Now that I've rebuilt the top, I find that it's pretty darn stiff.  I won't get much in the way of bass with it like this. I don't think it's the nature of my repair, just the way the beast was made -- sturdily.

So,  do I want to restore this as close as I can to original? Or do I want to shave the braces and give it more sound? I lean to the latter.

 Still what are the pros and cons of having something as close to the original as possible v.s. something that sounds better?

Will I have lowered its value significantly?

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Decades ago we used to improve those old Washburners by bracing them like Martins of the same period. I think if I had one apart now, I'd still do the same unless it had some special status.
My answer is as always do you want to sell it or play it ??. So if the answer is you want to play it then go with the latter .Bill.''''''''''''''''''''''
So what was the bracing of the period like?
This is what it has now -- I added the strip of maple to the replacement bridge plate to reinforce where the top was torn out. It's quite thin. Everything else is as it was originally -- well, except the cleats, of course, and the splints I added where the top was cracked.

The bracing in your Washburn is quite heavy handed. Here is a picture of the bracing from a 1917 Washburn style 115.

There is one angled brace South of the sound hole and the Spruce bridge plate / brace, that's it. I use Nylgut strings on this guitar and must say that it has incredible bass response from such a tiny, ladder braced guitar.

The Spruce bridge plate/ brace shows the damage that occurs from using steel strings. I have since repaired the damage through the sound hole. I used home made Maple plywood for the repair. I opted for the plywood patch because it won't split with the minimal size of the patch.

I would cast my vote in favor of the re-brace job, especially since you already have the back off.

Hi Paul.

I am about to attempt this same repair on my Model 1915 Washburn. Can you give me some advice as to how to how to either remove or replace the bridge plate? I have the exact same problem that your pic shows.

Have already removed the neck for a reset!

Hope to hear from you soon.



I don't want to hijack Barbara's thread but guess I should have qualified my question a bit better. I am interested because I'm rebuilding a "no name" parlor that is much like a Washburn.

Frank said they used to rebrace these as the Martins from the same time period were braced. I know what Martin's X bracing looks like and that is what I was going to use on the parlor I'm rebuilding but now Franks response to Barbara has me wondering if I should use something different. The problem is I have only a vague idea of what Martin's ladder bracing looked like and at the risk of taking over Barbara's thread, I was wondering if someone had some information about that.
I don't mind, Ned. And if you want to see the bracing in mine, either click on the jpg above or go to the thread called "Restoring old Washburn parlor guitar". I think you would call it V bracing. I know I've seen a picture somewhere recently of the ladder braced Martin top, maybe in Frank's piece on the 1887 Martin he restored.
Thank you for being gracious, Barbara.

I believe I'm living up to my avatar in this. I assumed from Frank's comments that the Martin's in question were ladder braced, never thinking about what I actually know. Looking at Franks blog reminded me that Martin used the X brace well before our guitars were built. In fact what I see in those pictures is pretty close to what I have in mind for my guitar except for some adjustments to the X brace position. My guitar was made with the waist nearer the middle of the body and the sound hole is closer to the center. If I position my X brace as that Martin is made, I will foreshorten it too much. I think I will have to position it closer to the sound hole and have the upper ends meet the sides much nearer the top cross brace.

You mentioned that your top is stiff. Mine seems very stiff too. When I thumped the guitar, before I removed the back, there is no resonance at all. I'm wondering if it is just a bit thick but I'm going to wait until I pull the braces to decide if I want to try thinning it just a bit.

One other thing I haven't worked out fully is bracing the neck. Mine is made of a lighter wood much like mahogany in grain and texture. (perhaps cypress) It seem to be fairly stiff for it's weight but then it doesn't weigh much. I feel that I really need to reinforce it in some manner. Has this been an issue for you?

I have the blueprint for a period X braced parlor guitar -- I think it is a Royale -- and I made a guitar from those. If you want to give me a snail mail addy, I'll send you a copy. The blueprint is almost an identical size and scale to the guitar I am restoring. Only difference is that the upper bout is a slightly different shape and the bracing is different.

The guitar I am restoring has a triangular neck and was a gut strung guitar. I am hoping that the restoration will handle nylon strings without warping. If it doesn't, I'll go to plan B.

The neck on this Washburn is probably Cuban mahogany or else Spanish cedar.

Are you aiming at nylon or steel strings?

In the one I built, I used a truss rod in a mahogany neck -- it's a steel string.
Barbara, I would greatly appreciate a copy of your blueprint. I just sent a request to be "friends" on this forum. That will allow me to send my address to you via private message ( I think). I'm reluctant to post it here because of Web crawlers and Cached pages. (in other words, I don't want my home address broadcast over the whole Internet)

If possible I want to use steel or at least Silk and steel strings. I like the tension of steel over nylon but I have to work out how to reinforce the neck. There isn't any room on the head for access to the adjustment nut so my only real options are a fixed reinforcement or fashioning a rod from drill stock that can be reached from inside. The sound hole is too small for my hands (3 1/4 in.) and it is centered 6 1/8 inches below the shoulders (on a 17 1/2 in long body). I fear that my adjustment nut will be very hard to reach.

The neck is round with a "snow cone" heel. The fingerboard region of the neck is only about a foot long and the whole neck is just over 18 in including the dove tail. I THINK I can work out how to reinforce it with an adjustable rod but I am completely open to suggestions.

If you put a truss rod in the neck with the adjustment end in the head block, you can use a T handled allen wrench to adjust it. I can -- just -- get my hand on that. I see the Washburn also has a 3 1/4" sound hole, while my blueprint has a 3 1/2" one. Were you planning on removing the fretboard?

The dimensions otherwise sound similar. It's likely a 24" scale, or a 24 1/2". Can you post pictures?


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