“Out of Tune” Acoustic Guitar and its “Fret Buzz”
This owner of an electro-acoustic guitar complained (rightly) that it sounded “out of tune with itself” when playing open chords.
Taking a look, the saddle seemed to sit at an angle, tilted slightly towards the neck. If this was not the designer’s intent, it might have been the cause of problems with intonation, as the strings are, effectively, slightly shorter than the builder intended, causing the instrument to sound “sharp” from the first fret upwards. I suspected that the saddle may have been adjusted before, as there was some metal visible along its front and back sides.
I removed the saddle, and this revealed that the metal was, in fact, part of the factory-fitted pick-up assembly, and integral to the saddle itself. The saddle had been raised on a number of shims of material. I decided to lower the saddle, to allow it to sit properly (more vertically) in its slot. This corrected the intonation – the instrument played comfortably and in tune – but during the testing, a further problem was revealed. The top string was silent at the fifth fret due to “fret buzz” – the fret was not fully seated on the fingerboard. Perhaps at some point in the past, the action had been raised to cure fret buzz, but this had the knock-on effect of tilting the saddle, with disastrous results for the intonation.
A few taps with a fret hammer settled the fret down into its slot, and this cured the “buzz”. Now with its solid saddle installation, smooth action, and playing nicely in tune, the guitar was ready to go home!
Cello Bridge Installation
Knowing that I was a project manager who had trained as an engineer, a director at work once told me “I like the way that you don’t treat every problem as if it’s an engineering problem”.
Well I suppose I don’t treat every guitar shop repair as if it’s a guitar!
Having been brought this instrument by its disappointed owner……….
……..it was great to adjust and install the bridge it to make the cello playable……..
……ready to go home…..
(oops….could’ve offered to re-hair that bow I suppose!!)
U-Bass Intonation Corrected
A customer from a ukulele group brought me this pretty little solid-bodied fretless bass guitar, telling me that it didn’t play in tune – he was hearing a discrepancy which was frustrating for him. So after making a few measurements, I made him a new bridge to accommodate the existing saddle and pick-up, which solved the problem.
It was great to hear the customer playing the instrument this morning – he’s off to his next gig with a smile on his face!