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  #1  
Old 03-08-2014, 11:05 PM
Architar Architar is offline
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Default Safely Removing A Pearse Arm Rest (Again...Sorry)

I know this has been discussed to death, but I'd appreciate any updates on how to carefully remove an adhesive backed arm rest from my top. I'd think the method suggested of working a peice of dental floss between the top and arm rest to cut the bond would lessen the possibility of lifting off finish, then cleaning up residue with naphtha. So I'm thinking, how about soaking the floss in some naphtha first to soften the adhesive at the same time as using it to cut bond? Seems anything would be better than trying to lift the arm rest straight up off the top. I'd like to proceed with extreme caution, so any tips are welcome.

Thanks.
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:52 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Arch, using dental floss is one way to do it, but I've only tried that once and disliked the amount of adhesive residue that was left behind.

The way I've done this, several dozen times now, is that I take a flatpick and wedge it between the adhesive strip and the top. It takes a little bit of wiggling and wedging it in, but gradually you should be able to get it in about halfway.

What I do then is take a second flatpick and wedge it in alongside the first one. Most of the time this is enough to break the surface tension of the adhesive and for the armrest to just pop loose.

Occasionally, maybe two or three times out of the many times I've done this, the armrest hasn't been quite ready to pop loose at this point, and I've had to work another pick in on the other side of the first one.

Most of the time using just two picks has done the trick, but it might take three. The main thing is to be patient and take your time with it, (although, truthfully, removing an armrest doesn't take more than a few minutes using this technique. The one time I tried the dental floss method it took me longer, not only getting the armrest off but - especially - cleaning up the crap left behind by rubbing it with a naptha-dampened cloth....)

Using the flatpick method I've suggested leaves practically no residue behind, at least not in comparison with the dental floss method.

Hope this helps.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 03-09-2014, 05:49 AM
Dogberry415 Dogberry415 is offline
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I can only mirror Wade's experience: I tried the floss method, and I spent so much effort trying to get the remaining adhesive residue off that I was afraid I'd take some finish with it.

I wish I'd tried the double-pick method he describes. Maybe you should.
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Old 03-09-2014, 06:34 PM
Architar Architar is offline
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Wade, good to hear from you. I'd read your former posts on Pearse removals, and remember you had done this dozens of times on any number of finishes, new and vintage. After you get the first pick in place, do you just use a gentle upward pressure exerted on the end of the rest? Maybe rock it gently back and forth a little? Basically you want to work from one end to the other?

Thank much.
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Old 03-09-2014, 07:48 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Arch, I don't try to pry the armrest off with the pick, I just use it to create a gap between the adhesive strip and the top. The motion I use is a side to side motion on the pick, worming my way in, while pressing inwards to get more of the pick underneath the adhesive strip and the armrest. Once the pick is in to a certain depth (between a third to half its length) working in another pick right beside the first one is usually enough to pop the whole thing loose. (Sometimes, if it's being stubborn, a third pick on the other side of the first one is required.)

So it's the adhesive strip letting go rather than the armrest being levered off that is what does it.

As for the different finishes I've done this on, so far as I'm aware I've never taken an armrest off a guitar with a French polish finish, so I don't know what that would do. But I have done this on plenty of nitro-cellulose lacquer finishes, poly UV finishes both high gloss and satin, and some other "catalyzed lacquer" finishes that I couldn't tell you what they are.

With nitro-cellulose lacquer, John himself always warned me never to put an armrest on an antique or weather-checked finish, because if the armrest gets taken off it can damage one of these fragile, dried out or otherwise compromised finishes. I did have one of the original plastic Pearse armrests on a guitar with a lacquer finish that had some windowpane checking, and when I pulled the plastic armrest off to replace it with an ebony one, a few flecks of the finish came up with it.

But it didn't matter to me because I immediately covered that with the new armrest, and it wasn't a valuable vintage guitar, anyway.

John made it clear to me that these armrests are intended for modern instruments, not old guitars. So I've never put one on a vintage pre-WWII guitar, nor do I ever intend to.

But a modern instrument? Sure, it's standard procedure for me. The armrest just adds a lot to the tone, so any guitar I actually intend to play gets fitted with an armrest.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 03-09-2014, 07:55 PM
Bill Ashton Bill Ashton is offline
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So my question would be...why would one take an armrest off?

Question as I am considering adding one to either my H & D (synthetic finish) or my Guild (nitro finish)...or both
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Old 03-09-2014, 08:01 PM
jpd jpd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Ashton View Post
So my question would be...why would one take an armrest off?

Question as I am considering adding one to either my H & D (synthetic finish) or my Guild (nitro finish)...or both


In my case....to take off of an un-playable acoustic and install on a new one.....
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Old 03-09-2014, 08:53 PM
scottishrogue scottishrogue is offline
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Cool Safely removing an armrest...

The armrests I have installed had no adhesive, so I used Rubber Cement. A thin coat on the underside of the armrest and another thin coat on the guitar binding/purfling, then carefully press in place. If I ever need to remove it, I would use the same method for removing a bridge...dry heat. An iron (no steam) pressed to the armrest (covered with a cotton cloth) and it should come off easily. Any residue can easily be removed without any chemicals.

Glen
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:42 PM
Architar Architar is offline
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My guitar is a double top built by Jeff Bamburg in 2007, with a gloss finish in good condition (no checking), so I'm figuring that removal should be pretty routine. Reason for removal? Well, I'd like to replace my Slimline for Slimline Junior. Don't need the larger size. These things work great in my humble opinion.
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:46 PM
AZLiberty AZLiberty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Ashton View Post
So my question would be...why would one take an armrest off?
To sell the guitar perhaps? I put an armrest on a Guild 12-string (at Wade's recommendation) back in 1997 or so. Put it up for sale recently as I *ahem* might possibly have a few too many 12-strings around here.

Pretty much every potential buyer was put off by the armrest so I removed it. (still available btw)

Used #6 lb fishing line. Stronger and thinner than dental floss. Left very little residue.

Oh, and 15 years later there was NO TAN LINE.

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  #11  
Old 03-10-2014, 12:52 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Ashton View Post
So my question would be...why would one take an armrest off?

Question as I am considering adding one to either my H & D (synthetic finish) or my Guild (nitro finish)...or both
In my case, they come off if and when I decide to sell or trade off a guitar, unless there's a specific buyer who specifically wants the armrest to stay in place.

I enjoy acquiring and trading off guitars, and while a guitar is in my possession, if I'm going to use it, it's going to get an armrest, pure and simple. But if after a few years I decide to sell it, I just take off the armrest, put another adhesive strip on it, and apply it to a new guitar.

As has been noted, many potential buyers are not familiar with the armrests, and this can be a turn-off for people that might otherwise be interested in the guitar. Plus, I have a selfish reason for hanging on to the armrests when I take them off a guitar: although as an artist endorser for John Pearse strings and accessories I get a small discount on the price of the armrests, they're still not free and I still have to pay for them. (I have to pay for the replacement adhesive strips, too.)

So, being the Scots-Irish tightwad that I am, I'm not going to leave an armrest on a guitar that I'm selling or trading off unless I'm specifically requested to do so.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:53 AM
Bill Ashton Bill Ashton is offline
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Thanks gents, that fair enough. Wondering if there was a problem, and obviously not!
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Old 07-25-2021, 03:02 PM
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I appreciated this thread and purchased an arm rest for my Savoy.

The only question that follows this thread is "what's a finger picker supposed to do?"
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Old 07-25-2021, 06:55 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvanB View Post
I appreciated this thread and purchased an arm rest for my Savoy.

The only question that follows this thread is "what's a finger picker supposed to do?"
In terms of taking an armrest off? It shouldn’t break the bank to drop by your friendly local music store and buy three of their house brand flatpicks to use for removing an armrest. Might only need two of them but it’s a good idea to have a third and maybe a fourth onhand, just in case.

Sometimes the armrests can be a little stubborn when you’re trying to get one off.


whm
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  #15  
Old 07-25-2021, 08:34 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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One last thought - if you’re buying picks just to remove an armrest, get mediums and heavies - I’m not sure thins will give you enough thickness to get the armrest loose.

I use the medium-heavies I play with, and they work fine, but I don’t think thins will perform as well.

Just a thought….


whm
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