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I also get historic Oscar Schmidts back to playing condition, after 80 to 100 years they are usually ready for a going-over.
The process is similar, except their braces are already where they should be and are the correct thickness, but some or all have usually cracked or popped loose.
That got me on the crusade to bring these Harmonys up to something resembling Schmidt standards.
You can look at these redone Harmonys as modern Schmidts – the original Oscar Schmidt company went out of business in the mid 1930s.
————————————————————————– Also, the vintage violin market seems to be saner (except for the prices) and more realistic, even more practical, than the budding (in comparison) vintage guitar market.
I now convert other people’s guitars and also buy basket cases on spec, then redo and sell them. And the woodenness of the tone…absolute perfection.
———————————————————————— Violin construction (and ultimately, the sound) has interested me for a long time. At times I find myself listening to much more violin (also cello and viola) music than guitar music. Look inside a violin and it’s the opposite of the modern steel-string guitar – simplicity personified, no x-braces, delicate tone bars, sound hole re-enforcement – nothing.
I saw how those crude, simple Oscar Schmidts from the 1920s and 30s did it and thought, “Why can’t we get those 40s, 50s and 60s Harmonys and Kays to do the same thing? I guess you could call it a conversion process, although I prefer to look at it as a “releasing the guitar’s potential” process, with some hot-rodding thrown in.
Harmonys, Kays, any “second line” brands with ladder bracing, they are the best candidates for this process. No big deal, I’ve got to remove the top or back to get at the braces inside, so if the guitar is coming apart at the seams already, it makes my job that much easier.