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Thread: Aaargh . . .

  1. #1
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Aaargh . . .

    I just pulled the frets, nut, and bridge on a 1980 Martin D-37K guitar.

    Nice guitar, reasonably well cared for, played a lot, and in for repair simply because of stuff that normally needs to be done due to age and use. These are routine repairs that I have done many times before.

    The bridge came off reasonably easily. Same with the frets. Only a couple of chips.

    But that blankety-blank pocket nut . . . put in with too much glue . . .
    Y'all who do this kind of work regularly know what I'm talking about.

    Time wasted because of poor choices in factory assembly: too much. Nerve damage: moderate. Lost hair: at least three or four handfuls. The only good thing is that the collateral damage was minimal.

    I've decided to quit for the day. If it wasn't for the epidemic, I'd go out to the good authentic Mexican restaurant to relax my ruffled feathers. But I guess I'll just have to content myself with an extra large bowl of homemade Mulligan stew. The one positive aspect of our current conditions is that I'm getting better at making stew.

    I very un-cordially despise pocket nuts.
    Tantrum finished.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Aaargh . . .

    I'll take a bowl of that stew.......

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Aaargh . . .

    Wouldn't it be nice if the builders/designers would collaborate with repair folks. I remember a car that you had to unbolt the engine and lift it 6" to change a sparkplug. Wouldn't it have been nice to design it a little better. Same with factory builders, I wonder if they do it on purpose and laugh as it goes out the door. Bad day??
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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Aaargh . . .

    Builders/designers/engineers do not consider ease of repairs at all, in my opinion. There are just too many examples out there to deny it. There are exceptions. Leo Fender for example. Ease of repair is why he decided to use a bolt on neck.
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    Default Re: Aaargh . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Wouldn't it be nice if the builders/designers would collaborate with repair folks. I remember a car that you had to unbolt the engine and lift it 6" to change a sparkplug. Wouldn't it have been nice to design it a little better. Same with factory builders, I wonder if they do it on purpose and laugh as it goes out the door. Bad day??
    58 Chevy with a 348.....was at least one of them.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Aaargh . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    Builders/designers/engineers do not consider ease of repairs at all, in my opinion. There are just too many examples out there to deny it. There are exceptions. Leo Fender for example. Ease of repair is why he decided to use a bolt on neck.
    Good designers actually do consider it. I spent 30 years as a mechanical designer and I always had the repair guy in mind. And had lots of arguments regarding why I did something a certain way and why it cost more. A lot of the guys that never worked on cars and motorcycles paid no attention at all. I guess that old Chevy (previous post) left its mark on a 17 year old working on his first car.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Aaargh . . .

    Good designers sometimes get forced into bad product: that famous Chevy Monza/Nova was supposed to take the rather compact Wankel rotary when there was a brief automotive love affair going on. Unable to make one that worked or didn’t drink gas forced them to squeeze in a V8, which resulted in the problem mentioned. Having broken ground in this area, many cars to the present also had unserviceable plugs, starters, etc. on the presumably proven grounds that it didn’t matter.
    One of the great holistic design successes coming from Asia is the requirement that the product and its box remain modular to the dimensions of shipping containers. And then there’s Ikea.... forcing America to it’s knees, grasping that Allen wrench.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Aaargh . . .

    Unfortunately I think many companies give their designers disincentives to consider repairs. Apple is one of the worst offenders. In general, our society has a tendency to ignore the option of repairing things.

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  11. #9
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    Default Re: Aaargh . . .

    I can understand the tantrum only too well! I have just done a refret on a Maton guitar and had a similar problem. The nut came out eventually, but it was in several pieces. I have had worse, one that was glued in with Titebond all around the nut would not budge no matter what. I ended up grinding it away with a Dremel, after contacting the builder and winging in his ear. It is useful if you build, to do a few repairs so you don't make the same sort of mistakes.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
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  12. #10

    Default Re: Aaargh . . .

    A friend came in my shop yesterday to share his woes. He owns a fine L-5, old (won't share year...). Took it to have a neck reset. The guitar has already been refinished, otherwise he wouldn't have it. Can't get the neck out. It is epoxied in. Ended up with a shim and a refret. Plays beautifully...

    My way, as a luthier, of saying that it could be worse. Sucks as is.

    Every repair, save salvage repairs, should be done with the next repair in mind. Builders should build with the next repair in mind.

  13. #11
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aaargh . . .

    I sympathize, analogously. I've been through somewhat similar experiences during my tenure as an editor, spending hours repairing blunders by writers that could have been fixed in minutes early on.

    But I'm curious about another aspect - authentic Mexican restaurant in eastern TN? Do tell! It'd be nice to know for the next time I head up to the Northeast (after it warms up).

    And I get it about stew. Though for me, it's been soup, especially chicken - first roasted, then soup. All that practice led to my techniques being improved so much that the Thanksgiving cooking was the easiest ever.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  14. #12
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    Default Re: Aaargh . . .

    When I first moved here in 1981, the few Latin-Americans who lived here were mostly Cuban ex-patriots. Some of them were released prisoners from the Bay of Pigs battle.
    Starting in the mid 1990's, Latinos from other countries began to move here, and now we have a community of moderate size.

    Anyway, the restaurant is Taqueria Jalisco Ania, 1639 Rossville Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37408. Phone 423-541-4410.

    Tacos, burritos, carne asada, etc. About 12 or 14 choices of fillings, including nopales [cactus], vegan beans, and rajas [poblanos] for those who don't eat meat. Nothing fancy, sometimes a special when they have the time. The best chiles rellenos I've ever had, they use the old-fashioned 2 day preparation techniques; but they don't have them every day. They stick to real, traditional Mexican meals. If you're looking for Tex-mex, you won't find it there.

    Owned and operated by Jorge and Maria Parra. They started with a taco truck, then rented a place the size of my living room. The food was so good that they finally earned enough to build a nice, moderate sized restaurant, and they have kept the quality up.

    I'm waiting for the glue to heat up so I can plug the saddle slot on the Martin and cut another one in the right place. It had the all-to-common mis-located saddle that we see on too many modern era Martins. Easy to do when the bridge is off the instrument. I don't understand why Martin hasn't been able to figure out where to locate a saddle, but it's money in the bank for me.

    Mulligan stew: sautee a large onion, brown 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. of whatever meat is on sale in a separate pan, add a little flour and water to the drippings, put it all together, add about 6 cups of water, the seasonings of your choice, and some tomatoes if you like, cook for an hour. Then add whatever veggies you have lying around and cook some more until the veggies are done. Good right out of the pot, but even better on the second day.

    The glue should be ready by now, so I'm signing off.

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  16. #13
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Aaargh . . .

    I am not a luthier. I do other stuff. But I do appreciate a piece of equipment that was designed taking into account maintenance.

    I deal with electrical equipment used to respond to emergencies. So it doesn't receive much normal wear (we all hope). But does require regular maintenance - maintenance to be sure that it will work if ever called on. This stuff receives more wear from maintenance than anything else. And when it is designed taking this into account, things go much easier.
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