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Gibson HG-00 hawaiian conversion to fretted style .

Has anyone done or know about the HG-00 guitar and how they go after conversion ? My customer is considering a purchase , and I'm thinking about heavy braces and wide neck , and possibly a reset ?

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I have a 39 Gibson HG-00, it's my main squeeze. For those that don't know, the HG stands for Hawaiian guitar. It was designed for slide playing and sported a tall nut and tall saddle, you played it flat ways like a dobro. Don Ho tunes anyone?

The body size and shape are the same dimensions as Gibson's L-00. The HG-00 has 5/16" thick top braces and the L-00 1/4" thick braces. The neck is heavier and 12 frets to the body on the HG, the L-00 having 14 frets to the body. Mine has a "V" neck profile. The HG-00 (mine anyway) has more bottom end and is less bright and twinkle-y as it's L-00 sister.

The rub on conversion is the bridge slot for the saddle. You don't need to have compensation with a slide instrument, so the saddle is configured straight across. The L-00 has the saddle slanted for typical fretted playing. So when considering a conversion, you need take into account what the players needs/ style of music played will be to determine how far you take the conversion. The action also needs to be taken into account, a high action would need more compensation when fretting than a low action. These guitars can play pretty well in tune(ish) without a slanted saddle, if the action is reasonably low. I would consider starting there before modifying or replacing the bridge. Make a new nut and a new saddle, save the old ones. If you're client has a perfect pitch ear and is intolerant to a few cents of outage up the neck, you will probably need to deal with the saddle issue.

My bridge and straight across saddle slot are original. I was able to get some compensation in the available saddle width on mine and adding string slots in the bridge let me get away with a minimal saddle height. Other than that, the only modification is a replaced nut. The E, B, G and D intonate about spot on with the A  and low E slightly out.The strings in the image are D'Addario light; 12-53 but I am now using John Pearse lights 12-54.

I mostly play Old Time backing to fiddle tunes in a band with this guitar, which is mostly Cowboy chords but also play some Rags, Cakewalks, Waltzes, Polkas and Schottisches in an Old Time backing style. I also do finger style playing and flat picking with some of it up the neck. My guitar intonates very well up neck and is only slightly out up there with the A and low E. I do have minor problems with tuning and make adjustments with fretted notes after using a tuner to set the opens strings. I also own a Martin OM21 Special, great guitar, that mostly sits on a stand in the corner. The HG-00's tone just flat beats the pants off of the Martin.

 

Well that wraps up all my questions in one reply , thanks so much PB . I hope this customer goes through with the purchase now .

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