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Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX

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Post by Barry Thu Jun 11, 2020 8:35 pm

I have been mulling over a potential additional repair to this guitar. Thinking 
(For those who are not familiar with the initial work done to date you can read the back history HERE)

Although the bridge repair and my 'bridge doctor' are working well there still remains the problem of the sound board bellying up. I was able to reduce but not eliminate it. And the action remains too high for comfortable playing.

What is required is a neck reset.
That is awkward enough on a top end Ovation, but it taxes creativity on these mid level builds.

To whit:

  • The top end models at least have some mechanical fasteners to work with.
    These do not. The neck is epoxied to the body! Beautifully straight and solid, but friggin' glued. In a non intuitive manner!
  • The neck is made of a solid composite plastic! No wood anywhere!


This means that a non traditional and creative approach needs to be taken. After a LONG search I found only one reference to correcting the neck angle, done by an experienced repairer.

The procedure will make those of faint heart gringe and perhaps faint! Yet it makes sense.
The gist of it relies on weights, heat and time. I'll save the details for later when/if I go ahead with this new adventure.

Once again, if there's interest I'll document the journey. Chores1

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Post by corsair Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:01 pm

yeah, mate - let’s see it!!

This promises to be interesting!!

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Post by Barry Thu Jun 11, 2020 11:50 pm

Still thinking and planning. It's gotta be done.
But it won't be pretty. Hairy & Wooly

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Post by challpa Fri Jun 12, 2020 6:34 am

Yes Im keen to see what pain the Ovation can inflict upon you this time - I mean lets see how you go Barry - good Luck   Very Happy
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Post by Barry Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:32 pm

Guitar "pain" is my middle name.
Serves me right for looking for a challenge, eh?

Trying to get a round back guitar to stay flat in order to work on it is like making love in a canoe, something we Canucks are supposed to be able to do innately.  Confused 2

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Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Empty I've hit (another) Pain Point

Post by Barry Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:53 pm

When I said this would be like making love in a canoe, I did that activity a gross disservice.

I'd rather risk a dunking than try to get this ^&*%$# bowl back to stay put!! Head Bang 

The procedure for resetting the neck angle is rather straight forward.
Apply gentle heat to the plastic bowl area where the neck joins the body while the neck is under some downward pressure.

What should happen is the bowl softens and "bends" under the heat then takes on a new neck set when it cools thus lowering the string action.
It may take more than one attempt as there is a tendency for the neck to rise back up when the weight is removed.
Easy huh? Except the main problem is getting the guitar stable and level so I can perform the operation. Angry 2

So far I've been unsuccessful sitting it in a plastic drawer and strapping it down to the workbench. It slips right out.
The recommended method is to use one of those round wooden wreath molds from an arts and crafts store, wrap the edge in water pipe foam insulation and set the guitar into it, with some support under the neck above the joint.

I'm trying to resist having to go to the store and line up just to get this little item. But I may have no choice.
Unless the learned members can think of something?

Meantime I'm stalled out again. Cry Sad

_________________
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Post by corsair Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:39 pm

Pool noodles are cheap but you will have to find some way of keeping the bowl steady...
... how about a large block of styrofoam from a whiteware retailer?
Thinking on here....

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Post by Westbone Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:27 pm

How far can you tighten the truss rod before it strings out?
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Post by Barry Wed Jun 24, 2020 9:13 pm

Thanks fellas.

corsair wrote:Pool noodles are cheap but you will have to find some way of keeping the bowl steady...
... how about a large block of styrofoam from a whiteware retailer?
Thinking on here....
Hmm...you might be on to something there John.

I can strap the guitar to the work bench OK using the strap clamp which will wrap around front to back. I did that already using the drawer attempt. But the problem is keeping the guitar from slipping and rolling out.

The noodles just might be enough to cradle the body tightly enough? Thinking


Westbone wrote:How far can you tighten the truss rod before it strings out?
I haven't pushed it Damian.
Right now the neck is dead straight.

I'm a bit leary of pushing it, given the "unusual" construction plus the fact that the neck is plastic.
I'll give it a try but it's a big gap to close eh? I'd hate to break something this late in the game.

It's a goofy guitar but even in this condition it's still kinda fun to play.

_________________
"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown
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Post by ExFender Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:00 am

You can try half-filled sandbags as a base, pressing the body into it (creating a cavity).  Strap the thing down and do your heaty-bendy.
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Post by Barry Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:27 am

ExFender wrote:...try half-filled sandbags...
Thanks for the idea Pete.
That would probably work. Assuming I had sand. And bags.
Potentially gritty though, don't like the idea of that around a guitar.

Bean bags might be a better choice methinks. But I don't have those either and don't really want them hanging around afterwards.

I have been playing with sitting the bowl in a small pail and strapping everything down. It feels solid enough and so far it's looking like it may work. But that could change when I try to tie it down though. If it does, the neck is high enough to hang some weight.

If I can stop the damn thing from slipping I'm good to go. The neck has to be level before applying any weight or I risk twisting it.

On it goes. . .

_________________
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Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Empty Preliminary Conditioning

Post by Barry Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:54 pm

Remember when I said this would not be pretty?

Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr26

The bucket is working...so far. But it took a hell of a lot of buggering around with the strap to find the sweet spot and get the guitar to settle.

From there, things got "creative". And a little weird.
I put a 5ilb (2.6 Kg) weight at approximately the bridge to help hold things down a bit more.

Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr27

After levelling the guitar, I rigged a support with what I had available and positioned it as well as possible at the neck. Not easy because of course everything has a slope! The best I could manage was a wedge at an angle. I later adjusted it to offer a more solid connection.

Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr28

The final touch was to suspend an 8lb (3.6Kg) weight from the head stock. I originally had it before the nut but there was surprisingly not a lot of movement so I decided to gamble and move it out further for more leverage. Fingers are well crossed at this point that something bad doesn't happen!
Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr29

Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr30

Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr31

At least it's a beginning. And oh yeah, I did loosen the truss rod completely before starting. (there was very little movement left to tighten, so sorry Damian, that idea didn't pan out unfortunately)

I'm not too worried about the fret board lifting because...there isn't one! The neck is one solid piece. Of plastic!

Up next!
Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr32

_________________
"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown
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Post by corsair Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:21 pm

This is just getting to the good bit!!

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Post by Barry Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:29 pm

This is just getting to the good bit!!
For you perhaps!
I'm just hoping I don't burn the house down when I switch the heat gun on. Rolling Eyes

_________________
"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown
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Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Empty Bringing the Heat!

Post by Barry Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:32 pm

It's been the better part of a week with the neck under load, and I'm getting some results with just that alone.
Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr33

Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr35

A straight edge now just "kisses" below the top edge of the bridge.
Before, it was closer to the soundboard!
Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr34

The current "cold set" is unlikely to remain stable however, so it's time to get medieval on the plastic!
Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr37

I fired up my new heat gun and set it on the lower of the two settings, 1000 watts (about 375°C), which is quite toasty!
Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr36

I kept it moving, sweeping the area behind the neck joint all the way across, and going up the inside of the cutaway. All the time being careful not to hit the binding or the actual joint area.
Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr38

The goal is to soften the bowl area (slightly) so that it will give a bit and allow the neck to relax and pick up a the new lower position.
I'm purposely staying away from the neck joint itself.

I do not want to loosen up any epoxy or other nasty stuff that might be holding things together.
Trying fix that would be a bloody nightmare! affraid

I'm leaving things to set for another day and like shampooing I'll heat and repeat!

_________________
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Post by ExFender Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:10 pm

OOUUUU!  I would have suggested using the "fan" nozzle as the normal concentrates all the heat to a very narrow area.  However, with the fan nozzle attached, you wuoldn't have enough room to move around (the thing extends another 2 to 3 inches).

Like you say, slow and easy (and don't hiccup!).
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Post by Barry Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:21 pm

Concentrated heat is what I was after.
I may try the fan nozzle on the next go 'round.

I was deliberately wanting to get the heat in specific spots rather sweep the general area which might spill over into the neck joint which I do not want.

_________________
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Post by ExFender Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:30 pm

I sort of wonder if the original owner might have left the guitar in a car on a HOT summer day, going by the issues you've encountered.  I've nearly jumped on a number of Celebrity offers over the past 2 years basing my interest on the Ovation name and the price, glad I didn't.  The sellers were likely selling for the very reasons you've encountered.
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Post by Barry Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:56 pm

You know it's a bloody shame what's happened to the Ovation brand.

They still make some very beautiful (and expensive) guitars but somewhere along the way they started introducing "less expensive" versions of some of their more popular models in the guise of the Celebrity line. Fair enough Fender, Gibson, PRS all do it

Then Celebrities became popular and got more fancy (and more expensive), so they introduced an even cheaper line, Applause. Absolute rubbish. So poor they didn't even use the Ovation name on the head stock!

So then they split the Celebrity line into levels of quality with the top end being extremely well made using good materials and the absolute bottom (entry/budget) made with mass produced parts comprised mainly of plastic composites.

Mine is a CC model but there is a corresponding CS (Standard) version with a real wood neck and fret board plus better finish and inlays.

The bridge construction is problematic if it hasn't been attached properly as we've seen with this cheaper guitar, and it will lift up. But the top end models aren't any worse than any other guitar brand. I have a 1983 Collectors Edition since new and a 1990 Elite, both going strong!

So, Pete don't let my little escapade put you off Ovations. I bought this as a project to goof around with but I have 2 top models and they're rock solid and superb players. And even this silly little guitar does play very well.

_________________
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Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Empty Neck Rest Part Deux!

Post by Barry Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:09 pm

After what seems to be forever, using the weights and some heat, I only managed to move the neck a small amount, probably about .010" only:

Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr40

And to get even that I heated it and got a little "medieval" on the neck. When I pushed on it I managed to get a resounding "crack", at which point I stopped for fear of breaking the neck joint completely!

Time for another approach.

I decided to reverse everything and try pushing from the opposite side:
Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr45

Back to the heat gun, on the bowl only, trying again to avoid the neck joint.
The neck is raised for leverage and the plastic bowl was quite hot.
Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr42

Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr41

So far, hard to see, but this time it's with the strings on and up to pitch. Fingers crossed!
If it doesn't move I'll simply try again, and hope the plastic doesn't melt!!

Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Celebr43

_________________
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Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Empty Holy Cr@p!

Post by Barry Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:36 pm

Geez Loueeze!

If I ever decide to become a Super Hero and in need of a shield (à la Captain America) I'm gonna make it out of an Ovation guitar back!!!
I swear, this bloody thing is indestructible! Hunting Chores 2

The method again is, heat up the plastic to soften it enough to allow the neck to move backwards thus "resetting" the angle and lowering the action.

Simple.
In theory.

I have lost track of the number of times I have heat treated the area behind the neck joint, and even the joint area itself and put it under weight to move it. In total I've managed to reduce the string height at the 12th fret only about .010" from the original approx .040".

In desperation I have changed the approach of hanging a weight from the neck  Out on a limb
to flipping the guitar over and pressing the neck joint down.

Nothing.  Pacing & Thinking

Heat.
Rinse.
Repeat.
Still nothing.
That damn plastic neck still springs back to its original position despite the truss rod being max'd out.

In even more desperation I upped the heat setting to the maximum, 1500 watts (about 535°C !)  affraid
The bowl was too hot to touch and gave off a sweet smell (neck joint epoxy?) I was that close to melting the damn thing.

Still nothing.  Angry
Insert big friggin' *sigh* here.

The bowl looks the same as I started. The heat has done diddly squat to deform it.




Before I give up completely there is one more thing that I might try.

I suspect that the fret board extension (tray) might be the culprit that's preventing the neck from moving (That's the piece which extends over the soundboard).

From what very little I've been able to find and from my own experience with this guitar, they used epoxy (of course) to nail it down directly on the finish (of course). And they've likely only glued around the perimeter.

IF I decide to proceed I will need to free the tray and attempt another heat treatment.
So, another potential night mare like the bridge removal.  Cry Sad

Theoretically it should work. Then comes the problem of re-gluing it back down.

It could be more trouble than it's worth. Sad

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Post by corsair Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:34 pm

Could be, I agree... but look at all the fun you're having, mate!

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Post by Barry Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:47 pm

Whee-e-e!! Pirouette Head Bang

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Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Empty Nellie & Ruby -together again for the first time

Post by Barry Tue Jul 21, 2020 2:47 pm

Since my last post I went one more round with the weights. This time flat down, no elevation, an left it for several days.

It seems to have made a small impact and brought the action down a touch more, so that's good. Still not optimum, but better.

Folks, I have decided that this is the end of the project.

Detaching the fret board extension from the sound board is just too much work and the possibility of doing serious damage is too great given the unknown nature of the neck joint construction of this thing.

To celebrate, I gave "Ruby" a good cleaning and polishing and finally got rid of the old strings.
To keep the tension low, I put on a set of Ernie Ball Earthwood 80/20 Bronze Extra Light (10's) and then tuned it down 2 steps to D. (Sounds almost like a baritone!) That works OK but with a capo at 2 it sounds better at standard pitch.

For those who may be interested, and so you can appreciate the difference between a top end Ovation and this one I did a side by side comparison shoot. It was an unusually bright, hot, and humid day, and difficult to find a decent place to photograph.

The front porch won, but the high shine on the finish made it hard not to get a lot of reflection.
Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Nellie11

The black gray burst is my 1983 Collectors Series which I nicknamed "Nellie" after a dear departed Aunt.
Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Nellie12

Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Nellie13


Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Nellie10


The bridge was very bleached out looking and dry from all the work so I stained the wood using a brown permanent marker pen (!) then oiled and buffed it. Came out rather nice methinks and has a nice grain too.

Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Nellie14


The dark area to the left of the bass E string on Nellie is a sweat stain from years of resting the side of my palm there. I thought about cleaning it off but nah, it's good honest wear and reminds me of the good 'ole days.

Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Nellie15

From the back the body shells are quite close in size but Ruby is a tad smaller. And you can see the obvious difference in the quality of the material used too. Nellie's is a hi tech graphite compound same as used in helicopter rotor blades. Ruby's is solid plastic.

But the serious difference is in the neck.
Nellie's is solid maple. Ruby's is solid plastic that's coloured to look like wood!

Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Nellie16

From the side you can plainly see the difference between Nellie's "Shallow Bowl" spec and Ruby's "Super Shallow" bowl. That's what caused so much difficulty working inside her.

And oh yes, one more fun difference.
Nellie's fret board is Ebony with MOP inlays.
Ruby's? Plastic! Yup, no wood at all. The frets I suspect are (what else?) epoxied into the plastic.

Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Nellie17



My son dropped by for a short visit on the weekend (haven't seen him since New Years'!). He has previously expressed an interest in getting an acoustic guitar, and since his birthday was July 1 I offered Ruby to him as a belated present.

Despite it all, he seemed to like her a lot
Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Robert10

I'll be hanging on to Ruby for awhile though, until he gets new living arrangements sorted with his girlfriend.
They're planning to move in together and get a house sometime in the Fall.
Currently his apartment is already jammed with music stuff and a ton of exercise and fitness equipment. (he's a personal and team trainer).

'Til then Ruby stays in the herd!

_________________
"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown
Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Guitar10
GUITARS : https://legend.barryeames.com/guitars.html
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Barry
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Post by corsair Tue Jul 21, 2020 4:52 pm

Good-o!! Mate, it may not have turned out EXACTLY as you wanted, but it's a happy ending, all the same!

Pulling the plug before doing irrepairable damage was undoubtedly the right decision, and I'm sure we've all enjoyed the journey with you, though, personally, I'm quite glad you were doing the work, and not me: acoustics are far too much work for me!!

Moving on... what's next, old boy?!? You know... all of those Spectrums you have, have all got the same pickups in 'em.... how about a nice easy pickup change?!?

Laughing

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Because even the Australians need heroes"
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Post by Barry Tue Jul 21, 2020 5:13 pm

Ta matey.
Acoustic work can be in a whole 'nuther world for sure, um, assuming you're working on a traditional construction.

But THIS thing! I had no idea I was going to visit the Planet of Plastic! It did challenge the creativity at times eh?

As for Spectrum pups, they're pretty much all humbuckers for sure. Not 45's though except for a couple. I've already done the swaps, so not thinking about another change.

Although some P90's would be funky...hmm. Thinking

_________________
"A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown
Ovation Celebrity CC28 for Repair REDUX Guitar10
GUITARS : https://legend.barryeames.com/guitars.html
MUSIC/PIX/VIDEOS: https://getback.barryeames.com (including Spectrum ST)
Barry
Barry
Hero, Legend, and all round good guy

Number of posts : 8148
Age : 75
Location : Port Weller, St. Catharines, Canada
Registration date : 2009-05-01

https://legend.barryeames.com

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Post by corsair Tue Jul 21, 2020 10:31 pm

... and I recommend the Tonerider humbucker converters; I put a set in a Vantage Invader; great wee mod!!
I seem to remember that you're a fan of Danos, too... a set of lipsticks in an ST??
However, perhaps just sit and play for a spell, eh??

_________________
".... and on the eighth day, God created New Zealanders.

Because even the Australians need heroes"
corsair
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Number of posts : 6259
Age : 61
Location : Mount Hunter, NSW, Australia
Registration date : 2008-04-08

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