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What's Been On The Bench: February '18

We didn’t do an update last month because of Christmas and a short shut down. But here’s some of what we’ve been up to over the last couple of months at String King.

Aria Bass: New saddles, Neck Shim and Set Up

We’ve had quite a few basses in recently. This one was another which hadn’t been used for a while but the owner remembered he loved the feel of the neck and wanted to get it set up properly. One of the bridge saddles had missing grub screws and they were worn away, so they were replaced by new Wilkinson brass saddles. The action was not right on this bass so we put a shim in the neck which sorted out the problem. Finally we did a set up and the bass was ready to go.

Takamine Acoustic: Fret Level, Neck Repair

Paul brought in a lovely Japanese Takamine for us to repair. Someone had previously replaced a broken truss rod by removing the fretboard rather savagely and re-gluing it poorly. On top of that a fret levelling had been attempted and not completed, which left the guitar just about unplayable. The first thing we did was take out the nut and re-level the frets. This was the first chance we had to use the new neck jig and it worked a treat. Then the back of the neck was cleaned up and smoothed out – the owner did not want a full cosmetic repair, just to get it feeling right. We set the neck relief and the nut action and put on some new strings. The owner was delighted with the job and it was definitely satisfying to get such a great instrument back in good order.

Squier Strat: Re-Wire and Copper Shielding

Another guitar from Mark. This time he brought in his lovely Japanese Squier Stratocaster. This one has been sitting around unplayed for a few years and the electrics needed an overhaul. Everything was replaced – pots, switches and wiring. We use quality full-size potentiometers which will last several years of hard playing. We also fully copper shielded this Strat. The result is an ultra-quiet, sweet sounding instrument.

Kit Guitar: Fret level and set up

Alberto came back with a kit guitar he’d put together. It needed a fret level and a full set up. We got the work done for him quickly and he was pleased with the much lower string action. I liked the finish he got on this one.

Ibanez Silver Cadet

This is a nice vintage Ibanez, from a much under-appreciated manufacturer. I am usually impressed with these guitars and pound for pound they are great value. It’s not an opinion the purists would agree with but I don’t think you can beat Japanese instruments for general build, although sometimes they skimp on hardware quality. This one was generally fine but the electrics needed an overhaul . The tuners were not very good so they were replaced with a new Wilkinson Deluxe set.

Westone Concord I Bass: Full overhaul

We like to get old classics and overhaul them. This is an ongoing project which we are doing as time permits. The guitar was a bit of a wreck but the Concorde series were good guitars in their day. Well. it's Japanese, isn't it. So far we have stripped the horrible paint work off and begun to respray. All the parts have been removed and cleaned ready to be put back in. We can’t wait to see what this plays like.

And finally… A Workshop Re-Organisation

It’s really important when working on an instrument to have everything within easy reach and there’s nothing more frustrating than losing a tool when you need it. We’ve had a bit of a tidy up and created new storage, which will help us be more efficient.

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