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Thread: Breedlove Rogue repair

  1. #1
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Breedlove Rogue repair

    One of my local customers was rear ended with his Breedlove Rogue mandolin (in a solid case) in the back. It got bounced around with the bridge forced down onto the soundboard, breaking the top part in two places, forcing the treble foot of the bridge into the soundboard causing a long crack along gar line of the end of the bridge with another crack from the top end of the treble f-hole. The treble side tone-bar has been loosened for around half its length. After much thinking and discussing the problems with colleagues I think the best solution might be to remove the soundboard to repair it. This means removing the neck, which on these mandolins is bolted on with two round head Allen key bolts. I can get at these as there is a big hole for a pickup socket under the tailpiece, but I will need to have someone weld up a big T-handle with the appropriate sized Allen key on the end. My problem, or one of them, is knowing what sized Allen key is needed. Any experience with these would be welcomed, as would any alternative suggestions of how I might go about the repair. I think either the soundboard or the back will have to come off, and I can at least hide the locator pins on the soundboard more easily. I will email Breedlove and hope someone there might remember the Allen key size.

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  3. #2
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    Graham, what is the serial number on that one?

    The factory used a commercially made 18" long T handle that came in a set from MSC with removable tips and a locking set screw. I always found it funy that you needed an allen screw to lock down the allen screw. They used a smaller bolt and insert than the common 1/4-20 used for the guitars, but I can't remember the specific size....

  4. #3
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    James,

    SN 6551. The other question is the finish. I am hoping nitro? Breedlove guitars are now a pre-cat polyurethane but all the old info seems have have disappeared from their website.

    Cheers

  5. #4
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    Pardon my question but is it even worth the cost of the repair? I would call it a loss and move on.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  6. #5
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    No nitro in that era.

    I was building for them briefly in the 4xxx era; the finish was a similar cat-poly stuff about 1/8 of an inch thick that you could pull off as a giant single sheet.

    That model was one of their top tier mandolins that probably cost around $3500 or more back in the day.

    Regardless of what I may think of the company and the owners back then, I have fond memories of hanging under a big Juniper tree with Kim Breedlove out behind the old Tumalo shop while he taught me Whiskey Before Breakfast at lunchtime.....

  7. #6
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    No nitro in that era.

    I was building for them briefly in the 4xxx era; the finish was a similar cat-poly stuff about 1/8 of an inch thick that you could pull off as a giant single sheet.....

    Regardless of my opinion of the company and owners at that time, I have fond memories of hanging out with Kim Breedove back at the old Tumalo workshop while he taught me Whiskey Before Breakfast under a giant old Juniper tree during the lunch break.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    I don’t know the instrument, but if the pickup hole is large, you can assemble a long Allen with a set of inserts for hex drive screwdrivers or power tools and/or an adapter for 1/4” sockets and extensions. If you go this route, tape all the parts together so they don’t disconnect, because that will be annoying. All can be found at a hardware store. Is the top really attached to the neck? And, if modern adhesives are involved is it necessary to slice the joints?

  9. #8
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    Thank you all for advice and suggestions.

    Charley,
    It is a well built mandolin with quite spectacular flamed big leaf maple on the sides and back, a perfectly quartersawn spruce soundboard, an Allen Monteleone tailpiece and a tasty inlay on the fingerboard. I do think it is worth repairing. If I can unbolt the neck, and it looks like there should be little or no glue involved, the soundboard can be sawn off, hopefully without too much lacquer damage.

    Thank you, Richard, for that idea on how to determine the Allen key size. I have all those various bits and pieces so that should not be too hard.

    The main worry will now be the touch up on the poly finish. As you can see from the original phot I posted, either the spruce or the lacquer or both have darkened over time under the bridge. There is a fair bit of chipping along the main crack which will have to be filled/touched up in some way, as well as some finish damage if the soundboard gets sawn off. I will see what the owner wants to do.

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  11. #9
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    The finish can almost surely be touched up/repaired with CA, medium or thick viscosity is easiest to handle. If the color needs to be touched up, a little dilute Transtint amber plus whatever color might be needed to correct to match will do it, if you are adept with an airbrush.

    Having worked with Kim Breedlove and knowing some of the tendencies of his and his brother Larry's (who was the Breedlove who started the company), my bet for glue is titebond, and if I don't miss my guess, it will release with heat well before the finish is in danger.

    Although in cases of valuable instruments I will sometimes use heroic methods to repair splits, breaks, loose braces etc. working through existing openings, I think you are correct that removing either the top or back would be expedient, and since the top is already damaged that is the one I would most likely remove.
    Let us know how it turns out.

  12. #10
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    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    I think that bolt-on necks on f-hole instruments is a pretty silly idea.

    I've repaired loose braces through the f-holes a couple of times. Dicey work, not much fun, and results in a rather sloppy repair since it's tough to clean it up well. I used some violin clamps designed to work through the f-holes, but the clamps could have been designed better, and one of them kept trying to walk off the brace. A hair-puller for sure.

    Opening it up is probably the better way to go. If you do, you'll probably have to replace the bindings.
    It's too bad mandolins and guitars don't open up as easily as violins. Not that I consider opening a violin to be particularly easy, but they are easier than mandos.

    I have to get the structural work done before I think about touchup techniques. Otherwise, I worry, and when I worry, the repair gets put off.

    Good luck.

  13. #11
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    I would probably orefer doing the surgery through f holes. They appear to be more generous with space than some other brands. With some dry practice runs those cracks can be closed and bar glued back quite reliably and you can do quite effective cleanup nside through the large endpin hole.
    Since the finish is chippy removal of top will likely result in large need for touchup. I've used CA for such but it is messy job.
    I think that building new top and finishing it with poly would result in less work (the simple body curves would be simple to bind unlike F-5) and better cosmetics...
    Adrian

  14. #12
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    The whole mandolin was made with titebond. There should be no glue in the neck joint, just the bolts hold it on.

    You may not like a bolted neck system from where you sit building a few mandolins per year ( or none), but if you ran a major manufacturing operation whereby one person was expected to make 700+ mandolins per year as semi skilled labor at $7 an hour, you would likely change your mind.

    The same thing goes for the blocky upper bout instead of a traditional scroll. Kim once told me that after carving 200+ F5s by hand, he never wanted to do that again. The square thing was an aesthetic match with a guitar model they already had in production. They other HUGE factor is that in general, folks in Oregon are much more open minded to new ideas than many in other parts of the country.....

    Here is a prototype neck joint I made while working there using the same system. I was trying to get them to drop the blocky looking square joint and go to something more traditional looking, but with the same manufacturing setup. Of course, the beancounters who called the neck a "handle" never even considered it....
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  15. #13

    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    Wonderful green back on that Condino proto!
    I think innovation, in design, materials and fabrication is limited by cost, but also by the inertia in the marketplace. Neck joints, being invisible and somewhat technical, can be anything that works and is cheap, whether steel, wood or plastic. The hold created by Gibson so long ago on design - through very competent marketing - still strangles most of the allowable innovation. So to depart from the customary in production is high risk. My stamped, all aluminum mandolin of 1898 was one of many such attempts:Click image for larger version. 

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  17. #14
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    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    I worked in a factory where a bean counter's decision to save 20 bucks per unit on parts cost the company $500 - $1000 per unit in warranty repairs every time the parts failed.

    And yes, I'm aware that the bolt-on neck was based on a bean-counter's decision to reduce labor costs. I also understand that Breedlove's decision to use probably didn't cost them more in warranty repairs than they saved in production. But I still think it's a silly idea.

    I guess Graham can look at this as job security. If the owner doesn't want to pay the cost of the repair, Graham might instead be able to sell him a nice McDonald mandolin.

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  19. #15
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    I have no skin in the argument....

    I use dovetails and hot hide glue for all of my mandolin necks, both traditional dovetails and bolt on necks for the guitars (depending upon the customer), and both glue in mortise & tenon joints and removable necks for the double basses. A removable neck for any of the smaller instruments is a very occasional thing, but for the big double basses, it can be weekly or daily and makes it infinitely easier to travel with.

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  21. #16
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    It is a customer who already has a mandocello and at least one of my mandolins, so I would like to be able to repair the Breedlove for him. I got the neck off quite easily. It is held on by a 2 x 1/4" round head bolts that require 5/32" Allen keys. 4mm is very close to that so I used a T-bar handle and three bit holder extenders to be able to reach the bolts, all taped together as Richard500 suggested. It is a butt joint with just the 2 bolts holding the neck on and 9mm holes in the neck block for the 1/4" bolts. The crack from where the treble end of the bridge was driven into the soundboard extends from the bridge along the line of the treble tone-bar down to the binding near the tail. This has popped the glue line along the tone bar for some, if not most, of its length and I can't see that I can get glue into both the crack and the loose brace. The binding is rosewood and my current thinking is to set up a spacer on a little dovetail saw to cut through the sides and the linings directly under the binding to remove the soundboard. It will mean losing a mm or so of body depth but might well be the best solution and will think about the finish once it is all back together. Having the neck off does make that easier.

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  23. #17
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    Default Re: Breedlove Rogue repair

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham McDonald View Post
    The binding is rosewood and my current thinking is to set up a spacer on a little dovetail saw to cut through the sides and the linings directly under the binding to remove the soundboard. It will mean losing a mm or so of body depth but might well be the best solution and will think about the finish once it is all back together.
    It would seem to me that if the binding extends below the joint between the top and the linings, this would complicate removing the top at the neck and tail blocks.
    You could cut away 1/8" of the binding where the neck will cover it to get a look at where the joint lies.

    On the few occasions where I have opened instruments, I prefer to find out exactly where the joint is and open it at the joint, even if I have to sacrifice the bindings to get the job done.

    However you go about it, I hope the stars line up and she opens cleanly.

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