#1
I've come into possession of an old archtop and I'm trying to see what to do with it.

It's a 'Klira', never heard of the brand before and google didn't give me any joy really.
Pics will be going up as soon as my sis emails them to me, so you guys can see it.

Basically what I want to know is, is it worth anything or can I feel free to replace stuff without worrying about authenticity?

It's been pretty badly treated over the years, the nut is terribly cut and the frets are worn, so I was thinking that I should get the nut out and stone the frets [it has a zero fret if that's relevant].

The bridge has no discernible saddles, which I don't understand and it also isn't fixed to the body in any way. Is that normal? I'm pretty sure there's no point replacing it with an intonation adjustable bridge as it isn't fixed, so would an ebony replacement typ do the trick [not glued or anything]?

The D and G tuners are bent [probably dropped] but not too badly, I think I'll just lubricate them and hope for the best.

Other than that it's got a fair few little holes in it - two are for a pickguard, and the other two are for a pickup, but they're offset - one's further from the centre line than the other. I think someone tried putting a neck mounted pickup on it as there's some holes in the side of the fretboard right at the end, which unfortunately has split the fretboard a teensy bit.

Opinions?
And I hope to god this is the right place, no way am I typing that out again =]

EDIT for pics [oh yeah - MF are my uncle's initials - it was his, and it's just some sort of shiny sticker]














Last edited by lozlovesstrats at Dec 8, 2009,
#2
"Jazz boxes" as they are often referred typically won't have a fixed bridge. They have a bridge similar to that of a violin. It is a key element of their tone. If you want authenticity, don't change the style of bridge.

You may opt to swap the bridge for a higher quality one. Here's two nice ones from stew-mac:
http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Bridges,_tailpieces/Archtop_guitar_bridges/Archtop_Guitar_Bridge.html

What kind of tail piece does it have? I'll assume trapeze (which is quite gorgeous). There are various types of these. The two main reasons to upgrade this are either aesthetics or fuctionality.

If the tailpiece holds the strings, then it does its job.

Pickups (if present) are typically attached to the fingerboard. The old one (if there) should give a great jazzy tone. If you want to replace it, Kent Armstrong and EMG both make replacements. I wouldn't bother with the EMG if you're worried about authenticity.

You will probably want to have the frets dressed. If they are too far gone, a refret may be in order.

Also, definitely replace the old nut.

Side note: Many archtops were intended to be played with flat wound strings. They give a lot mellower tone, and you can also get the action lower without fret-buzz. This is important in jazz because there are some wicked chords
http://accessories.musiciansfriend.com/navigation/guitar-strings?N=100001+343588&Ntk=All&Ntt=flat+wound&Nty=1
#3
Well I'm glad that's sorted with reference to the bridge, confused the hell out of me. Basically the old bridge is useless, pic on its way , it looks like it had induvidual saddles in slots, but they're gone or something, it's so bad I can't tell what it was supposed to do =/

The tailpiece is ugly as hell - a rectangle attached to some wire, plating gone, so definitely looking for an aesthetic upgrade there.

The problem is this with the pickup, RE the holes in the top - there's two holes where you'd expect to see say a neck humbucker's mounting screws, except one is offset.
I don't want to mount pickups to the fretboard because I don't think it'll take it, there's a slight split in it and I'd rather not exacerbate anything.

On strings, it's really annoying because none of my shops sell flatwounds =/ so I think I'll buy a few sets when I start ordering stuff =]
#6
Man if I had that thing, I'd sand it down to the grain and just cherry stain it! It'd look real classy!
My Guitars:
Epiphone Prophecy LP GX
(Scenic Painted) American Project Strat
LTD M-10

My Amps:
Peavey XXL
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Marshall 1960a 410


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#7
I quite like it as it is, just needs a cleanup in terms of finish

but basically all of the functional stuff needs doing lol
#8
Wow. That's in even worse shape than my friend's relic jazzbox, but not nearly as bad as a different friend's old guyatone.
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one of the best, educated and logical posts I've ever seen on UG in the Pit. Well done good sir.
#9
Quote by lozlovesstrats
I quite like it as it is, just needs a cleanup in terms of finish

but basically all of the functional stuff needs doing lol

I like the look to man! Im just simplistic and minimialistic!
My Guitars:
Epiphone Prophecy LP GX
(Scenic Painted) American Project Strat
LTD M-10

My Amps:
Peavey XXL
Peavey 5150
Marshall 1960a 410


SELLING 360 $200USD obo
#11
there's a hole for the jack


my uncle says it had a pickup and a pickguard... god knows where they got to in that case, but you can see that there's no big holes in the top, so unless the controls were on the pickguard, i'm also thinking that the pickup wasn't stock
any ideas on pickup type, given the mounting holes?
Last edited by lozlovesstrats at Dec 8, 2009,
#13
but god that thing's ugly =/ what would you suggest in terms of pickup that doesn't mount to the neck - as you can see someone's made a mess of the neck already

EDIT: this about right? with a suitable pickguard obviously http://www.wdmusic.com/side_mount_jazz_pickup_chrome.html
Last edited by lozlovesstrats at Dec 8, 2009,
#15
I've restored a few archtops and think this one has great potential. It's built as an acoustic guitar, so it's going to sound sweet unplugged.
I'd replace the missing neck mounted pickup with a gold one, and buy all new gold hardware to match that. I think there's nothing more eligant looking than gold hardware on a vintage archtop. New tailpiece, Grover openback tuners, jazzbox pickguard bracket, etc, but go with a rosewood compensated bridge instead of a tune-o-matic if you want the best jazz sound from her.
Replacing the pickup with a neck mounted one would hide the existing neck damage. Someone must make a pickguard with tone and volume controls on it that the pickup could be soldered to. Stay vintage resto in theme maybe.
Cover the jack hole damage with a square jackplate with the jack in it.
I wouldn't do anything to the finish except rub it out a bit with some polishing compound to remove the old dirt. Then I'd wax and polish the old wood finish, clean and oil the neck.
The guitar has a zero fret, so the nut's slots are supposed to be low. If there are no gouges in that first fret you're ok. Is there a truss rod? How are the frets?
Good luck with your restoration. Take your time. She's been waiting for you for a while, and deserves your love and attention. She will reward you by singing again. And it's going to be a great feeling for you to bring her back to life.