What are the chances of repairing this 1940s/50s Harmony guitar?
Hi guys, I own a 1940s/50s Harmony archtop guitar. I bought it second hand a few years ago, and it had been in a state good enough to play, but then I left it at a friend's place for a few years, and just got it back a few days ago.
The condition has deteriorated a lot. Here are some photos:
The back of the soundbox is badly cracked and it is also coming apart from the sides of the soundbox, as the pictures show. The action seems too high to me, too.
It's a beautiful guitar and I would like to get it restored, but it seems to me it would be a difficult job - maybe not even reasonably possible. So I wanted to ask you guys - how much work do you think there is in restoring it? Is it feasible - I mean, would I spend so much getting it repaired that I'd be better off simply buying a new guitar (considerations of heart aside)? Any general advice?
It can be repaired. But if you pay someone to do it, the cost will be prohibitive, because you're looking at a ton of hours of labor.
The back will have to come off, and be refitted together. That's no simple task on an arched back. The back binding will have to be replaced (part of it is missing). It looks like the neck will need to be reset. There may be internal damage to the braces - you won't know until you get the back off. Then the whole thing will need to be refinished, and you'll need a new end pin.
Your best bet would be to approach this as a project. See if there's a luthiery school near you, and introduce yourself. Maybe you can take a class or two to get some basic skills under your belt - and if they like you, they might even help you out with the project.
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Thanks very much for your reply, Noteboat - I appreciate it. I feared, but also expected that it was a very major job. I like the idea of turning it into a project, though - I could pick up some practical skills while learning about how guitars are made. I'll take a look around and see what my options are :) Thanks again!