Guitar repair – The mystery of the missing saddle and a classical set-up!

It is always such a pleasure to know that not all people owning classical guitars (slotted headstocks and nylon strings) bought the instrument by mistake.

90% of classical guitars that come to me are people wanting an ‘upgrade’ – steel strings instead of nylon and other such. They wish to sling the guitar over their shoulders and rock out. It takes a lot of patient talking for them to realise that what they own is an altogether different beast from the one they were dreaming of owning.

And so, it is a pleasure when a person comes along who knows exactly how to hold a classical guitar, how to play it and what to play on it.

One such young man landed up at the Lucknow Guitar Garage with a peculiar problem. He had the strings in place but somehow, the saddle had dropped out and had gone missing! That was a new one, even for me.

And, of course, there were other minor irritants: the string ends on the headstock could have been a whole lot neater.

The guitar itself could have been a lot cleaner – the black spots that you see (if you can), are basically dirt deposited on the top of the guitar.

And, of course, the fretboard was a filth dump!

Also, the owner wished for the action on the first fret to come down: so, it was basically a set-up and clean-up job.

With the strings off, I went to work and it is truly amazing to realise how a little bit of time and some elbow grease can make your guitar look like a totally different instrument.

Then came the harder bit of fitting bone in the saddle slot. The saddle blank was a whole lot taller and wider than the slot. Incremental reductions in both dimensions left the saddle standing exactly where I needed it to be.

A fresh set of strings and all was well with the world, only except I broke a string!!!

The owner was quite forgiving though and said he had already ordered a fresh set of strings online. He was happy with where the action sat with the five strings.

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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