Protégé SM-3 | Through the Years


Protégé SM-3 was my first ever guitar purchase off Carousell back in 2016.


The seller wasn't completely honest with the guitar condition. But as a rookie buyer, I bought the beaten guitar still.


Some information about SM-3:


Medium jumbo shape/ laminated Spruce top with sunburst.


Laminated indian rosewood back and sides; Mahogany neck.


  Rosewood bridge and fingerboard.


The seller had tried to replace a spoilt machine head with a recycled one, mindlessly puncturing the headstock with extra holes.


So I had it sent in to Lionel @ Maestro, got the tuning heads replaced, holes patched with toothpicks, and later restrung with Elixirs.


After that, the guitar plays sweetly with a balanced and pleasing tone.



Being of full-laminated wood construct, it is lacking in volume but the playability is simply sublime.


Plus I didn't have to worry about humidity issues so SM-3 was perched perennially on the rack, always ready for some action.


Fast-forward 2 years, more well-read and slightly bolder, I decided to put my non-existent woodworking skills to the test by fitting on a Fishman Presys 301.


While it is a utility guitar, I wasn't prepared to lose it. So I read up extensively and had a dry run before laying my drill bits and blades on it.


Masking taped with the Presys template.


Window to the internal landscape. Scalloped parabolic braces with dust clumps.


Took the chance to lemon-oil the fretboard & #0000 steel-wool the frets.


Crafted new bone saddle with 2mm shaved off the bottom to accommodate the under-saddle piezo pickup.


It works!



Another year past, even more well-read and bolder, I decided to again put my still non-existent woodworking skills to the test by carving out a soundport.


And not just a perfectly circular one which would be much easier. But an aesthetically pleasing angled oval shape like his Maestro custom and private series counterparts.



Again I read up extensively and had a dry run before laying my drill bits and files on it.


Mission accomplished!


Through the arbor.



Applied superglue around the soundhole as finish followed by wet-sanding it from 250 through to 10000 grit.


At one point the surface was so heavily scratched I had doubts whether it'd return to its original state. Thankfully with Novus plastic shine, it did!




Project completed! Not the most elegant of soundholes but I'm pretty satisfied.




After putting on new Elixirs PB, the guitar sounds turbo-charged with the sound port. Tone is grander and more resonant. Love it!



Update (21/08/19): Found some Gotoh 501 lookalike tuners so decided to glam it up a lil.



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