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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / "Hey, can you check out this guitar for me?" - how far would you take it?

littleuch
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Ocala, Florida

Blowing bubbles
Feb 24th, 2019 11:23 AM   Edit   Profile  

A neighbor/friend got an electric guitar from his sister's house and wants to gift it to his teenage grand daughter who plays. I don't know at what level but I think past the first few rungs of beginner. Sure, I sez.

It's a SSH Squier Strat, IC04x serial number so I take it Indonesia (says right on it), Cort, 2004. Black, rosewood (or some kind of look alike), trem decked, pots a wee bit scratchy but less so with movement.

Truss rod way out of whack, set. Same with action and intonation. I shimmed the neck. I taped off and steel wooled the frets, they feel nice now but...

The nut looks like it was slotted by a drunken child. Fret rocker bounces like a 4x4 down a dirt road. It sounds remarkably nice and plays better than the fret rocker reveals. I have a nice black pre-slotted nut I could fit and file, I have now done several fret levelings and crownings. But if this girl lives in cowboy chord country (1st 3 frets) I think taking it up a notch will be diminished returns. OTOH, it's more practice for me.

WWYD?

Leftee
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VA

Toxic Humility
Feb 24th, 2019 11:32 AM   Edit   Profile  

I’d ask him how far to go. Tell him it’s more playable now. Ask at what level the young lady plays.

I would tend to want to do it all. It is good practice. (-:

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 24th, 2019 12:06 PM   Edit   Profile  

For jobs like this (low/no $$ for proper time & materials), I usually do only the problem frets, rather than an entire fret grind/profile/polish.

If the nut slots are in bad shape but all there (no chips or breaks) I do a repair on it. I'm not a fan of filling nut slots with baking soda and CA, and re-cutting the slots. Instead, I remove the nut and use CA to apply a layer or two of white printer paper to the bottom of the nut. The CA soaks the paper and makes it solid throughout.

After trimming off the excess shim material, this makes the nut taller, which allows me to re-cut the slots properly and plane off the excess from the top of the nut once it's installed. This is a great way to re-use an existing nut, and the shim is virtually invisible.

Then a setup, lube all string contact points, and off she goes.

littleuch
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Ocala, Florida

Blowing bubbles
Feb 24th, 2019 12:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

It's the spacing that drives me nuts (pun intended). The pic doesn't translate well but the spacing between low e and a is about .5mm wider than the others.

Pic

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Feb 24th, 2019 03:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

I like Peegoo's idea and also prefer shimming a nut in lieu of filling (if replacement is not an option economically).

If the nut is the one area that's left bugging you, but the playabilty has otherwise been improved, I'd say use PG's method and be done with it. (and CRC the pots & switch too if you haven't already)

The E/A spacing may make you nutty (it would me too) but there's a chance (IME & O) if you hadn't *seen* it with your eyes, you mightn't have *felt* it with your fingers when just playing.

"Free" practice is a good thing, but there are limits to goodwill too.


Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 24th, 2019 07:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

If it's a new player or beginner on a non-gigging guitar, a nut slot fill is a fine fix for that issue of bad spacing. But rather than baking soda, I use bone dust that I've saved from previous nut jobs.

The first thing to do is use some fine sandpaper to clean out the bad slot to remove all traces of dirt, DNA, and any lube that may have been applied It also roughens up the slot for a better CA bond.

Next, pack the bad slot with the dust, and carefully place a small drop of water-thin CA in the slot; it will flow in. Blast it with CA accelerator, and then inspect it to see if you need a second application of filler.

When the slot is filled, use a fine file and sandpaper to level off the repair, and re-cut the slot.

I also save the little bits of bone nut material that get sawn off the ends of a new nut blank. These are handy to repair nuts that are chipped and missing small pieces on non-gigging guitars.

Use a small square file to cut a 90-degree V into the top of the nut in the damaged area, and CA the little piece of bone into the slot. File and sand the repair level with the rest of the nut and recut the slot(s).

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Feb 24th, 2019 10:03 PM   Edit   Profile  

"But rather than baking soda, I use bone dust that I've saved from previous nut jobs."

I've been using acrylic nail powder if I need to slot fill. I got a small tub (for free) from my wife's friend who is a nail technician. She gave me enough to last several lifetimes. (it's cheap to buy though too)

It's available in different colours (I got "natural"). Works really well. Sets "hard as nails" ;^P

FUN FACT:
This girl that does my wife's nails, did Bruce Springsteen's acrylic nails for his show in Brisbane last year.


Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 25th, 2019 07:36 AM   Edit   Profile  

That is a pretty good tip (no pun in ten did haha). I'm going to try that. I know acrylic is pretty hard stuff.

I've also tried bone ash (which is mostly calcium), used as a component for pottery and fine china clay recipes.

wrnchbndr
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New Jersey

I'm back with the otters again
Feb 25th, 2019 07:46 AM   Edit   Profile  

I go stupid on these guitars. I kinda ignore that I actually need to make a living when it comes to neighbors and friends cuz its just fun.

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / "Hey, can you check out this guitar for me?" - how far would you take it?




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