We have really enjoyed the Forum, and in the years we've had it up and running we've continually seen the same kinds of questions.  The questions and answers below are sort of a "greatest hits", and we invite you to take a look at them.  We believe they may be helpful, and we continue to invite you to participate in our Forum.

Filling in a tremolo cavity

Hi - I'm interested in purchasing an older Gibson V that someone modified to add a tremolo system. The cavity was hollowed out and would need to be filled in for structural reasons and tone. I'm wondering what, if anything, would be suitable to fill in this large of a void and not affect the tone too much. Should I glue a piece of wood in? Fill with something else? I'd like to attach a standard bridge which it originally had. Thanks for any suggestions.

Re: Filling in a tremolo cavity

Interestingly, my Jeff Beck Les Paul, viewable on the Builder's Gallery page, had the same thing done to it before I repaired it.

I nice piece of mahogany is suitable for the repair, but, depending on the finish, it may not be visually pleasing.

I recommend checking out the Les Paul story on the site and see what you think.

Good Luck

Re: Filling in a tremolo cavity

You might want to check out this site that covers the filling in the cavity part (  )look around in there and you'll find it in there.
good luck.


I have just built a saga HT 10 PRS. I have found that when played open, strings stay at the right tuning. However when I fret a chord the sound comes out sharp. Example, When fretting a note C, it comes over my tuner as a c sharp. Any Ideas?

Re: Tuning

Check the scale measurement -- your neck or bridge might be off just a little. I doubt it is the frets -- they are normally OK. Measure the scale and let us know how close it is.

I always like to build the Saga kits THEN finish them after they are tweaked.

Good Luck,

Re: Tuning

Hello, I am new to kit building. how do you check scale measurement, or the neck alignment?

Re: Tuning

Scale length is defined as twice the distance from the nut to the 12th fret.

Start by measuring the distance from the nut to the 12th fret. Take this distance, and measure from the 12th fret to the bridge. Fender sets the high E string saddle to the perfect scale length, and roughs-in the other saddles, setting each one a little further away from the neck side of the guitar. They use this as a starting point to setting intonation.

If the holes were drilled correctly and everything is aligned, the distance should be perfect.

If it is not, let us know.

Re: Tuning

Thank you I will measure right away


Re: Tuning

The scale length seems right at about 12 inches. I have many guitars, and I noticed that the strings sit IN slots at the nut. These strings are sitting ON the nut. That would make fretted notes sharp I believe. Should I , and how would I file these grooves? Thanks again,


Re: Tuning

Please try to measure again -- the distance should be closer to 12.5 - 12.75 inches. Ensure that the fret -- and I'm talking the metal fret -- you are measuring to is the 12th fret (it is the one closer to the bridge where the two position markers are).

The nut can make a might need to take a little off of the top so the strings don't go into the slot all of the way, but this probably wouldn't cause your problem.

If the measurement is only 12 inches, you have some problems, my friend!

Good Luck,

Re: Tuning

The new measurement is 12.625, In both places.


Re: Tuning

OK Bob...we know the scale is 25.25". If the measurements are precisely the same, the likely problem is the intonation on the bridge. How is the action on the guitar? Is it pretty low, and are you tuning it to A440 standard?

The Saga has a Gibson-like tune-a-matic. Here are a couple of links to help you set it up:

Let us know how it turns out.

Good Luck,

Re: Tuning

Hi! I feel the action is high. I own a Gibson Les Paul, and it is a lower action. I also own an Ibanez with the same tune o matic bridge and both have a lower action. That is why I seemed to think it was the nut. That was the only thing different. Thank you for the sites I will go there and book mark them.


Re: Tuning

HI! I think I found the tuning problem. It seems that the neck bowed when the strings were added and the neck had separated at the body joint. I loosened the strings and tightened the screws at the cover plate. Now it plays much better. I would like to know how you finish the guitar after tweaking. Do you disassemble everything? Also what do you use to finish with?

Thanks ,


Re: Tuning

Bob -- Great news on the tuning.

Check any of the links in the Builder's Gallery, and be sure to check out ReRanch 101 at the ReRanch site. You can get there from the links page.

I would disassemble your guitar before you refinish it.

Good Luck,

Re: Tuning

Thank you for all your help. It made a difference. I love to play, but not on junk. This has been a fun project so far. Maybe someday I'll send you a pic of the finished axe. YOURS LOOK GREAT.


Problems with Strat setup

I am having a problem with my Strat. My sixth string's intonation is sharp. I have tightened (lengthened) the saddle as much as the spring would allow. I don't know what else to do. Also the neck is straight. There is no relief. Does anyone have any advice?



Re: problems with Strat setup

Check the nut and make sure the string is not binding. Also check the scale of the guitar...your bridge may be in the wrong position (too far forward).

I've also cut the spring in half and replace it behind the saddle to get a little more adjustment room. If it is that far back, you won't need it all anyway!

Good Luck,

Inexpensive guitar question

Hi all,

I'm interested in learning how to play again. It's been 20+ years since I've picked up a guitar. I'd like an electric, but due to obligations, have very little $$ to spend. My question is this: Would it I be better off in the long run to buy and build a Saga Strat kit or buy one of the cheap Kramer Focus models from Musicyo? I'm aware that I'll need to upgrade the pickups, electronics, etc. in the future, but am not sure which guitar would last me the longest. I've read the Striped S-Style article on GuitarAttack and listened to the demo, and would like to upgrade whatever I buy to sound similar to that at a later date. Sorry for the rambling post and thanks much for any experienced advise you can give.

Re: Inexpensive guitar question

Thanks for the post. I recommend buying a Kramer or Mexican Fender Strat if you are short on cash. The Sagas are great projects, but by the time you get the labor and materials bill to get a killer guitar, you are going to be surprised! Also, you are more likely to be able to sell a Mexican Strat if you need to in the future...most folks buying a guitar don't quite understand the labor issue involved in the Sagas.

As far as an upgrade in sound in the future, be prepared to spend some bucks. The Mexican Strat will be a good start, but pickups and amp upgrades are in the cards. Start saving now!

Good Luck,

Refinishing Troubleshooting

I'm in the process of refinishing a 1959 Fender Duo-Sonic using Re-Ranch aerosol supplies and refinishing guidelines. I'm at the dye application stage and have had wonderful results with a couple of exceptions where two spots on the front seem to have a tendency to "speckle" or the dye separates into tiny little pools without laying down flat like the rest. I believe the undercoating of filler/sealer is the same as everywhere else on the guitar, but the dye just doesn't seem to want to lay down well. Any ideas what's causing this? I've tried lightly resanding to "knock down," but it seems to happen each time. Do I have to redo the entire top going all the way down to the grain-filling stage? Spraying additional layers of dye doesn't seem to be working. Any good refinishing forums on the web that might address this particular problem? Thanks - David

Re: Refinishing Troubleshooting

Hey Dave, it sounds like there is some kind of impurity in those areas. If you come across this problem when spraying a lacquer, its easy enough to add some fish-eye remover to change the surface tension of the lacquer so that it will flow over the silicone or wax impurity. With alcohol dye you may have to rub the area or wipe the area with a bit of lacquer thinner to remove some of the impurity. This may, of course, affect the uniformity of what you have already colored.

Re: Refinishing Troubleshooting

We agree with David appears that the finish is contaminated with silicone or other trash.

Always wipe the finish down with naphtha (lighter fluid) and mineral spirits before you finish. The wax and other junk will ruin your paint job.  We also like a thin coat of shellac on keeps fisheyes and other artifacts from forming.  You might try Zinnsser SealCoat from for an easy and ready to use shellac formulation.

Good Luck,

Speaking of headstock decals...

Does anyone out there make them or know how I can get some made? I am restoring a couple of wrecked Hamers that need new white Hamer logos. Help? Please?

Please e-mail me directly.

Re: Speaking of headstock decals...

We made some pretty cool decals using the decal kit. In conjunction with a drawing program like CorelDraw, you can crank out some pretty convincing decals.

Check out the decal we put on the the Builder's Gallery.

Good Luck,

Broken Headstock

Greetings All! This is my first post here, so please be patient. Also I will probably post this on a couple of other guitar/repair forums, so if any of you frequent those, feel free to reply either way.

Anyways...I have a project Strat that I am working on. It's a Charvel body that I got off..yep...eBay, but its in decent shape and will make a great 2nd refinish project. The neck I'm planning on using is off an older Kramer. The person I got the neck from said the guitar fell over and the headstock just "broke" (please note that person is also a chronic BS'er). It looks like the guy, in a fit of furry/frustration, took the guitar by the body and simply slammed the headstock down on something and part of the upper part of the headstock just snapped. It was not a clean break, and I am missing a small piece (only about a half inch by half inch) that I will have to re-create. Here's where the questions begin....

Ok..first and foremost...what kind of glue should I use? I've seen the Titebond brand wood glue mentioned here as well as in a couple of publications. But in my search for info on violin repair (anther project I got myself into), I've seen many references to "hide glue". Then of course there's epoxy... I'm leaning towards the Titebond as I've used it on other wood projects and never had it break, but would very much like a second educated opinion.

Also...and this is going to be a little hard to describe, so please bear with me...because of the way it broke (again not a clean break), should I try and sand both pieces down flat where I plan to glue them, or should I just try and work with what's there...aka which will give me a stronger glue joint?

Ok...last question. Would it just be easier to cut off the headstock completely and just cut a new headstock? On my 12 string acoustic (Conn), the headstock appears to be a completely different piece of wood then the rest of the neck..which is actually a 3 piece. I had never seen anything like this before, but it really appears to be original and not a repair of any kind.

This guitar is just a side project...the main reason I got the body was so I could learn how to do sunburst finishes. Hopefully with a little luck and allot of patience, this should come out pretty nice looking, but either way its just really going to be a stage backup for my "real" Strat, so I'm not terribly worried about messing it up. Also, please note...I am not a professional luthier by any means, but I have been doing guitar and instrument repair for a few years now, so I'm not a complete newbie ( a little background on me as an FYI).

Once the headstock is repaired...and I'm relatively sure it will hold, assuming the rest of the guitar comes out nice enough to warrant extra work, I will probably cut a thin veneer to go over the top of the headstock just as an aesthetics thing (to clean up all the glue joints etc), but I'll burn that bridge when I come to it.

Re: Broken Headstock

I have two words for you: Gorilla Glue. I give you these words with some caution, however. If you use the stuff, PLEASE make sure you have things lined up properly and clamped well. Gorilla Glue has NO KNOWN solvents, and once it is glued, it is GLUED. Tight clamping is supremely important because GG swells as it cures and you want it to swell OUT from between the pieces, not spread them.

I have two HAMERs that have been repaired with GG. The first, I received with a splintered headstock. I carefully put the puzzle of mahogany back together with GG and careful clamping. Oh yeah- I did some reinforcing by GGing some doweling here and there through the repair. It has been together for TWO years now with no problems, and that is after a lot of heavy use/abuse.

The second I received after someone else reglued the stock with GG, and did so very sloppily. The wood at the back of the head was tight and good, but there had been some of the aforementioned spreading on the face. The graft itself was tight and sturdy, so I saw no need to reinforce. I used my power sander to level the face of the headstock, and zapped the gaps with StewMac #20 CA adhesive sprayed with accelerator. Power sanded it smooth again and am presently in the middle of refinishing it and replacing the HAMER logo.

Did I mention that the genius who did this also got Gorilla Glue between the trussrod nut and the wood behind it? I spent two days chipping that out so the trussrod would be usable.

Note from GuitarAttack:  GorillaGlue is pretty awesome, but it is not for the beginner.  It can be a real mess to use...use at your own risk.

Re: Broken Headstock

It's a bit of a trick to fit the broken pieces back together, but that is the strongest and most accurate way to do it. I would only sand or remove wood if there is oil or dirt that would prevent you from getting a good glue joint. Pick off any splinters that are severely bent, and preventing you from fitting it back together. Then fit the main pieces back together, and put back all of the removed splinters that you can. Plan to spend an hour or so doing the fitting and preparation. The time spent will be worth it in the long run, resulting in a stronger, more stable and better looking repair.

Check out Dan Erlewine's book of guitar repair too. He covers a lot of this in more detail. It's not an easy job, but it can be done. I own a '62 Gibson SG that had the headstock reattached by a professional (Before I bought it) and it looks okay, and still plays really well. (The only problem is that over the years, the finish has not aged the same, leaving a slight two tone effect on the neck.)

Fundamental Refinishing Question

if I were to refinish a neck thru guitar like a flying v and it's already completely built, how should I mask it off to strip/paint it? specifically I'm worried about the fingerboard and the headstock face. should I just get extremely close to the joint of the fingerboard to the neck with tape? if the headstock has the standard black face with Gibson logo, how would I tape it off? my concern is the fact that its gloss-coated color already... if I strip VERY carefully up to the edge of the black, do I have to worry about the gloss I use later matching it where they meet? I cant really find a comprehensive beginner's guide to refinishing that touches on these subjects so any help is appreciated.

Re: Fundamental Refinishing Question

Greg -- Visit the Guitar Reranch (off of our links page) for answers to your refinishing questions. You may also check out our article on the Jeff Beck Les Paul for more info.

Mounting Jackson Bolt-on Neck

I just bought a Jackson Bolt-on Neck for my Jackson Strat style body, but the screw holes don't match up exactly... And the neck and body have what looks like a 'dowel' hole. Am I supposed to match them with a peg?

Re: Mounting Jackson Bolt-on Neck

The hole in the center of the neck pocket is just a machining hole...I use it to hang bodies for spraying. What I've done before is plug the holes in the neck, and redrill based on the holes in the body. It looks like you are going to have to plug one of them!

 How to Pull frets out of a fret board

I need to know how to pull frets out of a fret board on my bass guitar. I wonder if anyone knows the best way to go about this.

Re: How to Pull frets out of a fret board

You can buy some specialized fret pullers from I have also used some big nail clippers with the face ground flush.

Heat the fret with a soldering iron before pulling the fret. Protect that fingerboard and please be careful...practice on scrap.

Transparent finishing

Hi folks,
I just bought one of those PRS kits from Saga. I want to put on a transparent purple finish. When I put the die on it streaked and ran I used a prestain treatment but I believe the sealer they put on wont allow any color to penetrate and stick. Should I try to strip the sealer off and try again or is there another technique that some of you know about.

Re: Transparent finishing

The Saga kits I've built are bare wood anywhere. You could try stripping it, but you could also try to spray a shader over the sealer for a transparent finish.

I cannot vouch for the quality of the wood on your guitar. Let us know how it turns out.

Re: Transparent finishing

Thanks ...The top has a flame veneer and it looks to be about 5 pcs of wood underneath. I plan to stain the body and neck dark brown so the joints shouldn't be too noticeable. I'll let you know how it turns out maybe include a pic or two.

Decals on Mattocaster

I am building a Saga Tele - re the decals do you apply any clear over the top or do you only put decals on once you have finished all clear coats?

Your info on the Mattocaster was real helpful

Re: Decals on Mattocaster

Thanks for the kind words on the Mattocaster.

Put down a couple of coats of clear, then put the decal on the guitar. After 24 hours, clear coat over the decal...very light coats until it is covered. Once the cover coats are dry, continue clear coating with the rest of the guitar.

Saga S-Style Pickguard

I want to take off all the pieces that are connected to my Saga S-Style's Pickguard so I can age it but there is a silver lining between the pickguard and the Volume, Tones, and selector. I don't want to take it off because I'm afraid it has a special purpose. Would someone please tell me what it is?

Re: Saga S-Style Pickguard

It is just a shield. You should be able to leave the foil on there while you do the aging. If it comes off glue it back on.

Telecaster string buzz at the bridge saddle

I'm working on a fender Mexican Tele that makes a nice sitar-like sound at the high E and B bridge saddles. I've been repairing instruments for some time but this has me stumped. any suggestions, anyone?

Re: Telecaster string buzz at the bridge saddle

I had one do that recently. It appears that it is the saddle rattling against the base plate and the adjacent saddle. I used some thin gauge safety wire and wired all of the saddles together (just one loop) just under the saddle and cinched them down (I saw Carl Verheyen do this with his S-Styles). It solved the problem.

Also, make sure the saddles are seating against the base plate properly.

SG Pickguard

I just bought an Epiphone G-400, the SG with the half pickguard. I want to put a big SG pickguard on it, but my friend told me not to because putting new holes in the body for the screws will affect the sound. Is this true? Should I just leave the new pickguard alone? GA Forum

Re: SG Pickguard

Because I own both types of SGs, I personally believe that the pickguard will not affect the tone.

Tune-o-matic bridge

Howdy! I'm building my first guitar and I'd like to know the does and don'ts for installing a (Lpk830 lespaul bridge) tune-o-matic bridge (especially measurements from the nut). I am using a Les Paul style eagle neck and EMG ZW pickups

 Re: Tune-o-matic bridge

I'd recommend buying a copy of Mel Hiscock's "Make your own electric guitar" from or It lays it all out for you.

In a nutshell, measure from the nut to the 12th fret. That exact length will also be the distance from the 12th fret to the bridge. The TOM bridge has an angle to it -- if you are the least bit confused take it to a qualified guitar repairer.


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