Acoustic Guitars – Lowering the Action

I get a lot of enquiries from people with acoustic guitars wanting to know if there’s any way that the action can be lowered to make the guitar easier to play. The short answer is YES. The long answer is also YES.

The “action” of a guitar is a measurement of the height of the strings from the fretboard. The higher the action, the harder the strings are to press down onto the frets. A guitar with a high action is harder to play, especially for beginners or people that don’t play very often (so don’t have calluses and/or a lot of finger strength). Lowering the action makes the guitar a lot easier to play, with the only side effect of perhaps making it sound a little less loud/clear, but being able to fret the notes properly usually outweighs this quite comfortably.

How It’s Done

Acoustics lack many of the adjustment features of an electric guitar, so lowering the action isn’t quite as straightforward. There are two areas that I adjust – the nut and the bridge saddle. The saddle is removed and a small amount of material is taken off the bottom – usually between 1 and 3mm depending on how much the action needs reducing. This is done on a belt sander first ( to remove most of the material) and is then finished by hand to ensure that the bottom edge is perfectly straight and square.

If the nut slots are too shallow (they usually are) these are then deepened up to the appropriate specs using a set of ridiculously expensive Japanese nut files, of which I have several sets. For what they cost you would think they were made by Hattori Hanzo himself, but they do the job great so I can’t complain. The nut slots are adjusted for depth until the string *JUST* clears the first fret when pressed down at the second fret. The slots are then lubricated and the guitar is reassembled and restrung.

So there we go. I can take your acoustic egg-slicer and turn it into a silky smooth shredders dream.

Help! My Guitar Has a Broken String!

I get phone calls and email from people all the time who have a guitar with a broken string. Usually, it’s a guitar that’s been in storage for a while and the person who owns it doesn’t know anything about guitars. They don’t know what’s caused it or how to fix it, and would like to know how much it costs to put right. This article will tell you what you need to know!

Most guitar strings (classical guitars excepted) are made mostly from steel. Eventually, steel corrodes (rusts) and can become weakened, resulting in a string that breaks. Sometimes they can break because they have been wound onto the tuning peg (machinehead) incorrectly. Sometimes the string has been pulled or caught on something, causing it to snap. Strings are seen as a “consumable part”. They don’t last forever, and indeed, they are usually changed on a regular basis depending on how often the guitar is played. My guitars that sit at home may get the strings changed twice a year. Guitars that I use for playing live gigs may get new strings every week or two.

Guitar strings are usually replaced all at once and a set of acoustic or electric strings costs about £5. Bass guitar string are more expensive, typically ranging from £10-£40 for a set. I charge £10 to £15 for taking the old strings off, giving the fingerboard (the wood under the strings) a clean, and putting the new strings on, ready to play. See more info about that HERE.

If the guitar hasn’t been played for a few years it may also benefit a SETUP. This is where the parts of the guitar are adjusted to make it play in tune, and make it feel nice and easy to play. This costs between £35 and £45, depending on the type of guitar.

So there you go. Having a guitar with a broken string is no problem and is easily fixed.

Some quick prices for you:

  • Set of acoustic, classical or electric strings – £5 and up
  • Set of bass guitar strings – £10 and up
  • String change charge – £10 or £15, depending on the guitar
  • Setup (this includes the string change) £35 or £45, depending on the guitar.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch HERE

99 CORONA USA Fender Stratocaster Natural Finish For Sale

Fender Stratocaster – £750

Please Contact Mark on 07515 731953 (Batley, near Leeds, UK)

Origin: USA (CORONA California Plant)
Date: 1999-2000 (Serial: N9######)
Body: Alder (Natural Finish)
Neck: Maple with Rosewood Fretboard (22 fret)
Bridge: Deluxe 2 Point Tremolo (With Arm)
Tuners: Standard
Pickups: Brigde: Original, Centre: Fender-Lace Sensor Gold, Neck: Original
Good players condition overall
Hasn’t been out of it’s case in the last 8 years
Lot’s of life in the frets
Minimal, if any pick marks
Small ding to body with 10mm (approx) diameter lift in lacquer (been with the guitar since 2008 when I foolishly lent it to a friend… it has not deteriorated since then). SEE PIC
Slight dings to the extremities of the rear of the neck. SEE PIC
Minor buckle rash.
Would benefit from a professional set-up, clean and polish. 
Shipping: Will be extremely well packaged and send on a tracked and signed for next day service. The carrier will either be Royal Mail or TNT.
Please feel free to ask as many questions as you like. I have tried to be as honest as I can with the pictures but if there is anything specific you want to see, please let me know.

Washburn N4 Padauk For Sale


For sale is my Washburn N4 Padauk Nuno Bettencourt model guitar. I purchased this from FunkyMunkyMusic in Kansas, USA, new in 2009. They had commissioned the Washburn custom shop in Chicago to make a run of 12 N4’s with the original Floyd Rose trem instead of the Schaller unit. The guitar was originally fitted with chrome hardware but I asked FunkyMunky to change it to black, thus making it one of a kind I guess. Before they shipped it, Nuno himself did a store signing in Kansas, so the guitar bears his signature on the back of the headstock. I have also fitted a tremstopper device, but this can be removed if you like.

The guitar hasn’t been played much and was only ever gigged a handful of times and thus is in good condition with just a few marks. I will give the guitar a thorough clean, setup and restring for the buyer if it goes for a good enough price. Trying to sell on here and Facebook etc first, but if I get no takers it’ll be going on eBay. Standard (off the shelf) N4’s are over £1800 in the UK now as the pound is much weaker against the dollar than it was in 2009. Guitars like this are incredibly rare and becoming very collectible. Make me an offer I can’t refuse via PM 🙂

As requested, here are some more pictures! The only thing missing are the 4 screws for the backplate – imagine my annoyance. However, if you take another cavity screw out, it will be the same as that one. Thinner than the usual ones. Colour wise, I think the full length shot on the garden pics above is accurate – the pics below tend to be on the yellow side.

My Floyd Rose Won't Stay In Tune

Why Won’t My Floyd Rose Stay In Tune?

I see this question asked a lot online, and I can imagine the scenario. You’ve bought a guitar with a floating tremolo system and you can’t keep it in tune for the life of you. You’ve locked the top nut and everything looks right, but yet when you use the bar even a bit, things start to drift. Floyds can be a pain at the best of times, but a guitar that won’t stay in tune can be virtually unplayable, especially in a live music scenario. As with many things tech, it’s hard to tell the problem without actually seeing the guitar, but here are some of the common reasons and places that you can start. Continue reading