Here is an old guitar that underwent a total makeover. Once again, the was the unfortunate result of parents allowing their young children to “play” their guitars. I honestly don’t know how these kids are able to deconstruct this guitar the way they did, but this is absolutely the most broken guitar I have ever come across…
The top and back were almost completely separated from from the sides, only being held together by the neck, which was broken at the dovetail joint, loose from the top and fingerboard splitting apart from the rest of the neck. The inside of the guitar had melted crayons scattered about. There were no tuners or string nut and bridge saddle. The kerfing on the sides has been split in various locations… basically, this guitar was as they call in the auto-industry, “totaled.”
But one can’t put a price on sentimental value and it was decided to bring this guitar back to life. I think for this occasion, I’ll let the pictures do the talking 😉
Dan Powers 10 years Ago
nice job. I was fortunate to find a “closet” Airline made in fall of 63 of the same type as the Stella (rebranded by Mongty Wards) in a pawn shop. It is a great player and it sounds excellent for what it is.
admin 10 years Ago
I agree! These little guys have an earthy tone and are quite loud for their size. Like a fine wine, old acoustics get better with age.
Steve West 10 years Ago
I’m restoring a Stella just like the one you did. Mine is not in quite as bad a shape, and I have two guitars, so I can pick and chose the best parts of each to have one good guitar.
Neither guitar has a saddle, so I am not certain what the original looked like, except from the slot in the bridge, I can see it was about a quarter inch wide, and quite long. Do you have any photos of the saddle so I can craft one like the original?
Andrew 10 years Ago
Hey Steve. I appreciate your interest in this project. I don’t have any pics of the saddle specifically, but there pretty simple to do. These old parlor guitars have a flat neck radius, so the saddle doesn’t need any curvature like others would. I’d suggest getting some bone stock and sanding it down as needed to fit in the slot. You’ll want to also sand or file the top of the slot at an angle to create a “peak” for your string to rest on. If it’s left flat, it’ll vibrate weird and sound like a sitar.
If you want to get really fancy with the saddle, you can take a small flat file and compensate the B or G strings a little farther back to help with intonation.
maruska estudios 8 years Ago
Did you steam the neck to remove it?
(I feel like I can fix my stella but never don it before)
thank you in advance
admin 8 years Ago
I did, yes. The neck joint had split in half, but both parts were still glued to the body of the guitar. Steamed both off in pictures 6 and 7.
Allen 6 years Ago
I have an old Stella that needs some help too. The front and back are usable but the wood is very
dirty and dry inside. Looks like a few drinks my have have sloshed around in there too.
Is it advisable to use a wood conditioner on the top and bottom? Stain?
any help appreciated
admin 6 years Ago
As long as it’s not causing the wood to crack dry isn’t a necessarily bad thing. If you’re able to, I’d sand the areas with some 220 grit to remove the layer of crud. From there, you could potentially use wood conditioner, but I would suggest getting a small humidifier (the ones made by Taylor guitars are great), leaving it inside the body of the guitar and in a case for a day or two.
Sean Johnson 4 years Ago
I just received one these guitars as a gift. It’s in decent shape, but needs a nut (hers is broken off at B & E strings.) I might like to replace the bridge as well; doesn’t seem original. It appears to be clear plastic/glass?
Any suggestions about the bridge or a source to buy a nut/bridge for this guitar? I’ve only worked on a few of my electrics, so a 60’s parlor guitar is a new thing to me.
admin 4 years Ago
Hey Sean! Are you in the Austin area? If so, bring it on by and I can take care of all the above for you. And if not, I would do some searching on ebay for all your parts. Bone nut blanks are a dime a dozen. You can also find ones that are precut, but you’ll need to take some measurements to make sure it’s the proper width, and you’ll very likely need to spend some time getting the nut height to match the profile of the neck. The bridges used on these were sometimes plastic, sometimes a light wood. It would be worth replacing the saddle with a bone one as well.
Sean Johnson 4 years Ago
Thank you for the reply and info. No, I’m in California. I will look for bone nut and bridge on ebay.
Rudy Nordmeyer 4 years Ago
I have an old Stella I would like to upgrade the tuners on. What kind of tuning machines did you put on this one? Thanks! (I’m in Austin, too!)
admin 4 years Ago
I believe they were Kluson. That’s my usual go-to for the vintage look.