Do you believe in fate? I have begun to, after last Sunday!
Remember, last Sunday, I talked about how you can clean and maintain your acoustic guitar with household items/products?
Around noon, a person landed at my doorstep with not one but two guitars that looked as if they had been excavated from under years of debris! And no, he had not read my post. He didn’t even know I wrote a blog!
Never one to refuse a guitar that comes to me, I took one look at them and thought to myself, ‘Now, what have you got yourself into?’ There was a truck-full of muck on them that would take decent time and effort to take off. Strangely, the photograph on top does not quite depict the state it was in.
Here are some more for you to relish the job I had on my hands.
Short of completely dismantling the guitar, I did almost everything. There were loose tuning machines because they had lost the little holding screws behind the headstock of the guitar; the strings in them, probably Adam had put in. Now, Adam managed to tie knots into the strings to hold them in the tuning posts, while the extra length of string had been coiled into modern art at the headstock (my favourite peeve)!
If that was not all, it was an instrument with a floating bridge. Look at the photograph of the bridge. A floating bridge, as the name suggests, is not fixed but floating. It just sits on the top of the guitar and is held in place by the strings running over it. Usually they are adjustable, but the problem with such bridges is that their position is everything; a fraction of a millimetre difference left or right, or up and down on the top can play havoc with the intonation of the guitar.
So, the first thing I did was to mark exactly where the bridge would go once the guitar top had been cleaned up. I used tape to mark the bridge area and then set about cleaning the guitar.
I decided that there was no place better than the headstock to start from. So, off came the remnants of strings and in came the mug of hot water in which a few drops of household dish-washing liquid had been mixed. An old toothbrush and lots of elbow grease was also used in the cleaning of this contraption.
With the dust and grime finally off the headstock and the body, it was time to turn my attention to the fretboard of the guitar. The problem with fretboards – all fretboards – is that while the body and the rest of the guitar is protected by paint, or at least a thin layer of varnish, the fretboard and bridge are made of bare wood, and thus, need careful handling.
It took me over an hour to clean just the fretboard, all the frets and the fretmarkers. Different grits of sandpaper were used to clean, polish and shine the frets before coating the fretboard and bridge with boiled linseed oil.
The sad part is that I got so engrossed with the job at hand that I forgot to take photographs. This one shows the body cleaned and polished but not the fretboard.
Then, as I put everything together, I decided to give the bushings on the headstock a little extra care. A chrome polish did the trick nicely.
A wait of 5 – 10 minutes and the bushings buffed out just fine.
The owner had also wanted Elixir coated strings to go on this guitar, and so, Elixir strings it was. Looking at the nut, my initial reading was that the slots in it were too low and the strings would buzz. But, thanks to the zero fret (the very first fret almost stuck to the nut) there were no buzzes, while the action was amazingly low.
I wish I had taken photographs of the finished job!!!!!