Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Repair: Conde Hermanos 1967

This Flamenco guitar, with the label "CONDE HERMANOS-CONSTRUCTORES-Año 1967-GRAVINA, 7-ATOCHA, 53," is most probably one of their less expensive models. I think this because of the style of peghead and rosette and also because it doesn't say "Sobrinos de Esteso" on the label.  

The guitar is made of a three-piece cypress back, Brazilian rosewood bridge and fingerboard, and solid spruce soundboard with five-fan bracing like many of the flamenco guitars made by Domingo Esteso.  

Even though this is probably not one of the models built by the Sobrinos de Esteso themselves, it is a decent old Flamenco guitar (46 years old), with proper flamenco action, bridge height and sound.  The attack of the notes is very quick and each note is very distinct from the others.

Most likely, the golpeador got lose and then somebody yanked it off, taking with it a lot of the finish. The finish was not pure shellac but a spirit varnish that contained shellac and other resins.

The guitar also had a hairline crack on the back, but other than that, it had no other major cracks or damage.

To fix the finish on the top, I had to brush spirit varnish and level the coats many times until I filled all the pits and had a even, smooth surface on which to affix a new golpeador.

When I was done, I had a nice surface. Due to possible oxidation of the unprotected area from having the finish flake, this area is a little darker. I then repaired and reinforced the crack on the back and touched up the finish in that area. The crack is now is virtually invisible.

To finish the repair, I glued down a clear plastic golpeador using hide glue, which is the traditional adhesive and does not deaden the sound of the guitar. I smoothed the fret ends, cleaned and oiled the fretboard and cleaned and polished the guitar. Finally, I lubricated the tuning machines and installed new strings.

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