Tuesday 12th February ’08
Erik and I begin the day with what turns into the most extensive re-vibration of an Ovation I’ve done (except for when, as a sixteen year old, I was given one that had fallen in a river.. the lacquer was all peeled from the water so I stripped it off using a hunting knife as a scraper and painted a sunset scene in watercolour.. it played like a dream for years!!
first off we decide to add a soundhole on the upper bout..
this adds both volume and depth of character, especially at the bass end… more later..
the insides of the hole are filed and sanded and then polished
we change, again!, the position of the lower strap button and add straplocks..
next up the horrible plastic bridge (this is a Chinese Ovation) needs replacing with bone..
I match the bottom half, which has two rthirds the width of the top to fit in the piezo pickup.. which doesn’t make this easy..
and then cut almost through between each string..
this takes away some of the muddiness of tone you get when each string vibrates and causes it’s neighbour to sing too.. especially noticable when playing those massive chords!
the old nut is carefully knocked out..
and a bit of scrap padouk is cut for the new nut.. padouk again adds warmth and sustain..
and here it gets interesting.. I’m going to make this into a compensated nut!!! I’ve been wanting to do this for ages now and never had the time..
and here she is… very pretty.. and hopefully functional too..
we’re experiencing an inordinately warm February which the boys take full advantage of!
the frets are then stoned, reprofiled and polished
and the fingerboard cleaned with lighter fluid and then re-hydrated with lemon oil.. something you should only do every six months or so..
and then she is polished on the buffing wheel..
all the dust is blown out using my compressor
and she is strung up and the strings pulled about a bit to ease them into tension..
finally she needs setting up… the nut slts are cut back and some adjustments made to the new saddle..
and we both have a play… the intonation is spot on!! Which with NST is not particularly easy!
and as you can see from the smug look on Erik’s face she sounds amazing! .. we covered the new soundhole and did an A-B test.. you will not believe the difference… in fact Erik nearly got kicked out of the workshop because he wouldn’t shut up about how great she sounded!!.. result!
after a cup of tea and a bout of ego stroking it’s back to work on the Erik 8 touchguitar..
all the carving needs doing now..
and some rough-sanding with the random orbital..
even after just doing the top you can see the amount of dust created!
next up the neck is taken down.. she ends up only 20mm thick.. but the two dual action truss rods will keep her stable..
for some reason the dogs want to be in the workshop in the dust storm.. the door is open, they just won’t leave..
anyway, the neck is done to Erik’s satisfaction..
and just ’cause it’s pretty.. I’d love to do a finish like this one day.. the random sunbursty type effect is just lovely!!!
in order to keep the guitar stable some of the weight is kept in the rear end, but we still need loads of access at the neck.. and a few pretty curves of course!
here I am on the hunt for a glass of water.. and this is after wearing a mask etc..
ode to Gaffa tape!!!! We love this stuff! Now here is the surprise for all you stickists and touchguitar players… with the strap in this position there is very little neck dive.. if any.. and the ingerboard is held in the perfect playing position, it is not pulled towards or away from the body!! This has plagued this type of instrument for ever and here it is solved!.. Woop!!
All my best,
Crimson Custom Guitars HQ