Another opportunity for me to impress upon you the need for an initial set-up on a new acoustic guitar.
Of course, one can always get a set-up done a few years down the line too, but by then string tension would have changed a lot of the instrument’s geometry, and you may not get the same results as you would get with the guitar still new.
How I explain it to customers and people interested is with the example of getting a shirt or a dress stitched. The tailor takes measurements, cuts and rough sews the garment. Then you take a trial, point out things that you would like changed. Often, these changes are in millimetres, but they make all the difference to how the garment sits on you.
Acoustic guitars are not very different, mass produced as they are. Each and every instrument requires a set-up for it to play the best that it can. With big-name Martins, Gibsons and Guilds the adjustments made may be very small but still those have to be dialled in for the instrument to give true pleasure.
About Tanglewood, it is a relatively young guitar manufacturing, British firm making ukuleles, classical instruments, banjos and guitars. It is possible that you may not have heard about it but the brand does get exported to 60 countries, and in Britain, it has quite a following. Read up on it!
The one that came to me, was six-eight months old and it had been played. And when I say it had been played, I mean it had been PLAYED!!!!
I started with the nut and saddle, plastic nothings that did nothing for sound transfer and sustain and replaced them with bone elements.
And then I worked on the fretboard and bridge. After the fretboard had been cleaned, I even burnished the fretwires some and made the fretboard look that much pretty.
The owner’s choice of strings was this and so they went on the guitar and it was set-up for those strings.
Meanwhile, I must tell you that I have acquired a new friend to help me in my work. We’re still getting to know each other but I think it should be a good partnership.
When the owner came to pick up his guitar, he paid me the biggest compliment yet. As he took it in his hands and strummed it once, an involuntary ‘Ahh!’ escaped his mouth. After he had played it a bit, he just said, ‘Amazing’!