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Thread: ES-335 12String Stop Bar advice

  1. #1

    Post ES-335 12String Stop Bar advice

    Hi Everyone, this is a virgin post for me on this Forum so please be gentle

    I have been kindly gifted an ES-335 12 String kit (not a Pit Bull kit) apparently from a supplier that is no longer trading.

    Anyway to my question.
    Being a 12 string there is logically more force placed on the Stop Tail bar than on a 6 string. Looking at the holes drilled for the posts, right side has the hole for the ground wire out of the centre block but the left side has clearly broken out from the block.
    Should I add an extension to the side of the block and re drill or am I over thinking things ?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Stomp70
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  2. #2
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Hi.

    I'm struggling to get a mental picture of how this is all arranged and exactly which post hole has this issue. Could you take a picture of the top showing all the bridge and stop bar post holes, and mark up the offending hole?

    You are certainly correct about the force on the stop bar and it's important that the inserts are securely held by the wood. The ply top alone won't be enough. But I don't have any idea how you'd get another piece of wood inside the body against the badly positioned centre block, let alone manage to clamp and glue it in place securely.

    If it's a bridge post hole, almost all the force on that is downwards, so it won't pull out, though you'd probably have to epoxy the insert in place.

    I'd be more tempted to look at alternative solutions like a trapeze tail piece, and block those post holes as best you can.

    Another more drastic option would be to make it a 6-string by cutting down the headstock, fitting a new nut and bridge and adding a top mounted Bigsby-style trem unit which doesn't rely on the post holes but is mainly attached to the rear of the guitar.

  3. #3
    Mentor JimC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    . But I don't have any idea how you'd get another piece of wood inside the body against the badly positioned centre block
    It's certainly not going to be easy. It depends how big the breakout is, and curiously larger might be slightly easier. Do you have any mates who are into epoxy boat building? They'll have stuff that might be useful.

    Here is how I would approach it.
    I would look to pass a piece of fishing line or similar from the post hole to the f hole. I'd then find the largest piece of wood that will fit through the f hole and use the line to drag it against the centre block. Have another piece of line to drag it back again. You might even be able to get two pieces. Practice this until you can juggle your piece(s) of wood alongside the centreblock fairly readily. Now you need the boat building mate. What you want is what we call bog, a sort of whipped cream thickness mix of epoxy and microfibres. With **every** surface part of the guitar masked off - 'cos gunge is going to get everywhere and spoil your finish at the slightest opportunity - coat your bits of wood in bog and pass them through the f hole. Stuff as much bog as possible through the post hole against the centre block. Now pull your bits of wood in place. Hopefully you can get them seated with bog all round. The great thing about doing it this way is you don't need clamping to secure, it will cure in place. When cured remove as much fishing line as you can, and if there are any gaps you can access round the post hole fill with more bog. When it's all cured redrill the post hole. But be mega careful about the masking, get the epoxy where you want finish and it will be trouble.

    It's a lot of hassle, and a bit of a toss-up whether you'll get decent result, but it shouldn't make anything worse, so if it doesn't come off then you can carry on as Simon suggests.
    Build #1, failed solid body 6 string using neck from a scrapped acoustic (45+ odd years ago as a teenager!)
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  4. #4
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Jim's suggestion would certainly work, but you may well be limited by the F-hole as to the size of the block you'll be able to push/pull through. As Jim suggests, you may have to split the block into two, in order to get it through the F-hole, but you can use the same pieces of string passing through both blocks to pull it tight. If you end up with the very end bit of the string epoxied to the block, so be it, you won't see it, but cut off the string very close to the knots you make so you don't have any long lose ends visible.

    Definitely do a couple of dry runs first, and also try and put tape down on the inside by the F-holes, as you'll see any epoxy that drops onto the inside of the body through the holes (though you can always get a paint brush and paint the visible parts of the insides black - I did it on one of my builds). Fold the ends of any tape over so that there's a bit you can easily grab with thin-nosed pliers to aid removal.

    I'd recommend an 11.5mm drill for the post hole as the standard post size is 12mm diameter with the splines and the non-splined section of the post inserts is 11.5mm diameter, so they fit but you aren't going to split any wood knocking them in.

  5. #5
    Thanks for the speedy advice Gents.
    I'm both glad I am thinking in the right direction but a little gutted that my first kit has these issues !

    I was thinking of building out the side of the block to add more strength but I take it from your comments any thought of just gluing (Titebond 2) will be insufficient and epoxy would be a better choice.

    My thinking following your suggestions is, If I can get as large a reinforcement as possible in through the F hole and attach to the centre block snug up to the veneer, that will help distribute the load from the post hole. Just need to work out how to apply enough pressure for setting time without creating a problem in another area.

    Guess I will have a red hot go, without this fixed the body is all but a throw away.

    Again my thanks and if I get it sorted I will let you guys know.

  6. #6
    Mentor JimC's Avatar
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    The thing about using an epoxy/microfibres bog, rather than titebond or the like is that it doesn't need clamping or even an accurate fit, and the gunge will spread out and fill gaps and things. Unless the hole is really way off the centreblock the main thing you want the patch to do is to stop the post falling out of the side, there shouldn't be an amazing load on the fixup.

    0h yes, a top tip for working with epoxy is brown parcel tape, epoxy doesn't stick to it so its great for protecting stuff, although I'd be wary about sticking it to the external wood because of tape residue.
    Last edited by JimC; 22-12-2020 at 06:18 AM.
    Build #1, failed solid body 6 string using neck from a scrapped acoustic (45+ odd years ago as a teenager!)
    Build #2, ugly parlour semi with scratch built body and ex Peavey neck
    Build #3, Appalachian Dulcimer from EMS kit
    Build #4, pre-owned PB ESB-4
    Build #5, Lockdown Mandolin
    Build #6, Sixty six body for Squier
    Build #7, Mini Midi Bass

  7. #7
    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stomp70 View Post
    Guess I will have a red hot go, without this fixed the body is all but a throw away.
    Don't throw it away! There is generally something you can do.

    I have never done anything like what Jim suggests, and really couldn't. My wife is an environmental engineer and has forbidden my bringing anything like those materials into the house.

    Nevertheless I have had this same experience on two ES-335 bodies. The good news is that I managed the repairs with nothing more toxic than Titebond. The bad news is that it meant that I had to use a solid color on the top. I can give some detail of the repair, as well as a "solution" that might not require a repair, but first there are a couple of things that you should check.

    The root of the problem is the ridiculously narrow center block, but that may not be the only problem. It may signify an alignment problem. Another way of saying this is that before fixing the hole you should make sure it is in the right place. That means doing a dry-fit to see how the strings line up with the bridge and pickup routs.

    On my first one, everything off by about 1 degree including the neck route. On my second one the pickup routes did not quite align with the bridge. On the first one, I had a problem exactly like yours. On the second, I had it when I shifted the bridge to where it needed to be.

    So if JimC's plan is "A" let's call this plan B:
    The simplest solution might be to plug the holes and use a floating bridge. If you have the same problem with the tail stop--or if you are worried that 12 string force might pull it out, you can also use a trapeze tailpiece. If any part of your stop-tailpiece hole has air under it, a trapeze tailpiece might be advisable. Even if it doesn't, the center block is so narrow that one side will be very weak, so a tapeze might be the best option in any case. 12 strings can pull pretty hard.

    Sanding down the tops of plugs without damaging the veneer is difficult, but people with more skill than I've got have done it.

    Plan C:
    If everything does line up and you want to use the original holes for the bridge with the original hardware, then you could try this. I have managed to glue a piece of wood to the side of the center block with Titebond, and the blocks have held fast. I did not use clamps but it requires strong fingers. I took a small piece of pine or poplar, and put a generous coat of Titebond on the the top and side. I worked it carefully through the F-hole and pressed it as hard as I could into place. I then held it there for 20 minutes. Both the odd position and the pressure made my fingers really hurt, but Titebond can be unclamped after 10 min, so 20 should be enough. I left it to completely dry for two days. After that I could drill into it for the bridge ferrule.

    While I could get a good bond on the center block, the new piece was not quite flush with the top, due to the top's curve. Since about 2/3 of the hole was over the center block that was enough to keep the ferrule from going too deep. I really just needed the new piece to keep it laterally stable. This could work for you if most of the hole is over the center block. However, It'd still use a trapeze (and that is actually what I did with mine) rather than a stop-tail piece.

    If you have too much hole, not enough center block, as was the case with my 2nd ES335 body, you could try the more invasive plan "D" that I will detail below. Plan "D" is the best I have come up with, but also the most invasive, so if you use it, plan on a solid color for the top...

  8. #8
    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
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    Plan D is shockingly invasive, but it worked well for me when I needed to align one of my posts entirely off the center block. I used Titebond for everything glued.

    First I glued a piece onto the side of the center block as in plan C, and let it dry for a full 48 hours. Then i drilled a BIG hole with a Forstner bit. I centered the hole so the middle would be on the center block, but not by much as you can see in the photo on the right below. In the photo on the left you can see the bar that I glued onto the side of the center block. The gap between the top and the glued piece (due to the top's curvature) is really clear in this pic.

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    All the glued piece does is give the plug a little more lateral stability.

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    The pic on the left shows the wooden plug that goes in the hole. This plug is recycled from a remodeled closet. In the middle pic, you can see how the glued piece at the top supports the plug, and how excessive I was with the Titebond. Pic on the right is after I used a Japanese saw to cut off the top of the plug as flush with the body as possible. I got a little beyond flush in a couple of places, but once filled you can't tell under a solid finish.

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    Pic on the right is how it looked after filling, sanding and dry-fitting the hardware. Pic on the left is how it looked with the finish on but the hardware off.

    I think this approach works pretty well. It won't preserve the the veneer like JimC's approach...but it worked for me.

    It worked well enough, in fact, that now I always wonder what my be lurking under a solid color finish ;-)
    Last edited by fender3x; 22-12-2020 at 11:19 AM.

  9. #9
    Thanks Fender,
    Sounds like your correct that my issue is like your first 335.
    The left hole is mostly in the centre block, if it were a clock the gap would be between 8 & 10, so still has good coverage for where the force is mostly going to apply.
    Good tip about a dry fit, I had not thought of that. I will check and hope that there is more wackiness to deal with.

    If good I think I will give the titebond block a go. I would hate to loose the flametop because of hip replacement surgery.
    A few more tings to plan line up and move forward.

    Again Cheers to all.

  10. #10
    Member Trevor Davies's Avatar
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    I'm not familiar with these hollow body guitars, so just brain storming.

    But could a big hole be drilled through the back to allow enough access to place a block next to the centre block? This way the veneer front may be saved. If the added block was tappered there may not be a gap.

    Or a hole in the side (plug socket size) to allow access to glue and screw the added block onto the centre block?

    Just thoughts!
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