THE CD60 BUILD
PUBLISHED BY: Dell Sweet
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Copyright Geo Dell & independAntwriters All rights reserved, domestic and foreign
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As with any project there is a great deal of time involved with learning to do things perfectly, but I have found over the years that slowing down, doing things step by step, you can come very close to perfect results every time.
With this build there was more pre-planning that went into the build than on the fly building. It worked that way because this is a straight forward customization with off the shelf solutions rather than hand built solutions, although there are a few and they are illustrated.
The majority of the work was thought out, written down, and then as always I picked the parts up over a period of time. This is always a better approach than just buying whatever is available at the time. I hope you enjoy the following information.
Fender CD60CE Studio Guitar
This is a project I had been looking at doing for quite some time. I often order acoustic rebuilds in packs from my supplier and they come in and go out too quickly to really formulate an idea and execute it, but when I began to make plans to close the guitar site and concentrate on other areas of interest, I realized that I might have an opportunity to do one of these husks myself. I had also made the decision to shut down the guitar site, and so rather than wait it out selling things off, I decided to keep the balance of inventory and use it for my own projects.
That set me on a course that allowed me the time to build one of these husks and at the same time photograph the process for a new guide.
I had Fender, Ovation and Gibson husks in stock, as well as a few other brands, both acoustic and electric, and a varied stock of parts for them, both used, new and salvaged from new and used guitars over the years.
I liked the feel of the Fender CD-60. It is a wide bodied guitar, full size, and already had a beautiful mid-range voice. I knew from experience that I could stretch that mid-range down into the bass responses of the sound board with the addition of a bone saddle and nut. Heavier with finger picked styles, but bright when picked.
I also had already done an ovation acoustic project that I used as a primary studio guitar, so I knew somewhat what I could expect from a pinless bridge setup. I have sold piezo disc and under saddle pickups, and small EQ systems designed for single channel or cigar box builders for some time. I liked the ease of use with the EQ, the simplistic wiring, and the honest sound output. I had also built a baritone acoustic project and equipped it with an in-body Chromatic tuner to help keep the guitar properly tuned. I liked the ease of the tuner, and its ability to work independently from the wired system in the guitar.
While originally designed for a hard body Telecaster installation I had previously used it on an acoustic body and the built in Piezo disc worked well with the feedback from the acoustic body, and it did a magnificent job of tuning.
This tuner is a good Piezo based chromatic, in-body mounted unit. A small mounting hole, drop it in, and the Piezo disc does the rest. Reliable, long battery life and accurate. I have used several of these both in my own builds and builds for others. I like them and their ease of use. They use a standard, easily replaced, watch battery. Depress the clip, pull the unit out, replace the battery, replace the unit and you are done. Just remember to turn the unit off when not in use.
The small EQ is used for simple Piezo element controls in custom applications, such as Cigar Box builds.
It comes complete with a Ceramic under saddle Piezo pickup, plug in, ¼ inch outlet, harness and tie back. A great deal for under ten bucks each.
They can handle either a Piezo or a passive pickup equally well.
The required hole is small, and it is curved to accommodate acoustic guitars, ukulele, mandolin, and other small bodies. The included Piezo under saddle is sized for a six string acoustic bodied guitar. The units can also be purchased alone.
The jack plugs are standard units you can pick up nearly anywhere on-line relativity cheap. They can be wired stereo or mono for ¼ inch output.
In my shop I make a habit of replacing old jacks during rebuilding, building an instrument. I order them in lots of 50 to 100 and end up paying very little for them. It could be worth your while to do the same.
You can buy Bone Saddle and Nut sets pre-shaped for you, or start, as I did, with a basic set and shape them yourself to fit your needs.
A few things to remember when buying: All slots in acoustic guitars are not cut to the same length, sometimes not even the same width. Measure and then look for exactly what you need or can make fit.
Above: Bridge Blanks.
A replacement bridge is an easy item to obtain, whether a traditional pinned bridge, or an Ovation style pinless bridge as I use in this build.
This one, and the image of the pinless bridge that follows, are both rosewood, but you can also find bridges made from sustainable woods and or materials as well. And, of course, you can always buy blanks in many types of wood and then design and build your own bridge.
This CD60 shell came to me with a broken neck, no electronics, a detached and cracked bridge. It had also been stored in direct sunlight for a while and as a result of that exposure it darkened the finish.
I will be able to show several repair techniques on this guitar. I will also do some custom work as this guitar will be staying with me as a studio guitar.
I will illustrate the broken neck repair. The break at the headstock includes finish and wood loss at the break site.
I will install a Piezo under saddle pickup and a single coil pickup suspended at the bridge. I will install dual two channel EQ units to separate the lines out for electric and acoustic. I will design and install a plate with dual ¼ inch jack outputs.
I will install an in-body tuner that is a standalone unit.
I like the idea of this tuner because I don’t have to have it on all the time, and it will allow me to have non powered EQ units.
There are paint and finish issues on this guitar. Since it is sun faded it will not be as simple as repairing the bridge and neck areas and re-clearing the guitar. Rather than use a messy stripper of some kind to take the finish off, and then trying to match the faded areas with some sort of stain, I will instead sand the body out, prep the bare wood and do a custom paint job that has been kicking around in my head. I will only be sanding for flatness, not to bare wood. Any area that doesn’t need to be sanded will be hit with the scuff pad instead, and I will seal or prime the bare wood.
Instead of replacing the cracked Fender bridge I will install a top mounting bridge left over from the AdjustOvation project. I’m using that because when I record I want to be able to do fast string changes if I break a string. The Ovation style bridge is perfect for that. I will also install a bone nut and saddle. I will carve the nut and saddle and show that as well as the setup for the guitar during and after, including a fret leveling job. And that will be in the next installment, a week from today…
Guitar Works guides: https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/17651