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'74 1115-1 Pacemaker Restoration

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Posted 2024-07-07 8:41 AM (#560336 - in reply to #560335)
Subject: Re: '74 1115-1 Pacemaker Restoration

November 2002
Posts: 3608

Location: Pacific Northwest Inland Empire
Assuredly, our fingers are crossed! Sterling work. And, there is a flaw in every masterpiece. Press on!
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Posted 2024-07-07 3:57 PM (#560337 - in reply to #560336)
Subject: Re: '74 1115-1 Pacemaker Restoration

June 2012
Posts: 2308

Location: Pueblo West, CO
Nice job, Ken.

Thanks for the detailed write-up.
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Love O Fair
Posted 2024-07-09 11:47 AM (#560347 - in reply to #558060)
Subject: Re: '74 1115-1 Pacemaker Restoration

February 2016
Posts: 1785

Location: When??
@arumako - >>>The bridge bolt cracked!<<<
Oh, my. Flashbacks to nightmares of the truss rod snap heard around the world. Apparently the factory did not use very strong metals on this guitar!

>>> took a nice gouge out of the bridge and top finish<<<
Inquiring minds are curious to know what happened to the gouge in the top finish between bridge photos 1 & 2 and #3.

I'm wagering a high bet that the Bridge Doctor will do exactly what it was designed for-- though in the end, we all congratulate YOU on stellar ingenuity, tenacity and tongue-in-cheek faith!

PS: Excellent call on the Bridge Doctor solution, Dan! I think there may be one in my future (if I dare).

Edited by Love O Fair 2024-07-09 11:53 AM
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Posted 2024-07-12 2:02 AM (#560356 - in reply to #558060)
Subject: RE: '74 1115-1 Pacemaker Restoration

October 2012
Posts: 1027

Location: Yokohama, Japan

Hey, thanks seesquare, Dan and Al. I've been messing with the bridge doctor adjustments over the last several days and started to get familiar with this very cool tool. I think it might be helpful to have a separate thread to discuss the unique application that the JLD Bridge Doctor might have with guitars manufactured by Ovation. I also think I've discovered some aspects of this tool that I'd like to share as well, but that's for another thread and another time...

As for this 1115-1 the JLD-BD works exactly as it is designed to (just as Al predicted). Installed according to the instructions provided, the JLD-BD removed the ever present buldge between the bridge and the tail end of the guitar. Tighten just a bit to allow the tension bar to spin but not wiggle and the results are immediate...

However, at this setting the JLD-BD did not help the vertical dip (the fret board extension dipping into the sound board) at all. The following pic was taken with the same tension bar settings as the pic above (it should be noted that, when strung up {DAd EJ41s} at these settings, I could not decipher any noticeable difference in the guitar's tone/voice - beautiful ringing shimmering quality with a rich natural chorus)...

vertical dip before

Spent quite a bit of time adjusting the tension bar to find the ideal dip/buldge control. Starting at the "spin w/ no wiggle" setting above, the tension bar was tightened a full 3-rotations or 1080 degrees. At this point the tension bar does not spin at all. It is not bending but it is tight. At this extreme setting, the vertical dip has been halved...

ideal setup vert

...and buldge behind the bridge has also become a dip.

ideal setup buldge

Can the tension bar be tightened some more? It CAN..., but a whole lot more turns and the structural integrity of the tail area of the guitar might be compromised. So I called this "my 1115 ideal mechanical setting" and strung her back up with EJ41s, and as BB King used to sing, "The thrill is gone, baby!" It makes sense. With this much tension, the JLD-BD is now hindering the top movement and the voice has darkened while the dynamics, the shimmer and the sparkle have been curbed considerably. Wanted to see if swapping strings to some 8/20s (as opposed to the Phosphor Bronze material used in the EJ41s) would help, and to my pleasant surprise they did! Here's the belly buldge with the guitar strung with Martin 80/20 extra lights...

bulge under tension

Interesting! You can see that the belly buldge turned belly dip at "my 1115 ideal mechanical setting" has practically flattened back up! After string tension is applied, this is how the vertical dip looks...

vert dip w strings

So this looks pretty good and the 80/20s sound decent (although not nearly as loud). Now, the question is "Has the JLD-BD improved the 1115's playability?" The answer is "Just a little bit..." I should clarify that this product is not intended to improve my guitar's string height (action). However, leveling buldge and dip in the guitar top often leads to improved playability. In this particular case, after achieving "my 1115 ideal mechanical setting," the neck angle to bridge is perfect; but after string tension is introduced to this guitar the action changes as follows (tuner at 432Hz as concert pitch and string height measured at 12 fret);

With E strings tuned down to D: 6th string - 3.50mm; 1st string - 2.70mm

With E strings tuned down to D#: 6th string - 3.70mm; 1st string - 2.85mm

With E strings tuned to E: 6th string - 4.00mm; 1st string - 3.00mm

Here's what's really weird... the JLD-BD's "my 1115 ideal mechanical setting" is holding. The repaired truss-rod is also holding and the neck relief is not changing and the neck/bowl joint is stable! Argh! Unbelievable! So what in the world is moving???

That does it! This fingerboard is coming off, and I'm going in for a truss-rod replacement! Not sure when I'll get to it, maybe in the summer? Messing with the JLD-BD has taught me so much in the last few days and has helped me to isolate the problem. There is something really weird happening in this neck's truss-rod cavity. Don't know what it is, but I'm gonna find out!

Feeling a really special attachment to this 1115-1 Pacemaker after all that we've been through. I've got some really nice kaede maple sitting in my shed so maybe a full neck rebuild (in my dreams right!)? All I know is I'll either destroy this "O" to oblivion; or repair it to glory... you know, the "If I can't have you, nobody can." syndrome! Wah ha ha ha... Wah ha ha ha ha!

Edited by arumako 2024-07-12 2:29 AM
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Love O Fair
Posted 2024-07-12 8:58 PM (#560358 - in reply to #558060)
Subject: Re: '74 1115-1 Pacemaker Restoration

February 2016
Posts: 1785

Location: When??
Just when we thought the plot had reached full thickness....

>>>That does it! This fingerboard is coming off<<<

This guitar is either really happy to have ever met you.. or.. it is totally regretting the day.

I was pleased to read that the BD had some influence on the top north of the bridge; that being the purpose I would be trying one for. Mine is more of a loose brace issue that has caused the top sinking around the sound hole, but has been that way for so long that I thought it may be better to initiate the closing of the gap by slowly bringing the two together at their originally-intended 'altitude' before re-gluing it instead of just stampeding in with a clamp, then once it all acclimates to itself I would be able to remove the BD. So yeah, you are right about starting a separate discussion thread about just the Bridge Doctor since it appears to have quite a variance of uses. Some direct and some indirect.. and it seems as if the indirect ones are the ones that are chain-reacting you into the abyss.. hence it would be good for others to learn at.. sorry to say.. your expense. But thank you for paying!!

Edited by Love O Fair 2024-07-12 9:03 PM
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