2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

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sookwinder
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2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

Post by sookwinder » Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:49 am

OK ... on this day that has proven that average IQ of the world is actually lower than 100, lets look at some nice guitars.

2 New Vintage Square Shouldered 60s Acoustic Guitar
This thread is photo heavy .... cause I like looking at nice guitars

Some of you may recall that when I got my 1964 J50 recently I had actually been looking at the following guitar, a 1964 Epiphone Frontier. It was at the Austin Vintage Guitar shop ... a great set of guys there, really friendly. But due to various reasons (including the consignment owner did not want to move at all on the price) I had to pass on the guitar. That's OK... I made some internet contacts at Austin Vintage Guitar, who apparently love OSG ! and I knew that something may come along in the future.
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Move along a few months, I get a small windfall in as much as some shares I was given by a company I worked for 20 years ago have to be "forcefully" sold back to the company. so I have some cash I did not expect and then I started to think about the Frontier again... were there some others out there.

Not really looking but at the same time looking, and not being helped by the following vid that Yannis pointed me to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8n6i-VeHis" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
... I checked out Norman's Rare Guitars and I started to also notice the Gibson Hummingbird.

Now the Gibson Hummingbird is almost the same as the Epiphone Frontier, in as much as they are both square shouldered acoustics, with 25.4" scale lengths. The "luxury level" of the Epiphone Frontier is between the Gibson Hummingbird and the top of the range Gibson Dove. All these guitars were manufactured in Kalamazoo in the 60s.

I wanted an acoustic that had a nut width around 1 10/16" or at the very most just under 1 11/16".
I wanted most definitely the adjustable saddle set up that Gibson/Epiphone utilised back in the day, the guitar to be in very good to excellent condition and no cracks.

There seemed to be a common crack in many examples of early and mid 60s Hummingbirds that ran from the sound hole to the neck, parallel with the neck along the inner edge of the guard. (due to the miss match of shrink rates of the guard, the glue and the lacquer). I was looking for a Hummingbird that did not have any cracks.

Down many wrong paths or emails back and forth with dealers and sellers trying to confirm the actual width of the nut of various guitars that seemed like possibilities. I would ask the dealers/sellers to measure the nut in mm rather than inches.... because saying 1 9/16" could actually be close to 1 10/16" and they rounded down. Most people were pretty good and gave me the dimensions in mm .. all except one person who , rather than measuring the nut width again in mm, just converted 1 9/16" into mm and told be the value to the third decimal place!

Weeks went by and then suddenly I am at Gary's Classic Guitars website. They always have a good range of unmolested guitars. And sure enough they had quite a few Hummingbirds and a few Frontiers. Spent a while looking at them, crossing various off my list and I came down to two Hummingbirds (both 1965) and a 1965 Frontier. They guys at Gary's gave me the nut width data and ranked the three guitars in order of "best sounding" which was helpful. I have bought 5 guitars from Garys before (electric and acoustic) and although their prices are at the top of the range, what they say they have, they deliver. If they say the guitar sounds awesome, it will.

Then suddenly I though "what the fuck ... one only lives once" and I asked them what deal could they do on one of the Hummingbirds AND the Frontier. Their answer back was positive, and then a week or so later I had two acoustics on their way to Oz.

I was able to track the FEDEX shipping on the internet and for once was actually home when the delivery guy stopped by.

As you can see below the two guitars are magnificent. The Frontier with maple front/sides/back has a brighter sound than the Hummingbird, but not by much. In fact I am totally amazed by the sound out of bother guitars... classic Rolling Stones acoustic sound... classic Exile On Main St. sound... just think "Sweet Virginia". There is a metallic crispness/clearness to the sound of these guitars so different to the J50 (or J45) sound. Different again to the Texan and Cortez. I always thought the sound that the Stones go twith their acoustics had some post production ... but no... it is the sound of this type of 60s Gibson/Epiphone square shouldered acoustic guitar.

It took a couple of days to get the guitars set up after the flight from the USA. The wood/necks are all settled now and they both play so easily.
James come around this afternoon and enjoyed them for a short moment.

Anyway here is the 1965 Gibson Hummingbird and its sister a 1965 Epiphone Frontier.
(some shots are taken with the sun out, others when it was overcast)
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Re: 2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

Post by shadowplay » Wed Nov 09, 2016 1:55 am

Beautiful guitars you rustled up thar pardner. I remember seeing a Frontier in Tony Bacon's book and wishing it had got the full page.

You're turning into the official Australian national repository of incredible US made acoustics. I picture your vault guarded by huge spiders.

I had a Japanese Hummingbird copy back in the 80's and I really thought I was the dandy don with my fancy cat scratchplate but sadly I made the mistake of sacking my girlfriend inside my own flat and she stomped the 'bird on her way to throwing my Hofner electric through the 2nd floor closed window, rapidly followed by my MS-20, a Copicat and a couple of boxes of records, all finding landfall on the roof of my poor Jag S-Type.

D
Are you loathsome tonight?

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Re: 2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

Post by JakobLyngbo » Wed Nov 09, 2016 3:54 am

Sookwinder: Those are some absolutely stunning guitars! Congrats on your fine purchase!

Shadowplay: I seriously hope you're kidding about about the girlfriend murdering your stuff like that!? :derp:
I just really, really like gear...
Gear and beer.

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Re: 2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

Post by kapepper » Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:21 am

These ngd posts should be made illegal :)
Beautiful guitars!! :w00t:
The pristine condition would make me a bit nervous though

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Re: 2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

Post by MechaBulletBill » Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:32 am

shadowplay wrote:I had a Japanese Hummingbird copy back in the 80's and I really thought I was the dandy don with my fancy cat scratchplate but sadly I made the mistake of sacking my girlfriend inside my own flat and she stomped the 'bird on her way to throwing my Hofner electric through the 2nd floor closed window, rapidly followed by my MS-20, a Copicat and a couple of boxes of records, all finding landfall on the roof of my poor Jag S-Type.

D
:derp: That's an expensive conversation!

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Re: 2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

Post by mgeek » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:22 am

shadowplay wrote:
I had a Japanese Hummingbird copy back in the 80's and I really thought I was the dandy don with my fancy cat scratchplate but sadly I made the mistake of sacking my girlfriend inside my own flat and she stomped the 'bird on her way to throwing my Hofner electric through the 2nd floor closed window, rapidly followed by my MS-20, a Copicat and a couple of boxes of records, all finding landfall on the roof of my poor Jag S-Type.

D
Wow why did you dump her, she sounds great! ;) :o

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Re: 2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

Post by zhivago » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:46 am

Wow, just wow. :-* :-* :-* :-* 8)
Resident Spartan.

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Re: 2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

Post by Despot » Fri Nov 11, 2016 12:54 am

Well done Sook - well done. :)

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Re: 2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

Post by PixMix » Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:50 am

You did really well. That's such a beautiful piece.

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Re: 2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

Post by sookwinder » Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:32 pm

Well I have had these two square shouldered dreadnaughts now for 5 days, but today (Saturday) is the first chance I have had to play them back to back, over a few hours. I have to say that not being an "acoustic guitarist" or someone who picked up an acoustic guitar first and then went to electric, has given me a jaundiced view of many acoustics. But these two are just sublime to play in all manner of areas.

The necks and nut widths are not thick, being: Hummingbird 42.71mm 7 the Frontier 41.75mm which is not much more than the standard fender JM or jag or strat width. The neck is a nice C shape. I truly do not understand why the "normality" is for acoustic guitars to have a 1 3/4" nut and feel like a one has just strapped a set of strings to a felled northern pine. At least there is this early/mid 60s shaped neck that suits me fine.

Over the last couple of days the Epi Frontier has really settled and now plays just as easily as the Hummingbird. As my guitarist commented, the Frontier first felt a little "tense" like it was not quite ready to settle in for the night. This is the first acoustic or any guitar for that matter that has taken a few days to settle after being shipped from the USA to Oz. But it is now relaxed like the rest of us.

The playability of the two dreadnaughts is so easy, and feels similar to the J50 with the shorter scale length ... and the sound, the overtones, the ringing / sustain is glorious.

I now understand the obsession some have with dreadnaughts... but it has taken me many many years and many different types/brands to even get to this point where I could plonk the folding money on the counter and say 'wrap them up to go" (so to speak).

I know this obviously applies to electric guitars and PUPs,the fact that many people have the style and sound of an electric that they regard as THE guitar and THE sound for them. I suspect for me with acoustics it is the 60s Kalamazoo Gibsons and Eiphones that are "my sound" that I love in an acoustic. A couple of months back I leant my 65 Texan and a 65 Cortez to the chief engineer where I work for a day or so to evaluate. He had always been a Martin player or even Guild player, but never really liked the sound. He had never thought about Gibson (& Epiphone) acoustics until he heard my Texan & Cortez .
He recently told me that the Gibson sound is what he has been looking for for years, but due to availability (or lack there of) in stores or the push from acoustic guitar sellers/players that Martin was the only brand if you were serious, he had never really had a chance to play Gibson.
He recently bought a spanking new top of the line J45.

So I think in the end even those who shy away from acoustic guitars can find a brand, a style, that feels and sounds right to them... it may that a couple of decades but it will happen.

Maybe James can chime in with some thoughts about the Hummingbird and the Frontier, given he has had a play of them, albeit a quick play.
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Re: 2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

Post by sookwinder » Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:19 pm

This posting probably should go into some repair or mod section, but what the hell .. it also fits here.

Last evening I was playing the Epiphone Frontier and while playing some somewhat agreesive G chords I suddenly realised there was an issue with the nut. Specifically the low E string slot. The string seems to suddenly jump I(somewhere and was closer to the edge of the neck than I thought it should be or remembered it to be.

Closer inspection (with the aid of a 10x lens) I discovered some weird shit. While there is the correct slot for the low E string, there slot area is larger than it should be, almost like it has been "caved" out. Normally when a nut crack or breaks at the low E , the section of nut just snaps off, but as you can see in the photos below it is almost like a bight has been taken out, but still leaving the edge of the nut as it should be, with the top of the edge of the nut still there. The correct slot for the low E is there , but if you play too hard it can flick into the next open section.

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When I discovered this issue I was in two minds as to how to proceed. Do I take it to my luthier to put a new nut in or attempt to repair the nut. (In can do a lot of things as far a guitar repair and maintenance, but vintage acoustics nut replacements has not been on the top of my list).

The more I thought about it the more I did not want to entire nut replaced as it is the original nut and the other 5 strings are set up perfectly. So I kept playing to see if the issue was a "real issue". Unfortunately it was an issue... if you started to dig in, the string would move.

Then I remembered something that I had seen on youtube, where one of the guys from Stewmac had repaired a nut. I did a few searches, found the youtube clip, found some more clips and then read up on some of the acoustic guitar websites the various comments about the longevity of this type of repair. The general consensus was that the repair method was great and if done carefully and correctly can last for years.

So I planned to repair the nut by using superglue and baking soda. Yes baking soda (Bi-Carb soda).
For what ever reason the combination of household items can be used to repair cracked or worn out slots in nuts.
Nowhere in the vids or forums that I looked at did anyone give a chemical reason as to how superglue and baking soda can produce a solid that is like ceramic/glass, but In thought it was worth attempting given the fall back position would be to have the nut replaced anyway.

On the way home stopped off at the supermarket and bought some baking soda and a new tube of superglue.
But before I let myself attack a 1965 vintage instrument I thought I should try out the idea with a blank nut. I felt it was worth fucking up a blank to see if the process could work, before risking the Frontier.

The very first thing I did was just pour a small amount of baking soda on a piece of paper and the drop a couple of drops of superglue on it. waited 5 minutes and then looked and felt what had just solidified on the paper. When and grabbed a hammer and hit the stuff on the paper and it shattered .... yes actually shattered.
What is going on !

So with the knowledge that the superglue and baking soda does seem to produce a compound that is ceramic like I ...
- ground a section out of the blank with a dremel
- cleaned it with acetone
- taped up the sides
- using a dentist weapon of torture sprinkled a small amount of baking soda into the ground out section
- then dropped a drip or two of superglue onto the baking soda. I made sure that the amount I dropped in was not enough to fill the hole, but rather all advice had been to repair the hole in sections
- waited half an hour for that to do what ever it chemically does
- then again sprinkled more baking soda into the hole and dropped some more superglue in.
- waited another 20 minutes, pulled the tape of, got out the 800 grit wet and dry paper and sanded it back
- then very quickly (not carefully) stated a slot with one of my slotting files and low an behold the repair worked. The repair section was tough and solid and basically
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Taped up the nut/neck. One does need to realise the superglue could easily damage the paint finish on the neck

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Then poured the bi-carb in and dipped in the superglue.
I filled the section i wanted in two runs and then left it for half an hour.

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If I was just filling a worn out string slot, then it would be easy to know how high you needed to fill . I.e. how much baking soda and superglue you would need to put in the slot. But in this situation I was filling a sideways bight out of the side of the slot (still can't get my head around how this damage had occurred in the first place) so I needed to have the guitar at an angle and I know I would need to sand back to small the outer edge and top of excess backing soda/superglue overflowed.

It all went well, the slot for the low E string did not get any extra stuff in it, I managed to fill the "bight" with just enough to create an outer side wall for the existing correct slot. There was some excess baking soda/super glue on stop, but with some 800 grit paper I slowly/carefully sanded it back down to the same outside and top shape as it had been. Then finally I used on of my slot files to clean up the face of the nut of the fret side, leaving the tape on the fret-board to ensure no damage occurred to the fret-board.

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Strung up the guitar and it is perfect. Original nut, repair with some items you can find in the kitchen. Amazing!

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Re: 2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

Post by jimboyogi » Sat Nov 12, 2016 4:14 am

You are a master David! Great repair, to some very weird slot damage.

I did get to hold and play both of these NewToDavidandAustralia60'sGibsonandEpiphoneSquareShoulderedAcoustics last week. It was a treat, but all too brief.

Only very quick impressions -

They both look beautiful, superb bursts on both of them, still so much red in the burst makes them look like new. Both in excellent condition.

Both sound great. I'm not clear on details about relative brightness/mids/bass/sustain, but there are differences, but neither lacking.

The Hummingbird is the model played all over "Exile on Main Street", an album I know well. Once David mentioned this fact I could really hear that exact timbre coming from the guitar, such a familiar and, to my ears, vital and beautiful sound.

Congrats David, and looking forward to spending some more time with these 2 in the future.

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Re: 2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

Post by lazycircles » Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:37 am

These are beautiful. I want to see a picture of your whole gibson/epi stable!!!

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Re: 2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

Post by sookwinder » Sun Nov 13, 2016 3:43 pm

This is how the baking soda and superglue works to form a solid almost ceramic compound.
(taken from the interwebs)
A monomer, such as methylcyanoacrylate (the substance in super glue), with two electron -withdrawing substituents can be polymerized with very mild nucleophiles such as Br, CN, amines or OH. The monomer polymerizes on contact with many surfaces. Most often it is initialized by the presence of water (the OH ions from water).If you have sodium bicarbonte present, traces of water (from the surface or air) will react and make NaOH. The reaction is the following:NaHCO3 + H2O -----> NaOH + H2CO3NaOH is a very good starter of the polymerization reaction. It will make the reaction go very fast. Since this is an exothermic reaction (energy gets released) the H2CO3 will break up into H2O and CO2 . The water will evaporate and that should be the fume you have noticed. You should also see the CO2.
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Re: 2NVSS60sAG - photo heavy

Post by ChrisFFTA » Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:46 am

My 65 hummingbird is my fave acoustic. Trying to find a southern jumbo next,

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