Claescaster

Tag: How to fit a strap button

Goya 163

Goya Model 163 Made in Sweden 1968
A very early Goya Model 163, they were introduced in 1969 but the serial number puts this one to 1968. That would make it the earliest known example on the Vintage Guitars Sweden site. Levin serial numbers / Goya serial numbers

I thought I might as well post some images of the Goya 163 I received back in January. There was some work to be done, actually quite a lot. First I had to reset the neck to get the action down and then I had to remove the bridge and redo the saddle screws. I cut a new pickguard over the weekend, well it’s not perfect yet, I’m still looking for a better material but it will do for now. I bought this Goya from a girl called Marilyn Moser in Maynard, Massachusetts. She had used the guitar for some live gigs in the New York area but gave up on it because of the high action, it was fairly unplayable when I got it. The guitar came with a nice handwritten note to me, the new owner, that’s why I got curious to find out a bit more about her. Here are links to some of her music and her awesome 1960’s blog.

Goya Model 163 Made in Sweden 1968
Goya Model 163, made in Sweden by Levin in 1968

Levin 163 / Goya 163
Goliath size: Body width: 400 mm, body length: 505 mm, body depth: 95/120 mm
Fingerboard width: 43 mm, scale length: 630 mm
Spruce top, flame maple back and sides, 4-ply bound top, single-bound back
Mahogany bolt-on neck with adjustable truss rod
Single-bound rosewood fingerboard with bass side pearloid dot inlay
Rosewood bridge with individual height adjustable plastic saddles
Nickel plated individual Van Gent tuners with metal buttons
Sunburst finish and ten year warranty

Goya Model 163 Made in Sweden 1968
I still haven’t found a good pickguard material. Well the red plastic that I happened to find in the street is actually perfect but who wants a red pickguard. I’ve managed to find 0.8 mm thick matt black plastic but I need something around 1-1.5 mm and preferable in high gloss jet black or even better in red tortoise.  I fitted a strap button in the usual place, and then I painted the new bone nut orange to match the original Levin Galalith nut.

Levin Goya Model 163 1968
Update: March 21, 2014 The pickguard material I ordered from China looked a lot classier than expected so I cut in to shape and put it on

How to… fit a strap button

I have never been a big fan of having straps attached to the head of acoustic guitars. Therefore I decided to fit strap buttons to the base of the neck on my acoustics. I checked some Youtube clips and got fed up with people talking too much so here is the quick version. Find a strap button you like, ideally in gold, everyone loves gold or at least I do. Find a screw that fits and a drill that is slightly smaller than the screw. Put a bit of tape on the drill to mark how long the screw is, or rather slightly shorter than the actual screw. Decide where to put the strap button and then drill the pilot hole. Put some wax or soap on the end of the screw, this makes the screw go in easier and apparently keeps the wood happy. Done.

Now some thoughts on this procedure. First of all, make sure you don’t have any extra hidden metal parts inside the neck before you start. I wasn’t aware that Levin had an extra metal plate for the truss rod running in the heel. When I tried to screw in the screw it broke in half and got stuck so I had to make a second hole just above and screw in a shorter screw. Not the end of the world maybe but still annoying and unnecessary. Second, make sure you find a good flat spot to fit the strap button. In the last example below you can see how close to the fretboard they are factory fitted on some guitars. I hate that. It’s really hard to reach if you want play solos or do some fiddly bits high up on the neck. Make sure you can fit your hand comfortably and remember there is going to be a strap attached which creates extra bulk. If you put the strap button too close to the bottom it will mess with the balance of the guitar and it will tend to fall forward when it’s not supported, the same if you fit it in the bottom of the heel.

strap buttons

Levin LT-16, Vintage V880N, Tanglewood Rosewood Grand Reserve TGRP 73 VS E. I installed the strap button on the first two, as low as possible to be able to reach all the way up the neck. Notice how high up, close to the fretboard they were factory fitted on the Tanglewood. In this case it’s just a 12th fret parlour guitar so you can’t play much solos up there anyway but I do find it a bit annoying.