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Old 12-07-2017, 10:34 AM
Karel Karel is offline
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Default Repairing Vintage Paul Brett 12-string

Some time ago I became the owner of a Vintage VE8000PB (Paul Brett signature) twelve string. How I got it is a somewhat complicated story but the main thing is that I did not have to pay for it. A cast-off if you wish because the guitar had too many deficiencies, something certainly not normal with regard to the Vintage brand and this signature model which received many rave reviews. The dealer himself suggested that sending the guitar back overseas - from the Continent to the UK - would become too costly.



The bridge was cracked (on both sides of the saddle), the saddle tilted heavily backwards with the strings under tension, the bridge plate was lacking (more precise: there was a plate but not glued underneath the bridge), the pickup did not work properly and some of the tuning machines hang loose in their hinges. Let's presume that this was an unfortunate coincidence of a Monday morning and a Chinese employee who had a particularly bad night.

I had my 12-string sitting in the attic for a couple of months not knowing what to do with it when I decided to try and repair or rather restore my specimen. The build of the instrument in general (all solid wood) seemed to warrant investing some time and money.



I took off the broken bridge and made a new one out of Indian rosewood. It was a bit of an experiment because it was the first time I undertook such a drastic repair. I made the new bridge a tad larger than the original. The holes I could drill myself; the saddle slot was made by a local engraving shop with a CNC-machine. Also I did not copy the deeper grooves in the wood on both sides of the saddle which seemed to have caused the cracks. Subsequently I had to carefully cut back and scrape the guitar top from remaining lacquer. Also from rosewood I sawed a bridge plate. To glue (Titebond) both the bridge and the bridge plate I had to acquire soundhole clamps which I luckily could buy cheap on the internet. I had already removed the malfunctioning electronics and decided to install a K&K pure mini pickup for 12-string instead.





Did some fret work, sanded the fretboard with steel wool and treated it with fretboard conditioner. The whole thing became ten times smoother. Fixing the loose tuners could successfully be achieved by bending the hinges. The latter might not be the final solution but buying a set of new machines turned out to be too pricey. Finally I decided to change the Nubone saddle and nut for Tusq ones.



Apart from the K&K pickup the nut proved to be the most expensive piece of the whole undertaking since I had to buy special files which cost a lot. I wanted absolutely a new nut because the original had an awkward large spacing of more a good 3 mm between each pair of the same key. I made it 2 mm which is in my view far more comfortable.



Now, was it worth all the thinking, all the work and the money? I would say: YES! This small 12-fret 12-string has the size of a parlour but the sound and sustain of something much(!) bigger. On top of that it sounds warm and smooth and plays very light. She certainly owes her characteristics to Paul Brett's signature which is all over the instrument, but on this particular one I added a sniff of mine and the result is quite stunning.

And finally the K&K pure mini - a pickup which I installed in each and every guitar I own(ed) - behaves fantastic also in this guitar.

All's well that ends well.
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Last edited by Karel; 12-10-2017 at 01:54 AM.
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Old 12-10-2017, 01:56 AM
Karel Karel is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 307
Default

Now with some pictures (changed from Photobucket to Imgur).
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