Brought this old guitar home last week. It’s a cheapo low-end dreadnought that comes with some unusual details.
The most striking difference is the maple fretboard. In fact the neck wood and bridge are also maple. This is really unusual for acoustic guitars. Normally we’ll see mahogany or its close cousins such as okoume, nato, or khaya for the neck. But no, we have maple here.
The back & sides are also quite unusual. It’s made of zebrawood laminate. I’d say the grains are quite interesting.
This one came covered with dust so there’s some work to be done. But first let’s take a look at the setup.
The stock nut was rubbish. It’s badly cut and really hampers playing due to all the sharp/angular edges. We gotta remove this cancerous object.
Since this is an old guitar, we use the hairdryer to heat up the glue to help the removal.
Then I used a flat chip board to gently knock off the nut. Disclaimer: You have to be very careful here. If you’re not handy with such things, you should leave this to the pros. Broken headstocks are not cool.
OK we got it out of the guitar. Now let’s compare and see how much nicer the new bone nut will be. The new bone is a pre-cut piece ready for drop-in with the right adjustments.
Many rounds of careful measurements were made to get a good fit. The slight overhangs will be sanded out later too.
Not too shabby. 🙂
Truss rod adjustment
I also gave the truss rod about 1/3 turn to reduce the relief.
New bone saddle
Next, I also dropped in a new bone saddle. Of course it started with measurements and sanding to get the desired height.
The stock pins were terrible so I got some brass pins to match the gold machine heads.
You’ll see two pearl inlaid dots at the maple bridge. Now I found out that these are not for decorative purpose. In fact, they conceal two screws that hold the bridge in place. So what the maker did was to screw in the bridge on top of gluing it in. Again very unusual for acoustic guitars. (Though this is a very common method for low end ukuleles).
Now we gotta clean up the guitar.
Fretboard was dirty and mouldy. The strings here are TETANUS brand. They sound rough and dark, and may induce blood. Not cool.
But after the clean up with lemon oil and steel wool, the fretboard was kinda darkened and looked stained. Not cool too. Wombat says these maple boards don’t like lemon oil. Ok, at least the frets are now shiny.
Refurbish the tuners
The gold tuners were very tarnished and required some TLC to getting back in shape. No problems, Guitarbear can do it.
Finally strung with Elixirs of course, and the kids like this one a lot.
This is an awesome sounding guitar! It’s super loud and really holds its ground against more expensive/branded guitars. It’s full of power and sounds bright even with moderate strumming. The matte finish is also very comfy for holding. It has no sticky or slippery feel that can be common with badly done gloss finishes.
The neck shape is certainly rounder and thicker, yet very comfy due to the very narrow nut width. I did a measurement and it’s under 43mm. I’d say it’s closer to a Strat’s 42mm. The new bone nut helped a lot. 🙂 By now it was nicely shaped and contoured along the neck/headstock area.
Here’s a look at the nice wood rosette. It looks like a combination of maple and rosewood. Wow.
And just look at the maple binding all around the guitar. This one has maple binding on the top, back, centre-strip and fretboard. This is uncommon for cheapo guitars.
It’s strange that for all it’s niceties (bindings, hardware, materials), the headstock logo would be so badly done.
Perhaps that’s why no one pays much attention to these well-made and good sounding cheapos. I’m glad I took a chance. 🙂