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Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?

sharyn 02 Feb 11 - 05:08 PM
Bernard 02 Feb 11 - 05:27 PM
Dave MacKenzie 02 Feb 11 - 05:35 PM
JohnInKansas 02 Feb 11 - 05:45 PM
sharyn 02 Feb 11 - 06:00 PM
Van 02 Feb 11 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Tony 02 Feb 11 - 09:24 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 02 Feb 11 - 09:49 PM
Ebbie 02 Feb 11 - 11:10 PM
Gurney 02 Feb 11 - 11:22 PM
Mark Ross 02 Feb 11 - 11:41 PM
SPB-Cooperator 03 Feb 11 - 01:55 AM
sharyn 03 Feb 11 - 03:26 AM
Waddon Pete 03 Feb 11 - 04:25 AM
Richard Bridge 03 Feb 11 - 06:04 AM
nickp 03 Feb 11 - 06:44 AM
jonm 03 Feb 11 - 06:54 AM
GUEST 03 Feb 11 - 10:26 AM
sharyn 03 Feb 11 - 10:29 AM
lefthanded guitar 03 Feb 11 - 01:31 PM
Brian May 03 Feb 11 - 01:56 PM
PoppaGator 03 Feb 11 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,BNV 03 Feb 11 - 02:35 PM
wysiwyg 03 Feb 11 - 02:47 PM
Roger in Baltimore 03 Feb 11 - 03:28 PM
breezy 03 Feb 11 - 03:33 PM
sharyn 03 Feb 11 - 06:48 PM
Charley Noble 03 Feb 11 - 08:13 PM
sharyn 03 Feb 11 - 08:53 PM
breezy 04 Feb 11 - 06:45 AM
sharyn 04 Feb 11 - 10:23 PM
Skivee 05 Feb 11 - 12:27 AM
Suffet 05 Feb 11 - 12:53 AM
sharyn 05 Feb 11 - 01:38 AM
Joe Offer 05 Feb 11 - 04:07 AM
Mr Red 05 Feb 11 - 05:56 AM
sharyn 05 Feb 11 - 08:39 AM
Bert 05 Feb 11 - 03:56 PM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Feb 11 - 04:17 PM
sharyn 06 Feb 11 - 12:04 AM
Bert 06 Feb 11 - 12:52 PM
C-flat 07 Feb 11 - 06:29 AM
sharyn 15 Feb 11 - 07:32 PM
sharyn 15 Feb 11 - 11:22 PM
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Subject: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: sharyn
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 05:08 PM

Hello all guitar players,

My only guitar developed a nasty crack that I noticed last night. I spoke to the guitar doc this morning: he can't look at for another two weeks. To make matters worse, I am traveling for eight days starting Sunday and had planned to take my guitar with me.

I have little income and minimal savings. I have been playing everyday. I hate to lose my callouses and my dexterity to a two-week holiday (and, who knows, it could be a month before I get the old Harmony back.

I live in the East Bay in California. I don't drive. I could spend $250 or so to get a second guitar if I absolutely have to. What would you do?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Sharyn


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Bernard
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 05:27 PM

Borrow one - maybe the guitar doc can loan you one, or a good friend?

There must be a 'Catter near you who could help?


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 05:35 PM

When my guitar got broken the first time I learned how to sing unaccompanied. More than one person told me it was the best thing that ever happened to me.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 05:45 PM

If it's a crack that may have been there for a while, that you just didn't notice, one approach might be to "pretend you didn't notice it yet" and go on with your plans - with a "plan to notice it" when you can do something about it.

It may depend on where the crack is located, how big it is, and whether it affects the sound; but lots of guitars give satisfactory performance for years with "visible" damage.

Willie Nelson played his guitar (named "Trigger") for decades with a hole the size of a watermelon worn through the top. Some fans cried when they saw him using a different one recently since he'd played it that way for so long.

If the crack is where the string tension might make it worse, or if something is obviously about to fall off, it might be better to leave it at home until you can get a repair.

You may also want to consider that if a replacement $250 guitar is comparable to what you have, repairs to damage that would make it unsafe to continue playing the old one may be about as expensive as the replacement.

If it just "looks nasty" quit looking at it until it's more convenient to see about a patch.

Can you give more description of where the crack is and how big?

John


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: sharyn
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 06:00 PM

Crack is in the side that rests against my legs when I play. It is in the same direction as the grain of the wood. I would say it is about half the length of the guitar body. I saw it for the first time yesterday because I ran my hand over the guitar and felt the rough edge. There is a small (quarter-inch?) bit that looks stove in as well.

Sharyn

@Dave. A capella singing is not a new skill to me, but it won't prevent me from losing callouses or dexterity.@ others: No loans on offer yet -- looking for sources. The guitar doc lives far away and cannot come down here any time soon.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Van
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 06:02 PM

Assuming you have friends who play and have a guitar to spare they will know you don't play like Pete Townsend and won't trash it so will probably be willing to help you out. Try the luthier,cry on his shoulder if needs be. Keep the $250 for fun on your holiday or to pay towards the repair.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 09:24 PM

Kurt Vonnegut wrote that Bokononists welcome "peculiar travel suggestions" (as, for example, when the taxi driver asked if they could make a detour to visit the taxi driver's mother's grave), because Bokonon said that such suggestions are "dancing lessons from God."

Any externally-imposed departure from routine can be viewed the same way. Something unimaginably wonderful might happen if you accept the two weeks of deprivation, rather than trying to maintain complete control. And, after all, is it such a great hardship to lose two weeks of callous maintenance?

I say take the holiday. Learn a new skill. During the 8-day trip, try to be open to whatever Fate had in mind when she sent you the equipment malfunction.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 09:49 PM

Hi Sharyn,

Leave it home with a mechanic. The location of that damage creates a serious danger of getting worse. Borrow a guitar or buy a beater for trips and road work. I am very pleased with a Blueridge BR 43 ($350.00 most places)that I play quite a bit. I have a few Martins to choose from as well as a few Guilds, that I choose to play a bargain guitar says volumes for the guitar.

Don


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Ebbie
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 11:10 PM

I would visit a pawn shop. You may well find an acceptable used guitar for $100. And it never hurt to have a second guitar.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Gurney
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 11:22 PM

My favourite guitar cost me $82 on our equivalent of Ebay. It is a Jack and Danny Brothers, a dreadnaught.    Just a thought. I bought several and re-sold the others on.
Cheap guitars are not as crappy as they used to be in years gone by.

If your box is a classical, or cheapish, I think I'd risk it, as it sounds like accident damage.
If it is expensive and/or steel-strung, I'd go with DonM at 9:49.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 11:41 PM

Check out Recording King guitars. Their 12 fret OOO is a honey. $295 here in Eugene.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 01:55 AM

If there is anywhere near you that does it, consider hiring one.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: sharyn
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 03:26 AM

Thanks all. Still considering options, from pawnshops to loaners, although I haven't found any yet. My "holiday" is a silent meditation retreat where I planned to do hours of guitar playing since it is one of my current practices and I have a studio date two days after I get home. I can cancel the studio date if need be, but two weeks without playing could be a serious setback for me at this point (I have hand damage and only daily playing gives me a hope of recovering any ability), so my best bet is to find something to play pronto. I'll go shopping tomorrow (or later today, viewing the hour).


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 04:25 AM

I quite often see decent guitars in charity shops! (Not Martins or Gibsons I have to say). Can you claim on the contents insurance? Is there not a luthier nearer to you?

Good luck,

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 06:04 AM

You can never have too many guitars.

I have a "beater" that cost me GBP £70 on ebay and it is OK - not great, but OK - although it has had a bit of fettling since.

I say buy a second guitar. If you go for a small-body then after you have used it at the retreat where no-one will hear it except you you can put ultra-light strings on it and have the action fettled a bit and you will have a sweet little singer for playing stuff in higher keys...


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: nickp
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 06:44 AM

My Harmony (Sovreign) has had a crack in the same sort of area for over 10 years. It's probably not as long - maybe 6-8 inches - but I'm happy enough to leave it.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: jonm
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 06:54 AM

A cheap beater guitar will recoup next to nothing from the outlay cost if you sell it on. A second-hand instrument will recoup most of the outlay, since it has already depreciated.

If you cannot find a used instrument, you may be able to do a deal with a local tutor. Since they know why you are buying the new instrument and for how long you will be playing it, they may be prepared to pay over the normal odds (but still a discount on the new price) to take it off your hands as a loaner to pupils.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 10:26 AM

Ovation guitars sometimes develop cracks in the varnish ( or whatever finish they have). Typically they run from the bridge parallel to the grain as far as the edgde of the soundboard but often the wood is unaffected. Could it be you just have one of those?

Either way, I'd use it as an excuse to buy another guitar. Maybe something different e.g. a classical if you have a steel-string, or a 12-string if you have a 6.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: sharyn
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 10:29 AM

Thanks, folks. I'm going out today to see what I can find. Someone told me of a place I might be able to rent a guitar by the week (but I don't think I should take a rental on an airplane). I've got a couple of pawn shops to try as well and I'll probably go by a real guitar shop just to get some price information and familiarize myself with some brands I don't know. My ideal would be a very cheap guitar in playable condition that I can take with me to New Mexico. Bonus points if it sounds good. If it survives two flights then I have a second guitar for emergencies and I can rent a better instrument, or borrow one, for the studio session in two weeks.

Sharyn


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 01:31 PM

Good luck Sharyn. I think you'll be happy having a second guitar; and you can always use it in an open tuning when you repair the first one.

And buy GOOD new strings for the guitar( an informative argument...ah that is....discussion on the best strings is on another thread or two or three hundred; but I suggest Martins)


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Brian May
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 01:56 PM

Suicide is always an option and cheaper than all the alternatives above.

You'd never need to bother if your guitar NEVER got fixed ;o)

Best of luck


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 01:58 PM

When I was without my (one and only) guitar for a month or more ~ getting the neck reset by a reputable but slow-working luthier ~ I visited music stores and played a wide variety of guitars as a browsing "potential customer."

Kept up my chops and calluses and had some interesting conversations. The sales personnel were invariably glad to let me play even when I was quite candid about not being able to afford a purchase "just now."

I also was able to confirm that my own instrument (a 1969 Martin D-18 that I acquired new upon college graduation) was far better ~ for me, at any rate ~ than almost anything else I might buy, including new D-18s. I played exactly two guitars, out of dozens that I tried out, that I felt were comparable to, or perhaps even better than, my own: a new "O"-model Martin and a REALLY nice Lowden. Both were priced WAY beyond my means...


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: GUEST,BNV
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 02:35 PM

Best comprimise , and can continue to be of use when existing guitar is fixed. Within your budget too.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 02:47 PM

I think this is a retreat issue, not a temp instrument issue.

Because-- I would be very surprised if a retreat billed as "silent meditation" will allow the guitar. Best check with the facility. Also others may also be there on a similarly silent basis and not appreciate the distraction of your particular regular practice.

To maintain calluses of course you can finger any instrument, and just not strum it, but a retreat is, by its definition, an opportunity to be without something one usually does.

(PM for more info if desired.)

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 03:28 PM

Sharyn,

Guest, BNV has presented a viable alternative. I have owned a Mc Nally Backpacker guitar for over a decade. It does not have great tone, but it will meet the issue of keeping calluses, etc.. Mc Nally sold out to Martin some time ago, so Martin should be quite similar.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: breezy
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 03:33 PM

Question 1 Does it still play ? yes

Q 2. Does it sound the same ? yes

Q 3 Will it fall apart ?   probably not


O K Cover the split with Duck tape, it would probablycost more to repair than its worth so any cost maybe better invested in an upgrade


Get on with it


I have a hand made guitar with a big chunk held in place by cellotape and all the varnish has cracked off the top side, but it still plays and sounds the same. but then I do have some others.

Its what gives em 'character'


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: sharyn
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 06:48 PM

Thanks again, all.

@breezy -- does it play? Yes, but I have been advised by a luthier I trust not to play it to avoid increasing the damage.
@Susan -- I have special dispensation to play guitar at silent meditation retreats from my esteemed teacher. I play in a room far away from the others -- they know I play there and are free to listen or do yoga while I play, but I don't interact with them or even look at them while I practice. Music practice is a legitimate practice, just like sitting, walking, or writing.
@Poppagator -- this latest incident only reaffirmed for me how much I love my own guitar. It is much better than anything I could afford at the moment. I did a tour of a couple of pawnshops and a couple of guitar shops today and was shocked to find out what current prices are. I played a couple of new instruments that sounded too bright to me and wrote down a couple of prices for references.

Then, hurrah: a friend offered to lend me a guitar she got for free. She doesn't care if an airline destroys it or she never gets it back. I'm going over tomorrow to see if the tuning keys work. If they do, I'm good from the callouses and practice standpoint. If the tuners don't work I'll probably buy a $45 horror I found in Berkeley today for something to play.

Thank you, everyone, for your help and suggestions.

Sharyn


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 08:13 PM

Sharyn-

Happy to hear that you can borrow a guitar.

It may still make sense to invest in a "travel guitar," one you don't have an emotional attachment but can function with at some acceptable level. Martin does make a composite travel guitar (LXM) which sells for about $279 from Elderly Instruments. Then you can save your favorite guitar for recording.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: sharyn
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 08:53 PM

Hi Charley,

Yes, you are the second person who has told me about the Martin travel guitar. I may consider it sometime in the future. At the moment, I can't invest in too much (I've been unemployed for seven months and am transitioning to self-employment): the old savings are shrinking rapidly -- I'll need to replenish them before making any purchases I don't have to. I got severe sticker shock when I looked at guitars today. Mine cost $35 twenty years ago, plus maybe $300 in repairs over the twenty years.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: breezy
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 06:45 AM

Hi Sha

Sounds like the luthier wants the gig.

can you get a photo up for us to view ?


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: sharyn
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 10:23 PM

@Breezy,

I can try, but neither photography nor uploading is my strongpoint. I have no idea how one puts photos on the Mudcat -- I didn't even know that you could.

In the meantime I borrowed a truly awful guitar from a friend -- she doesn't play and doesn't care if it gets destroyed on the airplane or in the negative 26 degree temperatures they are having in Northern New Mexico these days. So I'm set for now. But, of course, I want my guitar repaired ASAP.


This luthier has worked on this guitar before and I trust him and his work.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Skivee
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 12:27 AM

Sometimes an awful guitar can be turned into a less awful guitar by those who know what to adjust and why.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Suffet
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 12:53 AM

I endorse the Little Martin LXM suggestion. For under $300 you get a guitar that comes with a nicely padded gig bag, and which easily stows in the overhead bin of all but the smallest aircraft. For a few dollars more you can get a cutaway electric-acoustic version.

I have a Felix the Cat custom version of the Little Martin, so it cost me over $400, but it's not really different from the basic variety. I love the guitar. Click here for one of several YouTube videos of me playing that Little Martin at the 2007 Jacob's Ladder Folk Festival in Israel. As you can hear, the tone is pretty good. And please believe me, so is the action.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: sharyn
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 01:38 AM

Thanks, Steve.

I'll look into it as soon as I have an extra $300. First priority is getting the Harmony repaired, but I agree that it would be good to have a guitar that could travel safely on airplanes since I travel at least four times a year and the Harmony has sustained damage from airlines before.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 04:07 AM

Hi, Sharyn-
If you want to post a photo, e-mail it to me. Gee, with most of your friends being a cappella singers, I can see how it might be tough to borrow a guitar on short notice. Good luck, and have a good retreat.

-Joe-
joe@mudcat.org


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Mr Red
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 05:56 AM

Bodhran?

Ducks and runs for cover..................


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: sharyn
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 08:39 AM

Thanks, Joe. I may try to take a photo when it gets light. @ Mr. Red: I'm going to ignore that -- this time.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Bert
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 03:56 PM

I would try a little wood glue and a couple of clamps.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Feb 11 - 04:17 PM

Yes, Bert, but after sniffing that stuff, she would still have a broken guitar ...


I'll get me hat ....


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: sharyn
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 12:04 AM

Clowns, so many clowns, but it is good to laugh.

I'm not the handy-with-glue-and-clamps-type, so I will not be attempting my own repairs.

Thanks, everyone, for the opinions and suggestions. I'll be out of reach now for a couple of weeks, playing my borrowed guitar in snowy New Mexico, beyond the reach of technology. I'll check in with the Mudcat again when I return. Sorry, breezy, no time to get a photo up, but I'll post one if you like when I get back.

Sharyn


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: Bert
Date: 06 Feb 11 - 12:52 PM

If you would like to bring your guitar on a side trip to Colorado Springs from New Mexico. I'll fix it for you.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: C-flat
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 06:29 AM

I second what Mark Ross says about Recording King guitars.

You really do need a spare guitar anyway, either for travelling or just back-up for gigs etc.

A small amount of money for a good instrument.


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: sharyn
Date: 15 Feb 11 - 07:32 PM

Follow-up. My Harmony guitar is with the luthier now. He can fix it with hide glue and mahogany dust. I posed the question to him about a travel guitar, and whether to subject the battered Harmony to airplanes again. He recommended a baby Taylor over the Martin travel guitar, but recommended a 3/4 size Harmony or some such over that. He'll bring me a 3/4 guitar to try when I go to get my own back -- he has some he know longer needs to keep.

We agree that my own Harmony, made of mahogany, is better than anything else I could get now.

Thanks, everyone, for your help and suggestions.

Sincerely,

Sharyn


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Subject: RE: Only Guitar Broken -- What Now?
From: sharyn
Date: 15 Feb 11 - 11:22 PM

@Bert: Sorry, didn't see this message before I left, but I wasn't able to make a side trip this time anyway. Thanks very much for the offer to fix the guitar though -- that is very generous.

Sharyn


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