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Old 10-08-2021, 06:22 PM
goog64 goog64 is offline
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Default My heavily modified OF-660 (purists look away)!!

Or should that be "lightly" modified, since the purpose was to lose weight?
Anyway, I've owned my Journey OF-660 for four years now and I love everything about it, except the weight. It was over 5.5 lb. That plus a laptop and various bits and pieces made it too heavy to carry around for very long on my old shoulders.

So I thought I'd share with you my journey to lighten it (pun intended).

1. I hand sanded most of the finish off the whole guitar. I used 180, 400, 800, 1200 and 1500 grit. This took probably ten to fifteen hours. I much prefer the look now because I can see the carbon fiber weave, whereas before it looked like cheap black plastic. Unfortunately it also revealed all the manufacturing defects, which is probably why they put black dye in the finish in the first place.
2. I removed:
a. The back covers on the tuning knobs,
b. The washers on the tuning knobs (this required me to then do the fiddly job of cutting three threads off the cylinders that hold the tuners in place since the washer was no longer was there to provide the correct spacing),
c. The string retainer at the nut (I travel with a capo, so I'll use that to hold the strings on when the neck is off),
d. The truss rod cover,
e. The mechanism that holds the neck while you screw it up (I just hold the body with my knees and neck with one hand),
3. I grinded away a section of the metal cylinder through which the neck retention bolt runs. Of all the OCD things I did, this was the stupidest. It hardly saved any weight and took a LONG time. It's very hard steel.
4. Replaced the tuning knobs and main neck retention bolt with 3D printed ones. This was a long process. It was difficult to get the internal dimensions of the knobs correct, and even though I roughly calculated that to be strong enough I would need 17 square mm for the cross sectional area of the bolt, I didn't pass the message on very well to my friend who was doing the printing, so there were a few bolt failures.


















Last edited by goog64; 10-08-2021 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 10-08-2021, 07:59 PM
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DavidE DavidE is offline
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Is it bad that this made me laugh? I love my OF660. I'm interested to see what this will be like at the end of your...... wait for it..... journey.
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Old 10-08-2021, 08:00 PM
steelvibe steelvibe is offline
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Cool! I like it. I've done a few mods on mine too, more for aesthetic reasons than weight reduction. I agree with you about loving everything about it with the exception of the weight (I've had mine for a little over 3 years). I've flown with it, cruised with it, camped and play it on my couch. Great guitar.

My appointments; finish overhaul, dropped true abalone dots for inlays, Gotoh 510 minis, custom truss rod cover, and a couple magnets inside for a Sageworks support. I also have a gigbag for it for normal use when not flying.

Curious; you didn't say how much weight you were able to drop? I emailed Journey basically telling them that the biggest improvement they could make was to engineer it with less weight. That neck join is where the bulk of the weight is...well there and the neck. I think the guitar could sound better with a more integrated neck joint too but I'm not sure how it could be done. Have you ever noticed on Journey's site that they say the guitar only weighs 4.1 lbs.? LOL, no. No it is almost 6 lbs.

What kind of strings do you like on yours?
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Old 10-08-2021, 08:56 PM
goog64 goog64 is offline
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DavidE, it depends on the tone of the laugh!

Steelvibe, I haven't weighed it yet because I haven't put the final 5 plastic tuning pegs on. Will post the weight then. It's definitely noticeable though.
That neck joint is way over engineered in my opinion. The biggest weight saving was definitely swapping the heavy stainless bolt for a plastic one. I think a small heel on the neck with a lightweight latch at the bottom to attach it to the body would be great.
Yes, I saw the weight on their website - I emailed them about it 3 months ago and they said they would fix it straight away. Ha!
I've only ever used Elixir Nanowebs. I've changed them 3 times in 4 years, playing every day. Sound fine to me.

Last edited by goog64; 10-08-2021 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 10-08-2021, 09:09 PM
steelvibe steelvibe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goog64 View Post
DavidE, it depends on the tone of the laugh!

Steelvibe, I haven't weighed it yet because I haven't put the final 5 plastic tuning pegs on. Will post the weight then.....

I've only ever used Elixir Nanowebs. I've changed them 3 times in 4 years, playing every day. Sound fine to me.
Ahh, okay. I'll patiently weight.

Elixir nanowebs. What it shipped to me with. I've found the OF660 to not be nearly as finicky with strings like my RainSong was. Just about anything sounds good but I'm finding I like the punchy brightness of 80/20s- John Pearse being my brand of choice. Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze also helped significantly with volume and responsiveness but I still like 80/20s even better.
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Old 10-09-2021, 02:02 AM
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Just weighed my OF660, gloss, original version, and it comes in at 4.52lbs (a tad past 2kg).

My modifications are minor.
  • Zero fret added
  • No pins-pinless (use small, aluminum washers inside body)
  • Replaced tuners with Gotohs + ebony wood knobs (wood knobs much lighter than the solid metal Gotoh knobs--but the mechanism itself may be heavier than the original Grovers. Don't know. Differences not that much, I think.)
So no major weight changes. Not 4.2lbs, but not 5-6lbs either.

Maybe there have been build changes over the years for various reasons that have added weight?
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Old 10-09-2021, 02:59 AM
DownUpDave DownUpDave is online now
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Thank you for the great pictures and description of everything you have done. You certainly put a lot of thought and effort into the Journeys diet program. It is disappointing that Journey states a certain weigh but it is significantly heavier. If was just a couch guitar then no big deal. But I was planning on buying one for bikepacking/ bicycle touring where every ounce counts.
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Old 10-09-2021, 03:06 AM
goog64 goog64 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ac View Post
Just weighed my OF660, gloss, original version, and it comes in at 4.52lbs (a tad past 2kg).

My modifications are minor.
  • Zero fret added
  • No pins-pinless (use small, aluminum washers inside body)
  • Replaced tuners with Gotohs + ebony wood knobs (wood knobs much lighter than the solid metal Gotoh knobs--but the mechanism itself may be heavier than the original Grovers. Don't know. Differences not that much, I think.)
So no major weight changes. Not 4.2lbs, but not 5-6lbs either.

Maybe there have been build changes over the years for various reasons that have added weight?
Wow - yes I wonder why yours was so much lighter. I'll be interested to see what mine finishes at when I'm done.
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Old 10-09-2021, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goog64 View Post
Wow - yes I wonder why yours was so much lighter. I'll be interested to see what mine finishes at when I'm done.
4.5 lbs is not light--but OK.

5.5 to 6 lbs. would be a noticeable difference for me, I think.

I checked the weight again on a less precise scale and it still came to 4.58 lbs, essentially the same. So your OF660 is much higher weight if your scale is correct.

I would like to know if there is some change in the construction to account for this. Or, maybe yours is an exception for some other reason.

At 6 lbs, it would be a full 1/3 heavier guitar now, compared to mine. Significant, IMO.

This has my full attention because I've had my eye on the nylon string version since it was introduced. All things being equal, it may be significantly heavier also. I've been waiting to hear more player experience and see more reviews.

I played nylon sting for many years in the past and still love the sound. I thought that would be a nice addition--or more likely--a replacement for my steel string OF660. I still love the steel string, but I need to keep my guitar inventory to a bare minimum for a number of reasons.

But an increase of 1 to 1.5 lbs for a guitar with a 12 inch width, is something I would need to think through a bit before seriously considering any changes. I love what I have now. So AGF is a dangerous place for me to visit, planting ideas I don't "need". ;-)
---------------
BTW, on my older gloss version, I can see the CF fabric weave on back, sides, and neck directly. The only places it cannot be seen is on the front and back of the headstock, and the front soundboard of the guitar body.

The weave is not as visible as it is on an Emerald, for instance, (Journey uses a finer weave pattern) but it is visible when looking closely or in strong light. Otherwise, from even a short distance away, it looks just black. I looked closely all over where weave is visible on mine, but have not seen any defects that are noticeable.
Sanding, of course, would make it easier to see--but I love gloss.

Last edited by ac; 10-09-2021 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 10-09-2021, 02:47 PM
goog64 goog64 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ac View Post
4.5 lbs is not light--but OK.

5.5 to 6 lbs. would be a noticeable difference for me, I think.

I checked the weight again on a less precise scale and it still came to 4.58 lbs, essentially the same. So your OF660 is much higher weight if your scale is correct.

I would like to know if there is some change in the construction to account for this. Or, maybe yours is an exception for some other reason.

At 6 lbs, it would be a full 1/3 heavier guitar now, compared to mine. Significant, IMO.

This has my full attention because I've had my eye on the nylon string version since it was introduced. All things being equal, it may be significantly heavier also. I've been waiting to hear more player experience and see more reviews.

I played nylon sting for many years in the past and still love the sound. I thought that would be a nice addition--or more likely--a replacement for my steel string OF660. I still love the steel string, but I need to keep my guitar inventory to a bare minimum for a number of reasons.

But an increase of 1 to 1.5 lbs for a guitar with a 12 inch width, is something I would need to think through a bit before seriously considering any changes. I love what I have now. So AGF is a dangerous place for me to visit, planting ideas I don't "need". ;-)
---------------
BTW, on my older gloss version, I can see the CF fabric weave on back, sides, and neck directly. The only places it cannot be seen is on the front and back of the headstock, and the front soundboard of the guitar body.

The weave is not as visible as it is on an Emerald, for instance, (Journey uses a finer weave pattern) but it is visible when looking closely or in strong light. Otherwise, from even a short distance away, it looks just black. I looked closely all over where weave is visible on mine, but have not seen any defects that are noticeable.
Sanding, of course, would make it easier to see--but I love gloss.
When I contacted Journey a few months ago about the weight and how they had listed it incorrectly on their website, he went and measured four OF-660's and said they were all around 5 lb. He said he would change the weight on the website.
He also said they are working on a new unibody model that will come in around 4.5 lb.

Last edited by goog64; 10-09-2021 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 10-09-2021, 02:54 PM
H165 H165 is offline
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Interesting....

All that work and you left those big klunky tuner bodies on it? They are probably the heaviest replaceable item on the guitar. They're usually the first thing to go on a guitar-weight-reduction program (reduces neck-dive, for one thing..).
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Old 10-09-2021, 03:04 PM
goog64 goog64 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H165 View Post
Interesting....

All that work and you left those big klunky tuner bodies on it? They are probably the heaviest replaceable item on the guitar. They're usually the first thing to go on a guitar-weight-reduction program (reduces neck-dive, for one thing..).
Yes, I did quite a bit of research into tuners. These mini grovers were on a couple of lists of the lightest tuners around, so I figured that removing the back covers and replacing the heavy knobs with plastic would be enough.
And the neck attachment bolt is definitely the heaviest replaceable item.
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Old 10-09-2021, 08:11 PM
steelvibe steelvibe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goog64 View Post
Yes, I did quite a bit of research into tuners. These mini grovers were on a couple of lists of the lightest tuners around, so I figured that removing the back covers and replacing the heavy knobs with plastic would be enough.
And the neck attachment bolt is definitely the heaviest replaceable item.
You are not wrong. I recently sold a set of the proprietary Journey locking tuners that has an extra part in the locking wheel. In my curiosity I weighed them on my cooking scale, and even at that they still weighed several grams less than the Gotoh minis my OF660 is now sporting. The Grover minis are very light and your modifications will make them even lighter.

That is great news about a unibody! I don't think their RT660 had the success that the OF660 did for Journey. Did you get the impression it would be like a neck through thing like Composite Acoustics and Emerald?
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Old 10-09-2021, 08:41 PM
goog64 goog64 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelvibe View Post
..............
That is great news about a unibody!........ Did you get the impression it would be like a neck through thing like Composite Acoustics and Emerald?
Sorry, all he said was "unibody".
Good to know about the tuners, thanks.
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Old 10-09-2021, 09:16 PM
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You may want to look into all Carbon Fiber tuning machines by Heart Sound. They weigh only 42 grams per set of 6. That’s only 1.5 oz.! If those won’t work, I wonder if it’d be possible to 3-D print a set.

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