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Old 03-17-2019, 09:49 AM
LemonCats LemonCats is offline
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Lightbulb Harmony sunken soundhole

Hey everyone!
Back with another potential 12 string harmony I'm currently looking at possibly buying.

This one seems to be in better shape than the last one i posted about (Here and two others here)

Here's a quote by the seller about the condition:
"When I got this, it was in rough shape. It needed a neck reset, as nearly all Harmonys from this era do. In addition, the neck had bowed in the soundboard around the soundhole because of the tension of the strings. There were also a couple of top humidity cracks.
I took it to my luthier, who reset the neck, added a brace above the soundhole, and cleated and glued the top cracks.
"

Unlike the last one this one has frets that are at a good height and not filed down to the size of my fingernail haha
It doesnt have a huge rosewood wedge under the fretboard; although I think there is a small wedge under the fretboard still or perhaps its freefloating??? (look at pic #1) (Which I dont mind about the cosmetics of the wedge as long as its not making the play-ability or structure any worse)(I'm very curious if the fretboard is just floating there with no wedge)

However, like the last one; this ones got a sunken sound hole too. Now I'm not sure yet if it has the same 'hillbilly popsicle stick'(See first linked post) vertical stick holding up the soundboard from sinking in anymore. Ill be asking the seller for a picture of that area soon. But he did say "I took it to my luthier, who added a brace above the soundhole"


Image 1 (SoundHole)
Image 2 (Frets+12th Action) (another person using coins as a measurement :/ this must be common) (According to the listing, "Action plays on the dot at 3/32nds." I'm assuming he is talking about the action at the 7th fret? perhaps 12th idk)
Image 3
Image 4
Image 5
Image 6

I've never had a guitar with or dealt with a sunken soundhole before. So I have a couple of questions and concerns. Firstly, I will be keeping this guitar in proper humidity (as i keep all my other guitars) and I'm wondering if that will push the soundhole back up or possibly inwards more.
What are the downsides to having this sunken top/soundhole?
How is this going to impact structural integrity and longevity?
If the fretboard doesn't have a wedge underneath it and is sorta freefloating or hovering like that than what will that mean? is the fretboard going to be easily breakable?

Im aware of the repaired cracks and the finish checking and belt buckle dings and scratches on the back of the guitar, Cosmetics especially on these vintage guitars are not a concern for me.
I'm really only concerned about play-ability, structural integrity, and longevity.

Last edited by LemonCats; 03-17-2019 at 10:28 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-17-2019, 11:49 AM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonCats View Post
I've never had a guitar with or dealt with a sunken soundhole before. So I have a couple of questions and concerns. Firstly, I will be keeping this guitar in proper humidity (as i keep all my other guitars) and I'm wondering if that will push the soundhole back up or possibly inwards more.
Zero chance of that. It isn't humidity related so the remedy is not about humidity levels.


Quote:
What are the downsides to having this sunken top/soundhole?
How is this going to impact structural integrity and longevity?
Guitars deform over a long period of being subject to the forces imposed by string tension. The deformation is permanent. In general, the instrument attempts to "fold in half", with the upper bout rotating/deforming into the sound hole. This is what causes the need for a neck reset. Usually, it is the entire upper bout that rotates, including sides and back. It appears in this case it is largely the top that is deforming by "crushing into the sound hole".

If additional bracing was added, the top might be stable in its current geometry. It might not. If it isn't, you'll need another neck reset at some point in the future. That could be a year or 10 years or... You might also get cracks in the top on either or both sides of the fingerboard.

The large amount of deformation tells you that the structure is inadequate and is compromised. It might be stable in its current configuration or it might not. It's a gamble.


Quote:
If the fretboard doesn't have a wedge underneath it and is sorta freefloating or hovering like that than what will that mean? is the fretboard going to be easily breakable?
If the fingerboard is "free floating", you'll probably have a poor sound in the notes played over the free floating fingerboard. If it really is free floating, likely, it will sink when you press strings down to the fingerboard, deforming as you do so. It might buzz when you do, it might not. You'd have to play it.

It isn't likely to break. It does, however, form some part of the structure of the neck/body juncture. If it isn't attached to the top, some of the structure is forfeit.

With those structural problems, it isn't an instrument I'd want to own.

Harmony guitars were, as you know, not high-end instruments or particularly well made. Aging doesn't improve them. If you really want one, it isn't going to be in very good condition or it will have been largely - and expensively - restored. As you've already seen, not all of the "restoration" work done to them is done well.
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Old 03-19-2019, 12:49 PM
John Arnold John Arnold is offline
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If you really want one, it isn't going to be in very good condition or it will have been largely - and expensively - restored.
Actually, I own one of these in excellent original condition. But if I did choose to sell it, it would be at the high end of the market price for the model.
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