This week in the repair room…

Margret from Spokane, WA writes…” I just can’t get enough! This is edge-of-your-seat-reading. Riveting stuff, really! I’m not an imaginary person.”

Thanks Margret. Here’s some slightly interesting pieces from this week’s BATTLE ON THE BENCH – MAN vs GUITAR (we’re waiting on a return call from A&E or the Discovery channel).

This great looking Jazzmaster is a nicely done Allparts-caster in Seafoam Green with an amazing feeling bound neck for added cool-points. One problem, o.k. 2 problems. It rattles (and has a high action). Now, Jazzmaster and Jaguar owners always complain about these issues, which is the only reason we’re boring you with this guitar.   The cause of these issues was that (1) the bridge was all the way down flush with the body, eliminating any break angle toward the tailpiece (proper tension on the saddles), (2) poor neck angle and (3) improper bridge radius to match the fingerboard.

First we raised the bridge for better break angle, which most people try to avoid because these bridges rock on a machine screw that rests in a dished-out stud.  We counter this with a nylon shim that hold the post firmly in place.  This simple move makes the bridge feel like it’s anchored in without any permanent alterations.  Next we put a little foam behind the saddles to absorb any rattles from the springs or screws, since the screws don’t go all the way to the other side like a Tune-o-Matic.

After shimming to achieve the desired neck angle, we lacquered the wooden shim to give it a more finished look. It took a pretty extreme shim to get the right angle on this one, and a business card just didn’t cut it. And since we’re not barbarians, we couldn’t just leave an empty void visible in the neck pocket.

After fine tuning the setup, this Jazzmaster plays great with no more jangle than ever intended. Tuning stability and stustain where also improved. And with the steeper string angle, you can even bend strings without them jumping out of the saddle slots. Imagine that. Hooray!

Here’s a fun one. The owner of this Gibson BFG Bass had an issue of the middle pickup rising up when playing. He used the pickup cover as a thumb rest, as one would do, but it was causing the height screw to come out of the body. These pickups are direct mounted into the wood and the tension was more than they could bear.

So we gave it a matching thumbrest…

It’s angled like a pickup ring would be to fit the top and be parallel to the pickup height. We also cut out a spot to be able to adjust the pickup. It’s held in place by two wooden dowels angled in through the sides. We wanted to keep it small and inconspicuous (no big screw heads), and we didn’t have much wood to dig into.  The soft maple rest was finished in satin ebony lacquer and the slots where cut to simulate the extreme router marks in the BFG’s top.  Anyway, I thought it was cool.

Here we are with the kids at the Grand Canyon…Oh sorry. This is a nice 12 string that’s on the border of needing a neck reset. So the saddle’s been shave way down to lower the action and needed some slots cut for my favorite thing, break angle to the bridge pins. When you lower the saddle too much, the string almost passes straight over into the pins with minimal contact. Without good down pressure on the saddle folks, it’s just not going to sound good. Anyway, the reason this one’s even remotely interesting is that when we cut the channels, we found out that this nice bridge was made of pine or some other really light colored wood that didn’t want to leave clean lines even with a nice sharp saw.  So we used this excuse to pull out the Dremel and dish those channels for an uptown look. Then we finished the whole bridge in Extra Dark Walnut lacquer.

I think it classed the joint up a little.  Now it sounds and looks better, and doesn’t that make us all FEEL better. I mean, doesn’t it?

Thanks for looking.

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2 Responses to “This week in the repair room…”

  1. HI I am a Gibson BFG bass user. The pickups in my bass is also raising. Is there any possible to solve this problem by myself? How can i send my bass to you to solve the problem?

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