En Gammel Gura is an old guitar that has been both renovated and improved with a focus on function. The goal is to keep everything that goes by the guitar's history while playability and timbre should be as good as a new guitar. All damage is repaired and minor parts are replaced or corrected. Honest wear and tear and superficial things are preserved as long as the function is not affected. With a mounted K&K mic goes one Gammel Gura to use in all contexts, even on a stage.
En Gammel Gura starts mostly with a charming but unplayed "wreck". The guitar hangs on the wall as decoration as it has cracks and other problems that need to be fixed. Typically, it is a mass-produced cheap guitar from around the 1930s or older.
Until about the 1940s, almost all guitars, even the cheapest ones, were made of solid wood. Solid fir in the lid is almost a guarantee that the guitar can sound good. Old guitars are also glued with skin glue and lacquered with alcohol or cellulose varnishes, adhesives and varnishes that are difficult to handle during manufacture, but which are very good and which make the guitar possible to repair. Modern adhesives and lacquers on new cheap guitars are easily machined during production, but are not always good for the sound and make the guitar difficult to repair.
Old guitars are mostly small in size and very comfortable to play on a couch. The smaller body gives less bass and more midrange in the sound. But smaller bass is no disadvantage, the sound becomes balanced and individual tones are clearly heard. The volume is pretty much the same on small and large guitars!
First step for one Gammel Gura is that the guitar is disassembled into its parts; tuning screws, upper saddle, fingerboard, neck, body with lid and sides, stable, end plug and bottom. Skin glue is a very strong wood glue, but the joint can be separated with water and heat. It is always possible to disassemble the parts without major damage. With all parts disassembled, the next step is to glue all cracks and repair or replace parts that do not measure up.
The ribs inside are always replaced in one Gammel Gura. The old ribs usually have the wrong dimension and placement. The ribs have aged and lost much of the strength and toughness found in newer wood. The mix of old wood in the lid and the bottom and newly made strong ribs is optimal. The lid and the ribbing is one of the most important details of a guitar that determines how it sounds. Here is the most to gain from a renovation. After renovating over a hundred old parlor guitars I know how to place the ribs and how powerful they need to be. Often, the lid and bottom are too thick, so it is so thin lid and the bottom inside.
All projects Gammel Gura gets a carbon fiber stick glued to the neck under the grip board. With a carbon fiber rod in the neck, one is sure that the neck does not bend off the string. Carbon fiber is an extremely rigid and lightweight material that withstands the string without being deformed. The rod weighs about as much as the wood you cut, the tone changes marginally and mostly for the better. The carbon fiber rod is hidden under the grip board and is not visible on the finished guitar. Typically one can Gammel Gura standard 0.11 steel strings or low tension Newtone Heritage 0.12 without problems.
With steel strings, the stall leg must be intoned and the original stall modified or made new as a replica. Old parlor guitars almost always have a band such as stable legs, an impractical solution that makes it impossible to easily correct the string height at the stable. In a Gammel Gura the stall gets a milled track with a stall leg as standard. The modern solution makes it possible to both intonate and correct the string height.
In a standard Gammel Gura includes oversaddle tinting which means that the usual troubadour chords approach the oversaddle tones very well. My inventions segmented stable legs, "turbo plugs" and the stable plate in spruce give the guitar higher volume, better string separation and more beautiful sound.
The grip board on Gammel Gura Guitars are preserved if possible. Simple guitars usually have a less good thin flat grip board in walnut or black painted maple, then the best option is to make a new board in rosewood or ebony. A new board can be made thicker, given a radius and get the straps in the right place. It is important that the straps are correctly placed, on old boards the old strip grooves are filled again and new ones are sawn in the right place. The straps are always changed, standard on Gammel Gura are durable brass bands that make the guitar easy to play. Ordinary nickel bands or other types of bands can also be mounted.
Gammel Gura guitars get new tuning screws if the old ones do not measure up. Fortunately, there are now new tuning screws to buy that are similar to the old originals and that work very well.
A K&K mic is an option Gammel Gura which can easily be installed under the stable when the bottom is off. The old end plug is replaced with a teleplug jack. The mic does not need any battery or knobs, but gives a very nice acoustic sound.
When all parts have been repaired and updated, the glue is glued Old Guran with the same skin glue that the guitar was made with. A thin layer of spirit varnish is applied. The new gloss varnish is lowered so that the instrument regains its vintage patina. The new varnish hides the worst scratches, but does not change the original patina.
The finished one Gammel Gura the guitar is then adjusted so that the string height becomes low and the neck straight with a small relief. Finally, each vibrates Gammel Gura a number of days. The result is that the guitar feels more or less recorded and not as stiff as a new or newly renovated guitar is always the first time before it was recorded.
My experience is that all the old guitars are given one Gammel Gura conversion sounds several classes better than the original (when it was still playable). Exactly how good depends very much on the original, the construction and the choice of wood in all parts. All Gammel Gura Guitars are unique individuals that have their own tone that differs from what you find in modern "X-ribbed" guitars thanks to the older "ladder bracing" ribs that work very well in small pearls of guitar.
I guarantee that the playability and intonation are in class with new well-adjusted modern guitars, that the guitar has dynamics, long sustain, working tuning screws and that the sound from the K&K mic corresponds to how the guitar sounds acoustically through a PA. And last but not least, the guitar still retains most of its history, charm and patina!