#1
Hi all!

I just came across my mother's old acoustic guitar in our basement. I don't play acoustic yet, and I'm just a newbie on the electric, so I thought it would be great to use her guitar to get started. Problem is, it's been sitting in our furnace room for *ages* (like, easily 30+ years without use). Thankfully that's the driest room in the house, and it stays dark, so I don't think the elements have gotten to it, but it's been sitting forgotten with broken strings for the entire time so who knows how the wood's changed. Aside from the obvious "replace the strings," what do I need to do to get this thing back in shape to play? Is this a job for the professionals?

Thanks everyone!
#2
A few problems might have developed with a guitar of that age that has spent so long in warm and dry conditions. OTOH it might be perfectly OK. Probably the best thing to do would be to take it to a guitar technician to have it checked out. If not, then perhaps look for info about how to do it yourself somewhere like Frets.com

http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/OwnerManual/manssguitar.html
#3
What make/model of guitar is it? Can you make out a name on the headstock or read the label inside?

I wouldn't worry about the guitar being unstrung. The dryness you mention is what would worry me, especially over 30+ years. Of course, it's possible the humidity in the home was perfect the entire time. At any rate...I'd visually inspect the instrument first, making sure there aren't any cracks or loose bracing anywhere. If the tuners look/feel solid....and your nut and saddle are good, and the body looks good...string it up yourself! Then give it a whirl and see if you have fret buzz, high action, whatever. You'll probably have to take it to a luthier to have it set up properly, but you might surprise yourself and find it's already playable.
#4
Got it! Thanks guys. I'm away from the house right now so I don't have access to the guitar, but when I go back I'll get the make/model/year of the guitar.
#5
So what brand and model is this guitar? This would be the first thing I would mention as it says a lot about survivability in various conditions. One thing I would do in addition to the above is lay a straight edge along the fretboard. If there's a bend or alignment problem - no point in putting strings on!
#7
If it has been in a warm dry atmosphere it might be in bad condition. - Mine, kept for over 20 years in similar conditions had cracked plates and seam separation, among other things. I would take it to a good repairer and get his advice.

Whether it is worth spending much on repairs will depend on resale and/or sentimental value.
#8
All - thanks very much for the help! It's a Silvertone Classic guitar, and I believe it was purchased sometime in the mid-60's. The fretboard looks pretty dry, but there doesn't appear to be any warping, and there are no cracks in the body.
#10
Quote by Indrid_Cold
All - thanks very much for the help! It's a Silvertone Classic guitar, and I believe it was purchased sometime in the mid-60's. The fretboard looks pretty dry, but there doesn't appear to be any warping, and there are no cracks in the body.


It may well be that a set up and new strings is all it needs. Certainly worth the relatively small $$$ outlay (or do it yourself? - it's not difficult).
#11
Quote by Tony Done
Pics? It isn't worth big $, but it might not cost much to get it playable. I play lap steel, and if it was mine, and unplayable, I would do a conversion to lap steel - a nut raiser or new nut.


Pics are here.
#12
I can't tell much from the picture of the label, but if it says Made in USA it's probably actually made by Harmony, they made a lot of 60's Silvertone guitars. Usually fairly decent quality, mostly beginner guitars. My Silvertone was made about 1960, cheap beginner guitar, and made by Harmony.

That's a classical guitar, nylon strings, probably worth putting strings on, check as is and see how high the action is, you might want to sand the bridge saddle down a bit but that can also be done after stringing, just have to loosen the strings.

My main gripe with classical guitars has always been the wide necks, I have problems with those due to a tendon injury when I was 12, fat necks hurt my left hand. Most people don't have that problem, you just have to get accustomed to it. Other than that, a classical guitar can be fun to play and sounds nice.

I'd check it out thoroughly and if it seems to be in decent shape, put on some strings and see how it goes.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#13
Quote by Paleo Pete
* snip *


Thank you - I think what you described is very accurate. My mom said her grandparents got her the guitar as a starter guitar because it was supposed to be "a good value." I certainly think it's worth the cost of new strings, but I think you're all right - I'll check it out and make sure it wouldn't be a multi-hundred dollar investment to get playable before I start seriously messing with it.
#14
you might want to get low tension strings in case the guitar isn't in optimal condition.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#15
Probably shouldn't be a huge investment, as long as the neck is straight and you don't notice any cracks in the soundboard or back. Although cheap, these were pretty sturdy guitars. I've see them still holding up well 50 years later. I Have a 1966 Harmony Electric, had to do a bit of minor work on it, replace a couple of grommets on the tuners, and spray some contact cleaner into the pots, still works perfect and I played it onstage a few weeks ago. Not bad for $2 at a yard sale...about $12 strings included to repair it. So I have less than $20 in the guitar and have used it onstage since 1997.

Everything still original except one knob and the tuners, those cost me a buck at another yard sale, knob was free, guy at a music store gave it to me. Grommets for the tuners were $3 from the used parts bin at a vintage guitar store in San Antonio. He was the only place in town that had the original ones.

Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Sep 8, 2016,
#16
I leave my 9 to 5 job and now I am getting paid 97usd hourly. How? I work-over internet! My old work was making me miserable, so I was forced to try-something NEW. After two years, I can say my life is changed-completely for the better! Check it out what i do.....

visit This Site ------>>> http://www.E-cash10.com
#17
Quote by moroditucr

I leave my 9 to 5 job and now I am getting paid 97usd hourly. How? I work-over internet! My old work was making me miserable, so I was forced to try-something NEW. After two years, I can say my life is changed-completely for the better! Check it out what i do.....

visit This Site ------>>> http://www.E-cash10.com


Please go away.