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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / No trussrod neck adjustment - my first


New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Jun 28th, 2019 08:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have a good client who brought me in an old Framus student acoustic guitar from the 1960s. Framus is German and they make guitars a little different. They don't look like all the rest. But they are generally well made with good materials. My first guitar was a Framus electric 12 string that I had no idea which end was which.

Despite the cosmetics being a solid B+, there was no trussrod and it was clearly obvious that would be mostly unplayable due to about 3/16ths" of relief with no strings. It was a small student flat-top acoustic guitar with a trapeze tailpiece and missing the original floating adjustable plastic bridge. No tuners either.

The client had purchased a set of 3X3 Grover open-back sta- tites and a bridge that was sorta like what should have been on the guitar. But I told him it was a bit of a lost cause. Yes I could make it play but it wouldn't ever be fun to play or sound very good. He wanted me to install the tuners anyway - string it up and maybe it would look good on the wall if it was truly a bad guitar.

Well... I like this client. A little further investigation showed that the "Zero-fret" was actually significantly contributing to the excessive relief and if I moved my straightedge to the 3rd fret as the beginning of my relief measurement, it wasn't as awful.

I had generally decided what I was going to charge for the work on this lost cause guitar before I started. It wasn't a valuable guitar worth pulling all the frets - trying compression fretting or leveling out the non-radiused fretboard. It was a yard sale guitar.

I gently pulled the zero-fret, fret #1 and #2, and knocked off the wooden nut. The straightedge down the length of the neck rested on rosewood near the nut position and still was elevated above the 3rd fret. Clearly there was a lot of banana bend sitting right under frets 1&2. I used a microplane and then sandpaper to get the straightedge to come down to the crown of the 3rd fret and then removed more fretboard material to achieve an "eyeball guesstimation" that the straightedge stayed above the fretboard a similar distance as the height of the 3rd fret. I could have used feeler gauges but that would have ruined the adventure.

I recut the fret slots, reinstalled the original frets, did 20 minutes of fret leveling and economy recrowning and reinstalled the nut -- Maybe three hours of work total. Installed Ernie Ball Earthwood 12-54.

This is an entry level 22.5" scale guitar that certainly can not sound anything like a $250 real guitar. However... I'm blown away by the tone. Playability is awesome despite a slight excess of relief. Intonation is unbelievably pleasing. It has this what I'd call a woody banjo tone that sounds purposeful and not cheap. If you wanted to record Woody Guthrie songs you could not do better. I want it.

I was giddy when I called the client today.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Jun 29th, 2019 01:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

Anyone who turns a wall hanger into a player deserves a tip o' the hat. You done good.

Contributing Member


The Escalator
Jun 29th, 2019 01:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

That is a great story!

Got a pic of this beast?

Contributing Member

North Florida

A Friend of Bill W.
Jun 29th, 2019 02:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

That’s cool, my brother and I still have our Framus’, Jim’s is an acoustic 12 string, mine is a semi acoustic bass. They were Christmas gifts when we lived in Germany 1965. We still play them.

I picked up two instruments this morning from a neighbor. A violin in a nice case, the bow needs re-haired, sound post intact, and an off brand solid wood dreadnought in a cheap case. The guitar needs work, a decent set up will make it a good payer.

1965 Framus Atlantik,

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / No trussrod neck adjustment - my first

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