1979 F212XL Rescue Complete

Nuuska

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Thank you very much for your super informative description of the top reset. 🐾

This makes me think, that bridge doctor is just band-aid - but your method is The Cure - am I on right track?
 

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Bob, that's exactly what they used (or at least very similar) for fine polishing in New Hartford.
You mean Guild uses that polisher, wow. It took me a while to get use to it, it’s very powerful and if your not holding the guitar firm enough, it WILL get away from you. I practiced on some parts guitars in the beginning. I did some finish polishing with it later for a few guitar builders years back. Using the right compounds on the pads I have found, by error, to be important! I have one set of pads just for polishing fretboards and frets. Does a great job on those. The best tool I got was The Dan Erlwine neck jig, threw my home made jig away. You can set it up to mimick neck relief and string tension without strings. Makes leveling frets a breeze, nothing compared to the pleK setup though. I used it on that vintage Gibson Hummingbird I did the top reset on, a long with a complete restoration. Hers some pics from my shop that someone put in a local magazine.
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chazmo

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Well, if not that buffer, something just like it. And, heck yeah, the polishing is a two-handed job for the very experienced! :D
 

PreacherBob

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Thank you very much for your super informative description of the top reset. 🐾

This makes me think, that bridge doctor is just band-aid - but your method is The Cure - am I on right track?
I think the bridge doctor was a pretty good way to solve a tough problem, with a generally hard-to-find solution. I used one on an old Washburn guitar I had. I put a few in for other guys as well. I think the single screw is best, the brass pin mount is just a bit cumbersome. I really don’t mind being able to see the dot covering the screw in the bridge, though I think it bothers some folks. It does stiffen the guitar up a bit obviously, changing tone and projection. But I used a UTS pickup, so it really didn’t mater. With using an LR Baggs Paracoustic preamp on stage, I can EQ the guitar to make it sound as big and bright as I like. So I saw a luthier use the dry top reset method years ago. Heated the bridge plate up underneath with a 60 watt light bulb to melt the glue, and remove it. Before he was done he made another duplicate bridge plate to put back. I was reluctant to try all that as a novice, so I remembered something my dad taught me. He was a residentail and commercial builder, he use to test wood for structural strength under load, and reshaping qualities when wet, especially woods with different grain patterns. So that came to me, which is where I came up with the idea of what I call a “wet“ top reset. I could expose the bracing and bridge plate to water, let it reshape under a load till it dries, remaining reshaped. Because the grain in bracing always runs parallel with it’s length, as a yellow pine 2x4, we can manipulate it. So far it’s not let me down, but I’m sure some would not approve of that method. It’s never left any type of water stains in the wood underneath. Not only that, it improved the tone and projection of the top. Though I dont trust my ears to be a constant standard for analyzing sound, my ears seem to change one day to the next. So I use accelerometer and attenuation test equipment to record guitar top movements. The same I used to test and record vibration in reactor fuel rod movement on submarines for the navy during the 1980s, though new equipment is digital where I only had analog back then. Translates vibration to an audible signal, and records the data. It will record frequencies from 20hz, all the way to 20khz. You can actually hear the guitar top talking to you with headphones on. I can chart changes when I’ve gone in and scalloped bracing for folks. A great device runs about $1000 but worth it, comparing up 10 different data entries side by side. Not sure if anyone has used that stuff on guitars before, but it has aided me a lot. Funny how you learned stuff forty years earlier, that you NEVER thought would be useful later in life🤔Like Spanish, right?!
 
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wileypickett

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Never heard of solving the problem this way, but if it works as you say it does, wow!

You might consider writing something about your work for the *Guild of American Lutherie*, the premier magazine of (mainly) guitar building and guitar repair. (If you're not familiar with it, it's a quarterly, subscription-only publication; leading builders and repair people from around the world contribute to it.)


An innovative solution such as yours would certainly be of interest to the greater guitar repair community, especially a solution that avoids the need for a neck reset and / or the removal of the bridge plate. (The magazine has also published numerous articles analyizing / measuring scientifically the sound projection of guitar tops -- those involve maths and special equipment and are typically way over my head, but would be of interest to you I suspect.)

I've been using Bridge Doctors to fix bellying and collapsing top issues on guitars for a couple decades. (I agree the screw-in versions work best.) In terms of how they affect the sound, my experience (on guitars that I've been playing for a while and know) is that, properly installed and adjusted, they've either improved the sound or have had no effect on the sound that I can discern.

Thanks for sharing your ideas, PB!
 

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Yes sir I’m still very much an advocate for the JDL bridge doctor. I think the quality of the installation rests upon getting that rod placement against the block at as close to a right angle, or keeping it straight as possible after tightening the screw. I replaced one for someone that stripped the threads on the plastic insert out, it was cross threaded. he Had the rod angled down a good bit. As far as sound goes to our ears, it may not change things much at all. It’s so minute of a change. Like compensating a saddle. Some saddles are even across the top, like some of my Guilds, which sound fine to me, other guitars are compensated all kinds of directions. looks great on a strobe, but my ears anyways can’t hear much of a difference unless I’m using a very light gauge string and playing barred chords. its more noticeable on electric guitars I think because of the lighter gauge strings And playing lots of barred chords up the neck, where it really sticks out. I guess that’s why electric guitar bridges are fully adjustable for each string. Yes I would certainly still use a bridge doctor today in certain situations 👍
 

wileypickett

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I think the quality of the installation rests upon getting that rod placement against the block at as close to a right angle, or keeping it straight as possible after tightening the screw.

Yep! Depending on the deflection of the top, it’s easy for the dowel to hit the heel block too high or too low when you first install the BD.

I readjust the dowel after the BD has been doing its thing for a couple weeks so that the dowel is as close as possible to being parallel to the top.
 
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Beautiful restoration & details of the process. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. My 79 F212XL had a bowed belly in the late 90s. Took it to Westerly and they repaired by steam pressing the top and resetting the bridge & saddle. Unfortunately in early 2001 the bridge lifted again. Returned to Westerly for repairs and they had to replace the top (Sad). After 5 months and 2 days of calling at Christmas, they told me that the top was on the guitar and it was being shipped to the Custom Shop in Nashville as Westerly was being closed within a few days. It was the last guitar serviced in Westerly. I picked up a 75 Kasuga T-813 Dreadnaught 12 string recently. It's nice, but my Guild is truly a beast. One thing I noticed. No serial # on the back of the headstock on my guitar. Inside on label only. Curious? It also has Grover tuners. Thoughts on the missing serial # appreciated.
 

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chazmo

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That's odd about your neck not having a serial number stamp. Are you sure that the neck wasn't replaced during one of the two repairs?
 

PreacherBob

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Beautiful restoration & details of the process. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. My 79 F212XL had a bowed belly in the late 90s. Took it to Westerly and they repaired by steam pressing the top and resetting the bridge & saddle. Unfortunately in early 2001 the bridge lifted again. Returned to Westerly for repairs and they had to replace the top (Sad). After 5 months and 2 days of calling at Christmas, they told me that the top was on the guitar and it was being shipped to the Custom Shop in Nashville as Westerly was being closed within a few days. It was the last guitar serviced in Westerly. I picked up a 75 Kasuga T-813 Dreadnaught 12 string recently. It's nice, but my Guild is truly a beast. One thing I noticed. No serial # on the back of the headstock on my guitar. Inside on label only. Curious? It also has Grover tuners. Thoughts on the missing serial # appreciated.
Wow that 1979 looks terrific! Of course the top is newer, however the back of the body and neck look great! Mine not so much. Congratulations on a super job of keeping it maintained very well👏
 
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That's odd about your neck not having a serial number stamp. Are you sure that the neck wasn't replaced during one of the two repairs?
The neck wasn't replaced during the repairs. When I saw the rescue post and noticed the serial #, I checked mine and that's when I noticed it was plain on the back. Surprise!! it is stamped, but barely. BTW- I kept the repair quote for new top from 8/30/01 when dropped off for the 2nd repair.
 

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7GuildsandanSG

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Eight days in, I just finished this awesome guitar. The big F212XL jumbo has a HUGE sound. Trebles are crazy. You guys were so right, I love it! I got it as a rescue, had a pretty good belly in the top, and the bridge was ramped up in back. Wasnt much saddle left. Rest of the guitar was in great shape, minus lots of swirls and light finish scratches. I buffed them all out without having to go deep in. No cracks. Neck angle was good, just had the bad belly. I did a top reset, got rid of the belly completely, bridge is level. I made a new nut out of some good aged bone, and a compensated saddle out of tusq. Good low action through the 12th fret. Now I just have to learn how to play it! I played about an hour, then got a killer cramp in my hand, I guess it takes time. Glad I chose this one for my first 12 string.
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This thing is majestic!
 

PreacherBob

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The neck wasn't replaced during the repairs. When I saw the rescue post and noticed the serial #, I checked mine and that's when I noticed it was plain on the back. Surprise!! it is stamped, but barely. BTW- I kept the repair quote for new top from 8/30/01 when dropped off for the 2nd repair.
Well how about that, it is there! Maybe they didn’t swing the hammer hard enough on the steel punch🤔( not really sure how they stamp them). Hmm, I wonder how far apart our ‘79s are
 

PreacherBob

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This thing is majestic!
Yes sir these guys were right! The F212XL has its own sound. I’ve even purchased another F212XL since that post. I’ve got three other Guild model 12ers, but these two guys just sound different. Folks use the word “sonic” in thier description of guitar sounds but I really wasn’t sure what that ment. I think I do now. The XLs have a certain harmonic or pitch, even strumming a chord, that kind of pierces your ear when you just hold a chord and let it sustain. My D46 does the same thing. I had compared it to a dog whistle to my wife, to which she replied “well if it‘s like a dog whistle then you wouldn’t be able to hear it, you must be a dog”. 🤨
 

wileypickett

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Yes sir these guys were right! The F212XL has its own sound. I’ve even purchased another F212XL since that post. I’ve got three other Guild model 12ers, but these two guys just sound different. Folks use the word “sonic” in thier description of guitar sounds but I really wasn’t sure what that ment. I think I do now. The XLs have a certain harmonic or pitch, even strumming a chord, that kind of pierces your ear when you just hold a chord and let it sustain. My D46 does the same thing. I had compared it to a dog whistle to my wife, to which she replied “well if it‘s like a dog whistle then you wouldn’t be able to hear it, you must be a dog”. 🤨

Guild's jumbo 12s were head-and-shoulders above the competition, IMO.

I'm crazy about my Westerly F212XL too. I've owned a number of Guild 12-strings over the years, both Westerly and Hoboken. Sold a bunch and still have a bunch. My F65-12 (F412) and F212XL may be top of the heap.
 

chazmo

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The neck wasn't replaced during the repairs. When I saw the rescue post and noticed the serial #, I checked mine and that's when I noticed it was plain on the back. Surprise!! it is stamped, but barely. BTW- I kept the repair quote for new top from 8/30/01 when dropped off for the 2nd repair.
The "2" means it's a factory second. It is odd that it doesn't have a serial number though. In any case, it's a beauty, BigBeard!
 
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