Bruce B's
Epiphone Concert Tenor

Restore as needed



Normal wear on board for a played instrument

Normal celluloid shrinkage
Recommend new frets, seal celluloid blocks, new binding, detail paint markers

Overlay intact and grungy, recommend thorough cleaning and wax

Replacement tuners with MOP buttons
Original tuners appear to have been Grover Hercules by the pattern.

Tailpiece 100 percent functional
A couple  replacement hooks/ nuts, I will try to match the originals

Melted finish from some reaction with tuner body, will try and clean that up

This is normal "Cupping" for Multi-laminate necks  , they pull inwards over time.
It does not affect playability.

The main flange is very stuck, I have been moving it some with a sand mallet, it will need some heat to expand it enough to come off.

Neck Work

First I want to take the old Varnish off of the backside overlay.
Here you can see where I have began to block sand with 320, I have gotten past it in the center and am working to the edges.
It is about 3 mils thick.
I know its Varnish, it has a sickly smell when sanded.
Celluloid smells like Camphor when you get down to it.
It is used in the making of celluloid.

The water begins to get less and less yellowed as I get closer to the bottom

It is always thick at the thumbstop, Ill get that last.

That is where I go to consecutively finer grit up to 1500 then machine buff.

I can live with that, that is just a little machine buffing to show its look.

Frets out, you can see they are all bar wire, no barbs for retention
Basically pull out with your fingernails.
I have begun to do the wetsand but will only go deep enough to remove some Yellowed Varnish without getting into the original detail paint which is VG

A light buffing, will final buff after all else is done.
A good gain and a nice luster again

You can see on the edge after binding removal, the lifting of the blocks along the length.

These all have to be heated, glued and clamped, time consuming.

Installing new binding

Dots installed,  fingerboard cleaned and machine buffed

Installing frets

Ready to seal

End dressing

Complete strip, loose laminates sealed

Ready to level crown and polish frets, then detail paint the board before final finish


recrowning file

Fret dressing wheel

End dressing file

Fine wool

Taped off for finish.
With celluloid's, I like to shoot a coat wait a minute, pull tape
After 1 hr ,Re tape for the next shot.
This keeps solvents in the lacquer from mating to the celluloid.
Back to the rim...

OK, nothing like baking a rim and flange at 200F in the oven to get some expansion, flange came on off fine at around 160F
You can see they never added finish to the bottom lip, that is where the stain rode up from the rim trim on the bottom

Speaking of which, sealing cracks, only in one area, normal, some are much worse.

Since it will run a clear head, I am cleaning the topside of grunge and with brush on some fresh finish to make it look good.
Black looks good too.

Taped to shoot inside, that outside gets no more than it had, flange has to go back on.

next to another Epi, owned by another Bruce.ah the irony.
I have this one for repair, both have the same issues, O'Neil's is worse. (left-dusty_

Upper laminate splitting
some veneers pulling loose, concentric rings lifting, all normal for me to see on these models
I cannot "unshrink celluloid or rehydrate it in any way, no one can so we just seal it down and do some detail work to make it nicer again.

At least its  not as bad as this Bandmaster!

Neck taking on clear coats.
Nice and bright again


Brushing on a coat to the top of rim for a little gleam

I am satisfied with the cleanliness of the brass flange
and skirt after fine wool polishing  so I will only polish and wax  the main hardware.

After cleaning and polish

I like using a hard wax after that and my quick way is Cut Rite Wax paper, for baking.
It is a good paraffin coating and easy to work around the hardware

Thank you REMO, for the 1015th  1015 stamp I'll have to remove with alcohol.
Even now that they have the ability to laser it on the side of the bead now, these will probably never stop showing up!

You can see that I have the head pulled with nickel plated hooks and the reason is as follows
I started running into trouble with originals so these are on to pull the head to tension and then i will swap one at a time for originals.
This helps them not  pull the tips and some are already bad.

What causes the problem:
Epiphone wears in one area and that area gets rounded and the hooks start pulling away so over time they are tensioned over and over and straighten out the "hook tip"  and then they want to slide off under tension.
You can see a new hook how it wraps into the seam . When they are bad they look more like an "L" than a "J" on top.

After a long time digging in old boxes  , I have a few to work with, this will save us.

All back on, lucked out

All to tension
The 5 hooks on top are the ones that are the worst and I replaced them, the others (and the L hooks) will ride home for spares

Now for the armrest, it will get polish and brass lacquer, first a light machine buff
It will wear off over time like plating would.
It can be reapplied with ease, unlike plating
The bends and dents cant be helped, patina.

It is an etching lacquer, old formula like is used on Trumpets and Saxes.
I will go 6 coats, it is super thin and flows like water.

And the tuners will get it as well, and the MOP buttons will dazzle after 70 yrs of scum is removed
They were installed with crude bushings all of which will be discarded and a brass insert used instead.
The original tuners had 3/8 holes

Just a pic of how celluloid can cup just about anything when it shrinks.

Adding the detail back with acrylic enamel

Even on the blocks that have engraving wear, I can still form the shapes

2 more coats of clear on the Rosewood and it will be ready to final.

Cleaning the tuner bodies, and feeding what oil I can down both posts, it does help.
I will clean and then machine buff the buttons

Coming up with tubing that will help the 9/32 shaft Planet's stable in the 3/8 holes.

Buttons and tuners looking good again

Neck re-attached

Ready to string up and set under tension, settle in, while I finish the resonator


Clamping off the small areas between the concentric' s.

Feeding in thin #10 cyano, it is sucking it in like a sponge, and it will wick to places no  other glue can reach.

Scraping off residue and high spots in the celluloid

150-320-400- for now is the wet sanding sequence.
The yellowish color is varnish, as you see this slurry change colors it is getting close to the original celluloid.
Nothing inside the concentric's with these grits

Outside to the inside of the second  concentric is sealed and back to 400 grit sanding marks.

All sealed. now it is 600-800-1200, then machine buff after I repair the sidewall

Ready to pull together and glue up

Glue and clamps loose, glue in, ready to tighten and let set 8 hrs

Back out of clamps, will do the one fresh black coat inside now

Scraped to profile, much tighter. It cannot be made invisible, none of them can.

After buffing the back

Now to scrape the top marquetry, and add clear only to the Marquetry strips, then buff the sidewall.

Sealing the marquetry only.
Same lacquer, brush on 3 coats top and side as well as bottom side and hand polish when dry


Well, I have carried it as far as I feel prudent, I am sure Bruce will check it out and do some personal touches unless I am very lucky and he is 100 percent happy.
Exceptionally clear and powerful tone, that clear head is singing loudly.
Playing well up and down the register.
It has been fun working on yet another great Epiphone, they are some of the real heavy hitters from the Golden Age.
Now, for a safe trip home to the Great White North.
Thanks for watching,