Gretschman59, I don’t do a lot of vintage repair work, so I don’t have an exact time and cost for the repair. The end of the truss rod inside the neck would be fixed to a small plate of some sort in a vintage guitar. This can break if it’s welded or strip if it’s threaded. Of course, the rod could have broken anywhere along the neck. If the rod is turning WITH the nut, you definitely have a failure. The most common fix it to remove the fretboard with heat, replace the truss rod, re-assemble and touch up the finish. This is time consuming and there’s no guarantee a fret job won’t be needed when it’s put back together. So, at least $300 or $400 I suspect. That’s why so many folks don’t fix them. If your buddy loves the guitar, fix it, but it’s not a great investment, you do it because you want to keep that guitar.
Grez, thanks for the info. That is about what I was thinking it would cost to have to remove the truss rod. Fortunately I was able to get it working today. Since it would back out and loosen up I did that and then put slightly heated oil on the truss rod to loosen the threads and lubricate the rod. A modified trick we use working on cars when bolts seize and won’t back out. We figured we would give it a try thinking that if the rod was broke it was broken before we tried to initially adjust it, so what could it hurt. So after the oil set for a while we backed off the rod to create some more relief, then would tighten it back up until we felt some tension. Then we marked the threads and backed it back off, then went forward again until we hit some good resistance and then checked the threads to see if it went further down. After we saw it made some progress passing the previous thread mark we made we repeated the process. Eventually this made it break free and start to function as normal again. We got the neck pretty much dead straight. Just a hint of relief. Now I guess the question is, is the rod messed up and we just got a temporary fix, or was it just bound up and this freed it? Maybe we just got lucky. LOL. We didn’t hear any creaking, popping, or any other strange noises while we slowly tightened it, so hopefully this worked. Thanks again for getting back to me. I appreciate that.
I’ve been lurking a bit and just signed up today after having recently picked up Tommy’s new Tiny Grimes course.
I thought I’d show off a little oddball guitar I picked up here in Tokyo a week or so ago (used for only $190!). It’s basically an ES-140 clone (so like a little 3/4 sized ES-175) made by a low-budget Japanese brand. It’s a blast to play, and seems perfect for jazz and jump blues.
The big decision I’m faced with is whether to leave it stock, or see if I can get a guitar tech to hotrod it – I was thinking maybe looking into the possibility of moving the front p-90 to the bridge, putting a Charlie Christian in the front and maybe adding a bigsby. Anyway, I wouldn’t have the funds to do that for a while, so for now I’ll enjoy this little guy as is.
Here are some pics, I hope the photobucket links work, otherwise I will have to fix them later on when I get to my home computer.
Sorry, Let’s see if this works.
Man, that is a cool guitar!
Very cool. I didn’t know anyone made copies of those guitars. I had the chance to play an original one from somewhere in the 50’s at a guitar show. It was cool. A lot of fun to play. I think you will enjoy it. Here is a clip from YouTube of a guy that plays an ES-140. He does the old school blues thing very well. Both the country style and the early Robert Lockwood when he was playing with guys like Little Walter and Sonnyboy Williamson II. Thought you might be interested in hearing what that kind of guitar can do.
Thanks for that! I really appreciate the video. I didn’t know anything about ES-140s or this copy until I saw this one sitting in my local music shop. Apparently someone sold it to them about 20 minutes before I got there. Right place at the right time. It was just so darn cute I had to buy it, and it plays and sounds great. Maple body top/back/sides, mahogany neck, bone nut, rosewood fingerboard, nice low action, great access to the upper frets, and the short scale is perfect for stretchy jazz chords. I love the darn thing. They originally sold for around $600 in Japan and were made for one year (2014). The company that makes them only produces guitars in small batches (prototypes them in Japan, outsources production to plant in China or Korea to keep them cheap, and does the finishing work in Japan). The only arch top they sell now is also the same size, but it’s a mini Howard Roberts style guitar with a humbucker.
Watching Mark Mumea’s videos has pretty much convinced me to keep it stock, at least for a while. 😉
Thanks for turning me on to his stuff. Very cool!
You are welcome. Those ES-140’s have a unique sound. They have a voicing that really lends it self well to finger pickers like a parlor acoustic. I think that is why I like them so much. I wish I could have gotten the one I came across, but I didn’t have the money at the time. It was $900 and some change them. Now most of the ones I see are $2000 and some change. I would be curious to know who made yours so I can see if can find one, or maybe one by another manufacturer. Here is another clip I found of a guy playing jazz on one in a music store.
It’s made by a really minor Japanese brand called Monogram. Apparently it’s a brand created by a music shop in Japan. I don’t know too much about the brand. The model is called the AES-2014.
There are still a few for sale new here in Japan, but I’m guessing these are the last of them since they were only made for 2014 (the pickup on these is different from mine, silver vs. black).
I’m satisfied with the quality of mine, but I have no idea how consistent quality is across the line. Mine has a few very minor finishing imperfections, but I’m not bothered by them, particularly because I bought used.
Thanks for that information. I will have to see what all I can dig up. I love searching and learning about new things. If I come across any cool things I will post.
Cool, and thanks again for the video links! I’m feeling very inspired. 🙂
Hey! finally home again to get caught up with you all. I had some fun gigs last week. I played with Kid on Wed. I’ll post a video of it. This is a strange coincidence. Talking about your ES-140, after my show with Kid we went out to dinner and started talking about guitars (no surprise there) He told me he doesn’t have any vintage guitars anymore except for a guitar he bought when he was in the Harman band. He sold it to a buddy and was given back to him years later. The guitar is a Gibson ES-140.
Cool video Tommy! Loved it!
Neat to hear that Kid has an ES-140! They seem like they would make a great little jump blues guitar. I would love to hear him play his. 🙂
Tommy, you said that Kid doesn’t have anymore Vintage Guitars left in the story of the ES-140. Is the Harmony he always plays not Vintage, or does it belong to someone else?
Dig the video. My favorite part is Kid hang on the wall behind you all while you play. LOL I wonder what would be the weirder feeling. Going into a place and seeing a painting of you on the wall, or seeing that you are “Bad Ass” enough as a guitar player for your picture to be hung next BB King.
Swedish Pastry. Was George Shearing the composer of that? We were trying to figure that out because it has been done by everyone under the sun. George Shearing is who we were all thinking was the original composer.
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