Saturday, May 22, 2010

close work

Per instructions, Gary is recutting saddle slots to bring the high E string of this lefty Gibson ES 335 very slightly farther out to the edge of the fretboard. Naturally once one string has been repositioned the other strings will have to be moved to keep spaces between all the strings even. Gary is wearing helpful StewMac eyewear.

Information on Spacing

There are 3 main types of spacing between the strings. This is at the nut as well as the saddle.
1st The measurement between each adjacent string is equal.
(the center to center measurement will increase as you go from treble to bass)
2nd The measurement from center to center of each adjacent string is the same.
(the space between the string will shrink as you go from treble to bass)
3rd The hybrid of the 2, and the most preferred.
In this method the measurement between the strings gradually becomes wider as the string width becomes wider, splitting the difference between the first two.
(this method looks the most even and natural and we default to this)
Trivia.....Jerry Garcia was very specific about having the space between the strings equal. I found this out after I delivered my first scalloped brass nut to him on one of the early Doug Irwin guitars. I brought the guitar to him at the Shoreline venue which was the Dead's regular haunt. It was Steve (Jerry's tech and all around go-to guy), Jerry and myself. We were in his tent at the back of the stage before the show started. I handed the guitar to Jerry as he was preparing for the show. He looked it over really close and we talked about the guitar and guitar nuts and spacing for about half an hour as he played and warmed up. Jerry was very knowable and articulate. He usually knew what to ask for.
He went on the play the guitar most of the night and I went on to re-cut a few nuts with the equal between the string spacing. That was a fun night.
We went on to experament with pickups and midi systems and wiring as he had different ideas about what we wanted to try.

Friday, May 7, 2010

help for the touring musician.

It's not uncommon for us to receive a frantic phone call from a harried tour manager requesting immediate assistance for a malfunctioning guitar. Usually the problem presents itself during soundcheck and someone standing around at the venue is delegated to rush the instrument to us where we do our best to keep the show going. We have been known to work miracles.

photo: Some needs of the road are found elsewhere.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rebuilding a sitar friction tuning peg

The customer had a little accident and tipped the sitar over to the tune of a broken tuner. Lucky for us they had the original half of the tuner to work from. Here Tim grafts a new post onto the original handle of the tuner. The tuners have to fit on the tight side since friction holds them in place not a gear. The trick was to come up with a way to keep the new piece from twisting off when tuning. You can see the new wood is "keyed" into the old piece to give it some rotational strength. Then fit to the sitar with a peg shaver. Good as new!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

One of the nice things...

...about our free fine tuning period (six months for set-ups and one year for all fretwork) is that while you wait you can wander the aisles of amps, guitars and pedals in the space we share with Real Guitars (a vintage instrument shop).

Like a kid in a candy store.