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Guitars in the Attic


hellion102792

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So has anyone ever been up in an attic at a parent's/grandparent's/anyone's house and come across a vintage guitar or some kind of old instrument? Post your stories here, or pics if you happen to have any. I'll start with mine:

 

In spring 2007 I was in the attic at my grandma's house (dad's side of the family). My grandfather was a packrat all his life (and even after he died we found hidden money in his pillowcase, under his mattress, old jars of sauce which by the looks of them appeared to be from the '80s, etc), so there's a bunch of old stuff up there in addition to what my dad left over when he moved his recording studio from the attic to a new building. I opened up a closet that had been blocked by some boxes and stacks of records expecting to be attacked by a squirrel or something that had gotten in up there, when I saw a guitar case leaning against the wall inside. I picked it up thinking it would be empty like the other couple of cases that were up there, but found it had some weight to it. I set it down and opened it to find a kind of guitar I had never seen before at the time, and acoustic with doubled strings. I brought it downstairs where my dad was and asked him about it. He explained that it was a 12-string guitar that had belonged to a friend of his, and he had borrowed it back in the '70s and both he and his friend forgot about it up there.

 

30+ years in an attic apparently does NOT do good things for a guitar, especially an acoustic. I got it home and lifted it out of the case, strummed it, and the pickguard fell off. It was also fully tuned, which had lifted the neck up a lot. You could play until about the 5th fret before it just got painful due to the fact the action was so high I could fit my finger under the strings at the 12th fret. There was a chip in one of the saddles, so I couldn't put on the octave string for low E. I bought a Dunlop Formula 65 kit and was able to clean it up nice, and I glued the pickguard back on. I did a little research, and found it that it was a 1969 Harmony Sovereign H1270 Jumbo 12-string. I strung it up with a pack of Martin extra lights, tuned it up to standard, and brought it to Noll Guitars a few days later because they are the best repair/custom shop in the area. One of the owners explained to me all the damage the attic climate did including shrinking the wood (the fret markers on the binding were actually coming out, you could feel it if you ran your finger along the binding), badly affecting the sound and volume, loosening the glue, etc. He told me it would cost around $300 for the neck reset, nearly twice as much as the guitar originally cost. He told me "I know it's Americana and all that, but do you really think the price for the repair would be worth saving a cheap guitar that wouldn't even sound that good?" So, I took it home, tuned it down to C so the neck wouldn't come up too much anymore, and mucked around with it for a few months. The original owner eventually told me that his nephew wanted to try to repair it, so I returned it after Christmas (he and my dad conspired on my Christmas gift last year, a Martin 12 string because they knew I loved the sound and that this one was probably a lost cause). It's been about a year and I still haven't heard anything though. She's probably rotting in the landfill now, or was never even touched :)

 

And now for the obligatory pictures:

 

After the first cleaning:

HPIM1439.jpg

 

The neck:

HPIM1440.jpg

 

Sexy body shot:

HPIM1443.jpg

 

Back:

HPIM1446.jpg

 

Back with no flash, showing how glossy the finish was:

HPIM1447.jpg

 

Bridge with chipped saddle:

HPIM1461.jpg

 

In almost playing condition. Stamp inside read "S 69", meaning it was built in the summer of '69:

HPIM1463.jpg

 

Showing off the high action:

HPIM1471.jpg

 

Okay, so that ended up longer than I thought it would. So post your stories about forgotten guitars left to rot in the attic!

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