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  #16  
Old 12-23-2017, 10:31 PM
H165 H165 is offline
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All three guitars in the images have the original finish.

Quote:
Warp isn't bad, so I have it in a press to see if it will 'find it's self' so to speak.
I think these are the most fun "budget vintage" guitars available, but, I have to warn you, the warp will get worse over time. There's very little glue in there, and the reinforcement bars were left smooth. So, the hide glue slips sooner or later. Note the lack of glue. Rough it up and epoxy it back after the neck is flattened:






As noted above, the fretboard is easy to get off. Many use a heat blanket. I used an old travel iron for years. Won't hurt the board (solid Brazilian rosewood). Be patient and get the board and glue joint completely warm. Work in sections. Start the separation at the nut end with a razor blade, then use a softly sharpened thin spatula for the rest of it. Wear gloves.

Look closely below at the area between fret 1 and the nut...I drill pilot holes through the board and partway into the neck before removing the board, to facilitate perfect positioning upon reassembly. I drill the size of brochette sticks, but anything (wire coat hangers, maple toothpicks, etc) will do; just match the drill to whatever is on hand. You can also see the upper pilot holes on the flipped-over board, left of the dovetail imprint (bottom picture):


Last edited by H165; 07-25-2020 at 05:20 PM.
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  #17  
Old 07-26-2021, 05:17 PM
dswett dswett is offline
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Default Question for bisco1

I plan to embark on a Harmony H162 x brace conversion soon. I'm curious bisco1 - or other knowledgeable parties - why Silvertone spruce/birch 000 guitars rate as better bets for converting from ladder to cross bracing. Tone? Volume? Any elucidation would be appreciated. Thanks!
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  #18  
Old 07-26-2021, 05:39 PM
H165 H165 is offline
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Quote:
Silvertone spruce/birch 000 guitars rate as better bets for converting from ladder to cross bracing.
I'm curious...how did you come to this conclusion?
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  #19  
Old 07-27-2021, 12:34 AM
dswett dswett is offline
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I am curious as I have both a Harmony H162 & a Silvertone spruce/birch available to convert. Bisco1 in his 12/21/2017 post commented he felt the Silvertone spruce/birch was a superior candidate for an x brace conversion. I'm hoping he will enlighten us as to why prior to me undertaking converting one or the other. Else I may end up converting both for the sake of comparing!
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  #20  
Old 07-27-2021, 12:43 AM
dswett dswett is offline
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Default Barclay conversion

I converted a 1967 all birch Barclay to x bracing using .25"x .5" scalloped oak braces with very satisfactory results and so have decided to do a spruce top H162 or Silvertone spruce/birch conversion. Hoping for info from bisco1 on why the Silvertone might be a better choice.
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  #21  
Old 07-27-2021, 09:54 AM
bisco1 bisco1 is offline
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Sorry, I just saw this. In my opinion, H-162's, 165's, and 621's ALL can make fine "X" brace conversions. In MY opinion, I find the H-621's have the most pleasing tone. The H-165's have a lovely voice all their own that I can understand why some would place them at the top of the list. I know it doesn't necessarily make sense, but I fine the H-162's the least pleasing of the three. I am currently working on a H-162 that I am using a double "X" bracing pattern that was fashioned after guitars made by our forum contributor Alan Carruth. I used that pattern on a retopped H-159, which is a birch B&S version of the H-1260. It made a terrific guitar. We'll see how the H-162 turns out.
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  #22  
Old 07-27-2021, 06:11 PM
dswett dswett is offline
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Default Thanks bisco1

Your reply is much appreciated bisco1. My Barclay all birch x brace conversion guitar has a fundamental tonal quality. My aim with my next conversion is to get something with more overtones. I tend to prefer rosewood b&s. I'll most likely start with the H162 as the binding has gone rotten on it. I know sound preference is very individual and difficult to describe but perhaps you would take a shot at the tonal differences between the H162 & the Silvertone spruce/ birch (with x brace conversions). Would you characterize the Silvertone as more fundamental than the H162? Appreciate your posts! I know there are many variables.....
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  #23  
Old 07-27-2021, 09:52 PM
bisco1 bisco1 is offline
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I personally believe that birch is a fine tone wood, despite the fact that it doesn't generally have that reputation. People who know woods better than I do compare birch to maple. If that is accurate, I would say that mahogany is a closer match to rosewood than birch, although probably not all that close.
I would recommend that you follow the bracing pattern that H165 pictured earlier in this thread. The only thing that I would change is the width of the bridge plate--it appears that it might be a little wide. 1-1/2" wide X .100" thick is plenty for this application, IMHO. All the H-162's and 621's that I have seen have relatively thick tops--.140"-.150", so there is a lot of strength there. Use some sort of spruce for the braces, and maple or similar for the bridge plate. You can be fairly aggressive in the scalloping--dig up some images of prewar Martins for an idea of what to shoot for. I'm sure that you will end up with a fine sounding guitar.
Good luck, Bill

Last edited by bisco1; 07-29-2021 at 09:38 AM. Reason: grammer
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  #24  
Old 07-29-2021, 12:41 AM
Talldad Talldad is offline
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One of the main jobs of bracing is to keep a soundboard, that would otherwise deform, stable.

The lighter/thinner a soundboard can be made the more responsive it can be. X Bracing allows for thinner tops to be made as it is structurally stronger.

Is your soundboard deformed to the point where it is on the verge of being unplayable?

No.
Leave it alone, the bracing is doing itís main job, especially so if you enjoy the tone.
If you want it changed anyways then the tone will change as you will have changed the soundboards weight and stiffness, you could probably afford to thin the top a little too.

Yes.
Consider reinforcing or replacing the bracing.
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  #25  
Old 07-29-2021, 09:05 AM
dswett dswett is offline
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Thanks for your input bisco1.
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  #26  
Old 08-08-2021, 11:28 AM
tateharmann tateharmann is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bisco1 View Post
I personally believe that birch is a fine tone wood, despite the fact that it doesn't generally have that reputation. People who know woods better than I do compare birch to maple. If that is accurate, I would say that mahogany is a closer match to rosewood than birch, although probably not all that close.
I would recommend that you follow the bracing pattern that H165 pictured earlier in this thread. The only thing that I would change is the width of the bridge plate--it appears that it might be a little wide. 1-1/2" wide X .100" thick is plenty for this application, IMHO. All the H-162's and 621's that I have seen have relatively thick tops--.140"-.150", so there is a lot of strength there. Use some sort of spruce for the braces, and maple or similar for the bridge plate. You can be fairly aggressive in the scalloping--dig up some images of prewar Martins for an idea of what to shoot for. I'm sure that you will end up with a fine sounding guitar.
Good luck, Bill

Our high school shop teacher used to always say that birch and maple were kissing cousins ....of course, we made fun of him for that lol. He also said the same about ash and oak.

I just finished my first big repair job on an acoustic guitar and it's an all solid birch Harmony: https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=600233

I think it sounds great - but I'm no expert.
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  #27  
Old 08-08-2021, 11:36 AM
tateharmann tateharmann is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H165 View Post
Agree.
Remove fretboard. Take apart neck (completely), straighten neck. If not adjustable truss rod, re-fasten reinforcement bar (I use filled epoxy). Profile neck (optional - before or after re-installing fretboard). Re-install fret board. Refinish neck if required. Take off back. If it's a 5-brace back, remove (eliminate) rearmost back brace. CAREFULLY confirm strength of glue joints on all braces. If low, remove and re-glue. Otherwise, profile the back braces. Profile the top braces. Trim to proper size or replace bridgeplate. Add Kimsey brace. Add K&K. Re-assemble body. Replace bridge with pin style. Add headstock veneer (option). Add binding (option). Add inlay (option). Set neck. Install new tuners, nut, and saddle. Dress frets. String. Complete set up. Play on.

Just curious what you re-profile the necks to? I would like to shave the neck on my Harmony as it's really bulky. Also....do you eliminate the rear-most brace only if you are converting the top bracing to X? I left the ladder bracing in place on mine but thought the rear-most back brace was overkill. It was also extremely difficult to glue back in place through the soundhole.
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  #28  
Old 08-24-2021, 12:54 PM
H165 H165 is offline
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Quote:
Just curious what you re-profile the necks to?
On two of the H165s (both had the large headstock) I did four things (see the right hand guitar in the first picture posted on this thread):

1. Re-profiled the neck and heel to Martin "Clapton" proportions

2. Re-shaped the headsock to Martin proportions (paying close attention to the existing tuner hole locations)

3. Added headstock veneers (one rosewood, one Carpathian elm burl - see same picture)

4. Added side markers (dots on one, slashes on the other)

I also did these above four operations on a couple of H162s. I also added custom inlays (headstock and fretboard) to a few of them.

Quote:
Also....do you eliminate the rear-most brace only if you are converting the top bracing to X? thought the rear-most back brace was overkill.
I have eliminated the rearmost back brace on every H165 and every H162 I've owned or worked on. On most of them, I also re-profiled the remaining rough-cut braces. NOTE: Only the braces you can easily see through the sound hole are factory shaped or sanded.... the rest are left raw cut (rectangular profile). The results of brace removal and profiling are a lighter weight guitar and a more resonant overall structure (due to more flexible bracing).

I have logged hundreds of playing hours on two of these guitars, and the other ones I've done have also remained strucurally sound, with stable action and relief. All of the X-braced guitars are Sitka braced, forward shifted and scalloped. All the bridges are voiced; mostly with very thin wings. A couple have large bridge footprints, hiding previously messy old footprints. I install phosphor 11s or 12s on them, depending on what I'm doing with them. 11s for fingerstyle, 12s for flatpicking or anything with a stronger attack.

I think I'm going to take one of my 162s and brace it and set it up for .010s. I plan to use some of the techniques described here for this project:

https://umgf.com/adirondack-vs-sitka...--t135904.html





Last edited by H165; 08-24-2021 at 01:09 PM.
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