Guitar repair: This too was hit by falling humidity – Part III

This instrument has come to me off and on for something so minor and insignificant that I never charged the ‘customer’, nor did I ever feel compelled to document the work done on it. Those visits could also be that the owner of this guitar was trying to ‘suss me out’, for we had long conversations regarding guitar upkeep, this and that. And I understand that sentiment completely. You don’t just hand over your Epiphone Dove Pro to anybody!


This time when it came in, the owner was plagued by a buzz around the 8th-9th fret area, on almost all the strings. Again, I smiled compulsively and knowingly.


This is from a few evenings ago. If the relative humidity is down to 18%, it is bound to play havoc with all acoustic instruments.

The owner had also brought in the instrument because he wished to have the plastic nut on it


swapped with a bone nut. I remember pointing it out to him in our previous conversations.

I showed him a set of bone bridgepins and he chose these


to go on his instrument. (Not a very good photograph, but it is a abalone dot with a gold circle around it).

There were other issues too. The ‘B’ string had chewed up fretwires 1 to 6 in its path (the usual culprit).

Along with these, there were itty-bitty things like a dried fretboard and bridge and taking a look at the hardware on the headstock.

With the owner still around, I played with the truss rod some and when I was satisfied, handed over the instrument to him. Though he loved the change, I cautioned him not to look for perfection in the coming two months, and to just bide his time.

After two months, the humidity will start rising and reach such levels that it gets oppressive. That’s when acoustic instruments will demand another change. That’s the fun of living in North India! Right now, it is hot and dry, then it will be hot and wet, then it will be wet and cool, then cool and dry, then cold and dry and lastly cold and wet! Ladies and gentlemen, you have to play with those truss rods!

Back to the Dove, I dumped the strings and went to work on the fretwires



That’s after levelling and crowing the first six fretwires and going through six grits of sandpaper on each one of them. You may still be able to see a little dimple along the fretwires where the ‘B’ string had dug in, but that’s harmless, and taking that out would have meant doing all the fretwires. Not required right now.

That done, a coat of the love potion was mandatory on the fretboard and the bridge.

Then I turned my attention to the headstock and snugged up the hardware there. The buttons of the tuning machines were a tad too tight, or so I thought. So, I loosened them up a little, till they turned just fine.

Next, major work: bridgepins. I tired fitting the pins in their holes but they would not fit, so I had to ream them. But it seems I forgot to capture that on camera (so like me)!


Once they fit perfectly, I began installing the new nut. The nut was shaved down to the right height and then each slot was worked upon so that each string had the near perfect action at the first fret.

The owner had chosen these (after a little prodding) to go on his guitar. I had argued that he being a performing artiste, would love the bigger bang 13s delivered for his buck.


Here’s how these came together



After everything was done, I was buffing out the body, when I noticed these scratches where the playing arm elbow would normally rest.


Wonder if you can see it…it’s just after the reflection of the light bulb. Anyway, I didn’t do anything with it and decided that I would ask the owner and then buff out those marks.

Maybe next time!

But remember this was a humidity patient? Well, this wasn’t the last.

Betcha, there’s more of ’em comin’!


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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