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Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...

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DanSavage
Posted 2018-04-02 3:15 AM (#541987)
Subject: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1735

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Through the Ovation Collector's forum on Facebook I became acquainted with a fellow who goes by the name of Steve McCormick when he related a story about how Jen Chapin, Harry's daughter was on her way to a gig with her Dad's 1613. This is the same guitar seen in the pic of Harry and in those of Jen below . This is the same guitar seen in the video of him playing his song, Taxi. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z-6fAgxKRY)



On the way out of her house, she slipped on the ice and in the fall, she broke her Dad's guitar. Needless to say, she was heartbroken. Jen is a gentle lady who's followed in her father's footsteps into a musical career. For more information about Jen's touring dates or current release, please visit her web site at JenChapin.com.

When I read the story about her and her Dad's guitar, I immediately volunteered to see what I could do. When I got the guitar I saw there were several areas of damage.

First, the top had several splits that run from the top to the bottom. several areas of the top are completely separated from the lining/purfling. The plan is to replace the top with torrefied Sitka spruce using Ovation fan braces.

One of the ears has been broken off the head stock.

And, the head stock/neck area has been previously broken. Close inspection reveals an attempt at a repair with what looks like CA. Unfortunately, CA is not the best glue to use for this type of repair. Since CA was used, the only real way to stabilize the neck/head stock is to remove a portion of the skunk stripe on the back of the neck in this area, inlay a carbon fiber splint, then glue and blend a patch to hide the splint.

There's also a minor fracture in the fiberglass bowl in the upper treble bout.



Not many have polished the foil label in their Ovation guitars. Harry's does.



Edited by DanSavage 2018-04-02 3:20 AM
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arumako
Posted 2018-04-02 3:56 AM (#541988 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 734

Location: Yokohama, Japan
Wow Dan! Thought I just caught my breath after drooling over Patch's Parlor. You've wasted no time diving into this one! A formidable, but a most worthy project! I'll be tagging along over here in the Far East again! Two nylon stringers in a row...Torrefied, I presume?
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leonardmccoy
Posted 2018-04-02 6:47 AM (#541992 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
December 2015
Posts: 241

Location: Katmandu
Now this looks like a project. That the neck was previously repaired in such a hack way is very unfortunate.
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moody, p.i.
Posted 2018-04-02 8:17 AM (#541993 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
March 2002
Posts: 15159

Location: SoCal
I was at Dan's on Saturday to look at Patch's parlor guitar and asked to see the Chapin guitar. Must have motivated him

Interesting that Jen was playing it even after the top split.
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-04-02 8:45 AM (#541995 - in reply to #541993)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1735

Location: Lake Forest, CA
moody, p.i. - 2018-04-02 6:17 AM

Interesting that Jen was playing it even after the top split.


It looks to me like the top split because of the shrinkage of the polyester finish. The top from your 1113 looked just like this.

That's actually the main reason for the re-top. Even if the cracks were glued and filled, they would never be level and the top would just continue to split in other spots as the polyester continues to shrink.
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-04-02 8:46 AM (#541996 - in reply to #541988)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1735

Location: Lake Forest, CA
arumako - 2018-04-02 1:56 AM

Torrefied, I presume?


Yes. Torrefied Sitka spruce top with torrefied Adi spruce Ovation double fan braces.
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alpep
Posted 2018-04-02 9:52 AM (#541997 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
December 2001
Posts: 10193

Location: NJ
wow
that is an incredible story
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-02 11:18 AM (#542001 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 788

Location: Spin axis of a California map
FINALLY.. we learn about the next project you teased us with. Well worth the wait for me in that when I auctioned off my old vinyl (over 1,500 in one fell swoop), the Chapin collection is one of the very few I kept.

I once heard Chapin tell in a radio interview that he wrote Taxi during the week he was waiting for his initial taxi driving license to be processed, and was inspired after he heard that an old girlfriend had married a wealthy businessman. Before the license arrived, he received an entertainment offer and never did drive a cab.
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-04-02 2:11 PM (#542004 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1735

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Thanks for the info about the inspiration behind Taxi, Al.
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Jonmark Stone
Posted 2018-04-02 6:27 PM (#542009 - in reply to #542004)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
May 2008
Posts: 1279

Location: Gnashville
My 1613 split exactly like that. Extreme temperature. Got trapped in a blizard between shows... Vail to Copper Mountain. Several hours in the trunk ruined it. MS retopped/bowl for me.
Looking forward to this build.
I have a Chapin story too.
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-04-03 10:03 AM (#542016 - in reply to #542009)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1735

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Yep. Until the cold weather back east clears up, Patch's parlor is staying right here in balmy So. Cal.

I'd love to hear your Chapin story.
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jay
Posted 2018-04-03 11:48 AM (#542018 - in reply to #542016)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
January 2009
Posts: 1147

Location: Texas

What an awesome gesture. 

Harry seemed like a guy that paid more attention to the cause than whether his guitar was baking in the back seat of his car.

Sweet nostalgic project, Dan.  Thanks for raising your hand for this one.

 



Edited by jay 2018-04-03 11:50 AM
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-03 1:43 PM (#542024 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 788

Location: Spin axis of a California map
@Jay - >>>Harry seemed like a guy that paid more attention to the cause than whether his guitar was baking in the back seat of his car.<<<

Boy, ain't that the truth. I heard where he once stood in the parking lot rain and greeted cars that were showing up for one of his hunger benefit shows. The guy was a humanitarian's humanitarian.
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Jonmark Stone
Posted 2018-04-04 5:52 PM (#543057 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
May 2008
Posts: 1279

Location: Gnashville
I was playing a restaurant in Ft. Myers Florida around 1990. I had just done "Taxi" and "Cat's In The Cradle" when a gentleman walked up and thanked me for "keeping his son's music alive"... Harry's father.

He invited me to join him at his table, which I did... only to find myself with Harry's wife Sandy (who co-wrote "Cat's), brother Steve and most of the original Chapin band, including Big John Wallace. They were wonderful to me and invited me to a show the next night to benifit Harry's hunger foundation. They also insisted I come to the after party.

A really special memory.
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-04 7:07 PM (#543060 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 788

Location: Spin axis of a California map
>>>A really special memory.<<<

That's a great story and experience. They talk about planets aligning to bring on special occasions.. but I think it's when people align that make for the best ones.
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-04 7:26 PM (#543062 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 788

Location: Spin axis of a California map
@Moody - >>>Interesting that Jen was playing it even after the top split.<<<

I would guess that for some people (like Jen) it's often the wear and damage that makes the instrument possess the real mojo. If she had not slipped on the ice, I'm thinking she would have been happy to leave it as it were.. but sometimes there just comes a point. I cannot think of a single person beyond Dan who would be able to perform what is about to be performed, and to do it with the knowledge, skill and respect required to relieve the ill consequences, but still keep the mojo. I'm really looking forward to watching this one come together.. and this will definitely be a special old top for the wall collection. If there's any other chunkage that ends up heading for the trash bin, I would love to have a keepsake fragment of it.

Edited by Love O Fair 2018-04-04 7:44 PM
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-04-07 8:10 PM (#543119 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: RE: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1735

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Time to start the project. First job is to remove the top.

Binding and purfling are removed.



And, just like that, the top is off.



The foil label had become half-unstuck. To prevent any damage (read: creasing) I removed the label for safe-keeping.



I cleaned all the old epoxy off the linings and from between the fret board extension and neck block. It's ready for a new top.



Next, I'll turn my attention to fixing the neck crack.

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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-07 11:44 PM (#543128 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 788

Location: Spin axis of a California map
What's the serial number on this one?
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-04-08 12:36 AM (#543129 - in reply to #543128)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1735

Location: Lake Forest, CA
096744
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-09 12:01 AM (#543145 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 788

Location: Spin axis of a California map
Okay.. with the assumption of units being produced in perfect serial# sequence relative to the calendar and clock--
This was the first or second guitar born right after lunch on Wednesday, June 22, 1977.
I'm sure everyone was just chomping to know this.. so there.
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-09 3:58 AM (#543147 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 788

Location: Spin axis of a California map
I've only been playing classical for a few months. Never thought I would get into them, but I surprised myself and I'm loving every minute of it.. even if it's just an old CC-13. So now I'm already getting so sentimental about this Chapin guitar and restoration that I have been shopping 1613s.. bad GAS. Is this one a stereo model? All the ones I am finding for sale are stereo. Do you know.. were all the 1613s stereo?
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-04-10 9:03 AM (#543180 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1735

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Al,

I wanted to check first before replying. The preamp on this guitar is mono with a single knob for volume control.
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Love O Fair
Posted 2018-04-10 3:42 PM (#543190 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 788

Location: Spin axis of a California map
Thanks, Dan. If I do end up with one, I think I would actually prefer the mono version.
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DanSavage
Posted 2018-04-18 1:37 PM (#543296 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: RE: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1735

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Work continues.

Before starting on the new top, I decided to fix the neck and head stock.

First order of business is to fix the neck break. I was originally going to route a slot in the back of the neck/head stock junction. Closer inspection showed this would be unnecessary.

I used the weight of the guitar itself to open up the crack so that the glue could wick deeply.

Then, I flipped the guitar over and used the weight of the guitar to close up the crack while the glue dried.

Here's the results. I'd sanded the finish down to bare wood in this area before starting the repair. This photo shows the wood after drop-filling with CA.

Next job is to start the repair to the broken ear and drop-fill the missing finish on the other ear.

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Mark in Boise
Posted 2018-04-18 2:41 PM (#543300 - in reply to #541987)
Subject: Re: Harry Chapin's 1977 1613-4...


Joined:
March 2005
Posts: 12609

Location: Boise, Idaho
Dan, you're a genius. I used to have a desk just like that. Your use of the "breadboard" is much cooler than its intended use--signing documents.
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