Tech services

Setups, nuts and saddles

All guitars and basses are vastly improved when set up correctly. There are many parts which require proper maintenance and servicing. For example, truss rods need periodic adjustment to keep the neck straight against the constant pull of the strings and tremolo systems only operate smoothly and correctly when set up properly to match the chosen string gauge.

Our 10 point electric guitar set up ensures that each guitar is set to original design specification:

    1. neck relief/truss rod adjustment.   2. action/string height.   3. intonation.   4. tremolo float.   5. secure/lubricate hardware.   6. neck alignment/angle check.  7. electrical check/clean.   8. check clean and oil fretboard.   9. nut and fret wear check.   10. pickup height adjustment.

NUTS... We can make nuts for any instrument or recut your existing one if the slots are tight, uneven or too high for a comfortable action.  Bone is favoured by many as the number one choice with Tusq, graphite and brass also being popular.

SADDLES... We make saddles, intonated or straight, for all types of acoustics and basses, in all materials and favour bone where an under saddle piezo pickup is installed. We can adjust the action on your acoustic by lowering, raising or skimming the saddle along with any required woodwork.

Many people upgrade their electric guitar saddles to graphtec low friction. These are available for vintage and modern trems, hardtail bridges, tunomatics and basses.

We service saddles which may have seized adjusting screws and also overhaul Floyd Rose type locking saddles and trems.

Adjusting the truss rod for correct neck relief © 2017 Guitar Angel
Adjusting saddle heights for action © 2017 Guitar Angel
Ibanez bass guitar set up for a low action and perfect neck alignment © 2017 Guitar Angel
Floating bridge position is critical for correct intonation © 2017 Guitar Angel
Bone saddle intonated, Martin D35 © 2017 Guitar Angel
Gibson SG and EB2, new bone nuts made © 2017 Guitar Angel
New vintage bone saddle for 1968 Gibson Hummingbird © 2017 Guitar Angel
Broken Stratocaster nut and new blank © 2017 Guitar Angel

Modifications and upgrades

The subject of upgrades and mods is vast and just about anything and everything you can think of can probably be done and we are one of the few workshops in the UK offering B bender installation, as well as truss rod anchor block replacement for Rickenbacker basses to cure Rickenbacker banana necks!

Popular modification requests are neck reprofiling and fret board re-radiusing, reshaping headstocks, relic work to hardware and plastics which complements our aged paint finishes,  pickup upgrades and electrical mods requiring cavity routs, hardtail to trem conversions, fabric body coverings.

We can also do fanned fret conversions which involve new fretboards and bridges, add fancy veneers to flat bodies and headstocks, make new fretless fingerboards.

And we can usually undo old mods and convert back to standard spec!

Telecaster routed for Parsons Green Hipshot B bender © 2017 Guitar Angel
Rickenbacker 4001 bass truss rod anchor block upgrade © 2017 Guitar Angel
Bass headstock reshape (before) © 2017 Guitar Angel
Bass headstock reshape (after), finished in tinted nitro cellulose © 2017 Guitar Angel
Aged hardware © 2017 Guitar Angel
Fender strat body routed for Clapton mid boost kit © 2017 Guitar Angel
Ibanez 8 string fabric covered © 2017 Guitar Angel
Heavily modified fanned fret conversion and restored 1984 Rickenbacker © 2017 Guitar Angel

Fretwork and fingerboards.

We are able to carry out all types of fretwork including full refrets, partial refrets, de-frets, fret levelling and crowning, plus replacement of missing or damaged fret marker inlays.  With a full refret there is an opportunity to change the fingerboard radius if required. You can also choose the size/gauge of fret wire and nickel free and hypoallergenic wires are available. We always check the board for level, truing it up when necessary and do any corrective work before fitting the new frets. With bound fingerboards, the tang ends are always removed to preserve the binding. Quite often acoustic guitars have most wear on the lower frets, in which case a partial refret would replace the worn frets with matching wire and the entire fretboard would be levelled and crowned.

If frets show medium wear it is normally sufficient to level the frets to remove the indents and crown all the frets to restore their surface profile.

When converting  bass guitars to fretless, we can make and fit a new fingerboards in timbers of your choice, or the existing board can have fret lines inlaid with contrasting wood and side dots "moved" inline with note positions.

Some fretting tools including fret bender and tang cutter © 2017 Guitar Angel
Removing frets on a Gibson SG100 guitar for a refret © 2017 Guitar Angel
Fret crowning on a Gibson J200 acoustic guitar © 2017 Guitar Angel
Profiling a new board to 12 © 2017 Guitar Angel
Checking the fretboard for level & straightness © 2017 Guitar Angel
Radius block sands the surface © 2017 Guitar Angel
Fret levelling on a Gibson J200 acoustic guitar © 2017 Guitar Angel
Refret on a 1962 Fender Stratocaster neck © 2017 Guitar Angel

Electrics

Many players wish to upgrade their stock pickups to improve the sound. We can fit all types of pickups for electric guitars, basses and acoustics.  Any associated woodwork is carried out to a high standard, such as extra body routs, enlarging cavities, jack socket mounting and acoustic preamp fitting.

For amplifying acoustics, both guitar and bass, along with folk instruments, there are many options including undersaddle piezo strips, glued in bugs, dual saddle + mini microphone blend systems. These can be passive, with or without volume and tone controls, or active with fitted preamps or discreet preamped jacks. We are happy to advise.

We are often asked to upgrade tone and volume pots, switches, jack sockets, capacitors and wire. We use the highest quality components from CTS, Sprague and Switchraft. We can also restore any modified wiring back to standard spec.

Old and vintage pickups often fail and need rewinding. We choose Mojo pickups who are experts in this type of work to repair and rebuild pickups.

An unusual pickup design from Grimshaw © 2017 Guitar Angel
A preamp fitted to an acoustic guitar © 2017 Guitar Angel
Fernandes Sustainer circuitry fitted to guitar © 2017 Guitar Angel
N-Tune electronic tuner fitted to customer's LP guitar © 2017 Guitar Angel
Fender jazz bass guitar rewire © 2017 Guitar Angel
Push-pull pots fitted with coil tap on twin humbuckers © 2017 Guitar Angel
Seymour Duncan Invader pickup fitted to a hardtail Strat © 2017 Guitar Angel
A selection of pickups © 2017 Guitar Angel