This troubled Takamine!

This troubled six-string came in with the complaint that the action had got particularly high on it. During routine inspection it became clear why.

Apologies for the bad shot but this was the best among three or four that I took!

The bridge was lifting badly all round the end facing the end block. When a bridge lifts like this, the action is bound to increase, making playing the instrument a pain. In order to correct it, the bridge had to be taken off and reglued to the top.

But to be fair, this instrument was a mystery to me. The headstock read ‘Takamine’ (pronounced ta – ka – mee – nay), a respected Japanese brand founded in May, 1962, but the label inside the soundhole read:


‘Made in China’! Made in China??


I had a job to do and the quality or the make of an instrument should never be a concern, and it never is.

As I continued to inspect the guitar, I saw the usual things: plastic saddle and nut, grime collected over months of playing, huge divets in the fretwires, and of course, the instrument needed new strings.

The grime and the divets in the fretwires
Some more grime and the plastic nut

However, the biggest surprise awaited me when I took the bridge off. It popped off with little resistance but both the top of the guitar as well as the underside of the bridge were coated with an odd, shiny substance, which resembled varnish. Only, varnish can never function as glue!DSC01391DSC01393DSC01392One look at it and I was grimacing for I knew what lay ahead: hours of scraping and scratching and cleaning before it was completely rid of the goo. Exactly two hours and forty-five minutes later, the bridge and the area on the top where it would be stuck, looked like this – finally!DSC01395I glued on the bridge and clamped it down to be left for 48 hours like that. In the meantime, I went about working on the dented fretwires.

Only the first four or five needed attention and so I worked only on them, some financial respite for the customer.

Also, the plastic saddle and nut were replaced with bone elements that would not only last a lifetime but provide quality sound too.

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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