Shop Talk

Mark’s 1933 Gibson L-00

March 16th, 2022

Brace Reglue on a ’37 Gibson J-35

January 13th, 2022

A structural issue we often discover on instruments that have had a bridge reglue in the past is a separation of the X brace and top directly under the bridge wing. This can happen as a result of the heat that’s used to remove a bridge, or can happen from improper clamping when the bridge is […]

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1962 Gibson EM-150

January 6th, 2022

Gibson’s EM-150 is an electric mandolin that was introduced at the outset of Gibson’s Electric instrument production, back in 1936. It was offered alongside the ES-150 guitar, EH-150 Steel, and ERB-150 banjos and was originally fitted with a “Charlie Christian” style pickup. The design of the EM-150 evolved similarly to the ES-150 guitar, and by the late 1940s was built with a P-90 pickup and plywood maple body.

This example is one of 51 built in 1962. The EM-150’s highest production years were 1953 and 1954, when 158 were built in each year. In total, about 1950 EM-150s were built during the model’s post-WWII production run.

Full body and close up of a vintage Gibson Electric Mandolin: 1962 Gibson EM-150 Bridge, pickup, f-holes and tailpiece of a vintage Gibson Electric Mandolin: 1962 Gibson EM-150

This particular instrument has sold.

Lefty Vintage Gibsons? They’re out there!

October 14th, 2021

Pre-WWII left-handed Gibsons are phenomenally rare, but they do exist! Here’s a look at a few that are currently at Folkway.

Anatomy of a Gibson Plastic Adjustable Bridge

October 14th, 2021

Ever wonder what those plastic bridges that Gibson used in the early 60s were all about? Most Gibson flat top acoustics built in 1962 and 1963 had this style of injection-moulded plastic bridge with adjustable ceramic insert, but perhaps you’ve not seen one of them up close and personal…

1940 Gibson J-35

October 14th, 2021

I love it when a plan comes together. This 1940 Gibson J-35 needed the usual repairs to get it up and running perfectly – reset, refret, pickguard reglue, new nut, saddle, pins, etc. It’s unique feature is that the bridge and fingerboard are made of what looks to be Cuban mahogany rather than rosewood, and […]

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Prewar Gibson Lefty Matched Set

September 23rd, 2021

No, it’s not a reversed photo.  It’s a pair of Left-Handed Gibsons that were both built in 1935 and originally sold through Beare & Son in Toronto. Prewar Gibson lefties are exceptionally rare, as you might imagine.  This is the only lefty F-Style Mandolin we’ve ever seen, and the L-00 is one of two we’ve […]

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1930s B&J Serenader Romeo and Juliet

August 19th, 2021

1930s B&J Romeo & Juliet Serenader guitar

Hanging on the walls of our repair shop, you’ll find some of our favourite decorative vintage instruments. We love the decals of this 1930s B&J Serenader Romeo and Juliet! Notice the convenient hole through its peghead for you to hang it by!

This item is not for sale.

Registration now open for the FBJ Vintage Guitar Masterclass with Mark & TJ

July 29th, 2021

Presented by the Old Town School of Folk Music

Join Fretboard Journal‘s Jason Verlinde and acclaimed luthiers TJ Thompson (Pro Luthier Tools) and Mark Stutman (Folkway Music) for this informative class on the care, feeding and collecting of vintage acoustic guitars.

Over the course of this discussion, Mark and TJ will discuss variations between pre-war and collectible Martins and Gibsons, some of the most common issues they find on their repair benches and how to avoid them. We’ll talk about restoration work, neck resets, proper storage and shipping. At the end of the class, we’ll field questions from the audience on the buying, selling and preserving of these unique instruments.

$10
08/12/2021 (1 meeting)
Thursday · 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM (Central)

Details and Registration HERE

A Gibson-made 1930 Recording King Model 807 Nick Lucas Special

May 27th, 2021

Mark tours us through an incredibly rare Gibson-made Recording King 807 from 1930.

Built for Montgomery-Ward, the 807 is essentially a Gibson Nick Lucas Special with different appointments. This model wasn’t produced in significant numbers and very few remain in existence today.

Mark has just finished an interesting restoration to this guitar and describes the steps involved in detail.

Gluing & Cleating Back Cracks

May 20th, 2021

Mark shows the process of gluing a hard-to-reach back crack in a ‘32 Gibson L-00 using a cleat system designed and marketed by TJ Thompson.

Top deflection due to a loose X brace on a 12 fret Gibson

March 25th, 2021

Your guitar’s X brace is a crucial part of the top’s support system. An X that is loose in front of the lap-joint can promote a spectacular top failure, so it’s best to check on it every now and then, particularly on a 12 fret Gibson flat-top from the 1930s like this 1932 L-00.

1940’s Regal X-Brace Conversion

March 11th, 2021

Body of 1940's Regal guitar after X-brace conversion

Here’s the 1940s Regal X brace conversion that I finished up earlier this winter. I’ve finally managed to convince my daughter to let me take it back! The guitar started as a ladder-braced instrument with Regal’s ‘Small Jumbo’ body that measures 15.5″ at the lower bout and has a fairly deep body depth. It’s a […]

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An L-00 isn’t just an L-00…

March 8th, 2021

In this video Mark discusses some of the unique construction details of an early sunburst 14 fret L-00 from 1933.  An L-00 isn’t just an L-00… there’s always more than meets the eye!

Regluing Gibson Braces

February 18th, 2021

Vintage Gibson guitar brace reglue details

A clean brace reglue is all about taking the time to set things up precisely.  Gibson brace ends are notorious for popping loose, and getting them back down again can take some real coaxing.

In the case of this early ’50s J-45, the shrinking pickguard had cupped the top so badly that the upper soundhole brace, X brace, and a finger brace were all loose from the top and tightly sprung. The pickguard was removed, the top ‘ironed’ flat, and the braces are now getting reglued one-by-one.

It’s not uncommon to need to make custom brace-end gluing cauls that are specific to the guitar being worked on.  It’s a lot of extra work, but a well-fit caul is critical to a clean end-result and a repair that will hold in the long run.

Vintage Gibson guitar brace reglue details

Custom brace-end caul