In an acoustic guitar, bracing is the internal support structure that holds the instrument together. If the bracing becomes loose or damaged, it is important to repair it quickly to prevent warps and cracks and keep the instrument sounding its best.
Maintenance & Repairs
When strung to standard tuning, a set of light gauge acoustic guitar strings exerts about 160 lbs worth of tension across the instrument. Since the strings are attached to the bridge, this pulling force is partially transferred to it. Though guitars are designed to resist that force, if there is any weakness in the glue joint connecting the bridge to the top, it can fail.
Many acoustic guitars manufactured from the late 60’s through the mid 80’s utilize acetate or celluloid plastic pick guards glued directly on top of bare wood. An unfortunate concern with this technique is that, with age, the pick guards have begun to shrink and degrade. This is similar to another common affliction of vintage instruments: The breakdown of plastic tuner buttons. As many of these instruments have attained a degree of collectability far above the manufacturers wildest expectations, expert repair is often warranted to save these fine instruments.
The saddle is a crucial part of an acoustic guitar. The thin white strip protruding from the top of the bridge serves several functions. Not only is it responsible for transmitting the vibration of the strings to the guitar top, but it also helps to control the instrument’s string action and intonation.
An instruments string nut, commonly called simply “the nut”, is a piece of hard material used to support and position the strings.
It is located at the end of the fingerboard, closest to the headstock. It marks one end of the vibrating length of the strings. (The saddle serves a similar function on the opposite end.)
In addition to supporting the string, the nut sets the spacing of the strings across the neck and typically holds them at the proper distance above the fingerboard.
Relicing is a term used to describe the various processes used to make new parts or instruments look old. Though it may sound simple, when done properly, the job is far more involved than simply throwing some dirt and scratches onto a piece and calling it a “relic”. At its best, it is a detailed simulation of the aging process by professionals who have studied and documented the aging of vintage guitars.
Our guitars and basses require a stable moisture content in order to remain healthy. The nature of their design is such that Acoustic guitars are especially vulnerable. Instruments are the most stable when maintained at between 40-50% relative humidity (RH). In many climates, this will take a bit of effort to achieve