Spotting a problem early saves you heartache & big bucks!

This Washburn was in recently for a set-up and the owner wanted to get the action reduced a bit (and the headstock photograph is the ‘after’ shot. Forgot to take a ‘before’ shot!!!)

The action was high. At the first fret, on the bass side, it was more than 0.035″! How do you measure with a feeler gauge? Keep using incrementally thicker ‘feelers’ and stop when one pushes a string up. The ‘feeler’ just before the last one gives you the action of the string at the fret.

And there was this problem. The plastic saddle had taken as much tension as it could take and had buckled under pressure. And if you think these were heavy strings, you’re wrong.

So, naturally, I had to pull the saddle and nut and put in a solid bone nut and saddle.

If I remember correctly, this instrument was just a couple of years old, which the owner had been playing constantly. It was strange, then, that he had not noticed this

This beautifully figured piece of wood is actually not a piece of wood, it is Richlite. Look it up!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not blaming the crack on Richlite; it happens to the best of rosewoods and ebonies. In this particular case, either the bridgepins were a little too thick, or, the bridgepin holes were a little too small.

Even the fretboard was Richlite.

But, thankfully, the neck was very straight.

I began work by attending to the crack on the bridge, filling, sanding and finishing. When I was done, even I was surprised with the results

Almost no trace of there ever having been a crack! To its credit, Richlite sands even better than wood!

With the new nut and saddle in place and with a fresh set of strings thrown on, here’s how this boomer turned out

And here’s another look at the repaired bridge. Boy, I’m still surprised!


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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