Posted on April 2, 2024 by Author Sam Wolfe


This is a project I had been
looking at doing for quite some time. I often order acoustic rebuilds in packs
from my supplier and they come in and go out too quickly to really formulate an
idea and execute it, but when I began to make plans to close the guitar site
and concentrate on other areas of interest, I realized that I might have an
opportunity to do one of these husks myself. I had also made the decision to
shut down the guitar site, and so rather than wait it out selling things off, I
decided to keep the balance of inventory and use it for my own projects. 

That set me on a course that
allowed me the time to build one of these husks and at the same time photograph
the process for a new guide.


I had Fender, Ovation and Gibson
husks in stock, as well as a few other brands, both acoustic and electric, and
a varied stock of parts for them, both used, new and salvaged from new and used
guitars over the years.

I liked the feel of the Fender
CD-60. It is a wide bodied guitar, full size, and already had a beautiful
mid-range voice. I knew from experience that I could stretch that mid-range
down into the bass responses of the sound board with the addition of a bone
saddle and nut. Heavier with finger picked styles, but bright when picked.

I also had already done an
ovation acoustic project that I used as a primary studio guitar, so I knew
somewhat what I could expect from a pinless bridge setup. I have sold piezo
disc and under saddle pickups, and small EQ systems designed for single channel
or cigar box builders for some time. I liked the ease of use with the EQ, the
simplistic wiring, and the honest sound output. I had also built a baritone
acoustic project and equipped it with an in-body Chromatic tuner to help keep
the guitar properly tuned. I liked the ease of the tuner, and its ability to
work independently from the wired system in the guitar.


While originally designed for a
hard body Telecaster installation I had previously used it on an acoustic body
and its built in Piezo disc worked well with the feedback from the acoustic
body, and it did a magnificent job of tuning.


This tuner is a good piezo
based chromatic, in-body mounted unit. A small mounting hole, drop it in, and
the piezo disc does the rest. Reliable, long battery life, and accurate. I have
used several of these both in my own builds and builds for others. I like them
and their ease of use. They use a standard, easily replaced, watch battery. Depress
the clip, pull the unit out, replace the battery, replace the unit and you are
done. Just remember to turn the unit off when not in use.

The small EQ is used for simple
Piezo element controls in custom applications, such as Cigar Box builds.

It comes complete with a Ceramic
under saddle Piezo pickup, plug in, ¼ inch outlet, harness and tie back. A
great deal for under ten bucks each.

They can handle either a piezo or
a passive pickup equally well.

The required hole is small, and it
is curved to accommodate acoustic guitars, ukulele, mandolin, and other small
bodies. The included Piezo under saddle is sized for a six string acoustic
bodied guitar. The units can also be purchased alone.

The jack plugs are
standard units you can pick up nearly anywhere on-line relativity cheap. They
can be wired stereo or mono for ¼ inch output.

In my shop I make a habit of
replacing old jacks during  rebuilding,
building an instrument. I order them in lots of 50 to 100 and end up paying
very little for them. It could be worth your while to do the same.

You can buy Bone Saddle and Nut
sets pre-shaped for you, or start, as I did, with a basic set and shape them
yourself to fit your needs.

A few things to remember
when buying: All slots in acoustic guitars are not cut to the same length,
sometimes not even the same width. Measure and then look for exactly what you
need or can make fit.

A replacement bridge is an easy
item to obtain, whether a traditional pinned bridge, or an Ovation style
pinless bridge as I use in this  build.

This one, and the image of the
pinless bridge that follows, are both rosewood, but you can also find bridges
made from sustainable woods and or materials as well. And, of course, you can
always buy blanks in many types of wood and then design and build your own

This CD60 shell came to me with a broken neck,
no electronics, a detached and cracked bridge. It had also been stored in
direct sunlight for a while and as a result of that exposure it darkened the

Outline of this build:
I will be able to show several repair techniques on
this guitar. I will also do some custom work as this guitar will be staying
with me as a studio guitar.

I will illustrate the
broken neck repair. The break at the headstock includes finish and wood loss at
the break site.

I will
install a Piezo under saddle pickup and a single coil pickup suspended at the
bridge. I will install dual two channel EQ units to separate the lines out for
electric and acoustic. I will design and install a plate with dual ¼ inch jack

I will
install an in-body tuner that is a standalone unit. I like the idea of this
tuner because I don’t have to have it on all the time, and it will allow me to
have non powered EQ units.

There are
paint and finish issues on this guitar. Since it is sun faded it will not be as
simple as repairing the bridge and neck areas and re-clearing the guitar.
Rather than use a messy stripper of some kind to take the finish off, and then
trying to match the faded areas with some sort of stain, I will instead sand
the body out, prep the bare wood and do a custom paint job that has been
kicking around in my head. I will only be sanding for flatness, not to bare
wood. Any area that doesn’t need to be sanded will be hit with the scuff pad
instead, and I will seal or prime the bare wood.

Instead of
replacing the cracked Fender bridge I will install a top mounting bridge left
over from the AdjustOvation project. I’m using that because when I record I
want to be able to do fast string changes if I break a string. The Ovation
style bridge is perfect for that. I will also install a bone nut and saddle. I
will carve the nut and saddle and show that as well as the setup for the guitar
during and after, including a fret leveling job.

The beauty of
a guitar like this is that you can usually pick it up for a fraction of the
retail price, repair it and have less in the finished guitar than if you had
purchased a lesser used

 guitar. And most often it will
be a much better guitar because you will have not only repaired it but it set
it up to suit you as you built it. My initial budget will be $100.00 and I
should be able to stick pretty tightly to it, after all I am not going to be
adding any hi-tech pieces, I’m pretty much sticking to low tech tried and true
off the shelf stuff as I said. The repairs are labor intensive, doing them
myself will make this guitar affordable.

Works Volume Four: The CD60 Build:
volume contains the complete Fender CD60 build.This is a complete
start to finish custom build. The base is an Fender CD60 Acoustic
cutaway guitar. #Luthiery #CustomGuitars #BuildAguitar

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