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Author Topic: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned  (Read 6350 times)

Offline Tio Kimo

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Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
« on: March 25, 2014, 10:37:20 AM »
I took a drill to my most rare, most valuable guitar, my 1995 D-55 Bourgeois Cherokee. But...I'd do it again.

Acoustic content, so I know half the class will go back to browsing, and that's fine.

Ever since I bought this guitar, I appreciated its fine craftsmanship and most of all, it's sound. Amazing full boomy dreadnaught bliss. BUT, the purist in me was always slightly bothered by all the bling. Most of that being inlays and wood, it can't be altered. But there were two things I could do. Tuners and Bridge pins. And boy, little things can go a long way.

Here's how she was originally...



This winter, with the ridiculous weather and the toll it takes on solid wood acoustics...I lost a bridge pin. Somehow. Just fell out. Guitar even stayed in tune. Crazy. Disheartening, given that Bourgeois takes such pride in even the slightest detail.....individually numbered pins



But it became the catalyst for change. I chose to stick with ebony pins, but went bare. I also chose to address the one thing that really bugged me...the huge clunky Grover Rotomatics. Never seemed appropriate on this guitar, even though they're rock solid tuners (these are '95 vintage)





The only acceptable choice for a guitar like this, I felt, were Waverly's. I chose Ebony, to keep the bling factor down, and mesh with the fretboard, bridge, and bridge pins, in hopes of keeping it dramatic, but not flashy. I think it worked. The Waverly bottom holes line up perfectly with the Grover holes, then simply adding a hole on the top. This is where the nerve wracking part comes in. Drilling holes in the headstock. I tend to have a great fear of Murphy rearing his ugly face in situations like these, but all went well.



and the finished product.







She looks better, and arguably sounds better, if that's possible.

Next up, Gotoh's on my Larrivee.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 10:51:38 AM by Tio Kimo »
http://www.oldtownschool.org/
'95 Washburn D-55SW Cherokee (Bourgeois)
'04 Larrivée LV-03 w/ Fishman blend
'02 Heritage 535
'12 Heritage 150
'10 Larrivée RS-2
'11 Benford Tele
'12 Kirn Barn Buster
Marshall AS50D
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Offline cmac84

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Re: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2014, 10:55:05 AM »
Good job mate, she looks much more "serious" now.
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Offline cedwards

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Re: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2014, 12:28:06 PM »
Nice, Kimo! Very tasteful changes.
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Offline ship of fools

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Re: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2014, 12:52:35 PM »
That's not a sin looks very nice to be honest with the Waverly's. ship
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Offline t.y.

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Re: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2014, 03:50:22 PM »
I think it looks more classy, with these tuners.   Tom.  :)

Offline YerDugliness

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Re: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2014, 07:48:43 PM »
I agree with your choice of tuners...my Epi Masterbilt AJ500RC has Waverly's and it holds a tune better than any other guitar I own...ROCK solid!

There WILL be the purists who think you just scrubbed a bunch of value off a DB original...not quite sure how to feel about that...but they aren't enjoying the guitar, YOU are.

LUCKY YOU!!!

Good on ya for following your inner voice, Kimo!!!

Cheers!!!

Dugly 8)
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Offline Tio Kimo

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Re: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2014, 08:02:16 PM »

There WILL be the purists who think you just scrubbed a bunch of value off a DB original...not quite sure how to feel about that..
Dugly 8)

I know.. I gave that a lot of thought...but this is how I came to have peace with my decision. We know that that this guitar was spec'd as a Bourgeois Standard D, with cosmetic and in some cases, structural alterations requested by Washburn. Being a Bourgeois  fan, I've ogled long and hard on his designs, and I be shocked to see the butterfly bridge, for example, were his name on the headstock.

If you were to go buy an off the shelf Standard D from Dana...it would come with....you guessed it. Waverly's.

So arguably...I've brought it closer to the nest than it was before. That's my rationale, and I'm stickin' to it!  Interested in what the lawyers....and Jim Smith...would say.
http://www.oldtownschool.org/
'95 Washburn D-55SW Cherokee (Bourgeois)
'04 Larrivée LV-03 w/ Fishman blend
'02 Heritage 535
'12 Heritage 150
'10 Larrivée RS-2
'11 Benford Tele
'12 Kirn Barn Buster
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Offline psp742

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Re: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2014, 08:35:32 PM »
Tio Kimo,

you did very good and nice call on the tuners...  As far as I know (which isn't much) Washburn only uses Grover tuners on most of its higher end guitars.. and Waverly tuners would be special order or something.

The tuners make it better.

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Offline evenkeel

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Re: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2014, 06:32:13 AM »
New tuners look great.  As long as you are happy and they function well then really that's all that should matter.  Keeping something as original as possible, is important for pre-war Martins and Gibsons, among others.  For a DB built Washburn, less so.  Keep the old tuners and let the new owner put them on, IF you ever decide to sell.

You mention new bridge pins.  I'v swapped pins many times for cosmetic reasons.  I've never noticed a sonic difference.  I know others feel strongly that bone, ebony, brass and other materials do make a difference tone wise.  Can you describe how the tone changed on your Cherokee?
 

Offline Tio Kimo

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Re: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2014, 09:22:54 AM »
Mind you, I did say "arguably" improved. I hadn't played the guitar in two months due to the missing pin, and when I played it again, it had new pins (ebony, same as before) tuners, and strings (DR sunbeams, .013's) it sounds huge and open. The low E (D# in my case) rumbles to degree I just don't recall. IF its improved, I'd wager its more the tuners, but even there....while I feel the Waverly's look better and weigh MUCH less, the Grovers were rock solid mechanically. The guitar held tune well.

Not sure if you caught that I'd lost one of the original pins, so chose to replace the set with one sans MOP dots, and since I was ordering and paying for shipping, chose to do the tuners as well.
http://www.oldtownschool.org/
'95 Washburn D-55SW Cherokee (Bourgeois)
'04 Larrivée LV-03 w/ Fishman blend
'02 Heritage 535
'12 Heritage 150
'10 Larrivée RS-2
'11 Benford Tele
'12 Kirn Barn Buster
Marshall AS50D
Little Lanilei 3350LT
Champlifier
Boogie DC-2

Offline ship of fools

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Re: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2014, 10:56:05 AM »
Tio curious as to how you feel about Dana's new tops ( torrefied wood )  http://www.pantheonguitars.com/guitars/guitars_aged%20tone%20series_story.htm
I have to wonder about this if its really that much of a difference to the whole tone of the guitar. ship
and I would think most folks could care really less which tuners it came with if they look at the guitar as a player and not a collectable and because who built it I think of them as players
« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 10:58:00 AM by ship of fools »
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Offline Tio Kimo

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Re: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2014, 02:19:13 PM »
Tio curious as to how you feel about Dana's new tops ( torrefied wood )  http://www.pantheonguitars.com/guitars/guitars_aged%20tone%20series_story.htm
I have to wonder about this if its really that much of a difference to the whole tone of the guitar. ship
and I would think most folks could care really less which tuners it came with if they look at the guitar as a player and not a collectable and because who built it I think of them as players

I have the utmost respect for Dana and his cred as a tonewood authority, as does the rest of the Luthery world. I can't imagine he would jeopardize that to move a few more guitars. It seems this is a pretty measurable process that these go through (unnlike, for expample, the notion of storing your guitar on your subwoofer and playing hard rock for months on end to age it) My guess is he has found a discernable difference in top treated this way, so he's making that option available to the market. Always room for a different sound. I mean, for years you never saw parlors or OM's because of the percieved small plunky tones, now look at the appreciation there is for that segment. It's just another color on the palette.

As to tuners....and not caring....well, only to degree. Tuning stability matters. And not all tuning machines are created equal. Certainly other brands do a fantastic job. I stated in this thread that the grovers were rock solid as tuning machines on the Cherokee....I just thought they looked out of place. You wouldn't put Klusons on a Dime Stealth would you? If I'm spending 2 - 6k on a guitar, I care that the tuners are excellent. Not necessarily Waverly's, but top quality and style appropriate. You'll find that when looking at high end acoustics they frequently come standard with Waverly or Wilkinson (Washburns Solo 5249) because they're solid, and style appropriate.
http://www.oldtownschool.org/
'95 Washburn D-55SW Cherokee (Bourgeois)
'04 Larrivée LV-03 w/ Fishman blend
'02 Heritage 535
'12 Heritage 150
'10 Larrivée RS-2
'11 Benford Tele
'12 Kirn Barn Buster
Marshall AS50D
Little Lanilei 3350LT
Champlifier
Boogie DC-2

Offline ship of fools

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Re: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2014, 09:05:05 AM »
Actually I was talking about the looks of the tuners, while I appreciate the Grovers have them on two guitars I just think the Waverleys look a lot nicer. And I imagine because he does tap tops ( Dana B ) no matter which woods he uses he is going to build a great guitar treated or not I haven't heard one yet only because they haven't made it across the border to any stores here yet. I'm  just not sure how one goes about differentiating between a regular top and his new tone tops. ship
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Offline Toaster20

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Re: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2014, 07:17:44 AM »
I think the new tuners look really nice.  They look like they belong there.  Good job.

Offline Pike

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Re: Forgive me Father, for I have sinned
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2014, 10:51:46 AM »
It is, after all, a guitar Kio. We're not taking them with us. If I wanted to change up my Cherokee I'd have no problem with it either...