Friday, October 10, 2014

Repair: Jose Ramirez 1ra 1984

The Jose Ramirez guitar was the preeminent classical guitar from the 60's well into the 90's.  It was known for it's great power and sustain, with a dark, mature tone with lots sweetness, too. 664mm long scale length and cedar top.

Because of this, a great number of players used his instruments, and a great number of luthiers copied his guitars in that era, although now you see more guitar makers searching further back to the likes of Torres and Santos Hernandez as their inspiration.

So this is a 1984 in great shape that came into the shop with some fret buzz.  The action was perfect, about 4 mm to 3 mm from low E to high E measured at the 12th fret, but it had two problems. One was that the string slots at the nut were too low, about .4 mm at the 1st fret.  So I had to shim the nut up about .5 mm more.  I'm gluing on thin bone veneer with hide glue to save the original nut and the result is nearly invisible and it is bone on bone, so you can't go wrong acoustically.

The other problem was a slight hump around the 13th to 15th frets and some other frets that were not level.  This required a fret-mill, crown and polish.

First I spot level individual frets and zones with files and then I level the whole surface using a leveling bar and fine sandpaper.

Then I recrown the frets to give them their rounded shape back.

I also polish them with fine sandpaper on a special block.

Oiling the fingerboard gives it luster and also helps clean the metallic dust from the surface.

And last I give the frets a super shine with some steel wool wrapped on a block of wood. Pretty old school, no?

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