A bone nut replacement is a good choice when the original nut is no longer functioning correctly or an upgrade is desired. In this case, the existing nut slots were cut so low that when the “B & high e” strings were played open, there was nothing but buzz. There was also some tuning stability issues so we decided to install a quality nut.
We start with a bone blank and rough it into size. In the third picture, you can see the width and depth has been modified, as well as a radius shaved off of the top. You want to match the radius of the fretboard with the nut, so a good way to do so is to trace it using the fretboard as a guide. After that, the slots are roughed in and finally cut to the proper depth. I have always used the original nut as a guide for the slots, even to this day. Otherwise a specialty string ruler can be used to measure the correct placement for each string. Every nut is unique for the guitar, and a craft worthy of perfecting in the shop. Bone nuts offer better volume, tone, tuning and sustain than traditional plastic nuts.
Here’s an Epiphone Bass Guitar I converted into a fretless this afternoon. The owner wanted a veneer fill to be just slightly lighter than the rosewood fretboard, so we chose some Sapele veneer. With the neck being finished, and the dark veneer used, I chose to insert the veneer into the pre-existing fret slots – as opposed to cutting through to the outer edge of the fretboard/lacquer finish. With any conversion job like this, the fretboard is planed down with radius blocks to eliminate the existing marks from the original fret pressing. If there are any slight twists or warps, it is also addressed at this stage. I also like to round the fretboard edge slightly for a great feel and polish the entire board up to a very nice shine.
I’m please to announce new Guitar Setup and Repair Classes have been just added for Fall! Take advantage of the Early-Bird Pricing until July 31 (or sell-out, whichever comes first). No other discounting is available at this time.
Afternoon classes are $119.95 each (reg. $149.95-199.95)
Fretworks 2-day classes are $249.95 (reg. $499.95)
You’ve been to a class before but would like a refresher? New for 2017, limited refresher seats are available for afternoon classes for $60 each. Full day (Fretworks) $85 each. Availability is solely based on class uptake. If interested, get out your receipt (if avail.) and email or call (I will manually process the registration).
Here are the dates below! Online registration is open and I have already begun signing up people. Remember, as these classes are small, seating is limited.
Edmonton, AB (Avonmore Hall 7902 73 Ave NW)
Sat. Sept. 9, 2017 – Wiring & Hot-Rodding (learn wiring technique and custom upgrades) 1:00pm-5:00pm
Sun. Sept. 10, 2017 – Electric Guitar Setups 1:00pm-5:00pm
Sat/Sun. Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2017 – Fretworks 2-Day Course (learn refretting/fret dressing) 9:00am-5:30pm
Sun. Oct. 1, 2017 Fret Dressing* (Only) 9:00am-5:30pm
Sat. Oct. 21, 2017 Nut and Saddle Making* 1:00pm-5:00pm
Sun. Oct. 22, 2017 Acoustic Guitar Setups & Nut Filing Wiring 1:00pm-5:00pm
Calgary, AB (UCal 2500 University Dr NW)
Sat. Sept. 16, 2017 – Wiring & Hot-Rodding (learn wiring technique and custom upgrades) 12:30pm-4:30pm
Sun. Sept. 17, 2017 – Electric Guitar Setups 12:30pm-4:30pm
Sat/Sun. Oct. 14-Oct. 15, 2017 – Fretworks 2-Day Course (learn refretting/fret dressing) 9:00am-5:30pm
Sun. Oct. 15, 2017 Fret Dressing* (Only) 9:00am-5:30pm
Sat. Nov. 4, 2017 Nut and Saddle Making* 12:30pm-4:30pm
Sun. Nov. 5, 2017 Acoustic Guitar Setups & Nut Filing Wiring 12:30pm-4:30pm
*Classes marked with an asterisk require Electric Guitar Setups Class as a prerequisite.
If you have any questions, please get in touch! Hope to see some of you in Fall – or earlier if you need some guitar work done!
Here we have Gibson Les Paul Standard with some fret issues. The biggest complaint was that the strings kept slipping off the side of the neck. Evident in the first picture, the reason for this is that the frets were filed a little too much towards the ends. Basically the frets ramp down, right off the edge of the fretboard, so the strings will naturally follow. Unfortunately, no fret dressing will fix this guitar. The owner also wanted taller frets so we decided to do a refret and give the guitar a new breath of life.
Refretting any guitar with binding is a little slower going. Essentially the fret slots are cleaned before the new frets are installed. When there is binding, extra care is needed to prevent any damage while doing so. Once the frets are removed, the existing nubs left on the binding must be levelled off to accommodate the new frets. I also give the fretboard a good levelling to remove or reduce any dips, bulges, or warps. Also the new frets must be trimmed to fit within the binding at the edge of the neck. I vary my fret installation methods for the guitar/job, and since this guitar accepted the new frets so well, I chose to hammer them in with hyde glue (an old Gibson method) as opposed to pressing or some combination of the two.
New website, new business name and new shop space. Same face you’ve come to trust for top quality guitar setups, repairs and custom work in Edmonton. Face-to-face is the best kind of way to talk guitar repair, how they work, and what can be done in specific repair situations. I’m always available for no-cost consultations, estimates, or to answer any questions you may have.
I’ll be offering once again finishing and touch-ups on lacquered instruments from April-October. Chips and dents can filled and touched up like they never existed. Only trouble with finish repairs is they take a while to complete. Refrets on old guitars that have a lacquered maple fretboard, can take advantage of a professional touch-up or refinish as well. Finish work examples can be seen on the Broken Headstock Repair page or in the Repair Blog.
My shop space is small, but I will continue offering repairs on cracked, split, and otherwise broken-up guitars. Kid sat on it? Car ran over it? Had a rock n’ roll moment that ended in regret? People are astounded what can be fixed sometimes.
Many have seen better times in the city, so I am now offering a “Back-of-the-line” Rate available to those who are on tight budgets, or can otherwise benefit from a reduced final invoice.
I will once again be stocking guitar parts and luthier supplies, and when available, I will catalogue them on this site.
Many have asked, and the next season of setup and basic guitar repair classes are in the works. Soon enough I’ll have some tentative dates and will be hustling them until they are full.
Nice to be back in business, and so busy from the get-go! I can’t say enough how grateful I am to be serving the community right from the homestead once again. Things were a wee bit crazy while running the J.Haven Guitarworks store but such a great experience overall.
I have a ton of articles to import onto this new platform, so hopefully they will be available soon enough. I also have plenty of new articles I’ll be submitting, as time goes on.
This old Tacoma had a very bad break at the headstock which required splines. It had been repaired multiple times yet would not hold. Splines are pieces of hardwood that are glued into routing channels to support and strengthen the original break. With this guitar I actually ended up rebuilding the entire portion of the neck that was damaged, as the best solution for a long-term repair. I wanted to build a slight volute into the back of the neck as additional strength and doing so required routing out and building up the area of the neck. The volute was hand-carved and sanded, followed by a tasteful black-fade refinish with lacquer. The repair is now holding strong to this day!