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Old 10-16-2017, 04:00 PM   #1
MellonFriend
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Arrow Used Classical Guitar Questions

If you just want to answer the question without hearing the story you can skip to the fourth paragraph.

So last Saturday I was shopping around at my local thrift stores and I came across this little forlorn looking guitar case in the dusty corners of the shop. I cautiously laid the case on the ground treating it as if it was expensive even though it look like it had been forgotten for twenty years. Inside was a little 3/4 size classical guitar. In complete working condition and barely a scratch on it. Dirty and smelling of old upholstery, but wood with the warm tones of age and the wonder of what its past life could have been, I decided I must have it.

At this point I caught the attention of the store owner and asked the price. He started talking to me and I was just knowing he was going to say something like, $150, $80, or even $75 I would have struggled with, but the nice old man said, “I think you could get famous with this guitar, so, for you, how about twenty dollars.” I told him I would remember him if I ever did get famous, and paid him right there before he could change his mind.

So now I am the proud owner of a Conn C-40 size classical guitar, now it’s missing it interior label, which I am sure decreases its value, but still I can’t find anywhere selling a completely functional classical guitar for $20. And receipts I found in the guitar case date it as being purchased around the early to late seventies which is awesome.

So now to my questions: On the saddle at the E and the A strings the saddle looks like it’s wearing a bit. This is confusing to me because it almost looks like “the paint is wearing off” which is odd since I thought saddles were only made out of plastic or bone. So any thoughts on what that could be? And should I change the saddle?

My second question is actually regarding the case. It is a very crappy case, the outside is very dirty and the latches are not smooth to use and very tarnished. What can I use to clean the case and latches? It also smells really kind of bad inside, not musty, but really old smelling, and not in a good way. Is there any way to get the bad smell out of it without using anything that could harm the guitar. I am considering redoing the interior of the case, adding more foam and then upholstering it. Currently the lining is the thinnest most non shock absorbing layer of foam over flimsy particle wood. The guitar shifts around a good inch, and I feel like the guitar disserves better than this. If I went to all the work of redoing the interior I would hate for it to still smell like it’s been in an attic for thirty years.

Any help and comments on owning a used guitar would be welcome. I have only ever owned new guitars so if there is anything I am unaware of I would gladly accept advice.

Last edited by MellonFriend; 10-16-2017 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 10-16-2017, 10:49 PM   #2
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The saddle is probably plastic and the color is changing a bit due to the pressure of the strings. If it sounds good and is properly intonated I'd just leave it alone.

Regarding the case, it's probably easier to just go to Guitar Center in the used department and see if they have an inexpensive, non-smelly case.
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:59 PM   #3
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Hmmmmm..... As for the case. The first thing I would do is open the case and lay it outside in the direct sunlight and let it air out and the UV rays from the sun should kill any mold or mildew. Hopefully a bird won't crap on it while its outside. Then spray a mist of Lysol over the interior to kill anything not already dead and also make it smell better. Don't spray it until its wet. Just spray a mist. Unless you want to change the string height, just leave the saddle alone. With all that said, Conn imported Japanese "Arias" from 1968 to 1978 and since your receipt is right in that date range, I'm going to guess that's what it is. How do I know that? Well, I looked in my trusty Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars 7th edition.
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Old 10-17-2017, 10:05 PM   #4
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I would leave the saddle alone unless it is obviously broken in some way.

Cases can be aired in the sun, as suggested. I would try also try carpet or car upholstery deodorant if it is really bad.
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Old 10-18-2017, 01:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKVeazey View Post
Hmmmmm..... As for the case. The first thing I would do is open the case and lay it outside in the direct sunlight and let it air out and the UV rays from the sun should kill any mold or mildew. Hopefully a bird won't crap on it while its outside. Then spray a mist of Lysol over the interior to kill anything not already dead and also make it smell better. Don't spray it until its wet. Just spray a mist. Unless you want to change the string height, just leave the saddle alone. With all that said, Conn imported Japanese "Arias" from 1968 to 1978 and since your receipt is right in that date range, I'm going to guess that's what it is. How do I know that? Well, I looked in my trusty Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars 7th edition.
I left it out is the all powerful sunlight and it appears to have almost completely taken the smell away! I think I won't mess with the saddle then. The string height seems just about perfect. What about the tarnishing on the latches? Anything I can do to shine those up?
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Old 10-18-2017, 02:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MellonFriend View Post
I left it out is the all powerful sunlight and it appears to have almost completely taken the smell away! I think I won't mess with the saddle then. The string height seems just about perfect. What about the tarnishing on the latches? Anything I can do to shine those up?
If the latches are brass, just use brass polish. If not, then you'll have to mask around the edges and use really fine sandpaper(600 grit or finer). Hand sand them unless you are a whiz with a Dremel tool. If you get them to look good and you don't want them to rust again, you can put clear fingernail polish on them. Don't latch them until the polish is bone dry. Personally, I wouldn't do the fingernail polish thing.
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Old 10-18-2017, 02:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKVeazey View Post
If the latches are brass, just use brass polish. If not, then you'll have to mask around the edges and use really fine sandpaper(600 grit or finer). Hand sand them unless you are a whiz with a Dremel tool. If you get them to look good and you don't want them to rust again, you can put clear fingernail polish on them. Don't latch them until the polish is bone dry. Personally, I wouldn't do the fingernail polish thing.
I have some 0000 steel wool, do you think that would be better than sandpaper?
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Old 10-18-2017, 05:57 PM   #8
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I wouldn't be using sandpaper. Try Mother's aluminium polish. It's cheap and available at any auto supply store. It's never going to be shiny after using sandpaper or steel wool.
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Old 10-19-2017, 08:46 AM   #9
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I have some 0000 steel wool, do you think that would be better than sandpaper?
If the latches are steel and are pitted, you are pretty much going to have to use super fine grit sandpaper. If they are not pitted, then Seattle is dead on with the Mothers Aluminum Polish. I use Mothers all the time. As for 0000 steel wool...... Hmmmmmm that stuff is a real mess maker. That stuff is so fine, you'll have to use a strong magnet just for the cleanup. I have steel wool in my supplies and it is always held out as a last resort.
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