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Acoustic Guitar Setup and Repair


Within limits I do my own tweaking. I can mess around with saddles and truss rods quite happily confident that “I know what I’m doing”. The only setup issues that I would want to take to a professional would be anything to do with the nut. I’ve never felt the desire to get into the ungluing and gluing side of things or to invest in nut slot files and other accoutrements associated with minor guitar surgery – partly through laziness and partly through the knowledge demonstrated by efforts into picture hanging around the house that my DIY skills are not part of my oeuvre.

Now, as every acoustic guitar player knows, we occasionally get plagued by mysterious rattles, buzzes, creaks, and squeaks which emanate from our beloved instruments. These can reduce sensitive souls to tears as they poke around and shake about their guitars in attempts to track down the source of the offending sound. Leaving well alone is not an option because these sounds are invariably of a sort that would drive the most robustly constituted musician crazy. So more than once I’ve had my forearm deep inside a guitar via the soundhole in a manner reminiscent of a farmer delivering a cow of a newborn calf trying to figure out if a brace might be becoming loose. I’ve even invested in an inspection light and mirror that would have been more suited to an ear, nose and throat clinic. Sometimes I’ll attack the tuners with spanners and screwdrivers in attempts to make sure there’s nothing loose that’s not meant to be. Yanking strings to make sure bridge pins aren’t the cause of my misery is also compulsory at these times. These were all inevitably futile gestures in establishing the structural integrity and other aspects of the health of my instrument. Voodoo and witchcraft would have been a better investment of my time.

My biggest fear has always been that the truss rod deep inside the neck was resonating in some evil way designed to make me learn the trumpet. The remedy for this (so I’ve read) is to drill a hole in the fingerboard and squirt some oil through it. I’m not going there. I’m also not going to buy a plane and take it to my fingerboard in attempt achieve what is referred to as “dressing the frets”. At least not without being under sedation. That’d be me ““ not the guitar.

Anyhoo, let me pass on a couple of links to websites that are riveting reads in the area of guitar setup and repairs. If it’s possible to become hypochondriacal on behalf of one’s guitar, then these sites will induce it.

These folks are among the top in their field and I commend the information to be found on their sites to you. I, for one, have learned a great deal from them. Mostly about not messing too much with my guitars…

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