GUITAR WORKPAGE
Vega Plectrum
Circa 1930s

12-2017
For sale after repairs


Initial Pics


Neck has high action, requires neck set
 Bridge is loose, needs reset
Finish is old and compromised, will re-finish



Star on head stock correct for the model.
These and some other Guitars, Mandolas, Mandolins and the Crescent Tenor banjo had raised stars






REPAIRS
Re-set Neck to gain angle
Re-set Bridge
Check all bracing
Install carbon fiber truss




De-fretted
Heated the extension loose.




Coming up the neck


Board off OK



Super odd neck joint, no dovetail, but perfectly tight



The crack is easily sealed with back off



The finish is an early single stage Urethane, and gummy to everything stripper so straight acetone and rag changes is the method.


How it looks half off, that old muddy finish is sad.


You cannot see the larger crack in the first pics because acetone has wood soaked, and it is swollen shut, that will change in a few minutes back to an open crack


Finish off the top is progressing


Some old screws are embedded , I will drill to the tops and remove them,


Heating and popping the back off


Nice removal, minimal damage.


One sliver pulled off the neck block, I will re-attach


One tiny sliver pulled on front, a very clean removal all and all.


Bridge off, starting the block sanding
Pick guard is inset, will not be removed, old world style.
 I have carefully removed the old finish and it is back to celluloid, it will be wet sanded and buffed to high shine.


All smoothed up, ready to seal


Wiped clear over all the bare wood to seal it while it sets until I get back on it


All wiped down with a lacquer rag, I am a proponent of a sealed inside.
It will open back up and be less sensitive to humidity changes


I have a few tiny cracks in the spruce to cleat, nothing major on the top
That was just not enough neck block for the tension, in my opinion.
A lot to do in that area



Fixed the top of the neck block where the sliver pulled


It is a very tight well made joint, but did not hold up to this amount of string tension.
Maybe it is some sort of old world classical guitar joint, I will have to steam it apart now to see.


LOOKING ONLINE,
Frank Ford has seen this joint before, here is a blog on it
http://fretsnet.ning.com/forum/topics/vega-parlor-neck-reset-unusual-neck-joint
At least I was not the only one scratching my head.
Its not going to be fun.





Back is cleaned up and ready to stabilize with a few cleats here and there
All and all, VG cond to work with


Keeping things pressed while I research this neck block and how I can overcome its design weaknesses.

REPAIRS

Back all cleated up and ready for re-assembly


a few in the top, good to go


I have drilled 3/32" holes in the top seam, over the neck block thru the body and into the front side of the neck block.
 I will inject vinegar into the holes and allow it to break down the hide glue in the joint
 
As it takes on liquid, I am working the neck gently in all directions
Also, I razor knifed the sides of the heel to break loose any finish that would impede the removal.


After an hour, I got some movement and I have my blade in the seam.


Full separation
No dovetail, just a wedge into the neck block that never came unglued.



The emulsified hide glue will all be wiped out, heat gun to dry it all swiftly.
Then those holes will all be filled, and smoothed


Same on the heel, get it clean and dry.


You can see my drill lines, as well as a tiny bit that would not release
All and all, an excellent outcome



Fixing up the joints for re-assembly
I do not plan to over think this
I will add screws from the inside and build a wedge to get the desired neck angle.


This is a good angle.
Easy to see the change from the original neck set


Forming the angle for the wedge


After filling the neck block irrigation holes.
The screw is holding me in place for the neck set check
There will be 2 permanent screws and glue when I re-assemble
I want a rigid no movement finish.

Neck work



Ready to fret/tint/seal
Star has a threaded post


Ser# is 37385
On top of peghead, 2 digits one side, 3 on the other, common for Vega Guitars






Re-blacking the Pear wood overlay


Stripped and scuffed to 320


Tinted and sealed


Fretwork complete
Stew mac #147 wire



Neck angle changed, neck glued back into the body.
Bridge installed,  was clamped and screwed down to seal (Clamps off here), new bridge plate installed
The back will go on next.


Back installation pics lost, it went normally
After measuring out where I needed to be, I needed to add height to the original bridge base.
The rosewood billet was sized, slotted and drilled, glued and pinned into position and then I contoured the edges.




Frets leveled and polished, thats all completed
After a quick setup, I am where I need be, with good action and plenty of saddle.
I will lower the action from here, to around 5/32 


Now to pull the hardware, tape off and get the tint/finish completed


I am going with a pumpkin tinted  top, to get back to the original look of patina


2 more coats, and then I will buff it out, pick guard will shine again as well.

FINAL PICS


4 coats Mohawk Classic Instrument Lacquer
Tinted binding to regain patina
Brought to satin with fine wool
Buffed to medium shine
Action adjusted- low, and could possible go lower.
As I stated before, I do not wish to add coatings just to get a mirror finish.
 This instrument had less finish put on it from the factory, than I put back on it.
If someone has to have that, it will be additional cost.
My goal was for it to go to a good player  at an affordable price.
Someone that is not super picky about every single finish nuance, going for mechanics first!

































Plays well up and down with good action and good volume

INQUIRE - mrvintagebanjo@gmail.com