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'73 1117-4 Strange Bracing

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arumako
Posted 2016-09-30 10:32 PM (#529058)
Subject: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 845

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Hi OFC! The busy busy summer has swung into an even busier Autumn and all my projects are on hold! Still, feeling fortunate and blessed to learn from sandshark's interesting '75 Pacemaker project. Dan's double 1717 & 1111 Projects remind me of the '85 MotoGP Season when Freddie Spencer won both the 250cc & 500cc Motorcycle Road Racing World Championship! Exciting stuff!

Anyway, my son has gone off to college and he chose to take his 1861-5 with him in case he needs to plug-in. So I have access to my 1117-4 again. Ever since you all helped me with the bridge repair, my son has been happily plucking away at the beautiful and huge sounding O. It's been awhile, so I tuned her up, and was surprised to hear a very slight buzz. I checked everything out, but no loose rosettes, bridge saddle shims, binding, purfling, nothing. Couldn't find anything significant until I felt under the soundboard, and just next to the rosette on the bass side this is what I found...

brace?

What in the world is that? The bracing pattern is the standard 1117-4 VT-11 bracing pattern, but the paint makes it seem like this was done at the factory. I wonder if this was a factory refurb of some kind? Maybe the density of the sound board in this area was especially light. In either case, this beautiful O was a gift (had to force my son's friend who gave it to us to accept $75 bucks for it!); so I'm not complaining, but the block (dare I say "brace") is loose, and I'm pretty sure this is the reason for the very slight but noticeable buzz.

If this is the factory condition, I would bet the folks at the Mother Ship determined these additional "braces" were necessary to maintain structural integrity or provide acoustic balance. The process that follows would be to simply re-glue the "braces" and secure them to eliminate the buzz.

However, if these "braces" were installed later, they would have to be robbing the guitar of some amount of bass response. In this case, I'd rather remove the blocks. I guess I could remove them anyway and insert a thinner veneer sheet to provide structural/acoustic integrity if that is a necessity. After all there are many incredible 1117-4s out there without these extra blocks.

I'm kind of at a loss on this one...truth is I can't tell for sure if this is factory, aftermarket luthier, or just a hack job? Definitely in need of some BFLG assistance! HELP!



Edited by arumako 2016-09-30 10:40 PM
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Love O Fair
Posted 2016-09-30 11:43 PM (#529059 - in reply to #529058)
Subject: RE: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1078

Location: What week?

Far be it from me to know anything particular about guitar bracing patterns and installations, but I am thinking that perhaps the additional blocks were installed to prevent buzzing.  In other words, maybe the buzz will intensify if they are removed.. but I'd still try it.  You could always re-install them with fresh glue to make them solid and tight again if it sounds worse without them.

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arumako
Posted 2016-10-01 6:34 AM (#529060 - in reply to #529059)
Subject: RE: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 845

Location: Yokohama, Japan
Love O Fair - 2016-09-30 1:43 PM

Far be it from me to know anything particular about guitar bracing patterns and installations, but I am thinking that perhaps the additional blocks were installed to prevent buzzing.  In other words, maybe the buzz will intensify if they are removed.. but I'd still try it.  You could always re-install them with fresh glue to make them solid and tight again if it sounds worse without them.


Thanks for the comment Love O Fair. That's a really helpful insight! With the amount of resonance coming from these older sound board designs, a brace to control vibrations/buzz/resonance would not be all that surprising. The more I inspect the paint and the work, the more it looks like an original installation at the Mother Ship. It does look as though the blocks were installed later in the production process. Still debating how to proceed, but input like this is so helpful. Arigato!
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DanSavage
Posted 2016-10-01 10:56 AM (#529062 - in reply to #529058)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1941

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Yep. That's a head-scratcher for sure, Ken. The black paint does indicate an OEM installation, but I really have no idea why they would have been added.
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tpa
Posted 2016-10-01 6:47 PM (#529067 - in reply to #529058)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing


Joined:
December 2004
Posts: 436

Location: Denmark
According to http://web.archive.org/web/20100104093121/http://ovationguitars.com... the 1117 had A-bracing. At least that generation of 1117's
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leonardmccoy
Posted 2016-10-02 3:44 AM (#529079 - in reply to #529058)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
December 2015
Posts: 258

Location: Katmandu
I would make doubly sure the buzzing stems from that loose uncarved piece of bracing. For some reason I can't imagine that being the case. But then again I don't know the kind of buzzing you're getting or when it occurs.

One thing's certain for me: something must have happened during production here, and someone tried to fix it MacGyver style. Your guess of a structurally unsound top in that area -- or something of that kind -- seems the most likely to me. It would be interesting to know how the top looks or whether or not it's in any way damaged underneath that loose brace.

Edited by leonardmccoy 2016-10-02 3:52 AM
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tpa
Posted 2016-10-02 6:23 AM (#529080 - in reply to #529058)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing


Joined:
December 2004
Posts: 436

Location: Denmark
I dont have a vibrometer except for the tips of my fingers and my sense of structural funtionality. My guess is that the extra bracing as seen on the photo can't be affecting the vibration of the top much due to the position ( 1) close to the rim 2) in the "corner" ). The influence it MIGHT have (speculations ... depends on if it is coupled to the front cross bracing) would be to transmit (probably mainly higher frequency) vibrations from the main bracings to the cross bracing in front of the sound hole. Which would open open up and amplify the sound a bit. Not a bad idea imho.

Edited by tpa 2016-10-02 6:35 AM
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arumako
Posted 2016-10-03 1:17 PM (#529089 - in reply to #529058)
Subject: RE: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 845

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Thanks for all the insight everybody! Sure do appreciate the BFLG input! Removed the extra "bracing" and found what the problem was...

short bracing
As it turns out, the cross bracing was cut too short! So, apparently a quick MacGyver-ish fix was performed to rectify the situation. I would suspect the guitar was probably sold as a refurb or a 2nd hand stock of some kind back in the day. So, I'm thinking, I could make an extension or re-cut and install a new cross-brace of the proper length. Of course, like leonardmccoy says, this may not be the reason for the buzzing after all. The loose blocks of wood should have made a deeper buzz than what I was hearing. ..the investigation continues!
 
Hmmm...decisions, decisions...
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Love O Fair
Posted 2016-10-03 10:44 PM (#529101 - in reply to #529058)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1078

Location: What week?
Did the other end of that "too short" piece of cross bracing reach all the way to the other edge?
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arumako
Posted 2016-10-03 11:06 PM (#529102 - in reply to #529101)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 845

Location: Yokohama, Japan
Love O Fair - 2016-10-03 12:44 PM

Did the other end of that "too short" piece of cross bracing reach all the way to the other edge?

Hi Love O Fair. Yes, it does. There are actually cuts in the Lyrachord bowl to allow the cross braces to go all the way from one end to the other. For some reason, only the treble side extends to the bowl. The bass side doesn't. This really affects the structural integrity of the bass side of the sound board, and that's why they probably needed to add an extra (and pretty hefty) bracing. In retrospect, the additional bracing provided more than enough strength in that area, and like tpa said, it probably enabled the sound board to transmit higher frequencies more effectively. The folks at the Mother Ship really know their stuff - even when they're performing a MacGyer-ish improvisation!
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Love O Fair
Posted 2016-10-04 5:07 AM (#529104 - in reply to #529058)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1078

Location: What week?

Arumako... from what you and Dan have agreed about the consistent black factory paint coverage as you found it, I also agree that it stands to reason it happened during birth. So I'm picturing someone at the mother ship decades ago who had to put that patch on there, and at the end of the day they probably felt that they had somewhat cheated their craftsmanship on that one, though saved the company some money by keeping the production profit alive on their bench that day, and maybe even mumbled something about it to a co-worker over beers after work, figuring something deep in the bowl like that would never... ever... be noticed by anyone, and eventually moved on to talk about sports scores and order a sandwich. End of story. But no. Forty-three years later came you :-)



Edited by Love O Fair 2016-10-04 5:29 AM
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arumako
Posted 2016-10-04 8:46 AM (#529109 - in reply to #529104)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 845

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Love O Fair - 2016-10-03 7:07 PM
Arumako... from what you and Dan have agreed about the consistent black factory paint coverage as you found it, I also agree that it stands to reason it happened during birth. So I'm picturing someone at the mother ship decades ago who had to put that patch on there, and at the end of the day they probably felt that they had somewhat cheated their craftsmanship on that one, though saved the company some money by keeping the production profit alive on their bench that day, and maybe even mumbled something about it to a co-worker over beers after work, figuring something deep in the bowl like that would never... ever... be noticed by anyone, and eventually moved on to talk about sports scores and order a sandwich. End of story. But no. Forty-three years later came you :-)

LOL! You've got quite an imagination Love O Fair! It would be cool to find out what was really happening at the factory at that time. The guitar was either sold as a refurb, or this may have been a temporary counter-measure that was applied for a limited production run. When fine luthiers like the guys at the Mother Ship are under "production schedule pressure" building hundreds of guitars in a week, they probably had to resort to something like this more often than they cared too. I found an interesting thread on the OFC about a 1117-4 owned by longtime OFCer "standing" at this link...

http://ovationfanclub.com/megabbs/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=31368&mid=418917

The links for the pictures are gone, but in the 2nd paragraph after the 3rd photo link marker he says, "Any guess what the extra bracing inside might be for? If it was to support a soundboard crack repair, there is NO visible repair on the top, nor inside, other than the extra bracing." I have a feeling, his 1117 probably had a similar quick fix done on it.

I wonder how many 1117s actually have this fix applied to it? The need for this particular quick fix may have been a reason for discontinuing the VT-11 bracing altogether. Who knows? It's amazing that after 43 years this 1117-4 is still strong and sounds majestic - even with that extra bracing (excluding the buzz, that is). The following photo shows the actual position of the bracing from an outter "sound board" perspective. Look at the size of that thing! At 4.5" x 0.5" x 0.375", it's actually one of the most significant and massive braces used on this guitar. It's designed with a slot to secure the cross brace...the cross brace will not budge. Copious amounts of adhesive further ensures rigidity. The design is probably not only structural, but also acoustic (per tpa's suggestion). Very interesting stuff...

extra bracing

Kinda looking forward to replacing the cross brace with some nice Canadian Birch stock that I cut from some unused hockey sticks. If my estimation is correct, the bass response should improve just a bit and exactly to my liking! Cool!



Edited by arumako 2016-10-04 9:14 AM
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Love O Fair
Posted 2016-10-04 4:11 PM (#529121 - in reply to #529058)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
February 2016
Posts: 1078

Location: What week?
@arumako -- "I wonder how many 1117s actually have this fix applied to it?"

So very long ago.. but perhaps Beal would remember something about this particular situation happening on the 1117s.
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leonardmccoy
Posted 2016-10-21 9:23 AM (#529444 - in reply to #529058)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
December 2015
Posts: 258

Location: Katmandu
Arumako, have you found out where the buzzing comes from (nut, saddle, electronics, applications, jack, etc.)?

Edited by leonardmccoy 2016-10-21 9:26 AM
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Damon67
Posted 2016-10-21 3:50 PM (#529450 - in reply to #529058)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
December 2006
Posts: 6988

Location: Jet City

I had an 1117 with bracing different than any other I'd seen documented. It was a "Deluxe Balladeer", prior to them coming up with the name 'Legend'. It was VT style for sure, but different. I called it "VT-9".

You just never know what you'll find under the hood on these. 

It now lives with Riccardo in Italy.



Edited by Damon67 2016-10-21 3:55 PM




(DSCN0338rbg.jpg)



(Ovation-VT-9.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments DSCN0338rbg.jpg (75KB - 0 downloads)
Attachments Ovation-VT-9.jpg (13KB - 0 downloads)
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arumako
Posted 2016-10-29 11:35 AM (#529566 - in reply to #529444)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 845

Location: Yokohama, Japan
leonardmccoy - 2016-10-20 11:23 PM

Arumako, have you found out where the buzzing comes from (nut, saddle, electronics, applications, jack, etc.)?

Hi leonardmccoy. Thanks for asking...unforrtunately, I've not been able to proceed with this project. I'm going to make a new "birch" cross-brace with the correct length. Once I glue it into position and string her up, I'll be able to proceed with the hunt for the buzz again. Looks like Thanksgiving or Christmas break. Such a bummer, but I definitely don't want to rush work on a vintage O! Patience...oh man, I hate waiting...
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standing
Posted 2016-10-29 9:09 PM (#529574 - in reply to #529109)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
December 2008
Posts: 1415

Location: Texas

arumako - 2016-10-04 8:46 AM

I found an interesting thread on the OFC about a 1117-4 owned by longtime OFCer "standing" at this link...

http://ovationfanclub.com/megabbs/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=31368&mid=418917

The links for the pictures are gone, but in the 2nd paragraph after the 3rd photo link marker he says, "Any guess what the extra bracing inside might be for? If it was to support a soundboard crack repair, there is NO visible repair on the top, nor inside, other than the extra bracing." I have a feeling, his 1117 probably had a similar quick fix done on it.



I'm still standing…


None of those old photos would show much, but here's the image I posted back then indicating the extra bracing (in red):

 

I still have the guitar, and still play it. I never did determine what that extra bracing was for, nor when it was added. 

It's interesting that we both have '73 1117's and both of those guitars appear to have very similar "bonus" bracing. That makes me suspect it was intentional and not some kind of one-off or Friday afternoon repair patch (plus, if that was the case, such a guitar would almost certainly have been marked as a second.)

The action at the 12th fret on mine has been just a tiny bit higher than I'd prefer since the day I bought it. The truss rod has been tightened as far as it will go, the shims have been removed and the saddle shaved down as far as possible. You can't do a standard neck-reset on those old ones, so, the only solution would be a bowl-bend. I wasn't inclined to try doing a bowl-bend back then, so I decided to wait to see if it got any worse. It never did, I've kept it tuned to concert pitch and hanging on the wall almost constantly (when I havent been playing it) for these last (7?) years, and the neck hasn't moved any further (and it still sounds fantastic.) So, I have no plans to bother attempting anything drastic unless things change.

(Going back to read that old thread, I couldn't help but get choked-up reading comments from our old friend Dobro… RIP Greg.)

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Jonmark Stone
Posted 2016-10-29 9:12 PM (#529575 - in reply to #529058)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing


Joined:
May 2008
Posts: 1383

Location: Indy
RIP Greg.
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arumako
Posted 2016-11-28 9:08 AM (#530928 - in reply to #529575)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
October 2012
Posts: 845

Location: Yokohama, Japan
RIP Greg, indeed. I was fortunate enough to purchase his latest CD before he passed. Asked him for a signature, but he sent me a kind note instead. His music together with Jeffery Burns (who also passed) is simply awe inspiring. Here's a clip of them together...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8wdKrVAQk4

@standing - Thanks for chiming in, standing. That's really interesting that both our 1117s were built in '73 with that special cleat/brace. She sounded just fine with it and I would have never noticed or minded, unfortunately, the cleat came loose.

Haven't been able to make a new cross brace as I had planned as yet, but I re-strung her with some Adamas 1818Es after removal of the cleat. As it turns out, the buzz is gone! And she sounds super clean, again! Which begs the question...what were those cleats for?

I think tpa pretty much hit the "nail on the head". The lack of the brace does not seem to cause the bass response to improve. Instead, it definitely has toned down the higher frequency response. I'm not sure how string tension will affect the sound board where the cleat was previously located, but I think I'm going to leave it like it is and use it for awhile...I do like the high on my guitars toned down a bit.

Thanks for all the help everybody!
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DanSavage
Posted 2016-11-28 1:20 PM (#530931 - in reply to #529058)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
June 2012
Posts: 1941

Location: Lake Forest, CA
Interesting. Since both yours and standing guitars have this brace, it sounds like it was done as an adjustment to change the sound of the guitar.
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Mike S.
Posted 2019-01-26 7:16 PM (#546778 - in reply to #529058)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
August 2002
Posts: 357

Location: Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA
Hello BFLG,

No, I'm not a luthier, but sad to say, I AM CANADA's WORST HANDYMAN. As a CANADIAN, and former hockey player, and now a current OVATION guitar player, the very thought of unused birch hockey sticks? being re-purposed to brace an OVATION guitar is quite confusing for yours truly. Who knew?

Mike S.,

Ottawa,ON.,

CANADA
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Mike S.
Posted 2019-01-26 7:16 PM (#546779 - in reply to #529058)
Subject: Re: '73 1117-4 Strange Bracing



Joined:
August 2002
Posts: 357

Location: Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA
Hello BFLG,

No, I'm not a luthier, but sad to say, I AM CANADA's WORST HANDYMAN. As a CANADIAN, and former hockey player, and now a current OVATION guitar player, the very thought of unused birch hockey sticks? being re-purposed to brace an OVATION guitar is quite confusing for yours truly. Who knew?

Mike S.,

Ottawa,ON.,

CANADA
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