Seeking recommendation for Soloette modification

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Ceciltguitar
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 2:15 am
Location: Virginia

Seeking recommendation for Soloette modification

Postby Ceciltguitar » Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:19 pm

Is there anyone here who would be interested in the job of reducing the thickness of 2 Soloette practice guitars? Also interested in adding frets to the guitars, if you would do that too. Also would like the string holes fixed in at least one of the guitars.

I checked with the manufacturer, and they are not interested in doing any of the above.

I hope that this is an allowed question to ask on this forum and I apologize to the moderators if it is not an allowed question.

Laudiesdad69
Posts: 539
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:16 pm
Location: Springfield Oregon

Re: Seeking recommendation for Soloette modification

Postby Laudiesdad69 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:56 am

I think Roscoe at Soloette would be too busy to do an alteration of what is already a fine product. What is wrong with the string holes? Are they too snug? As far as adding frets, you should talk with Charlie Longstreth at McKenzie River Music, in Eugene Oregon. They used to sell a lot of Soloettes as they were just up the street from Rosco Wright's shop. Charlie is well aware of these instruments. He isn't there on thursdays usually, but you can call him at 541-343-9482 from 11 to 6 M-T-W-F. And Saturday 11-5.

Ceciltguitar
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 2:15 am
Location: Virginia

Re: Seeking recommendation for Soloette modification

Postby Ceciltguitar » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:30 pm

Thank you for the suggestion, I will try calling him.

The string holes have gradually gotten larger, causing the angle at which the string crosses the zero fret to change in such a way that the zero fret breaks the strings quickly. I can extend string life by wedging tiny pieces of Kleenex between the string holes and the zero fret. I shipped the guitar back to Roscoe years ago and he said that there was nothing that he could do about the string holes. He did upgrade the electronics and the tubular frame pieces and replaced the frets for me, which was much appreciated!

The main issue that I have is that the thick neck causes wrist pain and weakness behind the thumb and makes the instrument harder to fret. I asked Roscoe if he could somehow (maybe by sanding?) make the neck thinner. He was not interested. I can understand his lack of interest in trying this type of modification because he has had a long and distinguished career pioneering the Soloette, and he is about ready to retire.

I had pretty much decided to just live with it the way it is until about 2 weeks ago when I met a retired Navy guitarist who had the same hand problem that I have. His problem was so severe that he that he was actually scheduled to have surgery! The surgeon was sick on the day of surgery, so instead of having surgery, he bought a new guitar and quit playing the Soloette. A month later, his hand problem was gone! So he sold the Soloette. He tried playing my Soloette and started experiencing the same thumb pain in less than 5 minutes.

I play the Soloette way more than any other guitar at home because the body shape is superior ergonomically for me, and because the quietness makes it good for family life. So, after hearing that at least one other person had this problem, I decided to pursue the possibility of thinning the neck. My local guitar repair guy, who is very good, is not interested.

Laudiesdad69
Posts: 539
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:16 pm
Location: Springfield Oregon

Re: Seeking recommendation for Soloette modification

Postby Laudiesdad69 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:41 am

As far as thinning the neck goes, if it were me I would do it myself. If you aren't able to, because of your condition, I suppose that just about any instrument builder or repairman could do this. You just need to know what thickness you want to end up with. Assuming that there is no truss rod ( I can't recall if Soloette has one ) you should be able to remove enough material from the back of the neck without too much complication. I would expect neck relief to increase the more material is removed though.
Are you sure that the set up is optimal already on this guitar? If the string height at the nut and bridge aren't adjusted right it can make the guitar more difficult to fret. If you can lower the string height at the bridge low enough (as long as the break angle is still sufficient)
That can make it easier to play.
You might want to take your most comfortable guitar and take some measurements off of it, and also not the neck profile and thickness, etc and compare that to your soloette. It will give you information that will help whomever the luthier is that you find to do the job. The job may require more than just shaving material from the back of the neck.


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