Kalamazoo Tenor Guitar
High action

Belly is up, and neck has excessive relief.
No Truss rod, strung GDAE with heavy strings
 Will try to reduce it with a Bridge Dr if possible
Another repairman tried to get the action lower by fret dressing and saddle lowering but it is still too high with the Belly and Bow.

Frets are modern

Neck joint is tight. Heel has a crack
Neck will need reset and crack repair.

Hole drilled for hook, will fill that

A couple cracks on one side, will seal those

Back is good

fuzzy pic, but showing 8/32, I need 4 to 5/32 for a nice playable action.

Zeroed , under tension, checking deflection

With no strings, it did not drop far, meaning the Belly is still pronounced, and its memory built into the top over time.
I have no desire to re-invent the wheel on this TG so I will not pull the back and make new bracing but will try to reduce belly with Bridge Dr.

The Dr. will not go into the center of the small TG bridge with the size screw it has so I will do something I usually would not do.
I will make a plate for the underside, and move it forward of the bridge and drill into the top.
Then after installation put an MOP button there.

Note: after a couple of attempts at modifying the Dr and making it work, there was not enough gain to leave it in.
This is due to the reduction of bridge area for it to work with.
So I will be left with an MOP button in an otherwise good top, for my efforts.

Neck relief begins at the 4 fret to the nut

Frets are newer as stated, but leveled off to almost nothing.
Fingerboard is at 16" radius

Since it needs a carbon fiber truss to keep weight down I will pull the board, then pull the neck.

The tongue is extremely "Stuck" alot of heat and cajoling.
This is one axe that has not lost its adhesion over time, that is some strong hide glue.

Still slow going, 2 hours in. Hard to fathom one being that stuck
Heated knives and board doing the work

Once onto the mahogany neck area, its going normal
Did shear some spruce  that can be remedied

Pretty clean, a few small areas Ill have to clean off the board and fill on the neck
I did get some scuffing on the top working that tongue with hot knives but not enough for touch up finish

Since I cannot reduce the belly, I will compensate by a steeper neck angle.
But first, get the neck heated out, order the truss and get the slot prepped.
As you can see, not dealing with a common dove tail so will go look at some other examples of this heel and  get familiar with the removal process.
Spoke with a pal that knew what I had feared.
Some Kala's have the top put on over the dove tail.
So I will have to slice out that area on the top to get some steam in
This will be hidden under the tongue.

Before I start the cut....
What I am pointing at here, is one of 2 tacks, that were installed into the fingerboard to hold it centered when they built the instrument.
A common practice.

This is why many times, it can be a task to get the tongue to come up when you pull a fingerboard.
These were left extremely long, you do not need that much to use as centering pins.

That is how looks after the piece was chiseled out, and up to the front of the dovetail.
The maple strip you can see at an angle would be shim wood that was used to tighten it up.
And it is TIGHT, there was no glue release on this instrument.
You cannot see the other sides angle, that is tight.

I am heating from the back side and top, with dry heat, no steam.
This will help the neck block stay glued tight is my hope

Came out clean

The only prob with the nylon pads of the new neck jig is that they dimpled the top because they are not really flat, they still have machine marks in them and I did not see them.
So when I strip the finish I will swell them with a little water and block them.

Heel repaired, hardwood dowel goes all the way to under the fingerboard.
Now for a cap

Waiting on carbon fiber rod to show up.

Rod installed with 1 degree back bow.

Using toothpicks, not NAILS, to center up.
1/16 bit, in fret slot, which will hide under the wire.

Rubber banding to begin the clamping process

12 hrs in the clamps

Radius is 16", getting all that back where it needs to be.

Dots in, ready to clean and deepen slots

fret saw will slice the toothpicks nicely

Pre bent Stainless wire

Once again, shrapnel from nipping the ends got me deep.
Stainless is hard to cut and the end cut comes off with great velocity.
 I will have a better method on the next wire!

Starting to re-vitalize the board as I go up the neck.

Leveled crowned polished, also no fun on Stainless.
I have a full roll of it to use up, I'll be dead and gone before that!

Shot a base coat and fade, and a coat of clear on the neck for now

Starting to work the neck fit, I will deduce the heel which will change the angle to what I need for this body's requirement.


After setting the angle, checking all of the paramenters and gluing I have faded the heel back into the body with medium brown tinted lacquer

Clamping the tongue.

Block sanding with Tolecut the surface area around the repair, feeding in some brown tint with alcohol around the meeting surfaces.
 I am planning doing this all around the body where it has a scratch but leaving all of the patina, and shooting a coat of tinted finish on the brown, and the orange.
Then 2 fresh clear coats, this will give it some pop as well as still showing its battle scars.

The brown tint coat
The bridge is only loosely taped since someone had already put finish on it
After I shoot the tint and clear I will carefully strip it on off the top side

First some orange, then some amber to get to where I want to be tint wise

Both tints complete, and first clear coat

Fingerboard cleaned up, time to clean off the binding and do final coat

Now the same for the sides, will not take pics of all that

Finish completed and buffed, then wooled. then buffed and polished and waxed
I want it not too shiny, and looking like it is used a bit.
Oiling the board one last time before I buff it

Going with aged Gotoh tuners from Smakula.
I will change to amber buttons to match this paint scheme
it will tune smoothly now, and at 4:1 ratio

I like this look  for it, and many instruments.
Bob carries the smaller amber button and it just looks better.


New saddle has plenty height and action is low as expected.
Nut and saddle cut to match radius
Will settle it some and do a final fret dressing after it gets used to being at tension
I can check it then and do the necessary adjustments.

Back to having the production finish look with its war scars left alone, that was my goal.

A good color contrast can be seen on the workbench , as a background.

You can see my grandson's work drawer, it can be sanded, sawed on, hammered on, etc.
Proving once again if you give a child a task and a place of his own to work, they will 90 percent of the time not mess with anything that I have not given them.
They may want to look and as they grow, gain tools and tasks.
They not they are tools, not toys and can only use them in the work area.

Domino is thinking hard about something.

Good string centering on the fingerboard

 OK, one last (I hope) wipe down  polishing,etc and she will be ready for a new home.
Nice vibrant tone, easy to play, with a good vintage look at around half the price of its Gibson counterpart, with same upgrades.
Please inquire at

A good challenge and learning process!

Thanks for watching,Vinnie