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Macceferri G-40 Plastic Guitar (1950's)

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Make: Maccaferri

Model: G-40

Year: 195?

Scale: 24 1/2"

Case: No

Condition: Very Good

Descripton: The Maccaferri plastic guitar made in the 50's was not a toy and was designed by the renowned Mario Maccaferri who designed the Selmer D hole guitar which became known as the first Gypsy Jazz guitar. Mario believed that plastic was a more practical material for a guitar than wood because it would resonate more consistently and not change with age. They are a full 24 1/2" scale and are very playable. These plastic guitars are becoming very rare as they are harder to find intact. Many of them have broken over the years as the plastic and glue has become brittle. I have seen many with joint separation around the machine head area and unfortunately they are very difficult to fix. If you don't get one in very good condition you may find it a nightmare to repair. I am slowly collecting parts for these guitars in the hope that those who are trying to restore some of the broken ones will have some support.

RESTORING OR REPAIRING A PLASTIC MACCAFERRI GUITAR.

The white face plate on the headstock is often a very big problem when it separates from the headstock. The face plate plastic appears to be a much more brittle plastic and yet the face plate is very important to the strength of the head stock. 

Everything can look good and intact after repairing this area until the guitar is tuned to pitch and then one sees the stress that the face plate has to endure. The head stock actually flexes quite a bit at the nut area as the face plate separates and comes loose. The stress then moves to the white plastic tuner gear housing inside which can eventually come apart also. So the whole face plate and headstock and tuner housing mechanism has to be glued very strongly together to obtain maximum support.

The stress on the faceplate has to be spread over a larger area of the face plate to take a lot of stress just from the edges of the headstock and face plate which can't handle the stress on its own as the plastic and glue become old and brittle. The gear mechanism is very clever but as I have already said, is under a lot of stress and the first thing to do if it comes apart is to secure it well inside the headstock, as the face plate won't be able stand the stress of holding that mechanism together under load when the guitar is brought up to pitch.

The first mistake I made was trying to use glue that I could separate later. This was when I discovered how important the stress problem was. I found that by gluing a piece of timber into the headstock at the nut end and another at the top of the headstock allowed me to support the gluing of the face plate and held it all in place to spread the stress evenly.

Finding and using the right kind of glue for this project is very important. I found that fast drying glues like super glues etc did not give me enough time to spread the glue over the large area and then line it up correctly. So I went looking for a slow drying glue and the best I came up with was a Polyurethane glue made by Vise but I have sine found that Titebond also make a similar glue. Whilst it is slow drying it needs to be clamped very firmly like most slow drying glues. It is very difficult to work with as it foams out of the joints and is very difficult to clean up. However it is very strong and served my purpose.  

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