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Author Topic: Cleaning and care advice  (Read 641 times)

Offline cscarlsson

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Cleaning and care advice
« on: April 06, 2017, 06:17:54 AM »
Hi all,

I've had a sort of on/off love affair with guitars most of my life and recently I've come back to the two guitars I bought about 10 years ago with the intention of learning how to play properly at last and to get them both back up to a much better condition.

Yesterday I had my old 15th anniversary squier strat apart, gave it all a good clean and restring and now it's sounding really nice.  My Washburn however is a slightly different story...

I have a 12-string Festival series EA30-12N, the serial number is 902352.  It has the EQ300 preamp, which, I'm pleased to say works nicely.  The guitar itself is in generally reasonable condition with one mark in the lacquer on the front that needs attention and various marks and scratches on the back, I may well have it relacquered at some point.  It has the original chiclet bridge and the only part I can see that doesn't seem to be original is the top strap mount that I would expect to have been bone to match the lower mount is metal and not seated correctly.  The fretboard markings are standard dots and appear to be mother of pearl.  With the strings being so old it doesn't sound the best I've heard it but it does seem to hold the tuning.

My initial concern is that the guitar has been sat in a damp environment for around 10 years and dust and minor mould has appeared right along the fretboard.  As the strings have been on for about the same amount of time I will be replacing those when I clean it. 

Pictures are at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BzEFTg2gE_ijY0RjTE9wMkJjVUU?usp=sharing

My questions are as follows:
1. What should I clean the fretboard with?  I have seen lemon oil online for treating and conditioning the wood but it will need something gentle to clean the accumulated dust and detritus off with.  Any recommendations would be welcome.

2. What are the string gauges I should be using, I know preference is big thing with strings so if I say that on my strat I'm using Dean Markley signature series NickelSteel electric light gauge .009 to .042 and they seem to suit me well perhaps that may help.  I do understand that an acoustic electric will have a much different feel to a strat and when it comes to string recommendations it's more the sizes I should be buying than whether there are any recommended brands, although I have found some guitars sound better on certain strings.

3. This will be the first acoustic I have strung, unless i'm missing something it appears I have go in through the front to get the strings in, is this correct?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help with the above.

Update: The kind folks at Washburn have confirmed this is a 1989 Festival Series EA30-12N.  Many thanks to them.

Kindest regards
Jason
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 09:58:12 AM by cscarlsson »
Squier Affinity Strat 20th Anniversary Edition (Sunburst)
Washburn Festival Series EA30-12N (My Preciousssssss)

Offline evenkeel

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Re: Cleaning and care advice
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2017, 08:54:51 PM »
Welcome to the forum.  If the fret board is really dirty with mold involved I would first use a specific fretboard cleaner.  Lots of brands available, all will do the job.  An old toothbrush is a good cleaning tool.  After the fretboard is clean then a light coat of oil is a good idea.  Lots of opinions about what type of oil.  Lemon oil, bore oil, mineral oil all have people who swear "that's the only thing to use".  I would also guess the frets will need a leveling and/or polishing.

Re: string gauge.  I would suggest you start with a very light 12 string set.  Once your fingers have toughened up a bit then you can switch to a higher gauge.

Finally.  Given the guitar has sat for a long period it's very likely it needs a pro set up.  That will involve adjusting the saddle, the neck relief, etc..  They will also handle all of the above.  The difference in playability will be VERY significant.
 

Offline YerDugliness

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Re: Cleaning and care advice
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2017, 11:23:28 PM »
Nice guitar, beautiful wood!

Yeah...that strap button looks like it is in a very unlikeable location...on the underside of the "heel" of the neck would seem to be better.

As for stringing the guitar, we would need to see a photo of the bridge. Most acoustics just have the strings installed through the bridge, but some solid body ellectrics use "through body" string locations. The one photo that we need to answer your question was not in your group of photos.

Having said that...the Festival series is very "thin', which would make it very difficult to get your hand inside the body to bring them up through the "front" (the soundboard of the guitar) and through the underside of the bridge. If I were a betting man I'd put my money on bringing them through holes in the bridge on the side nearest the butt end of the guitar, over the saddle and on over the nut at the top of the neck on their way to the tuning pegs on the head...am I understanding your question correctly?

Cheers!

Dugly 8)
« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 11:26:29 PM by YerDugliness »
YerDugliness,Esq./Post No Bills
Guitar Playin' FOOL, attempting to age disgracefully!
Washburns:WD32SW,D61SW,C124SWK,WMJ21S(2),WGO26SCE, WMJ11S(now gifted),WSJ60SKELITE,WG26S.
Other fine acoustics:Breedlove custom shop 000,Hippner #506 Hauser,Takamini 2005 LTD,Epi Masterbilt AJ500RC

Offline cscarlsson

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Re: Cleaning and care advice
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2017, 07:45:48 AM »
Welcome to the forum.  If the fret board is really dirty with mold involved I would first use a specific fretboard cleaner.  Lots of brands available, all will do the job.  An old toothbrush is a good cleaning tool.  After the fretboard is clean then a light coat of oil is a good idea.  Lots of opinions about what type of oil.  Lemon oil, bore oil, mineral oil all have people who swear "that's the only thing to use".  I would also guess the frets will need a leveling and/or polishing.

Re: string gauge.  I would suggest you start with a very light 12 string set.  Once your fingers have toughened up a bit then you can switch to a higher gauge.

Finally.  Given the guitar has sat for a long period it's very likely it needs a pro set up.  That will involve adjusting the saddle, the neck relief, etc..  They will also handle all of the above.  The difference in playability will be VERY significant.

Hi,

Thanks for all that, I have an old toothbrush already set aside for the job.  I'll have a look at cleaners and see whats out there.  I've ordered some 'Hydrate' for conditioning so hopefully that will do a good job.

Thanks for the advice on the strings, you're right, fingers do need to toughen up, especially with the 12-string giving them the double whammy.  I'll see what's out there in terms of light gauge.  Incidentally, I found my fast fret last night and put some on my strat, what and incredible difference it makes, I'd forgotten how good it is.

A professional setup is on the cards in the future, right now funds don't allow but once they do it'll go in to the same guy who set up the strat all those years ago and turned a pretty nasty squier affinity into an instrument that was actually pleasurable to play.

Thanks for all your help with this, it's much appreciated.

Kind regards
Jason
Squier Affinity Strat 20th Anniversary Edition (Sunburst)
Washburn Festival Series EA30-12N (My Preciousssssss)

Offline cscarlsson

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Re: Cleaning and care advice
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2017, 08:02:49 AM »
Nice guitar, beautiful wood!

I remember when I first bought it I took one look and knew it had to be mine.  I'd never seen a guitar I wanted more.  Got it for a steal as well, £350.00 for such a beautiful 12 string is very cheap in the UK, it did help I know the guy I bought it off quite well.

Yeah...that strap button looks like it is in a very unlikeable location...on the underside of the "heel" of the neck would seem to be better.

It is a strange location, but it's more the fact it looks totally wrong and doesn't seem to fit aesthetically with the rest of the guitar, I suspect there was a bone type strap button on there that broke off at some point causing the previous owner to fit that one.  I don't think it makes any difference to the sound though  ;D

As for stringing the guitar, we would need to see a photo of the bridge. Most acoustics just have the strings installed through the bridge, but some solid body ellectrics use "through body" string locations. The one photo that we need to answer your question was not in your group of photos.

Having said that...the Festival series is very "thin', which would make it very difficult to get your hand inside the body to bring them up through the "front" (the soundboard of the guitar) and through the underside of the bridge. If I were a betting man I'd put my money on bringing them through holes in the bridge on the side nearest the butt end of the guitar, over the saddle and on over the nut at the top of the neck on their way to the tuning pegs on the head...am I understanding your question correctly?

I've added a few photos of the bridge to the same link, it's pretty thin and looks to me like there are 12 pins going through it that the strings anchor using their tension.  I could be wrong but I think it uses this style of pin.  http://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Endpins_and_Bridge_Pins/Waverly_Bone_Bridge_Pins_with_Abalone_Inlay.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=shopping&utm_campaign=2017-04-gp&pref_currency=P&shipcalc=UK&gclid=CNaG6JazktMCFQOfGwodNMsEDw

Thanks for your help with this  :)

Cheers!

Dugly 8)
Squier Affinity Strat 20th Anniversary Edition (Sunburst)
Washburn Festival Series EA30-12N (My Preciousssssss)

Offline YerDugliness

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Re: Cleaning and care advice
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2017, 02:07:50 PM »
If your Festival uses that type of pins, then yes, you would insert the ball end of the string through the hole in the bridge and then insert the pins, making sure that the string remains in the groove on the pin, until they feel like they "bottom out". Then you'd pull on the string gently to snug the ball end up against the bridge plate on the underside of the soundboard...but be careful because they can get hung up on the end of the pin as you try to tune them up. I always bend the ball end of the string a little bit so it will slip past the end of the pin that has been inserted into the bridge.

Yeah...I did misunderstand. Yours is a very common way to install the strings...you just have to do it for twice as many.

Just curious, did your 12 string Festival come with a case? A lot of Washburn 12-string guitars have heads that are so long that it is hard to find a case into which the head will fit. If yours has a case, you're very lucky!

Glad to hear it's going to work out. Evenkeel has done a lot of instrument care and mods...so you can certainly follow his advice.

One thing...you mentioned a chicklet saddle? Be careful to look carefully and remember the orientation and location of each of the chicklets...get them reversed or out of order and the intonation will be all messed up.

If you're looking for a bone strap button, you couldn't do better than going through Bob Colosi at www.guitarsaddles.com

He can make you end pins, too...and match your bone strap button to your current endpins if you already have some you like. I use his "West African Hard Ivory" products almost exclusively, but they are expensive and of course you don't dare to take the guitar out of the U.S. or you may not get it through customs on the way back. Things may be a bit different over on your side of the pond, though.

Cheers!

Dugly 8)

 
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 02:12:33 PM by YerDugliness »
YerDugliness,Esq./Post No Bills
Guitar Playin' FOOL, attempting to age disgracefully!
Washburns:WD32SW,D61SW,C124SWK,WMJ21S(2),WGO26SCE, WMJ11S(now gifted),WSJ60SKELITE,WG26S.
Other fine acoustics:Breedlove custom shop 000,Hippner #506 Hauser,Takamini 2005 LTD,Epi Masterbilt AJ500RC

Offline cscarlsson

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Re: Cleaning and care advice
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2017, 11:45:48 AM »
Just curious, did your 12 string Festival come with a case? A lot of Washburn 12-string guitars have heads that are so long that it is hard to find a case into which the head will fit. If yours has a case, you're very lucky!

Sadly no case, I am on the lookout though and will be hitting some of the local stores over the coming weeks. 

Glad to hear it's going to work out. Evenkeel has done a lot of instrument care and mods...so you can certainly follow his advice.

One thing...you mentioned a chicklet saddle? Be careful to look carefully and remember the orientation and location of each of the chicklets...get them reversed or out of order and the intonation will be all messed up.

With this in mind I am definitely following Evenkeel's advice, I spoke to the guy I bought the guitar off who also does setup and he's going to do the full clean, setup and minor restoration for me.  I'm quickly finding that whilst my strat was straightforward, this has so much potential to go horribly wrong with my own inexperience that it's best to splash out the £60-100 that the setup will cost.  I've ordered a set of these http://amzn.to/2nXKu8R and will let him figure out the rest.

If you're looking for a bone strap button, you couldn't do better than going through Bob Colosi at www.guitarsaddles.com

He can make you end pins, too...and match your bone strap button to your current endpins if you already have some you like. I use his "West African Hard Ivory" products almost exclusively, but they are expensive and of course you don't dare to take the guitar out of the U.S. or you may not get it through customs on the way back. Things may be a bit different over on your side of the pond, though.

Thanks for that, I'll take a look and see, if I can run to it I'd like to get the button sorted.  This is a beautiful guitar and deserves to look it's best.

Thanks for all the help and advice, it is much appreciated.

Kind regards
Jason
Squier Affinity Strat 20th Anniversary Edition (Sunburst)
Washburn Festival Series EA30-12N (My Preciousssssss)