Brass band and banding

One thing I noticed when I started buying 100-year-old guitar "wrecks" was completely shredded fretboards with deep playing pits, but with almost like new brass bands. My own guitars with nickel bands had gotten real pits under the strings on the nickel bands after only a few years of playing. Realized that the brass with its slightly smooth oily surface (nice to play on!) Did not wear even half as much as the usual nickel bands, despite the fact that brass is softer than harder.

That these bands were "forgotten" may be due to the fact that there were very lousy brass bands in the 1930s that gave a bad reputation. When you loosen such straps, it's a bit like pulling off a rubber band! At the same time, American guitars became fashionable in the 1950s and have traditionally always had nickel bands. The brass bands are golden yellow and not as shiny silver shiny as the nickel bands.

Fortunately, the brass bands have received a small revival, there are good brass bands to buy and even other tougher gold-yellow bands in an alloy that is as hard as stainless steel (EVO). I use Dunlop 6180 in brass on all Old Gura unless silver bands are an aesthetic requirement.

When I strap on I use a simple plank jig that never damages the back of the neck. I glue the bands with tough superglue. Super glue is good as it is crystalline and hard and lasts until it breaks. The adhesive provides good contact between the strap and the grip board and there is no risk that a strap will not sit properly. Even though they are tightly bonded, it is surprisingly easy to loosen the straps if you have to strap, the glue will scratch and come off. As always, it is safest to heat the tape with a soldering iron before.

The plank is placed under the guitar and the wooden wings tie the jig together and at the same time leaves a gap under the plank where you can then take support with the tape press. You can strap on all the straps in a swipe on an archtop without worrying about damaging the back of your neck. On a regular acoustic guitar, the last bands (usually from the 14th band) are pressed with the tape press through the sound hole.

With the help of various wooden blocks (have a back with cut-off in different sizes) you jigsaw their jig together in a quarter. It is important to keep a check so that you do not squeeze a curved bottom with the plank and that the support under the neck foot does not loosen while working with the tape press!

To fill in the gap between the plank and the felt-covered countertop under the grip board, I have done a little special jig. Some furniture feet and threaded metal inserts in a piece of wood. A fitting fixed key to screw up your feet with a pair of super magnets. The underside of a guitar neck is usually thicker near the neck foot, screwing up the two outer feet first to follow the slope and then the two in the middle.

Glues the straps with tough superglue, drops in the strap with a hammer and squeezes with the strap press from Stewmac.

To make the job faster, I follow with two aluminum plates that hold down the strap ends until the super glue attaches. Small wedges in maple are very useful tools!

When it gets too crowded for the hammer, I use an aluminum rod to knock down the strap.

At the end, I have started to use "Paste wax" on the fretboard around the straps and also on the top of the straps so that excess superglue does not stick so hard. Also licks a bit on the strap pliers before mounting to activate the super glue faster…