Reviving and Ovation

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Bri-Sonic, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. Bri-Sonic

    Bri-Sonic Tele-Meister

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    I have been gifted what was once a lovely 1972 Ovation Legend. Unfortunately it has suffered at the hands of children (or feet, I think!), and the bridge has been pushed into the body, cracking the bracing, splitting the top and breaking the joint between the edge of the body and the "lyrachord" (glassfibre) bowl back. The neck is a real beaut, with an ebony board and lovely pearl inlays, and I assured the guy I'd breathe some sort of life back into the guitar, but I'm not sure it will live again as a conventional Ovation.

    My question is can I reuse the neck on a new project (remembering that it's attached to a bowl back) - be it a conventional acoustic or something a little different?

    Any input will be much appreciated!!

    Cheers,

    Mark
     
  2. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

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    Of course you can. Happens quite often, actually. If the back is intact (and you don't ind a bowl back), you could re=top the instrument, but I would surgically cut the neck away from the guitar and built it into a new, different body. Depends on your skills and tooling- how far can you go? ;)
     
  3. Bri-Sonic

    Bri-Sonic Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, Rich. The back is intact but my worry would be bonding the new top back to it. I think the early Ovations suffered from poor glue joints anyway - don't know if I could just epoxy the new top on..... I have a soft spot for Ovations and would like to keep as much of the original as I can. The top is lovely and I wondered if I could salvage it and rescue the bracing (or fit new), but have those nagging adhesive worries.

    I have considered making a new, non-bowl body. Will need to check if the neck joint (which will no doubt be bolt on) is curved to fit the bowl.
     
  4. wmprivett

    wmprivett Tele-Meister

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    The same thing happened to my Ovation! First it was the children's feet. Woke up to my son walking on the top. There must be something about the shape of the back that triggers a walking response in children. Cracked the top, but playable till my daughter tightened all the tuners and lifted the bridge. The only thing it was good for after that was taps.
     
  5. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    First off................know that the Ovation folks not only make a different guitar.................they're a little different too :rolleyes:. Before you do anything, trace the bowl for your new top (that one is toast............Ovation loves the smell of epoxy in the morning, and sometimes the method they use to build these things vary from guitar to guitar...............even in the same serial number range! :eek:). They were all about production.............their idea of a repair in this case usually extends to replacing all parts of the guitar for more than a new one would cost........

    Read this first............... LINK
    Then read this...................but don't do it :lol: LINK
    The last method may work for your guitar................but there's no guarantee. Personally, as thick as the finish is (right, epoxy it is :rolleyes:), a normal top with standard bracing with a little french polish or coat of lacquer will slay what it once sounded like.

    I've retopped two, I'll tell you how I did the 2nd one because it was more successful and a direct result of how the first one (that I used basically the instructions from the 2nd link, also known as the conventional way on) didn't work out. ;)
    First, as I said, make your pattern (I used an old brown grocery bag, bond paper from Michael's will work fine). Order your top, rossette,linings, binding and purfling (if desired) from the vendor of your choice (I used a Lutz top, a hybrid of Sitka and Engelman spruce, and the upcoming new thing at the time).
    Second, remove the 14th fret, take a .014" exacto saw and saw a slot through the fretslot to the body/neck join line. Now take aluminum foil, an iron and very thin spatula (I ground down a cake batter spreader) and try to heat and remove the fretboard extension over the top, leaving the neck and the rest of the fretboard alone!
    Regardless of how well that came out, the next step is the same, you need a laminate trimmer and a rotozip bit. Using a fine tip sharpie, trace a line 1" in from the sides and around the neck block. Then take the rotozip bit and and carefully follow that line. When the top drops loose, take it out. You can try to heat and remove the bridge, you have a 50/50 shot it comes off clean (yeh, it's on there with epoxy too). The pinless bridges Ovation uses are 5 - 7 bucks on Ebay so don't kill yourself trying.
    Now that you can see inside, your likely to see more dried epoxy than you thought was produced that year :lol:. If you were unsuccessful removing the fretboard extension, try it now again (you can even try to remove it top and all now. If this works, make a temporary planing sled and clean the top of the neck block with a flat bottomed router bit. If it didn't work, carefully make a pattern of the fretboard extension, marking where the frets go................then pull the frets in it. Using the planing sled, you'll need to rout (in small steps) the fingerboard extension and top from the neck block. At this stage the body will be very floppy. Make a temporary brace and glue it in across the waist of the guitar (yep..........using epoxy). This will help stiffen the body for the next steps.
    Third, using the Stew-Mac (or other) binding router bit, go right around the body which will remove the old binding while cutting it for the new binding. When done, I used a razor knife to cut it loose up next to neck where the router bit can't reach. Now use the knife to go around the binding groove just against the bottom of the remaining top. The rest of the top should now pop right out. Gently trim with razor knife/exacto blades, etc and remove the old binding. Now glue in (yep, with epoxy) the new linings after carefully measuring them.
    From this point on, you can brace and install the new top normally. If you like, you can buy a top blank with the rossette already inlaid. Use a standard Martin X-brace pattern/soundhole etc. and glue your new top on then trim it to the binding channel. If you had to destroy the fretboard extension, you'll have to purchase a matching fretboard blank, then using your pattern, trace out, cut out, and slot the new extension. Remember to make the extension .005" longer and glue it directly against the old fretboard, then slot it for the 14th fret. Once done, apply a normal finish and glue on the new bridge using your top pattern backed by measurements to glue on the new bridge.
    That's about all there is too it :lol:/:twisted:


    Oh yeh, for the temp brace inside the body? Use a piece of wood about 1/2" thick and about 1 1/4" wide and use 3 dots of epoxy on each end. When your done with the top, you can reach inside the soundhole, grasp the brace firmly and twist it loose, then remove it through the soundhole. Use too much epoxy (the Ovation way) and this step gets interesting. Just saying...................


    Children and feet huh? Mine would be needing their's to stand on for awhile ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  6. bigeyedfish

    bigeyedfish TDPRI Member

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    Once again crazydave proves that he is in fact a human encyclopedia and the most helpful guy ever.
     
  7. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    :oops:
     
  8. wmprivett

    wmprivett Tele-Meister

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    Well, I must admit that I was ready to make the standing thing happen. But at 2 and 2 1/2, I took resposibility for it. I did yell in my anguish, however. My daughter is still uncomfortable around broken guitar strings to this day. In addition, the situation spawned a man cave, and but for the need to posess a guitar, I wouldn't have found all you guys. Sort of a win. By the way, a guy at work handed me a Ovation with a broken top so at some point (thank you for the repair guide) I get to make things right. Thank you.
     
  9. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes, with little ones it does become our gig...............sounds like there was an upside...........Man Cave :eek:, sigh...............how sweet. Good luck with the repair :D
     
  10. Ed Miller

    Ed Miller Tele-Meister

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    does it have traditional binding, or is it like a one piece molding thats glued to the top. contact Kim Keller at Ovation. he'll tell you what you can use to get the top trim off. from there you can use an exacto razor saw and carefully cut the top loose or pop it off with a warm blade.. I'd remove the fret board with heat and reattach it after the ne top is replaced. Neck angle is critical. best of luck. I've done several od these, right now I'm putting a carved top on a Kalamazoo arch top that was originally a pressed arch top. It's a lot of work and carefully measuring. don't be afraid to ask our wonderful members for help!
     
  11. thumbpick

    thumbpick Tele-Afflicted

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    crazydave911...:eek:....man if you can do that...i want you in my corner...good job..:lol:
     
  12. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's amazing what you can learn when you don't know any better :lol:
     
  13. bigguy12321

    bigguy12321 Tele-Meister

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    On the bright side those old roundbacks project alot of sound. And on the even brighter side, it will sound even better without all the epoxy on the soundboard. These are worthy.
     
  14. Bri-Sonic

    Bri-Sonic Tele-Meister

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    That's why I love this forum - no emails me telling me I've had a reply, but I log on to find the most comprehensive instructions I could possibly ask for! crazydave, you are a legend!

    What I need to do now is have a good look at the instrument. I'll take some photos and upload them. I've had a look for bridges on Ebay (I'm in the UK) and can find nothing, but I guess I could just remove the remove the soundboard timber off the back of the existing bridge, as I'd like to retain as much of the existing guitar as I can. I presume the piezo is an undersaddle one that can be easily removed. I'll also check what sort of binding it has.

    I never realised that as well as gluing the top to the back Ovation used epoxy for everything else - I guess that's what you do when you build helicopter rotors as well. I'm personally not a fan of the stuff.

    I'll read the instructions over again, there may be a few bits I'm not sure about. First I need to look over the guitar, which is currently stashed in the shed! Watch this space, and thanks again for everyone's input......

    Mark
     
  15. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    That will work, you just have to be careful, I'd use a belt sander. Hope the heat work though. Spreading aluminum foil over it helps spread the heat ;)
    Forgot I was looking at the American Ebay :oops:
     
  16. Bri-Sonic

    Bri-Sonic Tele-Meister

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    Looking at the guitar today the bridge has pulled forward so the top has "bellied". If it weren't for the ridiculous thick finish I would be tempted to save it. The binding is separate, and looking through the soundhole I can see epoxy oozing from the bracing!
     
  17. nosmo

    nosmo Friend of Leo's

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    If I didn't know any better, I'd think you were talking about me :D

    Edit: I love Ovations. I have 3 plus an Adamas. Save it if you can.
     
  18. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    If it has separate binding, you may be able to heat it and remove it. Loosening the top becomes much easier in this case. The part around the neck block is still a honey, but hey, anything that makes it easier is gold :D. One thing about it, it wouldn't hurt to practice your heating technique on the bridge now (even if it doesn't come off). The more practice you can get on non-critical parts/places the better off you'll be ;)

    No nosmo, talking about my idiot butt. I didn't invent looking before you leap, I just helped perfect it and thanks to you, the fine tradition continues :lol:. Also, unless your not publishing the pics, I broke more things learning that you are. Your doing a fine job ;)
     
  19. photoweborama

    photoweborama Friend of Leo's

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    Hey!!!! You and me both!

    The one I got, there was attempt to attach the bridge with Gorilla glue...

    It's a mess. I just glued down the bridge and replaced the tuners, which broke..
    Good luck, and wish me luck too!
     
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