Today James takes another timeout to talk about different types of buzz like fret buzz and where it comes from. He talks about what solutions might be available to resolve fret buzz and the different ways to determine if your guitar is buzzing or not! Buzz can come from the nut, saddle(s) or frets themselves! Sometimes the elusive loose truss rod can make buzz on a guitar unbearable! Have you tightened your tuning machine nuts down? Sometimes the washers supporting them will rattle with string vibration too! It’s everywhere!
Nut slots are a big one. Slots that are cut too deep or too wide can make a string vibrate on top of a fret or in inside the widened slot making a harsh buzz tone. Slots that aren’t cut a proper angle can create that ‘sitar’ sound you never wanted too! Lets watch…
The guitar featured in this video is for sale here!
Today James takes a closer look at guitar string deflection. It’s rarely mentioned in most ‘turn and burn’ shops but is often the first thing we look at at James Hood Guitar Repair. A couple thousandths of an inch can mean all the difference, believe it or not. James shows us his technique in determining string deflection and touches on where he likes to see string deflection on the guitars he works on.
Guitar string deflection is the empty space between the bottom of a given guitar string and the top of a fret on a guitar. Minimizing this space while still giving the string enough room to vibrate without touching the fret can be the difference between a guitar that feels terrible and one that feels great. This is true for a $60 guitar and a $6,000 guitar. If your guitar feels uncomfortable during play, or ‘rough’, string deflection may be a consideration.
Just a side note that the strat featured is for sale here!
Ready to learn the intricacies of this deceiving simple folk instrument? Deering Banjo Company talks about a few things to keep in mind before you pull the trigger.
Skip the usual aesthetics we’re all drawn toward and tune in to the features that are essential for a beginners first banjo. Just like any other instrument, you want to feel the instrument in playing position and make sure that all of the features it has are easy to access at the very least. Things like ease of fingering and string spacing should be considered, weight, general sound and tone. Deering also suggests that it is important to make sure that the instrument manufacturer itself will have clear information on how to get ahold of them with questions either through mail on a website.
Focus in to the details of the construction of your prospective banjo. Do some research on the different materials and hardware that are used to build a banjo. Identify a cheap version of a nice instrument and vice versa. Note what materials are used in the instruments of the players that you like to listen to. Doing so will ensure a more predictable, enjoyable experience.
You wouldn’t know it, but a lot of revered, well known professional banjos are kinda tough to play. Beginner banjos are very easy to play. They have slender necks and the fretting is much easier to accomplish. This goes back to making sure you feel your prospect beginner banjo and making sure that this element is apart of its construction.
And make sure you use it! Registration cards for warranty on your new beginner banjo should be completely filled out, copied for personal record and sent to the manufacturer. An online option will likely be available as well.
Isn’t the internet awesome? Want to hear from other beginners that maybe didn’t follow some of the tips that are listed here and their experiences? Customize your search to talk specifically about your concerns or hesitations before starting your journey. There’s a very good chance that you’re not the only one that felt that way!
Deering Goodtime Classic Special Openback with Scoop
$959.00Add to cart
Deering Goodtime II with Resonator
$699.00Add to cart
Deering Goodtime Openback Banjo
$499.00Add to cart
Deering Goodtime Special Open Back Banjo
$989.00Add to cart
Deering Goodtime Ukelele Banjo
$499.00Add to cart
Get into the groove!
This old Ovation Tornado came into the shop and it has seen some action over the years. The tail piece that retains the botany style teen decided to break at some point in its life so the customer asked us to fabricate a reproduction of the original. I took a trip to the hardware store to see if by chance I could find the right sheet of brass for the job. After looking for a while I finally found a suitable sheet of brass in a hardware store in my home town of fallbrook. I quickly took the sheet to a local fabricator which shall remain nameless. After weeks of waiting for the tail piece to come back from fabrication, I finally picked it up. The fabricator said he had not counter sunk the mounting holes or bent the piece so I decided to take this on my self. Now keep in mind, a 0.60 thick piece of brass is not as easy to bend as you might think, especially if you don’t have a hydrolic bending press. You better believe that I made good use of my Stewart MacDonald nut vice for this job as well has having to build some jiggs durring the process. Finally after a day of figuring out how to bend the brass at the right angles and then around the top of the tremelo and then tucked under it, I proceeded to install the entire system back on to this sweet 1968 Ovation Tornado. Bam! It fit just like not a dream ;-( totally sucked! I couldn’t believe it, why weren’t my mounting holes lining up? Dang it! I didn’t take into account the last bend that tucked in underneath the tail of the ovation tremelo. I had to ditch the entire thing and make one myself from scratch. I was bummed about this extra work I was going to be doing on this job that we just lost money on but when things like this happen you just have to eat it, learn from it and move on to the next job. I was successful in making a new tail piece on my own. It took another day but hey what do you do? Its not like me to give up, I must, must, must find a solution and that solution better kick ass or I’m not going to do it. After much Vanessa, files, sand paper, polishing and bending I nailed it and it looks good and functions as it should. After getting the tail piece fabrication done for the old ovation tornado, I found some major electronic issues, but that’s a blog for another day.
What the customer said:
“At what point does a repair become a restoration? This Ovation Electric purchased in 1967 has followed me throughout life. It has seen it all! Some 50 years later, much like me it has cracks and dents, damage and blemish. Most recently the tail piece completely snapped off the guitar and I was certain that it was the end of the road for this old friend. I brought it to James and he took it on as a “repair”. You can find a part of an old 67 Volkswagen, but try to find a part for a 67 Ovation. James ended up having to fabricate the part out of bronze. Originally he sent it to an outside fabricator, but unhappy with the result, he ended up fabricating the part himself. The result was astonishing and only a really trained observer would know it was not original. In the process the pots had to be changed out, the neck and bridge reset. At the end of the process the guitar was restored not just repaired. It is a beautiful instrument in appearance and in sound quality! James did an outstanding job and his commitment to excellence is rare in the world today. He is a craftsman with heart and truly cares about his work. Thank you James!”
Peter Buswell, Carlsbad CA.
This Gibson Les Paul peghead repair turned out real nice considering how much of a pain it was to fix. These are some of the toughest guitar repairs to handle simply because the peghead is separated from the guitar completely. Our job is to reattach it and make sure everything lines up. The most common peghead breaks that we see are on gibson guitars, this is due to the angle of the peghead. The peg head is pitched back at a specific angle, and this makes it a little more susceptible to breakage. Even if the guitar is in a hard shell case, the neck or peg head can be broken if the case falls over, or is miss handled in shipping, or in the airline baggage. I have literally seen a Goodall acoustic guitar splintered to pieces even though it was flying in a Calton guitar case, but this is a topic for another blog post. There are a couple different ways to approach a guitar repair like this, however the most important thing is to give the customer what they want. Some customers are happy with just a structural repair and others want to make the repair look factory. This was the case on this repair, however the customer opted to have us refinish the front of the peghead in black instead of gold. Furthermore, we have actually had customers come back to us and say that their guitar sounds better after the peghead repair was completed. I really don’t understand the physics as to why however, what we do know is that the glue joint is generally stronger than the wood around the area that broke, maybe this has something to do with it. I think we should have the mythbusters test this theory for us :0)
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Watch me refinish this Fender Stratocaster from 1957 in this video I put together. Its a three color burst and i will go over some of the process I use when working with the stain on the body as well as taking you inside my finishing booth and letting you see how I spray the color coats on the guitar.
Electric guitar pickup questions are answered in this article. Learn why magnets are so important to your electric guitar tone!
The peg head on this old Martin guitar had broken off once upon a time and been lost. In desperation the owner decided to try his hand at fabricating a peg head of some kind to get the old guitar playing once again. Well they were able to fabricate a make shift peg head, and it got them by for a while but eventually they decided to get this guitar repaired.
This old martin had a refinish job done with a very thick finish, probably a poly of some sort. The finish had cracked in several places. Dark lines were left on the top of the guitar as a result of the cracks, so this finish was removed carefully and the neck was carefully removed and replaced with one we fabricated to match the original neck. (more…)
wouldn’t it make sense to have an acoustic guitar pickup installed that is going to capture as much of that pure acoustic sound as possible?
You know those stories you always hear about people finding vintage guitars in someone’s yard sale…
This Gibson Lg-2 came to us practically split in half. It had a split running down each side, from the bass side waist all the way around, right through the neck block. This means it broke clean through the heel of the neck and then the split kept going, just about all the way down the treble side, past the waist of the guitar.
Repairing this one was going to be a challenge because when a guitar has been broken in this manner, and it has been sitting for a long period of time, and I mean many years, it can be very difficult to get the broken pieces to meet up flush with each other. If the two two pieces don’t meet up with each other it can present problems and extra work. Sometimes you get lucky and the wood has not shrunk, making it a little easier to repair the damage to this guitar.
This Gibson LG-2 restoration had a few surprises for us. We proceeded to fit the split pieces of the sides back together carefully, as old aged wood, like you see on this Gibson Lg-2 restoration, can at times be brittle, so the utmost care must be taken when gluing up the sides. If you can get a perfect fit then great! If not, due to the shrinkage, you will have to fill the gaps with mahogany, which is what these Gibson Lg-2 sides are made from. Did we get lucky? Yes! The sides came together nicely.
We used spool clamps and tight bond glue to hold the sides together on this Gibson Lg-2 restoration. The spool clamps even worked well to hold the heel of the neck in place while it was being glued. Once we removed the clamps we proceeded to clean off the glue residue left by the tight bond. The glue is actually stronger than the wood itself and cleans up well with a damp cloth. Once we had the side splits fixed we had to fix several loose and completely detached braces. You know guitar braces are put in before the guitar as a part of the assembly process, so doing brace repair or installing bracing after the fact can be a lot of fun….kidding, it takes a lot of patience and flexible, dexterous hands and wrists to repair bracing inside of some acoustic guitars but that’s why we get paid the big bucks. :0)
The pick guard had shrunken badly so it also had to be removed and replaced with one we fabricated. this isn’t a peel and stick kind of thing, but something we fabricate and then attach special adhesive to the back of the pick guard once its ready to be put in place. The foot print on the top of the guitar where the old pick guard was attached was our guide to shaping the pick guard exactly as the original one was, which turned out very nice. We were so excited to get this guitar back together and get it back to the customer, but once we strung it to tension it appeared that the guitar had a low neck angle. What was really happening, is that the top was severely bellying and beginning to rotate. This is something you will see in a lot of vintage flat top guitars. The string tension over the years will put a great deal of strain on the top of the guitar resulting in a top that is bellying and or rotating.
We decided that reducing the belly in the top was going to be the best course of action on this Gibson Lg-2 restoration. For this we would need to remove the bridge from the guitar. Notice the mother of pearl dot inlays toward the back of the bridge, from the 30 to the late 1960’s, Gibson was bolting the bridges on most of there acoustic guitars, as well as gluing them. In later years toward the late 1960’s and on, they stopped mounting the bridges this way. Just a little side note. So with a little patience and special plates, that we heat up in hot water, that are sandwiched between the top of the guitar and the bridge plate on the inside, we were able to reduce the belly in the top of the guitar significantly. Once we strung the guitar to pitch after the belly reduction, the guitar had a much more comfortable action and no neck reset was needed. Considering how this guitar split all the way through the heel of the neck and the neck block, a neck reset on this particular Gibson would have been a huge can of worms and a lot of extra cost that our customer could not afford to get into. The nut slots on the original plastic nut were also too low for the guitar to play cleanly in open positions so it was important to replace the nut. We opted to fabricate a bone nut for this guitar as it is an upgrade to the plastic nut that Gibson was using at that time and gave the guitar much better tone are articulation between strings. The guitar tuner shafts were bent up from years of use, abuse and accidents so we decided to replace them with some 3 on a plate, white button Kluson guitar tuners. After a little set up work this Gibson LG-2 was ready to go back to it’s owner. We took some pics of the process but then received some more pics from the owner of the Gibson Lg-2 that were taken in his home.
The Gibson Lg-2 restoration we did has made there family very happy because now this guitar has been given a new life and can be passed down to the children. So cool that we get to be part of that!
Till next time!
The Forty Nineteens sound like blend of 80’s alternative rock and late 90’s…
I contacted several of my suppliers and finally after speaking with Luthiers Mercantile in northern California and discovered the EVO Gold Fret wire which I found out had no traces of Nickel in it
I have been getting a lot of phone call’s and hearing about a lot of buzzing guitars lately, so i decided to do a blog about martin guitar neck adjustment to help yall out. The same will apply to Taylor, Fender and other brand necks. I will just touch on some basic guitar neck adjustment how to’s first. For those of us who have had a lot of experience playing gigs outside in cool weather, this will especially be appreciated.
From guitar to guitar neck adjustment will vary depending on temperature and humidity. I remember playing lots of gigs out side when it was cold and i would be fighting just to play the right chords because my fingers were a little numb. I always wondered why the EDGE wore (more…)
In the winter of 2009 someone I was working with gave me a Bluegrass CD, when I heard…
I love hearing that people have driven from a great distances to bring guitars to our Authorized martin guitar repair shop. These are there babies and like family members whether purchased by them or passed down from generation to generation. They say finding a good quality guitar repair shop is like finding a good Doctor and that’s what Virginia and Cheryl of the High Hills Bluegrass Band found when she brought us two vintage Martin acoustic guitars the other day. One which is a 1950’s 00-18 that needs a vintage through slot saddle fabricated for it and the other a 1970’s Martin D-18 that needs some guitar set up work. Both also have the classic shrunken cellulose nitrate pick guard which need to be replaced soon however that’s a blog for another time :0)
I decided to write this blog not for something obvious but about something that may go un-noticed if i didn’t touch on it. As I was inspecting these cool Vintage Martin guitars I noticed the Martin logo on the D-18 seemed somewhat cartoon-ish and upon further inspection it was apparent the Martin logo had been replaced sometime in the guitars life. Notice the differences between the two pics here…if you look close enough you will notice the decal under the finish on the pic in the lower Right corner of this page. For crying out loud couldn’t they have at least used an exacto knife to trim right up next to the letters?! This one especially jumped out with the flash from my fancy Droid device. The other thing that is obvious is the color of the logo. The gold in the letters i to bright as well as the lettering being a bit to big and odd looking. it is quite obvious that the peg head has been refinished.
Are you looking for an Authorized Martin Guitar Repair Shop?
Contact us, We are happy to help you!
Need an amazing Guitar? Go to Buffalo Brothers Guitar’s for an amazing selection of instruments and they KNOW what they are talking about!
There is a time when fret replacement or a fret dress is needed on a guitar.
However this depends on the players preferences if they like tall frets or no frets at all like a fret less wonder.
If there is a lot of fret wear on a majority of the frets and they have been dressed down to say 0.25 or lower then it may be time to have a complete fret replacement done. “New frets and a great set up are sometimes better than a new guitar”
Do you need fret work done? *********Click here to contact us!
The following is a conversation i had with a customer regarding fret replacement.
Hi, James. I stopped by last Thursday to get an idea of the cost of repairing some fret wear. I have a couple further questions. To refresh your memory:
Fender Squier CV50 Telecaster neck.
First fret, divots beneath the high E and especially the B.
Some wear on frets two and three.
Remaining frets in pretty good shape.
You might decide it (more…)