Egmond Caledonie acoustic project

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SparksSparks Frets: 30
edited July 10 in Making & Modding
Just bought this - for a much lower offer price - as a project. I know nothing about them. Something's up with the neck joint I think, but otherwise looks like it needs a refret, a replacement tuner button and a bloody good clean. Hasn't arrived yet but I wouldn't be surprised to find loose braces and all sorts of other stuff. Anyone know anything about them?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/305552363694
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Comments

  • WezVWezV Frets: 17144
    I am willing to bet there is a screw hiding under that circle on the heel,   suggesting someone did a quick and dirty neck reset by driving a screw through the heel.  see if you get any magnetic pull from it

    It's also a bit odd to have the fretboard attached directly to the body on this style and heritage., but it does mean it is a bit easier to do a neck reset as you can get straight to the dovetail with the fretboard off... and taking the fretboard off would also give chance to add a reinforcing bar to the neck.
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  • BillDLBillDL Frets: 8072
    edited July 8
    Have you been searching for "CaledoniA" rather than "CaledoniE" while trying to research the guitar?


    It doesn't help that Dougie MacLean played and sung the song "Calenonia" and Google will keep thinking you misspelled the word, but you can add key words with a leading minus sign after your search words to exclude them and enclose words to be searched for verbatim in quotes to narrow down the search.

    Copy and paste the following line EXACTLY into a new Google search and set it to search for All results:

    "caledonie" acoustic guitar -dougie -maclean -chords -song

    It appears to be a brand named Egmond.
    Caledonie.jpg 116.2K
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  • SparksSparks Frets: 30
    edited July 10
    Thanks for the info so far. You're both right on the screw and the name, I suspect. It just arrived. Action is very high, unplayably so, with only 4 strings on, and detuned. Frets are rusty and have the worst sprout I've ever seen, tuners are rusty, it's missing a button, it's very dirty. Other than that it's great!


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  • BillDLBillDL Frets: 8072
    How is the neck for straightness now that you have the strings off?  There's no truss rod, so if the neck is in a forward or back bow you will either have to remove frets and plane the board, try and correct it with a compensatory fret "level", or (if in a bad forward bow) refret it using frets with a wider tang to forcibly straighten the neck.
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  • SparksSparks Frets: 30
    I just took it apart and gave it a clean. Was filthy. Probably needs another couple of goes. There were used matches as shims under the not-a-nut (it has a zero fret) for some reason. All the tuners seem intact and hopefully will be smooth enough with a scrub and some oil. The fret ends are SHARP and there's a nick in one fret top that's uncomfortable to touch. The neck seems straight, with a tiny amount of relief with the strings off. 

    Not sure what to do about the action. I've never taken a neck off but am up for trying. But the bridge also seems like a few mm could be taken off the bottom of the top part. 
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  • BillDLBillDL Frets: 8072
    A lot of acoustic guitars from roughly the same era have Zero-Frets.  All that's then needed is a nut with slots to keep the strings horizontally aligned.  As long as the slots are lower than the zero fret, that fret acts as the nut.  With proper geometry of the neck angle and bridge height there should then be enough string clearance over each of the successive frets up the fretboard for it to play properly.  If somebody has shimmed the nut so that the strings clear the zero fret it was done through a lack of understanding how a zero fret works, and the intonation would have been way out.

    Ity looks as though the thumb wheels are down as far as they can go such that the top wooden section with the saddle is decked on the base part.



    The most logical thing you can really do to start reducing the height is to start sanding the bottom of the base section down.  The best way to keep it conforming with the arched top is to stick some fairly rough grit sandpaper to the soundboard with double sided tape and rub the base of the bridge back and forward on it in line with the neck.  The threaded posts for the thumbwheels are normally just twisted into the wood of the base to form their own threads.  Sometimes the holes go right through the base and if you were sanding you would have to twist them back out a bit so you weren't sanding metal along with the wood.

    The thumbwheels will sit in a rebate that's either in the base section, the upper saddle section, or perhaps both sections have a rebate.  If you were to try and reduce the height of the top section (by sanding its underside) or the base section by sanding the flat top, you would need to re-establish those rebates so that the thumbwheels aren't keeping them separate.  You may also need to cut the threaded posts down a bit and/or drill the holes in the upper section deeper while making sure you didn't drill right up through the carved saddle area.  Ideally you would want a bridge low enough to achieve low action, but with the means to still raise it a bit to compensate for uneven frets.

    I would suggest that it would be a whole lot easier to buy a matching wooden archtop bridge either carved out for intonation in tradiational style or with an inset plastic or bone saddle.  You can get them from eBay for about £6 to £12 and that way you can sand away without messing with the original.

    Bear in mind that by reducing the bridge height you will be reducing the string breakover angle, and a guitar like that depends on as much angle as is possible from that style of tailpiece.

    Do you have a long straight edge?  If so, place it on the frets along as many of the frets on the neck as you can and slide it towards the bridge. Where does the bottom corner of the straight edge line up on the bridge?  That will give you a better idea of whether reducing the bridge height will provide enough correction to achieve an acceptable action, or whether the neck would need to be reset at more of an angle away from the front of the guitar.  You need to bear in mind that under string tension the bridge can press down on the soundboard enough to flatten it slightly and lower the bridge.  There may be supporting bridge posts inside the guitar to prevent this, but I doubt it.

    Are you able to get a torch light in and get your eye into a position to see the neck block inside the guitar?  If so, can you see a screw thread poking through or a nut and bolt?


    The neck has or has been shifted up and the finish has been broken around the joint.  It has either partially pulled out and been secured with a screw or bolt that's now "concealed" with filler, or somebody has actually had the neck off and has done a rudimentary job of securing it.  You might get a better idea of whether the neck has been all the way off by inspecting where the fingerboard extension sits on the soundboard.  If it looks as though the finish all around its edges has been broken and the fingerboard re-glued to the soundboard, then the neck has been completely off.  You may be able to find some photos online of somebody doing a neck reset so that you have an idea whether the joint is a dovetail or plain mortise and whether there is a void between the rear of the dovetail or tenon and the neck block into which steam could be injected to soften glue.  If you managed to dig out the screw or bolt and unscrew it, you will still have no idea what kind of glue somebody that's done a hack job like that may have used to glue it.  Some people actually cut through the fingerboard in line with the neck joint so that they can leave the fingerboard extension glued to the top and the neck pulled off.  That's usually a hack, but is sometimes necessary on some guitars.  The "correct" way is to use heat and a metal blade to release the glue under the fingerboard extension so that it will come off with the neck and can be reglued when the neck is glued back in

    All these unknowns make it impossible to forecast how hard a job it would be for you to attempt a neck reset, which is one of the jobs best left to a luthier.  Before you decide you can get some really good information by watching Ted Woodford's videos on neck resets.
    bridge.jpg 98.1K
    neck.jpg 161.5K
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  • BillDLBillDL Frets: 8072
    edited July 11
    OK, I did a little bit of searching to see what I could find out about how Egmond acoustic guitar necks are fixed to the guitars.

    I would suggest that you pick out whatever filler has been used on the neck heel and see what's under there, because it looks as though they have a bolt-on neck with a simple tenon that also possibly acts as an adjustment to vary the neck angle.

    If you ignore this plonker blowing his own horn at the start and showing his ignorance of The Netherlands, the video shows a bolt in the heel of a flat top nylon string guitar for adjusting the angle or height.  Jump straight to 6:12 in the video and watch only until about 7:30 because he will probably annoy you too.


    Jump to 22:05 now and you will see the neck adjustment through the soundhole.



    The fingerboard extension looks as though it is fixed to the soundboard, but it's possible that is just lying flat on there.

    If you now go to another video by a guy with a voice and presentation style that's rather irritating, you will see the neck assembly on an Egmond acoustic archtop with F-Holes.  Skip straight to 11:15 or you will tear your hair out at his little gigglings and mutterings.  To be honest I don't really think he has much of a clue what he's doing, but the video itself might be useful in what it shows.  You will there see that there is a screw down through the fretboard between the 16th and 17th frets.  I suspect this has been done later as a bodge to prevent lateral movement, but of more importance (if you skip to 14:10 quickly) is the bolt holding the neck on and the spring inside the hole.  Ignore the rest.  He's a cackhanded fool.

    The difference between that guitar and yours is that the fingerboard extension on his guitar looks as though it's the chunky thick type that actually is designed to sit just above the soundboard and is curved upwards at the end like a lot of "jazz" guitars.  If you look at the fingerboard extension on your guitar it's a lot more chunky and thick than normal acoustic guitar ones, which makes me wonder whether it does just sit loose and isn't glued down.


    Watch the neck being fitted to an acoustic guitar in the Egmund factory in 1966 in The Netherlands.  I think your guitar precedes that in date, so construction methods may have been different.



    It's interesting to note that the neck is bolted on before it is sent for finishing, so the neck joint would end up being sealed continuously to the body by the lacquer.  The video has been posted by a Swedish Egmund enthusiast who links to his website from his YouTube profile (http://www.egmond.se/egmond_se_History.html).  There is some interesting stuff on that page, and on one of his other pages he links to a another site that is in Dutch and you will need to run it through a translation app:  https://www.siertvandenberg.com/de-egmond-gitaar

    Hopefully this helps a bit.
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  • SparksSparks Frets: 30
    Interesting stuff! I'm at work at the moment and haven't had a chance to read all of that as carefully as I want to yet, but just wanted to say a big thanks now.

    I did get a torch inside and managed to take a picture of the inside of the neck joint last night and that small metal plate with two screws, and the tip of a threaded rod or bolt, is exactly what I saw. So I suspected that it was bolted on. I'll definitely pick away at it and see if I can remove the neck easily.
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