Intro: Harmony H22 Bass.
A 1964 Harmony H22 Bass....
...and It's having a fantastic life - I'm happy to have been part of it. There's no doubting the love that has been bestowed upon this guitar but It has gigged and partied with the best of 'em. The feckless have walked backwards into it and rested it, precariously. Along the way it has sustained some quite serious damage, particularly to the bottom edge of the semi-acoustic body, around the jack socket. Small parts have been lost. Some old parts have worn out and now it's time for an overhaul.
Thank you, KC, for selecting and forming the repair-piece.
This lovely old guitar has taken a dramatic and rather romantic journey to arrive in my care. I'll do my utmost as an obsessive-compulsive and infernal DIY tinkerer, to revive it, if not to an immaculate, original condition then hopefully, at least, to a familiar state, without taking away it's character and charm. (that's me covered).
1) Replace smashed area around jack socket.
2) Replace machine heads.
3) Replace abalone dots in fret board.
4) Source and fit new nut (black or ivory?).
5) Lacquer repair.
6) Check, rebuild and re-fit electrics.
Step 1: Repair the Body. Preparing the Patch.
First job was to repair the bottom edge of the semi acoustic body. Thanks, KC, for preparing the damaged area and forming the patch.
The patch is laminated and shaped around a prepared former. It is over-sized has to be carefully worked-down by hand to achieve a perfect fit.
Step 2: Fitting the Patch.
The repair-patch is worked into shape. The hole for the jack socket, drilled. The piece is fitted, using an appropriate (branded) adhesive. The gizmo pictured is a clamping-bridge, which is placed between the repair-piece and the clamping straps, which spreads the load evenly over it's length. I made this from small blocks of wood glued to a narrow strip of plywood which I cut a couple of mm narrower than the repair-patch to ensure it was pressed fully into the space. I used grease-proof paper between the repair and the blocks to prevent the two from becoming one.
Step 3: Sanding and Laquering.
Step 4: Machine Heads, Nut and Bridge.
The original machine heads were knackered. They're tiny - the size you'll find on a nylon six string classical guitar. So, as this project is as much a customisation job as it is an overhaul, an upgrade to a more robust 'mini' bass tuner In black chrome was chosen. Not entirely happy with having to increase the diameter of the machine-head holes by at least double the original size but needs must. Keeping the original centers would have placed the holes precariously close to the edge of the head-stock so I milled them out to size, moving the centers inwards.
At this point, the guitar's final appearance became a serious consideration. Now, with black machine heads and black nylon strings on their way, the question of which colour nut to use presented itself - black or ivory - I ordered both. I toyed with the idea of orange or day-glow green but feared the owner's disapproval ;-) ) Black won.
The only attention required by the bridge was to replace the thumb-wheel adjusters..
Step 5: Electrics.
The electrics were in good order apart from the usual noises associated with dirty potentiometer tracks and un-bonded grounding. I cleaned the tracks with IPA and ran a lead from the spiral screening that covers the cable runs between the volume and tone pot, selector switch and jack socket, passing it through the tale-end of the guitar to the saddle fixing bracket.
Step 6: Bottom Strap Button.
This part of the project became somewhat curious. I'm not quite sure how it was fitted originally but I am sure that one of it's previous carers had modified it so I've had to work around it as best I could. The end bracket of the tail-piece and the the on in the guitar directly beneath it had been crudely drilled out to around 5/6mm and had probably been bolted in some way. I tidying the holes and enlarged them slightly. Rather than fiddling around trying to blindly thread a nut to the inside of the body, I used a spring-loaded dry-wall fastener but because of the depth of the hole, I had to cut-down the arms for it to operate properly. I arranged the components:- button, felt pad, washer, bush and cut-down fastener onto the extra long bolt and pushed it in. The mechanism worked first time and it tightened-up a treat.
Step 7: Reassemble and Restringing.