Shrunken Heads Part II

OK, Double Ring Klusons can shrink too. These are off a 61 ES 335.

First of all, I want to correct something in the previous post. I just got a “garage sale special” 1961 ES 335 dot neck with shrunken double ring tuners, so it isn’t limited to only the single ring versions. If anybody has shrunken tuners later than 1961, let me know. I love this arcane stuff. I’m surprised nobody wrote me to tell me I was wrong (The LPF guys love to do that). Another issue that has generated some interesting responses is my suggestion that cyanoacrylate (Krazy Glue) will do a good job of preserving your crumbling tuners. The consensus seemed to be that it was a bad idea since originality is holy scripture to a collector. One responder felt that it was more collector friendly to let them crumble and stick them, useless, in the case. He then suggested that they be replaced with repros. The third choice is, of course, to put new tips on them. This is my opinion on the subject: I want a vintage guitar to be original but I want to be able to play it in its original state. If I can keep the tuners usable somehow then that’s what I’ll do. If they have already crumbled, I would get a set of Uncle Lou tips and install the originals. My least favorite choice is to use repros. Why not just put all repro parts on? They look pretty much the same and they can sound pretty much the same? This vintage thing isn’t about useless parts in the case, it’s about playing the best guitars on the planet as they were meant to be played. If you’ve ever taken a polishing cloth with a product on it to your guitar, have you compromised it? I don’t think so. You made it look better and you may have helped it last a bit longer. Same with oiling the fretboard. If the only way to keep your Brazzy board from drying out, cracking and becoming useless is to oil it once in a while, then have you compromised the board? I don’t think so. What I think is being done when you paint your tuner tips with cyanoacrylate is you are adding a preservative to the plastic that allows you to use it for a longer period of time. It’s nearly invisible (if you rough it up a little) and it doesn’t affect the functionality other than making them usable.  I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t necessary. Some shrunken heads are just fine the way they are. They seem to shrink and become brittle but they don’t crumble-that’s the situation on most of my older 335s and 345s. I also have enough spares that I could replace any shrunken tuner with a correct unshrunken one BUT I DON’T. Original to me means original and vintage correct isn’t the same thing. It’s OK as long as a dealer specifies that a part is correct and its a lot better than repro. Finally, that begs the question, “how do you know if any parts are original if you didn’t buy the guitar from the original owner?” You don’t. That’s why, all other things being equal, I will buy a vintage piece from the original owner. In fact, of all the 335s and 345s I have, all but one came from the original owner or a relative of a deceased original owner. That’s not foolproof-people forget what they did 40 years ago-but it’s the best we can do.

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