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Post new topic Newest project—1939 Gibson-made Recording King Model-A
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Author Topic:  Newest project—1939 Gibson-made Recording King Model-A
Lee D Kaiser


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 18 Jun 2016 11:06 am     Reply with quote

Hello All, I thought I'd share my latest guitar project, which I pickup up on eBay.



Here's a picture of an original one. I found this picture, of all places, posted as sold on the web site of a French music store.



My plan is to glue it together, obviously, and glue whatever cracks are easy to fix. I'll then add binding, but likely leave the wood as is. For the rest, I'll buy tuning machines, pots, and strings, and I'll make the rest, guided by the original, but not a slave to it.

This will take me a while, but when I'm done, I'll post more pictures.

If I'd stop buying project guitars, I might actually find the time to learn to play them!

Lee
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Tom Pettingill


From:
California, USA (deceased)
Post Posted 20 Jun 2016 6:14 am     Reply with quote

Good luck with the project Lee. You have your work cut out for you. I love those pear shaped RK's and they were the basis for my Coronet.

.

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Some misc pics of my hand crafted steels
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Charles Stange


From:
San Francisco, California
Post Posted 20 Jun 2016 10:48 am     Reply with quote

Lee, just a friendly fyi, there's a Model A on eBay right now with some more pictures for reference...
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Charles 'Skip' Stange
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Lee D Kaiser


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 20 Jun 2016 3:51 pm     Reply with quote

Tom, That Coronet is a thing of beauty!

I wasn't in the market for a new project, but that pear shape got my attention. I'm hoping for a rustic charm when I'm done, and of course I hope it plays well.

Skip, thanks a bunch for that tip. The one on eBay has the exact binding mine has, and the photos will be a big help. For example, the screws on the pickguard tell me it's a Charlie Christian type pickup.

Lee
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Joe Kaufman


From:
Lewiston, Idaho
Post Posted 21 Jun 2016 7:53 am     Reply with quote

Cool project! Any idea what pickup you want to use? I would be tempted to convert it to 7 string if I was doing the rebuild. I own a similar Cromwell lap steel made by Gibson in 1937. There are some pictures that may be useful for you in this old thread:
http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=2450466&sid=ee98bb4390622498c819d9f9ca7b3c3f
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Lee D Kaiser


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 21 Jun 2016 5:43 pm     Reply with quote

Joe, thanks for that link. I like the picture 'under the hood' showing those big magnets.

For the pickup, I'll use black ABS to make it look like the original, and I may get fancy and do some binding with white ABS. I'll have a short rail showing, with alnico rod magnets underneath. I'll wind with 42 gauge, and I plan a short, wide coil for a fatter tone--maybe 9000 winds or so. I'll use ABS in place of the magnets in yours, and probably mount with 3 screws, like in a Gibson ES-150 hollow body. The back of my steel does not come off like yours.

Lee
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Lee D Kaiser


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 21 Sep 2017 6:14 pm     Reply with quote

It’s alive!

After many scores of hours of work and many months of breaks in between, it’s playing and nearly done.

When I first got it, I quickly made the PU, bridge, nut, and re-purposed some 6-in-line tuners. Getting the body back together thwarted me, though. The body shipped out of Amarillo TX, and I can just imagine it baking in someone’s attic or garage for years. The pieces were warped and didn’t line up.

After about a year of it sitting, I got back to it and with some heat, steam and light sanding, I got the body together OK. I finished up the body with binding, stain, and tung oil. Last came the pickguard and wiring it up. I haven’t finished the headstock, because I don’t want to lose the MODEL-A stencil. I’m still thinking about what to do.

I like the looks of it, it sounds good to me and plays well. Thanks for reading.

Lee




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Karl Paulsen


From:
Chicago
Post Posted 21 Sep 2017 6:50 pm     Reply with quote

Nice work.

Honestly the headstock looks good as-is and I agree that the Model A stencil looks good.

Maybe put a "Recording King decal or stencil on there and then distress it a bit so it looks like the Model A stencil?
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Johnie King


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 22 Sep 2017 2:20 pm     Reply with quote

Very well done Lee, well worth your effort very rewarding for you I'm sure.
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Joe Elk


From:
Ohio, USA
Post Posted 22 Sep 2017 3:01 pm     Reply with quote

Very Nice!
Joe Elk Central Ohio
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Don Barnhardt


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post Posted 22 Sep 2017 3:09 pm     Reply with quote

Excellent, don't change a thing. Keep your "before" pictures handy at all times.
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 22 Sep 2017 7:10 pm     Reply with quote

Lee D Kaiser wrote:
The pieces were warped and didn’t line up... After about a year of it sitting, I got back to it and with some heat, steam and light sanding...

Excellent job. Congratulations.

Could you elaborate a little about your use of heat and steam? I recently obtained a postwar Kalamazoo KEH with a warped neck, and am contemplating the feasibility of attempting to straighten it in a similar manner.
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Lee D Kaiser


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 22 Sep 2017 9:38 pm     Reply with quote

Jack Hanson wrote:
Could you elaborate a little about your use of heat and steam? I recently obtained a postwar Kalamazoo KEH with a warped neck, and am contemplating the feasibility of attempting to straighten it in a similar manner.


I googled Kalamazoo KEH--that's a nice old guitar.  


Bending wood is tricky business, and I don't try it on a guitar I wouldn't mind ruining.  First, google it.  There are lots of examples, especially on youtube. Getting a twist out of a neck, however, is not too difficult.


What I did was real backyard luthier stuff.  I used clamps and wood blocks to get the piece into or close to the shape I wanted.  I covered with a box and towels to keep the heat and moisture in.  I used a pot of water on a hot plate with a cover and hose to direct the moisture.  Heat came from a hair dryer.  Did this for a few hours, then shut it off and let it sit for 12 hours.  If the shape was right, then done.  If not, repeat.  Be sure to keep the fretboard clamped to the neck since you don't want it displaced.

Good luck!
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Bill Creller


From:
Saginaw, Michigan, USA
Post Posted 23 Sep 2017 1:25 am     Reply with quote

Good job on that project Lee ! Very Happy
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 24 Sep 2017 4:53 am     Reply with quote

Thanks for your explanation, Lee. I believe I shall give 'er a go. The fretboard coming loose will not be an issue, as it's merely stenciled on the top surface of the neck on this Kalamazoo. The body appears to be made of one solid piece of wood.

Presumably, heat is the force at work here. Steam is merely the vehicle for applying the heat.

I was thinking along the lines of wrapping the neck and headstock in industrial strength aluminum foil, and using incandescent light bulb(s) as a source of applying heat. Perhaps your steaming method would be superior.

This project is on the back burner (pun intended), about third in line behind a couple of others. I will report back in a month or so when it's finally underway.
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