Ruby is NOT Pleased

Ruby is NOT Pleased

Ruby and I had a rough day on the bench. First of all she was not exactly due for a string change, I’m a lot early, but I wanted her to have flat wound strings, and today was the day. In retrospect I think this is very much like suggesting a new hair color to the woman in your life without being asked…

Sometimes string changes go okay here and other times it’s like trying to trim a cats claws. I really should be better at it. Changing strings, before needed, just to try a different sound was probably rude on my part.

She was however also over due for a spa day and a neck adjustment. So to butter her up I thought I’d lavishly pamper her first. (This is a good life strategy in general.) I hadn’t noticed until I got her on the bench with work lights that she was FILTHY. Not a bad thing altogether but experience has taught me that she likes to decide when and where she gets filthy, not me.

Not good

She seemed to like her bath. I cut her old strings off and got started. Her Redwood fingerboard and bridge were seriously dry – for which I am deeply ashamed since she can’t oil herself. Binding from her neck had become unglued from the dried out fret board which had shrunk a bit. A crescent shaped piece of the binding fell into her body cavity and I had to retrieve it through her sound hole, as if she wasn’t uncomfortable enough already. Here you can see the retrieved piece of binding and the loose binding on the fingerboard. I didn’t have the proper glue to repair this and had to make a store run in the middle of things – which were already not going great.

Much Better. Fingerboard responded nicely the oil.

I returned from the store with the glue and carefully – super carefully – like with the sharpened end of a toothpick as an applicator, carefully – performed the glue-up. It went mostly okay and I didn’t get any glue on that red finish that I couldn’t remove with a damp cloth. This was stressful for us both and although the glue didn’t smell like the kind of glue that can get you high I was definitely considering giving it a shot.

The neck prop is right under the 5th fret, the board is oiled (in this picture) starting at the 7th. Quite a difference.

Once I cleaned and oiled the fingerboard I turned my attention to her bridge and saddle. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even like me saying the word saddle. Her’s is a beauty. Its quite a thing and I really dig its design. Not only does it keep her strings tight to make the soundboard responsive (and it is) – it also has her electronic pick-up in it so she can be loud once in a while, and it is engineered so that it can be adjusted (in the teensiest of ways) so that she plays more in tune at the higher frets. Such a thing!

Once cleaned and oiled – I put on the damn strings without breaking the High E (as I can do). Its funny, in my quest to manifest my inner blues man (Dirty Lemon Blakeney) I bend the devil out of my guitar strings and nearly never, and I mean ever, break one while playing. I do however break one about every fifth time I restring one of the axes.

The last thing was to take some measurements and adjust her neck. A guitars neck needs a little bit of a bend in it or the strings can vibrate uphill from where you’re fretting it. She has a rod in her neck that I can turn a bit to alter the little bit of bow. Guitar Chiropracty! I did this carefully and she seemed okay with it.

The big deal was I wanted to put strings on her that were smoothed out in such a way so that the metal winding around the lower pitched strings wouldn’t make scuffing sounds when I was changing notes. I’m pretty sure she didn’t think that was a big deal in the first place.

2 thoughts on “Ruby is NOT Pleased

  1. Richard Clinansmith says:

    A fine job! A reminder that I have a couple of shapely acoustic ladies here that need my attention!

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