What a post title... huh?
Well, in a sense it's true, and the story goes like this...
The morning was over cast as a storm was quickly building over head as I was walking along enjoying a morning coffee, when I heard a small muffled cry for help. I looked up and to the left and there was this little half sized guitar discarded on top of a trash canister.
With the storm coming, and the trash about to be picked up. I knew I had to act fast, I reached over and pulled the little half guitar to safety. As I walked it home I noticed it had been through some abuse. It was some what beaten up, with a few scratches and nicks here and there. A few strings had been broken and pulled off of it. And the neck and body were covered in dirt and grim. It was barely hanging on. I managed to just get it inside the house when the storm broke and a full on down pour ensued. Whew... just made it in time.
The dog in the house freaked out at the sight of the half size guitar. And when I strummed what strings it had left it let out a horrible sound. The dogs hair raised with teeth bare seemingly ready to tear into the half size guitar and finish it off. But... it didn't.
I removed the remaining badly out of tune strings and cleaned it up. Examined it for any breaks in the wood. Luckily there where none. Made some simple repairs to the machine heads which were loose.
Went out and bought a new set of Martin Marquis Phosphor Bronze "light" strings.
I also picked up a couple sets of D' Addario EJ16 Light strings while I was at it to try next on her in the future.
Once I cleaned her up and put on the new strings she looks pretty good as you can see below.
It doesn't sound half bad for a half size guitar which honestly surprised a couple others and myself.
For those interested, here is the raw open strings being plucked/strummed using a medium pick. Trying to find out more about this guitar I stumbled upon a video of a similar guitar in which people had stated they would have prefered to hear the raw tones. So here they are. Nothing fancy was used to record, onlyy a Samsung Galaxy S3 cell phone so it is what it is.
Now that its back together - you've heard it's open notes. Lets take a look at what it is.
I haven't a clue who made this guitar, and so far no one else does either that has seen it. There's no manufacturer label anywhere on it or inside of it. Some that have seen it or pictures of it thought it might be an "All Star" while others thought it might be a "Luna" while others thought it was something else. So at this point, nothing definitive is known yet as to what make it is. If you know, hey by all means post it in the comment section.
The action of a guitar can be one of personal taste. The higher the strings off the fret board the higher the action and visa versa. The action of this guitar is around 1/4" at the neck base at the 14th/15th fret.
Personally, I like a lower more uniform action. But hey, it's not as bad as I've seen on other guitars.
It does have what I'd call semi-high to high frets. Again not as high as I've seen on in-expensive or cheap toy guitars. Benders will like this for sure. And it makes for a lighter touch to fret a note.
I had to tighten them up and the low E may need some further repair but they all are holding nicely.
When I first put the new strings on her and tuned her up, she tuned nicely. but I noticed once I fretted out some notes they sounded off. And sure enough when I put it back on the tuner they were all sharp. Then I looked noticed the image I had first put up looking from the bridge down to the neck.
.and realized I had put the bridge in backwards. After switching it around, as seen below,
she's nicely in tune all the way down the neck. I did notice the bridge did have some grooving, and will probably have to be replaced one day. but for now it's fine.
For those wondering, the scale Length on this half-size guitar is, it's just over 21.5 inches. For those that don't know how to measure the scale length of a guitar, it's simply the length from the edge of the nut, to the center of the 12th fret doubled.
If you don't know how it relates to a guitars tone. See Google... or jump over to Guitar Noise's Scale Length Explained for a quick explanation on Scale Length.
It needs a Gig Bag
I ordered a inexpensive World Tour Acoustic Guitar padded travel Gig Bag for it from Walmart for $20 which looked to be a decent gig bag as you can see below:
After it arrived it proved to be just as it stated and decent enough, though lacking any real padding on the back side. It's really a too big for this particular guitar. But then, it might have been made to fit both 1/2 and 3/4 size guitars from the looks of it.
Compared to some other half-size guitars I saw over at Guitar Center, this one has a slightly narrower and thinner on the width body, which may be the reason the gig bag is somewhat roomy for this guitar. However, at 32 inches in overall length which is approximately 86 cm, this guitar does fall right with-in the scale of what is indeed a half-size guitar, according to the charts.
Here is one of the guitar size charts I found on the web showing the different body sizes and lengths in case you are interested..
Before I get too far off the gig bag itself, let me turn you onto a little tip you might want to use for any gig bag. Gig bags depending on the interior material used can be pretty ruff on a guitars finish. Go grab a piece of light weight soft material and wrap your guitar in it, then put it in the case.
As you can see above, I found a used light weight felt throw blanket at a yard sale for $2 bucks that once folded in half, was the perfect size for this little half guitar case. It protects all sides and added a little more padding over all. You could use a baby blanket or something like that.
If you feel creative you can easily make something more permanent and line your gig bag with the felt or crushed velvet. I looked at some burnt orange crushed velvet that would look cool inside. Cover a piece of thin acid free cardboard with it and just insert them to cover the top and bottom is one way is what I was thinking. It's a thought for the future when I'm feeling industrious as well as creative...
You may have noticed a small gig bag in the image above (Ibanez labeled) next to the guitar. Which proved a perfect place to keep a small dedicated tuner, picks, string crank winder, and a simple guitar strap with out crowding the guitar at all. Might work for you as well depending on your guitar size and shape.
Some Bonus Stuff while your here
If you don't know how to re-string your guitar you can do a Google search and find many tutorials on how to do just that. There seems to be some slight variation between them. Of course this depends on your type guitar, but all are pretty much the same. I'm not going to instruct you how, but will point you in a direction.
First you need to know what string goes where and what open note it should be. Here is a small illustration for a standard guitar string set up.
For the Tuning Heads like the one shown below, check out Changing Guitar Strings by Fret Not Guitar Repair.They also have videos showing how to string Slotted Peg Heads as well as Flying Bridge Pins on that page as well.
As you can see from the first image in this post of the bridge on my half size guitar, I didn't choose to tie a knot as you would on a classical guitar. For Classical Guitars, you might want to take a look at the next few links I'll be reffering you to, which show three slightly different views on how to to tie the bridge knots.
Towards the bottom of the page by ClassicGuitarVideo.com are illustrations, (one shown below), of one way or style for both bridge and head.
Above is slightly different and cleaner method on tying the bridge knots by LearnGuitar2.com
A little more involved yet a very sweet method of bridge knot tying is by CGSMusic.net and Bryan Mulfords "How to Restring a Nylon String Classical Guitar". A good photograph of the completed bridge knot described on both their sites is seen below and found on Bryan's site.
Lastly - You'll find some alternate methods by Peter Kun Frary of the University of Hawaii on his "Changing Classical Guitar Strings" page which I found interesting. Especially his tip for protecting the bridge.
And there are plenty more sites giving instructions for all types of guitars and recommendation for string types etc etc. depending on the type guitar you have or tone you want to achieve, as well as, tips for what evere level of playing you are at from beginner to advanced players.
Since all my gear is put away for a move, I decided to give some Android Guitar Tuner apps a try. Something new to me as well as I've never used a phone app to tune anything. I found there are several free ones that have pretty high praise and look promising. Some with more options than others. One thing I will say is, if they are as accurate as they claim. Man they are handy.
Hmmm... that has me thinking and wondering off topic on a side note... Can I plug an electric into my phone and tune it that way? Or record...? I bet I could do that. Hmh! I'll have to look into that...
Anyway, as for the cell phone guitar tuner.
The one I used right off and found pretty cool was Guitar Tuner by Gismart. Interface was great, it's not overly complicated, has just enough added features and tunings.
It's a chromatic guitar tuner, has a tone generator (from 1 hertz to 22050 hz) for a more advanced tuning.
Alternate tunings for guitar: First Fret, Open C, Open D, Modal D, Minor Third, Major Third and more.
Alternate tunings for uke: Tenor, Soprano, Baritone. And one of my favorite features... no ads.
Seems to work fine, though the Auto (for auto determining strings being tuned) it lagged a bit. However, tuning by ear via the tone generator/ or touching the string to be tuned on the display which also produces a tone after using it's internal chromatic tuner, the above tuner does seem pretty dang close to accurate. In a pinch... it worked out nicely.
Another I tried, which was also a chromatic tuner and offered at no cost, offers up an option as to a range or threshold as to when the pitch was considered "in Tune", is Pitchlab Guitar Tuner (Pro) , and they offer a PitchLab Guitar Tuner (Lite) version as well. Both have a slew of other features as well. Too many for this post.
Check them out at at the Play Store as well as others.
Surprisingly was the"In Tune" spread differences from one tuner app to another. Even the Lite to Pro version from the same developer had a significant spread as to what "in Tune" was. And with out my Pro Gear, I can't say one is more accurate over another. You'll have to test them for accuracy on your own. And if you do, feel free to post your findings in the comments section. Include which tuner app you used and what gear you tested it against if you do. I'd be interested to hear some factual results.
EDIT: I did test all tuners above against a dedicated auto tuner by Ibanez. Not a chromatic tuner, but a simple tuner as you'll find in many a guitar case.
All the Tuners apps above fell into what the Ibanez considered in tune. In a nut shell, if you use one of these simple dedicated auto tuners primarily, you'll be that much more in tune using any of the chromatic tuner apps above.
Fixing an intonation issue. There are several ways to fix intonation issues on guitars depending on the type guitar as well as individual intonation cause, which of course, the cause must be first determined. For this guitar is was a simple fix, yours may be as well, it may not be. You can read more on determining, adjusting as well as fixing intonation issues with a simple Google search, but here are a few reads to get you started.
Both Electric and Acoustic general info on Setting your Guitars Intonation can be found on WikiHow.com
For Acoustic Guitars - Adjusting Guitar Intonation posted by FretNotGuitarRepair.com
For Electric Guitars - Adjusting Electric Guitar Intonation posted by GuitarBenchRepair.com
Summary and final thoughts.
Personally, I've never owned or played or seen anyone else play a half size guitar, acoustic or otherwise. This half size guitar or even a quarter size guitar might have been better suited than a full size guitar to start with as a kid. My Dad who played for years, handed me a full size hollow body electric to start with, which proved to be real discouraging; damn neck kept getting caught in in-between the bars in my crib when I tried to sling it over my shoulder when ripping into a solo. lol
So far, I like this little guitar. The action could be better but hey, the body resonates nicely. And I did save it from the either the dump or the furnace at the dump.
It's not something I'd be overly concerned with letting someone other than myself play it as I would be with other instruments. And I am seriously considering to bring this one with me on my road trip.
Which should prove to be fun, for myself and others I'll let play it. Heck, I might even get some interesting recordings along the way to put to some animation or video's to post on Youtube as well as make new friends.
Hmmm...Perhaps it will prove an interesting format or rather theme, to have others play this guitar while I record a video of them doing so as I travel along. Call the theme - "Three Minutes of Fame Among New Friends" or something along those lines.
Hmh... I just might do that.
Given that last thought, if you happen to see a guy traveling with a half-size acoustic guitar and he asks if you want to play it while he records a video of you doing so, it just might be me. So smile, say "Sure!", break out your best licks, make a new friend and grab your three minutes of fame. In the end, we'll all meet on Vimeo or YouTube... or here on my blog.
Sounds like a good plan to me...
- chase -