I have mentioned this before but I will say it again. When you bring your acoustic guitar to me, of course, I will listen to the complaint that you have, but I will also assess the instrument on my own, to find if there are other faults in it, which may become a bigger problem if not dealt with immediately/soon.
That is my job! However, there are ethical issues involved here (personally speaking). If I find something and I tell the owner that it needs to be tackled, I have to be very correct in my choice of words, my tone, and even in the intensity of my gaze. Just a little too emphatic or forceful and the owner may get a feeling, ‘Oh, he’s trying to rack up a bill’!!!!!!!!!
Thus, I try to put it across the issue and the cost as calmly and as matter-of-factly as I possibly can. To those who understand, they forego pain in the future. Those who don’t, are sure to return. But, if it’s a ‘yes’, it’s a yes, and if it’s a ‘No’, so be it!
This guitar came to me
I had not heard of it, and though a laminate one, it seemed like a sturdily built instrument. It was also an electro-acoustic
and it had a rather neat fretboard.
The fretboard…well, there was enough skin, body oils, caked dust and grime to make me wince, but…
and the nut and saddle had seen better days
Look carefully at the photos above. Of course, you can see the paper stuck under the ‘B’ string on the saddle, but that little wisp of paper on the ‘e’ string, near the nut, was also IN the nut slot, endeavouring to keep the string afloat. If you look with even more care, you will see that all the slots on the nut are chewed up bad. And so, the plastic nut and saddle had to go and get replaced by a bone nut and saddle.
What the owner did not know was that the bridge was lifting – the last picture with that chit of paper shows it by how much. More importantly, and I don’t know whether you’ll be able to spot it, the bridge was showing signs of a split just beginning to take shape. While there is a long crack taking shape just in front of the bridgepins (and between the saddle), there were at least three minor cracks taking shape between the bridgepins. If you can spot them, shout ‘Eureka’!!!!!!!!!!!
So, I told the owner what was happenning and he was polite in letting me know that he was willing to take his chances! And that is exactly the point where all discussion about those problems was dropped.
It is certain though that the bridge on this guitar is going to pop off. Whether that happens before or a bridge split, remains to be seen.
The rest was routine. Measure, sand, replace, some new strings, and it was done!
And yes, I did clean the fretboard with a lot of elbow grease and some ‘love potion’. Here’s a look at it
The owner was pretty pleased with how the instrument sounded and left thanking me!