YAMAGULL v1.0 will be a hybrid acoustic guitar, made with the light resonant body from a Red label 1971 Yamaha FG-110 (000 size, Red label), and the wider neck from a 1986 Seagull Menestrel.
The 1971 FG-110 is well played but in good shape, but needs a neck reset, the bridge is .24” thick and the bridge plate is chewed up. The mahogany on the sides are flamed. It only weighs 3.37 lbs, vs. 4.18 lbs. for the Seagull, or nearly 5 lbs. for most modern guitars. The FG-110 is noticeably VERY light. I’m hoping the YAMAGULL is very close to the same weight.
1986 Seagull Menestrel (also known as the Minstrel, made 1985 to 1992) is an all laminate guitar with a square Martin style headstock. Unfortunately it has a sunken top, loose/broken braces, and didn’t respond to internal rehumidification. I saw the top was sunken in when I bought it, but I knew I could use the neck for this project.
If this turns out well there may be a YAMAGULL v2.0, made from a 1974 FG-110 and a 1994 Seagull S6, with the traditional Seagull headstock.
But there are a few difficulties in doing this. The Yamaha has a glued set neck, the Seagull has a bolt on neck. The Yamaha body with be converted to bolt on. Also, the scale lengths are slightly different. Yamaha’s scale length (by measurement to the 12th fret) is 24.96”, Seagull is 24.84”. That’s a 1/8” difference. I either have to take 1/8” off of the heel, or move the saddle location, or a combination of both. The Yamaha also needed a neck reset, so I will probably have to adjust that on the Seagull neck. I think I’m going to have to do 3 neck resets (steps to check the scale length and intonation) to get it right. And the finish on the Seagull neck is very light, vs. the dark finish on the Yamaha. I’m going to have to sand and refinish the Seagull neck, after the whole process is done.
I’ve taken the neck off of the Seagull and removed the heavy closed tuners. One of the favorable traits of the FG-110 is its lightness. So I bought Grover 97-18 open tuners (0.35 lbs./set), vs. the Yamaha strip tuners (0.31 lbs.), and the Seagull tuners (0.6 lbs.).
There are a few modifications needed to be done to the Seagull neck, other than a neck reset and scale length correction. The shape of the headstock will be slightly altered to look more like the Yamaha’s, remove 1/16” from the thick heel cap so it sits flush with the bottom of the guitar, and shorten the fretboard extension slightly.
Installing a wider neck would be worthless without widening the very narrow string spacing! So the nut will be replaced to go from 1.37” to 1.50” string spacing (center to center), and the bridge will be replaced to widen the saddle string spacing from 1.97” to 2.25”. And make a new bone saddle.
I’ll probably make a YAMAGULL decal for the top of the headstock. And make a YAMAGULL label to go inside the guitar.
I need to finish a couple of neck resets before starting another major project. Hopefully I’ll get to it in January.