On the Bench

A daily account of instruments that pass through the workshop of Healy Guitars in Easthampton, Mass.
Here’s a shot of the back being glued to the rim last month on the most recent parlor guitar. Mahogany back and sides and spruce top. More to come.
www.healyguitars.com

Here’s a shot of the back being glued to the rim last month on the most recent parlor guitar. Mahogany back and sides and spruce top. More to come.
www.healyguitars.com

I just removed this top from a Gibson J-45. It’s original owner took it upon himself to sand the top to near death. I assume he thinned top to achieve a fuller sound, but really just destroyed the guitar in process. Then he reinforced the interior with bondo and wood scraps. 
Next step is to match the x-brace layout and get the new top fit. Fun project!

I just removed this top from a Gibson J-45. It’s original owner took it upon himself to sand the top to near death. I assume he thinned top to achieve a fuller sound, but really just destroyed the guitar in process. Then he reinforced the interior with bondo and wood scraps.
Next step is to match the x-brace layout and get the new top fit. Fun project!

candace-hope:

Healy Guitars

Here’s a few shots of me working in my shop. I’m carving a maple tele neck and finish sanding a custom black double cutaway style set-neck. 

'59 body with a '69 neck on this poorly refinished Fender Jazzmaster. There's an original anodized pickguard under that white paint too. All of the original wiring was shot so I replaced the pots and switches. The neck pickup went out for a rewind too. Sounds fantastic!

'59 body with a '69 neck on this poorly refinished Fender Jazzmaster. There's an original anodized pickguard under that white paint too. All of the original wiring was shot so I replaced the pots and switches. The neck pickup went out for a rewind too. Sounds fantastic!

I finished building this Healer
yesterday, my version of an offset JM style guitar. It’s built with a black ash body, roasted red maple 3 piece neck, ebony fretboard with pearl block inlays and ebony head caps. This one also sports a reverse headstock and a set neck placing it well into Firebird territory.

The pickups are Curtis Novak JM-PAF’s, basically a PAF in JM cover. The volume and tone are both push/pull pots allowing for coil tap with a series/parallel switch in between. The upper horn has a momentary kill switch and the lower horn has the 3 way pickup selector switch.

The finish is a waterbased varnish, my new standard for electric guitars. It’s quite thin, dries fast and levels easily.

The frets are 104 x 47 Jescar wire. The Bigsby tremolo is matched with a roller bridge to help keep things in tune. For all solid woods it weighs in at 8.5 lbs, quite close to modern weight reduced LP’s.

It sounds fantastic and has great sustain and good resonance unplugged as well. The customer was pretty psyched when he picked it up, and so was I.

www.healyguitars.com

Just finished up work on this Epiphone Blackstone archtop from the 30’s. The binding on the fretboard edge and around the bass side of the back had completely deteriorated and fallen off.

After carefully replacing the binding with new material I masked off the rest of the body and sprayed tinted lacquer to match the aging of the old binding. A long process but well worth the trouble. It’s a really wonderful instrument.

Check out the stickers that have basically eaten their way into the celluloid nitrate pick guard over the years.

A Fender amp logo on a 70’s Fender Strat. A good fit.

A Fender amp logo on a 70’s Fender Strat. A good fit.

This beautiful 1918 Gibson A style mandolin passed through for a setup and some minor crack repairs. I love the thick celluloid tortoise shell pickguard and bracket.

This beautiful 1918 Gibson A style mandolin passed through for a setup and some minor crack repairs. I love the thick celluloid tortoise shell pickguard and bracket.

Major overhaul on this ‘71 Martin D-12-35. All the binding had to be replaced after the original material had shrunken with age. I also made a new ebony bridge and bone saddle matching the original shape and size. The original black celluloid pickguard also shrank and cracked the top. Finished up with a neck reset and refret, managed to save the original ivory nut. Fantastic canon of a guitar.

Major overhaul on this ‘71 Martin D-12-35. All the binding had to be replaced after the original material had shrunken with age. I also made a new ebony bridge and bone saddle matching the original shape and size. The original black celluloid pickguard also shrank and cracked the top. Finished up with a neck reset and refret, managed to save the original ivory nut. Fantastic canon of a guitar.

Telecaster parts assembly.  Fender neck from the early 2000’s, Seymour Duncan antiquity pickups, new Bakelite pick guard, ash body of unknown origin. Good weight in the end too.

Telecaster parts assembly. Fender neck from the early 2000’s, Seymour Duncan antiquity pickups, new Bakelite pick guard, ash body of unknown origin. Good weight in the end too.