.

Interestingly, the X-brace is about 2" from the bottom of the hole. The rear-shifted X-brace is usually 1-1/2" and the forward-shifted X-brace is 1". (I used the forward X-brace on my 1619)

I haven't measured the angle of the X-brace on the Balladeer, but I will soon. I'm curious what angle it's at.

Edited by DanSavage 2014-10-15 10:38 AM
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