BudeStrings works carried out
Browse below to view a selection of previously undertaken works.
Acoustic Guitar setups
These are bread and butter for BudeStrings and several hundred are carried out every year. BudeStrings setups are the best available in the region and uniquely tune your instrument to your playing style, which is why time served professional musicians are often pleasantly surprised at the previously unseen refinements made to their instruments.
Some setups are just a matter of tweaking the truss rod and adjusting saddle and nut height, but in-depth setups often involve levelling and crowning the frets, and/or reshaping part or all of the fret board to get the guitar geometry as close as it is possible to get to perfection. A common problem of certain brands of acoustic and electric guitars is ramping of the fret board tongue, which is remedied by removing 4-6 of the top frets, planing an appropriate amount from the fret board and replacing the frets before levelling and crowning.
For best results and to address intonation issues sometimes the best option is to source or produce a new nut and saddle. The material of choice is high quality bone and when suitable parts cannot be sourced they are hand made in house. Replacement or custom inlays are also routinely produced and fitted.
Electric Guitar setups
While very different to acoustic setups, electric guitar setups do follow the same principles of geometry and fret finish although there are additional considerations such as intonation setting, tremolo balancing, pickup height and specialised setups for more complex Floyd Rose style tremolo bridges.
If you play your instrument enough, frets become a consumable item which wears out. Frets can develop grooves and flattened crowns which affect intonation, tone and playability. Depending on fret size and wear this can be addressed 2 or 3 times by levelling and crowning the frets, after which the only option is to replace the frets. It is recommended that all of the frets are replaced but partial refrets are available if appropriate. On occasion a refret is carried out for no other reason than the customer wanting a different size of fret on their instrument. Fret work is a complex area subject to many considerations, such as fret board material and age, binding and finish and while all jobs are carried out to the highest level, cost can vary significantly.
Electronic repairs carried out are many and varied and go far beyond simple component replacements, ranging from simple services to cure or replace crackly pots or adding shielding to cure undesirable background noise to complete rewires and system replacements of electric and electro-acoustic guitars. Repairs are also carried out on electronic keyboards and amps from component replacements to PCB repairs and key bed servicing/deep cleaning. Pictured below are repairs to a Takamine tuner module and servicing and replacement of various guitar electronics from simple and rare vintage wiring looms to various preamps. The wiring diagram pictured was the result of several weeks of research to restore a Shergold Meteor to its original configuration, and the Martin acoustic guitar pictured was converted to a Takamine preamp system.
Traumatic as they are, broken headstocks are a very common routine repair and can range from simple budget repairs to back and front strapped repairs using the highest quality honduran mahogany where timber quality is too poor to form a reliable repair. Occasionally, as pictured below, breaks are so complex and severe that the only viable option is to replace the entire neck.
Resonator neck sets
Radically different in design to normal acoustic guitars, these two instruments had been set up very badly by another luthier in the region and were suffering from incorrect neck angles and warped tops. The neck heels were recut and appropriate adjustments were made to internal wooden components before adding ebony shims to prevent distortion of the metal body.
Split side repair
A more unusual repair carried out to great success without affecting the tone or appearance of the instrument.
Various repairs and setups are carried out on instruments of the violin family, including short scale student violins, cellos and double basses. Bridges carved, strings, sound posts and pegs replaced and bodies repaired.
Restoration: Bradders Parlour Guitar
An extremely in depth restoration of a late 19th century unsigned parlour guitar belonging to a friend which involved stripping yacht varnish and wood stain, rebuilding the extensively damaged body, fitting new mother of pearl inlays in the fret board, refretting and refinishing. A fascinating and unusual restoration of an extremely rare and unusual instrument.
Restoration: Couesnon Mandolin
Restoration of a very rare 1930s Couesnon Mandolin. Not a hugely valuable instrument but nevertheless a rare and important example for a Mirecourt maker not known for mandolins. In terms of build quality this is a superb instrument in a class of its own. As is usual for teardrop mandolins the neck is fitted by a spanish style heel making a normal neck reset impossible and necessitating removal of the fret board and planing of the neck. The instrument was then fitted with fresh mother of pearl dots and frets.
Restoration: Tacoma P1
Full rebuild of a vary rare and unusual acoustic guitar normally only seen in the most avant-gardé stage setups. This is Tacomas first commercially available guitar and as such historically important. After its state of complete disintegration and deformation had been dealt with this was a shockingly good guitar with a huge memorable tone.
Restoration: Boris the banjo
Belonging to a friend, instrument collector and customer, this is a one of a kind 30 year old custom built banjo guitar with internal lighting. The brief was to fit a more reliable switching system for the lights which was achieved by fitting a Telecaster selector switch to the banjo ring, and to reprofile the plank like neck using a Takamine TAN60C as a fret radius and neck template. The headstock was also fitted with customised tuners to replace the impractical friction tuners and preserve the unique headstock shape. A very challenging yet successful job which resulted in a unique and very playable instrument.
Restoration: Little Si’s Martin
This guitar belongs to a life long friend and member of Dusk at dawns. While the inherent problems of Martin guitars are many and varied, this thing had been played to within inches of its permanent demise. The top had worn paper thin in places exacerbating the already ubiquitous Martin belly issue, the neck joint had all but let go leaving the neck angle bizarrely high, the frets were completely worn out and there were a number of electrical issues. The top was reinforced with internal alaskan spruce veneers before straightening the belly, the neck was removed and reset with ebony fillet wedges under the fretboard tongue, frets were replaced after reshaping the fretboard, electrical issues were addressed and the whole thing was given a good coat of nitro to replace the long absent finish. Instead of being retired this guitar went on to do many more gigs.
Restoration: 1930s Maelzel metronome
One of the more unusual restoration jobs, this was more about restoring a family heirloom to working condition than restoring an item for everyday use.