Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Final repairs for Frixo...

So...Frixo the 1940 Epiphone B-3 has been out to a few jams and has been well received by my musical jam mates.  This is another gorgeous Epiphone that just has that full bottom end, easy to play and holds down the low end beat in a loud jam.  

The Spiro lights (weich) feel good with a lower then normal string height for me.  Playing gut strings with a higher string height leaves me a lot of space to dig in, with all steel strings Lonnie kept the strings a bit closer to the original rosewood fingerboard.  Not a good or bad feeling, just different, especially when I switch basses frequently.  I never know what bass I am playing until Lonnie pulls it out of the gig bag at a jam.  He likes to keep me guessing and I like to be able to give all the playable basses in the collection a turn at our jams.  It keeps them all in good playable condition and the wood vibrating and happy.

After our last jam with Frixo, Lonnie wanted to try a set of Spiro mediums (mittels) just to see if the voice of the bass would be altered.  During this process of changing the string he noticed an old repair on the D tuner key that he was not happy with.  Sure enough while he was changing the strings the old repair failed and the tuner key came apart.  It did not break, the old repair just let go.  This did not pose much of a challenge for Lonnie as he has many years of skilled welding and metal fabrication.

Once the tuner was taken off the bass and he studied how it was put together, Lonnie could see why the old repair failed.  Next step, off to the garage to braze the tuner key back into place.  He has a large arsenal of tools for metal repairs.  Two evenings of welding, smoothing, filing and wet sanding and the repair is now completed, ready for another 70 years. 

I am confident he will get the tuner installed and the bass will be jamming once again this weekend. 

Below are the pictures of how the repair progressed.  And I dug out a spare pair of American Standard tuners that need this same repair.  He is on a roll; we might as well get the spare parts fixed now before we need them.

With the tuner removed reveals the patina in the old finish

Back side of the tuner is stamped with Kluson Manufacturing

The old repair failed because the center pin was not in place

After Lonnie brazed the tuner key back in place

This is his Oxygen and Acetylene torch welder

The work bench of a genius...or a mad scientist

The tuner back in place after welding and finishing

Lonnie did not know how smooth and perfect he wanted to go.  I said stop, it looks great!

Get the two strings back on the tuner and Frixo is ready to go jamming

This is the spare set of American Standard tuners that need a similar repair.  Having metal repair skills along with woodworking skills is a good thing!
Cool old tuners from a 1939 American Standard.

No comments:

Post a Comment