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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Modify a GoldTone

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GeoBar - Posted - 04/18/2011:  12:17:59

Hello, everybody

A few months ago, I read this topic : and decided to modify ( upgrade if possible ) the sound of my GoldTone PBSD.

I first made a light setup ( level and sand the spider's legs ). Second time, a few weeks ago,  I opened the soundwell on the sides :

It increases a little the volume, attack and sustain. The tone as changed, especially when I play "standing".

Then, yesterday, I continued to open the soundwell :

Tone has still changed. 

I would now make some experiments with the bridge insert. I would test some other materials ( bone, boxwood ... ) or just an 1/8" higher maple/ebony bridge insert. I think I will destroy the actual bridge insert when I'll remove it : it's glued with a ton of glue and I don't know how to do else. 

To all who have done that, I would ask a question : Must I glue ( and destroy when removing ) my bridge inserts to test them ?

Should I rather change my spider for an adjustable one ?

( please pardon my clumsy english, I hope that someone can understand).

Edited by - GeoBar on 04/18/2011 12:22:55

Alan Rausch - Posted - 04/18/2011:  15:03:55

Your sound well work looks just like what I did to every dobro I had until going to a post/baffle instrument.  Inserts should not be glued but super tight.

Slideman1939 - Posted - 04/18/2011:  15:12:00

The larger openings look good and apparently changed the sound so your time and work was worth the experiment. The bridges question--traditionally these have always been a pressed fit (tight friction fit) into the standard #14 spider. I suggest glued in as you describe is the exception rather than the rule. A tight pressed fit sometimes causes bridges not to come out smoothly so even NON-GLUED bridges are often chewed up in digging them out of the spider. The tone is fine from a tight pressed in fit and you have nothing to gain by gluing in your replacement bridges (que je sache).Bonne Chance avec les adjustments.

jimbob - Posted - 04/18/2011:  15:28:43

Hello GeoBar,

Here is a thread from last summer about Glued Cone.                I worked on my PBR-CA reso_rehab and took the bridge insert out and turned them upside down, I then glued little ebony caps to them. The extra height from the spider bridge groove with the new ebony capped bridge inserts helped a lot. Scrool down the thread and check out the pictures.



jimbob - Posted - 04/18/2011:  15:52:36

When removing the tight bridge inserts,  I had to be careful so I wouldn't break them. They are made of maple wood. With long nosed pliers and patience and a little leverage you will get them out. Turn them upside down with the string grooves going into the spider channels (one on each side of the adjustment screw) after you have glued the ebony caps to them. Don't take any wood off the sides of them whenever you are cleaning up your glue operation. I hope I am making this all clear to you GeoBar. I can email you and send pictures of the entire rehab which I did to mine. It had a broken headstock. It was not a pretty sight.


GeoBar - Posted - 04/20/2011:  01:38:21

Thanks to all, your answers confirm the idea that one should not glue the insert.

​One that is in my GT is heavily glued (glue overflows the "lips" of the spider). I think I'll change if for one that has a thiner ebony cap when I'll buy an adjustable spider. I will put both old spider and its so well glued insert into my Fender FR50 ( at least, it can not make it sound poorer or weaker  wink ).

There is another detail that worries me : the cone touches the edges of the soundboard's round hole . I think that the hole is not at the right place.

The strap button was not exactly on the ornemental maple stripe, I drilled a hole to screw it on the stripe but the strings made an angle on the bridge. Strings tension tends to push the spider and cone to the right and thus the cone touches the soundboard ( it has "sawed" a groove).

I put the strap button back to its first place but every time I release the strings to put the spider and cone at the right place and "float" in the hole, I notice that, after a few hours, strings are out of tune ( lower ) and the sound is a little less "crystal clear". I guess that the cone has slipped to the right and touches the wood again.

I just don't know how to sand the right edge of the hole without damaging the "floor" (top of the soundwell).



jmb3450 - Posted - 04/20/2011:  04:33:55

George, do you have any recordings of your guitar before and after you opened up the soundwell?  If so it would be nice to hear the difference it made in the sound.  Looks like you did a nice job with it and appears that there's still plenty of support for the cone.  As for enlarging the hole for your cone, you could use a router to remove wood from the top only and not the soundwell.  My only advice (and I'm not an instrument set-up or repair person) is to carefully check out information that's available on the Internet about set-up before doing this.  Once you cut the wood away you can't put it back.  I'd think you'd want to be careful about not cutting away so much that the top on that side is no longer supported by the soundwell.


Shifty - Posted - 04/20/2011:  06:11:24

George, if you do not have a lot of wood to remove, you might consider using a turned edge card scraper, which if used carefully by hand would do the job.  Sharpening and using card scrapers is explained on quite a few google sites, way too much information  to describe it here. 

They do a fine job removing wood, glue , many other uses, I find them indispensable  for woodworking.



GeoBar - Posted - 04/20/2011:  12:07:43

Thank you,

I think I'll have til 3 mm ( 1/8" ) to remove on the right half of the circle and maybe it's too much to use a card scraper.

Maybe I will use a small router but I fear I dig the place where the cone is laid and have to level.

Sorry, Jim I never record myself. I have a witness : my wife reproached me for I waked her up on sunday to monday night "with my music" ( she's polite, I know she thinks "with your noise" ). It's unusual. 

cdugger - Posted - 04/23/2011:  13:49:59

I have one and am not nearly as ambitious, but I thought you might point me to an upgraded set of tuners that will drop in.  I don't want to have to do any modifications.  The tuners are just OK in my estimation and if there are a smoother and more precise alternative I would go for it.  Are these Grover clones?  Someone cautioned that the PRB-D might have metric holes



GeoBar - Posted - 04/25/2011:  08:09:56

Hi Chris

the tuners are made by Jin Ho ( that's what I can read with difficulty on mine ) but on the site, I can't find the exact model.  One is very interesting for dobro players :


Ruth Iseli - Posted - 04/30/2011:  15:14:49

Hi George

I read all this with interest. I really hope I can meet you and your dobro once (and if possible with my GT) and compare. Makes me curious to listen to it. 

Soon your Gt is so "empty " like my Schoonie:

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Antone - Posted - 06/25/2011:  08:47:28

Georges, your second photo (4-18-2011) shows exactly what I'd like to do to one of my guitars. You obviously did a precision job. Are you a professional woodworker? What tools/technique did you use to enlarge your soundwell holes?

Thank you,


GeoBar - Posted - 06/25/2011:  11:21:24


Thanks, Tony, you make me blush ! I'm absolutely not a professional woodworker, I use to say that I was born "with four left feet".


I used a Dremel, an electrical hand tool, like a small drill.


with this accessory :



Edited by - GeoBar on 06/25/2011 13:34:11

bustertheboy - Posted - 11/06/2011:  23:04:47

I just performed this same mod myself on my Gold Tone PBS. It has made a difference to volume, clarity and bass response. re the bass response, you can now hear a difference with or with out the soundscreens whereas before there was zero difference.

I'd like to offer a warning though. The plywood for the sound well in this particular guitar was very soft and had a number of voids, so the dremel spiral cutting attachment had a tendency to bite and run away very quickly, even though I was bracing very hard with both hands against the top, sides and bottom of the guitar. Luckily, the softness also allowed one of the little dremel barrel sanding attachments to tidy up and shape the holes or it would have looked like swiss cheese! All ended up looking pretty good in the end, but there were a few scary moments.

Enjoy but proceed with caution- this ply was a much lighter colour than the one in GeoBar's guitar (almost white with huge deep grain- very porous), but then it had none of the alignment issues and came very well set up (although not a Beard setup). All it needed was a Beard pre-slotted set of bridge inserts.

Thanks to GeoBar for the advice and pics.


Edited by - bustertheboy on 11/06/2011 23:06:25

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