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Rick Andrews and other experts answers guitar repair questions
For almost one year, guitar luther Rick Andrews answered your guitar repair questions. After recieving over 500 questions
we put together the most popular questions and answers. Today, we are involving other great guitar
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find most of your guitar building and repair questions have already been answered in this section.
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Changing the pickups in my Les Paul Classic
First of all, great site! I would like to change the pickups in my Les Paul Classic(beginning w/the neck pup as it sounds terrible imo) and was wondering if you could make a suggestion for a pickup for me (I play classic rock, 80's & 90's rock/metal and some newer stuff).
The bridge pup is the stock 500T and it sounds fine. I was also wondering if this is a huge job or if I could do it myself as there are no techs less than 2 hours drive from me. Finally, if it is a do-
it-yourself type job could you recommend somewhere that I might find a good guide to do it.
Thanks for your help.
Rick Andrews Answers Your Question.
I recommend Stewart MsDonlad for the pickup and instructions should come with it. It is very
easy to do.Check out their web site here:
The pickups in the cat gives you which pickups for the different sounds you would be needing
Rick Andrews, Andrews Guitar
Les Paul Body Issues.
I'm a woodworker, and for the first time am trying to branch out into making an electric guitar. I'm sort of cheating...
I have a Les Paul body template, with humbuckers, pots, and switch marked for routing, and I'm buying a pre-made
paddle head neck. My question is about the body wiring cavities. There are several methods that I can think of
to drill the channels between the cavities, but none of them are convenient. What method does one use to drill
between the electronics cavities without screwing up their finish?
As an aside, I also had the idea of taking my guitar body and routing the channels for the wires, and then
taking a thinner piece of wood and joining it over the back of the guitar with matched wooden dowels,
in effect making cavities underneath and the appearance of a single piece body. Would this affect the
tone or sound of the guitar adversely?
Rick Andrews Answers Your Question Below.
No problem Erick,
There is a simple solution, actually a couple. One way your already mentioned. If I were going to route the chaneles and then glue on a wood laminate I would do it on the top instead of the back. Build the solid body back block first, then route the chanels as you said, and then glue on a approx. 3/8" bookmatched curly maple, fiddle back, flamed, or quilted maple top, then carve the top to the appropriate arch.
Now look what you got. But the most simple way to do it is use a 3/16" but fairly long drill bit about say 10" to 12" long and a hand drill. Start drilling from the inside of the cavity wall down at an angle into the pickup cavity from each wiring cavity. Start toward the top just below the top. The hole will come out closer to the bottm of the cavity. If you imagine the guitar being cut in a section view, you would see the drilled path goiung up and down zig zagging from cavity to cavity, and from pickup cavity to pickup cavity. Between pickup cavities the two holes will meet somewhere near the middle. For example start drilling from the middle pickup cavity toward the bridge pickup cavity at the downward angle and stop about half way. Then drill from the bridge pickup cavity back toward the middle pickup cavity at the downward angle and meet the other hole about half way. Now you have two holes coming together in a V shape. You can do this between all cavities and your routing is done. Just be careful and don't drill out the back of the guitar like I did years ago when I first started.
Be careful and use just a slight angle not going too deep until the two holes meet. After all
these are drilled you can fish a stiff wire bent similar in shape and put it through the hole,
attach the pickup wires and pull them back through. It works fine. The pickup cavities can also
each be drilled the same way into the open control cavities for the pots and switches. Either
way os fine and will not have any real effects on the sound of the wood since it is a solid
body anyway. This ought to get you going. Do some practice drilling on some cheap wood until
you got it right.
Gibson Hummingbird with warped neck.
While desperately surfing the web looking for answers I came across your website. Although most of the Q&A's found on the sight were quite informative, I couldn't seem to find one that fit my problem. I own a mid 90's model Gibson hummingbird. I bought it used from Long & McQuade (a fairly decent music store in Victoria BC) and did not notice anything wrong with it. I've now had it for about 8-9 years and have only once
brought it into the shop for a new bridge in the first few months that I owned it.
The problem is that the neck is very bowed. It's very high at the upper scale and very low in the middle making the strings buzz from the 6th
fret all the way up to the 14th fret (where the neck meets the body). If I turn the rod counterclockwise the headstock lowers making the strings
buzz down near the 4th fret, if I turn the rod clockwise I raise the
headstock making the buzzing start a little higher but makes the neck
bow much worse. It seems the only way to make the guitar playable is to
bow the neck.
I have also noticed that the body is expanding outward which could very well be the reason why the fretboard (14th fret to the 20th fret) is so
I haven't really played the guitar much in the last year and it's mostly
been in it's case all that time. Since October 2002 to now (April 29,
2003) it has been out of it's case hanging on the guitar stand in the
living room. It's not until now (April 29th) that I had really taken a
look at it. The only other possible explanation for this problem would
be the sudden rise in climate. It has been quite warm here in Vancouver
BC (where I live now) in the last week.
Rick Andrews Answers Your Question Below.
Your guitar does have a problem and it happens to a lot of the volume produced guitars. They just really do not take the time to give the hand made care to the instruments, so someone latter down the road has to try to fix these problems. Sometimes nothing helps helps or stays put even after you pay someone to attempt to fix it. It all depends on how the guitar was made. In your case I first would suggest you take it to a very good well known luthier or repairman. It needs to be adjusted with the fretboard as level as possible and the angle of the neck attachment to the body at the proper angle. Don't worry about the buzzing at all at this stage. It first must be as level as can be while the tension of the strings are in proper tuning. Then take the strings off. It will hump or bow up with the strings off. Loosen the rod so the fretboard goes level again without the strings.
Then the frets need to be dressed all together until perfectly flat in alignment with each other.
Then return the rod back to the exact same tension it was just before you removed the strings.
Then replace the strings and to proper tuning. The neck should then stay level and the frets are
now flat together with no high or low points all notations proper with no buzz anywhere. If
the problem still persists then there needs to be some serious reworking of the neck / body joint
area and neck itself.
It all goes back to mass volume factory building on store bought guitars where they sell them cheap and they just don't or cannot take the time at those prices to build them the way we want them to be done. Even the expensive hand made guitars need some attention through the years but not nearly as much as the vilume built guitars that fly down the line and out the door for fast money. Such a shame. I hope this will solve your problems and this is a good one for many players to take note of. The way the player sounds has so much to do with the guitar's ability. It does not matter how great the player is, the better the guitar's capabilities, the better you will play and sound. Personally I cannot stand playing a store front cheap made guitar.
After playing quality hand made and realizing the difference, I guess I am truly spoiled to professionalism and good playing. Have a good luthier take a look at your guitar. He can tell you if it is worth the cost or not. Many time you end up paying as much and more in the long run than would have been towards a quality guitar. Not taking away from the name brands like Gibson, Martin, Taylor, etc but thay are made so quickly and just can't be the best under those conditions. Hope this helps.
Rick Andrews, Andrews Guitars
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