Chet's Paul McGill resonator

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Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

Postby srgntschultz » Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:30 am

How do you date a del vecchio? I have a few of them and have no idea what year they are.
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Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

Postby guitarchuck » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:05 am

Maybe Dan has some insight on how to tell the date of a Del Vecchio. The guy I bought mine from said he bought it new in 2008. That's the only reason I know that mine is a 2008 model.
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Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

Postby DAN SAGE » Fri May 03, 2013 12:18 am

You should have let me retreat quietly into the shadows. Just remember you asked for the following harangue. First, thanks to everyone for answer to my questions, and for all the additional information.

1. As for my 2000 Del Vecchio, my friend and I were shopping for Brazilian sheet music and CD's, and we met the woman that owned the store, and she was from Sao Paulo. She still had family there, whom she visited. I asked her, if she would be interested in buying a DVR the next time she went there. She agreed, and that is how I obtained my second one. My first one, was the one, that I was told was made in 1947. The owner had replaced the neck and set it up as a slide guitar. Working with that guitar was quite a learning experience, and I don't know, if I will ever get it close to original. The cone well cover was bent in the middle and was touching the cone, etc. Anyway, back to the 2000, it is heavier than any of my other DVR's, so it is probably built beefier. I could tell it was brand new, because you could smell the wet wood in it, as Norm said he used to do. It had this beautiful aroma of what I have been told is Spanish cedar (as I recall), which was used at least inside the upper bout, as part of the neck attachment. So, I know, at least that was not seasoned. The quality on the rest of the guitar was pretty atrocious. The neck and the tailpiece were not symmetrically placed on the sound box. The seams in the top, back, and sides weren't where they were supposed to be. There were flaws in the finish, that my poor luthier, that fixes my guitars, said were bleed through of the glue used to glue the laminate panels together. The layer of rosewood on the headstock was grossly unsymmetrical, and the pickup looked like someone had used an ax to cut the hole to install it in. The pickup didn't put out hardly any signal, and the pickup didn't even sound good. So, I looked up the schematic for my 1956 ES-175 DN (P-90's), that my parents had bought used in 1960, when I was a teenager and wanted a rock and roll guitar. They thought I could play it without an amp, since it was a hollow body, (at least that is what they claimed the salesman told them). By the way I learned to play on my Uncle's Hawaiian guitar set up for slide playing. It really developed calluses on your left hand fingers trying to fret the notes. Anyway, I bought a Seymour Duncan rails pickup, that the Guitar Center salesman said should come close to a P-90 sound. I rewired the whole guitar with the correct parts, and now, when it is played through an amp, it sounds out of this world, especially through a Dan Electro Dan Echo. The new pickup created one other problem. It literally destroyed the sustain, because the magnetic field from the new pickup was so much stronger. This robbed energy from the vibrating strings, due to the laws of Physics (nothing is free). So, I got a piece of soft chromed ferrous metal, that was about the correct width, cut it down, and let the pole pieces (rails) grab it. This severely reduced the magnetic field above it, because it rerouted most of the magnetic lines of force through the metal strip. It functions like a magnet keeper. This allowed the sustain to function normally/naturally. Maybe, you could try something like that with your 2008 DVR just to see, if it makes any difference. Let me know, if you do, and it does. Another of my DVR's has a pickup, but it sounds pretty good, so I have left it alone. I had the bridge, tailpiece, all the sound hole covers in the top, tuners, fingerboard, and frets on the 2000 all replaced over time, and now it is my favorite guitar. If you replace a fingerboard, you can also have it radiused. My poor luthier, I think hates working on the DV's, because of the quality, but she likes my checkbook, and so she has learned to tolerate them, and has become very good at fixing them, at least on the big ticket items.

2. Now for the subject of dating a DVR, I have made it a habit to store the pictures of any of them I have come across, especially on ebay for the last 10+? years or so. I have also collected anything published on them, such as it is, that I have come across. I have come to the conclusion that probably the only people, who might know how to date them is maybe the Del Vecchio factory, and in reality maybe only “The Shadow knows” for sure. I have never found any serial numbers or model numbers on any of the DVR that I have seen. Maybe Mr Atkins or Mr. Lima could have come close on the year, since they both seemed to have come across a large number of them (especially Mr. Atkins). I would guess the best source of information, would be the original seller or whoever you purchased yours from. I was looking back through some of the information I have on my computer, and I came across an article that claimed a circa 1980's Del Vecchio was a 1950's, and this from a supposed expert on the subject. More on this subject below. To answer another question, my 2000, did not have a metal plate on the headstock. One of the only ways you would know it was a DVR was from the design. Also, if you take a flashlight and shine it in one of the two sound holes on the upper bout and look in the other one you can see Del Vecchio stenciled on the cross braces for the back. I do not know, if your 2008 is the same. If you get a chance to look, let me know. Maybe they knew what a crappy job, they did on making mine, and were ashamed to claim it. I was looking on the DV website (http://www.delvecchio.com.br/) and quite a few of their guitars do not have metal plates on their headstock. Of course a lot of these are classicals and have a sticker visible through the sound hole. It is interesting to note that the only resonators, that they officially advertise, are a four string tenor guitar and a 10 string folk instrument (ala 12 string guitar). I was wrong on one of my previous statements, about DV using laminated wood on all of their instruments, because you can see on their website, that the resonators sound boxes are all made with laminated top, back, and sides, but some of their other high end guitars are indeed constructed out of solid wood. Judging from their most recent models, it looks like a lot of them are maybe built to a higher standard like the owner of the 2008 thought, especially since they appear to be using high quality materials on their high end guitars. I thought at one time that some of the metal plates used on the later DVR's had a model number on them, but now I think it is just an updated patent number, since it doesn't vary between their different models. Something probably needs to be said about a possible reason that DV will only sell in Brazil. It may have something to do with the 1969 C.I.T.E.S. treaty, or maybe they are just mad at the other countries (the USA in particular) complaining about the quality of their workmanship.

3. Something should also be said about their cones. They have started using a smaller diameter cone than the 9 3/8” diameter one used on almost all of the guitars found in the U.S. The most recent basket case I bought, a short scale with a metal cone well, had one of the smaller diameter cones (~8 9/16” (21.7 mm)), so be careful, if you are buying a replacement cone for a DVR, indirectly from Del Vecchio, to verify, that it is the correct diameter. Resonator cones are all hand spun, including Mr. McGill's, Mr. Young's, and DV's, and therefore every one of them varies slightly in thickness from cone to cone. The metal the cone is made from and the thickness of it determines the resonate frequency and the tone, and I think that this might substantially affect the overall tone you get out of your guitar. You can tell what the cone's resonate frequency is by supporting the inside top of the cone on your finger tips and lightly tapping on its edge with a finger from your other hand. It will ring like a bell, and no two cones have the same frequency. I would think this might determine, which part of the guitar's scale was emphasized, but I could be wrong. (I have maybe 25+ cones, some new and some in various states of destruction).

4. Now for the tedious part, some ways to roughly calculate an age range for your Del Vecchio Resonator. I read that Del Vecchio started making their resonator guitars around 1938???. The first ones were probably like my 1947 with mesh covered sound holes, two large ones in the upper bout and six smaller ones in the cone well cover. (By the way over the years they have used all sorts of tuners (classical and steel string ones) with all sorts of tuner buttons. They have also used all sorts of material to make the nuts and bridges out of including metal, all sorts of plastic, bone, and who knows maybe even wood ala Gibson's ES-175.) As far as I can tell, this basic design continued up through the 1960's, with maybe a time period in the late 50's, early 60's, when they made some with 5, 8, and 10 sound holes in the cone well cover plate. Since Mr. Atkins' famous short scale guitar was made famous in the 1960's, everyone wants to advertise their guitar as a 1960's guitar. Of course this was also the time period (late 60's and 70's), when most of the DVR's were imported into the U.S., so maybe a lot of them are 1960's vintage. There is also some benefit to claiming a Brazilian Rosewood guitar was made before 1970, due to the C.I.T.E.S. Treaty. It appears that any of the mesh covered sound hole covers could also have some plastic art decoration attached to the mesh (e.g. The V's on Mr. Atkins' short scale). Probably starting in the mid 70's DV went to slotted metal sound hole covers, five instead of six sound holes in the cone well cover plate, and a thick aluminum palm heel rest. The early ones still had the two big sound holes in the upper bout, and wooden cone wells. I think the next change came with the adoption of the metal cone well and the aluminum ring/trim in the middle of the cone well cover, where the bridge and biscuit sit. The next step was to reduce the two big sound hole covers on the upper bout to the same size, as the cone well cover plate sound holes, probably due to economy measures (only one size of slotted sound hole covers needed). I am sure the metal cone wells were also cheaper and easier to make than the wooden cone wells. Most of these changes were probably made before 1980. This is pretty much the configuration that the present day guitars share. As far as the metal labels on the headstock are concerned, when they had one, the very earliest guitars probably had a squashed oval, this was followed by an unsymmetrical octagon shaped plate with the music staff doing gymnastics on it. I have seen a brown one of these and a blue one. These were probably before 1960. Maybe in the late 50's? and 60's they started using the famous rectangular lightning bolt dinamico plates. I think that when they started using the metal slotted sound hole covers, they switched to rectangular genaric Del Vecchio name plates. This was probably used on all their stringed instruments, regardless of model. The patent numbers on a lot of these various plates vary, so if you are really serious about nailing down a date, this might be another clue, that the factory could use. The shape of the headstock on the guitars has varied over the years (the shape of the top of it and the cutouts for the string rollers). The pickups and the wood stripe down the back of the neck in lieu of a truss rod both started, when the sound hole covers where all made the same size, after the the metal cone wells were introduced. There are also examples of weird ones out there, that some people said were produced when DV ran out of inventory parts or maybe they were just experiments. All of the preceding is my best guess, and as such, it is probably ranked just above completely useless in its value.

Dan Sage
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Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

Postby DAN SAGE » Fri May 03, 2013 12:44 am

One more item, if you have a Del Vecchio and want to know if the frets are anywhere near, where they are supposed to be, Stewart-MacDonald makes a fretscale with four different scale lengths on it. If you buy one, get the one with the fender 25.5" scale on it, since most of the long scale DVR's are very close to that length. If you have a good ruler, you can also use their free fret placement program for any scale length, and it will give you a print out of the correct fret positions. Just a thought.

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Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

Postby guitarchuck » Fri May 03, 2013 9:17 am

Dan,
I for one, have really enjoyed your posts here. I'm really glad you have shared your experience with these guitars. In fact I plan on printing your posts and saving them for further reference. I hadn't thought about the pickup's magnetic pull effecting the sustain. I haven't looked yet, maybe the pickup can be lowered closer to the body also. My 2008 model, though not perfect, is better quality than any Del Vecchio Dinamico's that I've seen. The frets even seem to be properly spaced. I'll have to measure them sometime to verify that. Also, I need to look inside the upper sound holes and see if I see any Del Vecchio markings.
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Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

Postby Norm » Fri May 03, 2013 9:52 am

I agree. Saved it and will maybe tinker with the text and layout for future reference.
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

Audio samples: http://www.youtube.com/user/acountrygent/videos
That should do it.
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Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

Postby guitarchuck » Fri May 03, 2013 11:00 am

Mine has the same features as this one on their website, except mine's a 6 string of course. Also mine has a maple stripe in the back of the neck instead of ebony. Other than that it seems to be exactly the same.

http://www.delvecchio.com.br/Default.as ... Produto=49
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Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

Postby bill raymond » Fri May 03, 2013 9:41 pm

My Dinamico dates from 1970 and my sister had bought her then-husband one in 1971. Mine had a poorly fitted steel U channel in the neck for reinforcement, his had no metal reinforcement but an ebony strip laminated in the center of the neck for reinforcement. I can't be sure that this feature would help to document the approximate date of manufacture, but I offer this information FWIW. Neither reinforcement kept the necks from bowing!
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Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

Postby guitarchuck » Sat May 04, 2013 12:25 am

Dan,
My pickup wasn't real close to the strings to begin with, but I did adjust it down flush with the top. This makes the pole pieces about 3/8" from the strings. It didn't seem to have a big effect on the sustain, but I'll leave it like that. I'm sure the magnetic pull would effect sustain. Mine has the standard 6 pole piece Strat type single coil pickup that you see on many Del Vecchios.
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Re: Chet's Paul McGill resonator

Postby guitarchuck » Sat May 04, 2013 12:38 am

Interesting, on the Del Vecchio website the history period of 1960/1970 show's Chuck Tucker's ad that he ran in Fret's Magazine and the George Benson/Earl Klugh album cover:

http://www.delvecchio.com.br/Default.asp?area=2&div=4

Translated: In 1968, with the inclusion of a grandchild, the firm passed eventually to be called Casa Del Vecchio and the third generation of the company was responsible for spreading the brand Del Vecchio across the country and also internationally. In 70 years, Casa Del Vecchio extended its service covering then other sectors musicals like: blowing, keyboard, percussion, etc..

You would think they would have mentioned Chet Atkins or Los Indios Tabajaras for this time period.
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