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  In the Workshop.
  #111  Rodebald Hoyer.  Jazzstar.   1961.
  1.  On Arrival I photograph every detail.      It comes in useful later!
  I bought this guitar as a Winter project   - something to occupy and interest me through the long Covid Winter of 2021.    I knew it was missing a couple of tuner buttons,  that it carried a few dings and dongs and that it had not been played for a very long while.  
  .....   but it has a good, straight grain, hand carved Spruce top.   That is a bonus.    Rodebald is known for the quality of his woods.
  I expected to have to do a lot of work on this lovely old guitar but was surprised to find that it was generally in good condition.
  The headstock design, however, is not usual for a Jazzstar.     It is more like a "Tango" but is distinguished from other models in that it has four red stripes.    I have not seen another like this.   Just a small repair needed to the fascia.
  The back is generally good but there is a small area where the laminates are de-laminating.    I sense that it is due to extreme dryness  -  the whole guitar feels very dry.    I have started re-humidifying it, raising it to around 40 - 45%
  The neck is straight  .......
  ....... but with a fair number of dings and knocks.   One thing I am extra fussy about is that I like my guitar necks to feel like glass.    The "feel" of an instrument in my hands is very important to me.
  The neck is attached using a Stauffer fitting.   Commonly used on the top models by Czech and German luthiers in the 50's/60's,  it has the advantage of allowing the neck set to be adjusted to suit the players preference.  
  Again, there is slight evidence that the neck is dry  -  there is just a little shrinkage in the joint.    This is not significant.


The neck and body joints are both numbered so it is clear that this neck (with the unusual headstock design)  was intended for this guitar.

  The only fret wear occurs on the Zero,  1st and 2nd frets.    Frets from 3rd onwards are quite unworn.   Should be very easy to get right.
  A button missing on each side and the D string spigot rather bent.  
  The Bridge is original and is Ebony (not plastic) but with those terrible plastic saddles.   It has been sanded down so much that it is now wafer thin and needs to be replaced.  
  The neck is very good  -  just a slight relief  when resting but, under string tension,  there is too much relief for a low "jazz" action.   It will need to be straightened.  
  3.  Synopsis.  

As I said at the top,  I bought this guitar as a Winter project   -  something to occupy and interest me through the long Covid Winter of 2021 but it is a lovely old guitar and in fine shape.  

Rodebald Hoyer is known for the high quality of his solid Spruce.   This guitar has a superb straight grain top and I expect it will sound rich and full!

It has a smattering of dings and bruises on the top and a few on the neck but it has the potential to become a fine, stylish and attractive jazz archtop in the tradition of the great German acoustic archtop makers.

The tuners used in this era were smaller than the standardised dimensions that followed.   It is pretty much impossible to find "correct" replacements for this size and so I have decided to refurbish the original rather than to adapt the guitar to take the more modern replacements.   So until I can find vintage tuner buttons to match the existing ones I am not able to hear it, or play it, or work on the set-up.   My #1 priority is to find or make those buttons.

I have faith in this guitar.   It just need lots of tlc,  some repair and maintenance and a full refurbishment.   I can't wait to play it. 


  4.  Cleaning, dealing with the issues and rejuvenating the finish.  
  The Neck.  
  There was a remnant of pickguard material left over from an earlier restoration and I was able to separate the top thin Red layer for a perfect repair on this headstock.  

Tuners on early Rodebalds are spaced more closely than most guitars and finding replacements is pretty near impossible.   I knew that the only way forward was to repair the original set.     Firstly the shaft was straightened using a little tool I made:

  The shaft sits perfectly inside the tool and very gentle pressure is applied, little by little , and not all in one go,  until the bent shaft is straightened.
  Now ready to clean, adjust and lubricate.
  Then a long slog hunting for the correct tuner buttons.

How nice to have friends.   Marco had a set of unused 1960's tuners that had been stored in a shed in Bubenreuth for 60 years but were the more common, widely spaced, version.    So, six "new" buttons swapped across to the old tuners very easily.

  The neck is quite amazing.   It is like new all over with virtually no wear anywhere except on the Zero, 1st and 2nd frets.    Looks as though it had just played one chord all its life!  
  The fingerboard was very, very dry.
  Here is the difference just one application of Lemon Oil made.   It will have three coats over the space of a week
  Fret-dressed, crowned and oiled.   Ready to  be mated with the body.
  The Body.  
  The de-lamination on the back was easily repaired  -  and all of the cellulose just lightly cut back to remove surface imperfections and reveal the original cellulose.     All dings and dongs have been left untreated  -  its a 60 year old guitar after all  -  but the overall finish looks good for its age.   

Back in early February 2021 the snow was thick on the ground and my workshop was freezing.    It was good that I could finish off working on the body in the comfort of my Study.

Finally it was polished with three coats of Carnauba Wax, hand rubbed.

  Good looking finish for a Jazzstar!    
  Back to "in the Workshop"