Guitar repair – Another Yamaha, expect more problems (down the line)!!

And you all know how much I love the lower end product range of Yamaha, here in India! If you don’t, search for ‘Yamaha’ on this blogsite and read on!

And because I love the F310, F310P and the F280 so much, another one of those landed up on my work table!

It seemed that the young man who brought me the instrument had left it standing a day too long. A cursory inspection revealed that the guitar hadn’t been played much and the only sign that it was more than a couple of years old, was the belt rash (belt buckle scratches) on the back: a photograph of which I forgot to take.

He had brought in the guitar with the ‘e’ and ‘G’ strings broken and the others loose (first photo), and with the complaint that when up to full tension, the action at the 12th fret was “5 mm”!!!

‘5 mm! 5 mm?,’ I asked him incredulously, and he nodded in affirmation.

However, there was no way to check that with the old strings and I had no other option but to work with new ones. The young man chose these

So, the old strings were taken off and while the strings were off, it gave me a chance to get the dirt and grime off areas that seemingly had never been touched before.

Also, while the strings were off, it gave me a chance to look into the belly of the beast. 

Again, I was unable to put my finger on the type of wood used for the bridgeplate, but what really shocked me was the gouge where the ‘A’ string ball-end would rest. It certainly didn’t look like wear, and even if there is an element of doubt, I must say that it looked like a manufacturing defect.

How long before an ‘A’ string ball end chews through the bridgeplate and the top, is hard to say, but yes, it happening is a distinct possibility. And that is why the headline of this post.   

For now, the guitar had been cleaned, polished and oiled, and new strings were thrown on. As is their wont, even new strings are liable to breaking and so, the unlikeliest of all strings – the ‘B’ string broke. That was replaced and the action was measured at the 12th fret.  The young man hadn’t been lying when he called the action at 5 mm. It was very close. Measurements were taken on the bass and treble sides, some arithmetic and some numbers were arrived at.

The strings were loosened and the saddle was pulled out. The numbers arrived at were transferred to the saddle. This amount had to be removed from the saddle. Now, remember this was a plastic saddle we were working with. A bone saddle I could easily have thrown on my sanding machine and be done with in a matter of seconds. A plastic saddle needed more care because the high speed of the machine heats and melts the saddle more than cuts it.

And so it was sanding by hand, using elbow grease.

Some 20 minutes later, the saddle was ready to be tried on the guitar. I did and the action was near perfect. (My math teacher from school would have been proud!) 

And of course, the final look at the instrument

When the owner came to pick up the guitar, I think his comment was ‘Feels like a whole new instrument, man!’

I’ll take that as a compliment, thank you!


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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