Valuable quotes

"No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow." ~~

"The minute you start talking about what you're going to do if you lose, you've already lost." ~~

Cree Prophecy - "When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money." ~~

Thursday, October 09, 2008

This old guitar of mine...

This week or the next I will finally be reunited with my guitar. My best friend for so many years, my beautiful Framus 12 string guitar. Listed as the Texan by the company, so many people referred to it as the Hummingbird that Framus finally changed the listing in their catalog to the Hummingbird. While the bird on the Framus pick guard isn't really a hummingbird, but really some sort of songbird, the shape of the guard and the flowers on it are very much like that of the Gibson Hummingbird.

I've had this guitar with me what seems like forever, but in reality 35 years. It is one of my things that I always took good care of, making sure it was always cleaned and polished, even if I wasn't using it and keeping the wood hydrated. No dust ever dare try to lay on it for long.

It was the third guitar that I'd owned, my first being a student guitar, a black flattop Harmony - 'the peoples guitar' they touted it at the time. I often wondered "as opposed to what?" That guitar came with a 25 year warranty and was sold through Sears with their Silvertone name on it. It was a surprisingly nice sounding guitar for it's price tag, maybe a bit scratchy, but otherwise okay for $90.00.

As a kid I thought I had the best guitar that money could buy.
I don't know if mine would have made it the 25 years or not but it didn't matter because I sold it to buy a Gibson LG1.

The LG1 and I did not get along at all. It was a sort of clunky sounding little 3/4 guitar that had neck rod problems we were never able to get fixed. One song and I was having to tune - that did get rather old very fast.

So a dear friend of mine, who happened to own a music store, called me in and presented me with my Framus. He thought it was the best guitar I could have for the type of thing I did on guitar and he was right on the money. I bonded with my baby immediately and I've never looked back.

So fast forward to today and getting my guitar fixed after our last move back to the east from Vegas. The guitar was so mishandled by the moving company, having been left in 100 degree heat unprotected for nearly nine months, it split down the center of the face.
*all photos may be enlarged by clicking on them ~

I was beside myself when it arrived wrapped in only a sheet of newspaper, nothing else, even tho' the company, Puliz Moving and Storage, [remember that name] assured us the guitar would be specially grated and kept in air conditioned storage, it was more than evident that never happened. As an aside, Puliz damaged more of our belongings in this one move than any of our other seven moves combined. If you need to move anywhere, you need to avoid this company like the plague.
And so began a long saga of fighting with their insurance company to have the guitar fixed.

Since they were refusing, I sought out a man here on my own in Pennsylvania...Bangor PA to be exact. Mr Fred Castner. The guitar has not left my side in 35 years! I didn't want it replaced - I wanted my guitar in the condition they received it in. I want you to remember this name too, Castner Guitar Repair, because not only is this man an expert at his craft, but working with him has been a delight from beginning to end.
In today's world, with all the businesses that won't give an inch, or live up to their promises, how refreshing it is to find a person like Fred who will go the extra mile and then some, to get it right! He has kept me abreast of every step of the way in the restoring process. I have received daily reports and he's asked for my input at times if in doubt about what I expect.

How could you ask for anything better in business?
~the seemingly innocent looking crack~
The progress pictures arrived compliments of Fred's wife Regina and I am thrilled at what I am seeing so far! I can't post all the pictures, but I will give you a sampling and trust me, the remaining photos show a beautiful guitar emerging again thanks to talented hands.

~prepping for the lacquer

~the crack is mended and sealed.

~another look before polishing it up

And so now I'm counting the hours til I have it back again. Any guesses as to what song I will attempt to play on it first? Isn't it obvious?

I'm intending to add to this as the time nears to bring it home too, so please drop by again. Sorta like awaiting a new baby, isn't it?

Saturday, October 18, 2008 - homecoming day -

There was the sign just ahead at the roadside. The sign reads Castner Guitar Repair. Should also read “Miracle worker slash all round great guy!” I am still in awe of what he has worked with my guitar.

My heart started hammering as we pulled into the drive and it hit me that this was the day I was picking up my guitar to bring it home again.

We met Fred at the door and he took us into the shop and presented the guitar to me – and no, for those of you that know me, I didn’t cry. But it was an uphill battle not to.

~ No, it's not your eyes, it's hubby's eyes. The pix are blurry. He says he doesn't need to wear his glasses.

The guitar is so beautiful, as you can see.

Once I got it home, he & I went over a few tunes together - songs that I thought may be easy for me to pick up again.
Now I have blisters on my fingers! Trust me when I say it’s been a long, long time since that’s happened, but I welcome it so much. And it didn't take too long either!

I was so relieved to find out I may have been worrying needlessly about my fingers not working. It will be like learning over again, I'm sure, but at least I can learn over…and with one advantage. This time I have the chords all in my head, I just have to send them all that back to my fingers.

I’m pretty confident that once I rebuild my calluses, I’m gonna be okay.
Something I didn’t think about though, was the rest of my hand - my wrist will need some work because that is one wide neck, I tell ya! I had forgotten. I'm not a guitar weenie so I'm not sure of the measurements, but I believe the average 'at the nut' measurement for a guitar neck is 1 3/4" to 1 11/16" wide. Mine is 1 14/16ths"! That's quite a span for a female type hand, but ya do what ya gotta do! Life's little challenges, y'know?

And I will do it again, in fact already doing it, just awkwardly, but I’m not going for best looking guitar player so it doesn’t really matter!
Wish me luck everybody. I will try to give a 6 month report on my progress.

And if you ever have a guitar that needs repair or refinishing, or know someone that does, keep Fred in mind, because as you can see you will not be disappointed.


Eric said...

Looks like Fred is doing a spectacular job! We hope to get his guitar repair services listed on our site If he joins, please write a good review for him!

I bet you can't wait to get it back now!


Carl said...

I'll be! I haven't seen one of these around for a long time, but what a guitar! Good luck with it. I bought mine in Canada in 1971 and paid $175.00 for it. Pretty high priced for me at that time and I wondered if I should have gone with a name I knew more. I needn't have worried. I loved this guitar! If I had to rate it, I'd give it 5 stars, or 10 all the way across the board. :)
Features : 10
Love the bolted on laminate neck. And the Sunburst finish had a true sun burst look to it. I liked the pick guard, too - a tobacco sunburst w/ tortoise shell hummingbird and the screwed on teak bridge was a nice choice. Also the adjustable saddle.
Sound : 10
Booming, bright and crystal clean

Action, fit & finish : 10
Action is lowest I've ever seen in a 12 string. I owned a 1947 Gibson 12 string Jumbo and it was very difficult to play. Highly overrated guitar that year.

The Texans bridge is absolutely beautiful. You have to see one to know how nice these acoustics look and how good they feel in your hands. Once you are that close, you ought to play it too. A timeless design, very well crafted and finished with varnish as thick as an antique desk. For my money, there isn't a better made vintage 12-string acoustic out there.
One of the sturdiest guitars you could ever find too. Like most instruments of her age, my Framus has been through quite a bit down the decades. From some of the marks in the finish, she obviously sustained things that would have ruined other instruments, but she wears it well. Framus always claimed their instruments would outlast their owners. I believe that.

Overall Rating: 10

This is a great instrument! Over the years, I've owned a '56 Musicmaster, a Rickenbacker 620, a Martin D-28, an Epi 12 and several others and she is still my favourite so far. It doesn't maybe have the volume or ring of a vintage Martin, but I love this guitar, the way it looks and the way it plays are just incredible.....If possible, would buy another one in a minute. It's very close to the Martin -- I do miss that ol' plank.

Ginger said...

Eric - count on it! I have the guitar at home as of yesterday & will be posting more pix in the days to come. The man is a true master at what he does & I really got so lucky finding him. He takes that extra time to 'get it right' & then some. I will definitely tell him about your comment here, thanks.

jose said...

woah thats some pretty guitar! I never heard of it before now. That guy does good work so you were lucky to get him.

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