Install pickup, re-fret, repair as needed to play
Fit bridge to body

Installing a Period Charlie Christian Pickup

I have decided on my game plan so will do a little tonight on her

Index pin holding the center line, drilling my secondary adjustment holes

Spruce plugs on the old side holes
Will tint them a bit when I get to that point

3 pins holding as well as the tape
Scribing a line around the periphery

I can finish tracing now that I have the basic outline
Then I will make the cut.

First I will drill a 1 "  pilot with my Forstner bit
No turning back now!

That is one thick top.
I see now why you can cut the bracing and not worry about deflection in the belly.

Now I will drill out all around the end first to relieve the stress on the piece I will cut out first
I'll use a hacksaw blade and no frame, to get a straight smooth cut thru the braces

1/2 cut out, Ill rasp the end a bit and make the second side cut

The drill outs ...

That went well, no chip outs and I can bring the periphery out to the exact size next.
A couple good pieces to save in case there is ever a need for them on this axe, I will stash them in the case. is what we are shooting for.....

It's not the most beautiful cutout for sure, they could have designed the base a little smaller and then the deco plate would have had a perfect look.
You need only just enough for the body to go in.
If it will go will adjust.
Oh well......that's my "benchmark" :):)

So after 3 hours of slowly reaming to get the best fit..........


I'd say that's book matched.

A dab of Shellac to make the cut look "older"

Plugging all the holes with maple plugs
Then just a dab of Shellac over them

Adding the yellow amber tint over the repaired areas.

The big divot in neck is filled, I'm working on adding a little clear over the repair only.
I will block sand that spot and buff when I get the clear coats on it.

More added plugs, there are plenty!

Getting ready to fret, fixing all the loose bindings first
I'm pinching while the glue sets

The frets are almost leveled flat, and the board is tired so I must protect the slots from chip outs with tape as I pull the old wire
You can see on the ends of the wires, there is nothing left

Some I could barely get out there was so little left.
What has happened is it was radius leveled at the wrong radius, will explain later.

You can see how ugly the slots are, that is from playing sweat and whatever, all will be sealed, and re slotted for modern wire
All of which has to be done without removing the side bindings which would crystallize and be ruined if I tried.
I will repair what I can on it, you can see a big dent and cracks in the board where it took a hit long ago, I will remedy that as best I can.
You can also see on the other side a piece of binding that's been replaced and only sort of matches.
It's a Warhorse, and has all the battle scars to make it really cool to me
I like instruments that are played and not looked at.

All out and sealing the slot edges

The reason the frets are so bad on the ends is that the original board  should be 14" radii, and this one is between 11 and 13" at the bottom and 10 to 11" at the top so its a compound radius.
The wires were leveled at either 7.5 or 9" and the tighter radius makes for cutting more off the sides of the wire.
If you compound radius, you must do the board and then the frets in the same radii.
I will correct  the board to a standard 14"-12" compound radius.
You can check online about compound radius if you are not familiar with the term.


Doing the compound radius

You can see all the low spots and divots.
I will fill the deep ones

#20 Cyano for that job, leveling each time until I get them all

All leveled, filled and fingerboard blackened with Fiebig's
Cleaning up the binding top

Those divots can be seen but not felt

Cleaning and deepening slots

Precut for Gibson and pre-bent

Pressing with "Jaws"  with  12" radius caul inserted

Trimming ends and sealing with cyano as I go 

OK, on down the board as far as I can go with "Jaws"
  I'm using the Stew Mac fret cleaning saw to rake out as far as I can so these can be hammered in properly without too much shock back
  I'm on an extension that is diving downwards so I have to watch in my leveling to take them down less than those above it

Really, this went well, I'm only on a fine paper with my radius blocks and am already "Dusting" properly
The re-radius on the fingerboard itself I can tell helped this aspect a lot.
Its not like I'm some Sage Archtop guitar repairman......lets keep it real, its nice to have a bit of luck on such things!

Re-crowning file, and then I will dress the ends and polish them all back nicely

All sealed into the board, ready to jig up to profile the bridge base
That is with pickup "Maxed" upwards, it cannot come higher and I feel the thick top in that area impedes it.


Side pulled in glued and clamped, still a tiny bulge but its sealed again
Scraped to profile

All small holes plugged

Inside/Outside repair - Sidewall
This is a procedure I used all the time when I had my fiberglass business.
When there is a hole in the side of a boat that is not easy to get to from the inside, we make a backer plate that can be bent and fit into the hole with a pull wire in it.
It has to be small enough to get into the hole when it is slight folded.
Also in this case it needs to be thin so that the total thickness is not more than normal so the jack plug can still be nutted properly

The plate is a little larger than the hole and will give some strength to keep the jack plug snug.

After making the hole and bending the wire, I glue a piece over it to keep it from pulling thru when I apply pressure with glue on it.

Now to fold and insert

Glue is all around the periphery

Wire snipped off after curing

Tracing a pattern for the main plug

After a lot of fitting, its in and sanded to profile
I got some grain matching but it will never be pretty
I  will try a little acrylic paint to mask over the repair a bit

A little amber tint added

Pickup hole drilled in the old plugged hole

I will get the wiring in and then I will paint a little more on the  new repair


Installing pickup bracket

Grounding the unit under the tailpiece

Mixing some Ocher and some yellow to get what I can, from what I have
It did do a fair job of masking the lines and repairs, Ill shoot a tad of clear over it when it dries.

A couple of coats of tint wash and clear, that's not too bad.


outside strings with  enough pressure to stay in the slots.... to use as a guide but still move bridge to and fro.
You only go 1"... that is the area the base will set to be intonated, any other spot will be wrong
You can see "High in the middle

Coming outwards

Almost there...

You can see the bass side touching well and the treble side "Dusting at the tip
That String is less pressure so it means "I'm there"
Lets get some strings on it at tension


First I will yellow this up a bit, peeling the protector

OK Strings on
I splotched the tint on purpose since this already has that sort of patina

Nice flat profile, at half tension so we are good here


Electrical "Tap test" while hooked to amp...........OK

Strung to pitch and played for awhile thru my amp, sounds nice
Now to have another test run on it when Martyn can get by here.
We did some Truss adjustments, more fret tweaking, working to get it at a lower action .
And now with the plug re-positioning and pickup adjustment we are closer to a better player.

Thanks for watching,