Guitar repair – A novel problem in a classical Alhambra!

As you might have guessed, this was a classical guitar that came to me with a unique problem.

But first, Alhambra. This is a 58-year old Spanish guitar-making company that has made a name for itself in these few years (Few? CF Martin and Co was established in 1883!!). The firm makes classical, flamenco and steel string guitars but is known more for its classical and flamenco models.

The guitar came in with a peculiar problem: one that I saw for the first time. Its gear on one of the tuning machines had lost a couple of teeth due to which tuning issues had arisen.

Eighteen years ago, when I had decided that guitar maintenance is what I wished to do after superannuating, I had started to buy things that I ‘may’ need. One of these things was tuner gears. For 18 years those two dozen gears have quietly sat in the box I kept them in, waiting for a customer to arrive, until he finally came knocking.

But these were three-in-a-row tuners (as is usually the case in classical guitars). To work on a single tuner you had to dismantle the entire assembly on one side of the headstock.

This was fine work involving small screws. Ideal for pulling out the magnifying lamp.

This also meant taking the strings off on that side. In a steel-string guitar, I would just loosen the strings and pull them out from the bridge…but…

…they were so neatly tied and the bridge was so pretty that I instead pulled them off from the other end (Read I was just plain lazy!).

After the replacement of the gear, I replaced the tuner assembly, put all the screws back, rewound the strings on the posts, and that was it.

There was another problem. If you look closely at the photograph above, the tuner button on the key on which the gear was replaced (E), was also ready to fall to pieces. The tuner button of the ‘A’ string too was shattered. The owner wanted those replaced too but I do not keep tuner buttons: too many varieties in design, shape, size and colour for a small set-up like mine to stock.

I asked the owner to purchase them and bring them which I would replace. 



Amit Newton

An experienced guitar tech with over 10 years of experience working on acoustic Gibsons and Martins in the Gulf region. There is nothing that cannot be repaired; the only consideration is the price at which it comes. And yet, if there is sentiment attached, no price is too high! WhatsApp/Call me: 7080475556 email me:

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