PHIL KEAGGY - Grammy nominated and seven-time Dove Award winner, is one of the world’s great guitar players and a pioneer in contemporary Christian music.
- January 26, 2017
- Guitar Accessories
No matter what guitar you play, maintenance is an ongoing part of owning a guitar. Obviously acoustic guitars are very different than electric guitars, but both require unique and individual attention. For example, you don’t have to adjust the saddles of the bridge on an acoustic but you do have to keep a good saddle that isn’t chipped. Maybe you don’t worry about the switches and pots on an acoustic, but if you have electronics, there’s still plenty of things that can go wrong on your acoustic guitar. Just keeping the input jack tightened is a task. The good news is that most acoustic guitar malfunctions can be fixed at home if you have just a little bit of know-how. Where can you find acoustic guitar parts? We’ll see, but first…
What are the Acoustic Guitar Parts?
The main sections of an acoustic guitar break down to the body and the neck. Let’s start with the body. On an acoustic guitar body, there’s the bridge which has three parts. The Rosewood (or whatever wood) bridge, the saddle where the strings rest, and the string pegs that hold the strings in the hole. Some bridges may be adjustable, so there might be screws to lift the saddle as well. Then you have the pick guard and the strap pins. That’s about it.
The neck has the frets, the tuners, the nut or top saddle, the string tree(s), and the adjustment rod. So it sounds like it’s not that complicated, but there are a few parts that require serious attention if broken. For example, a chipped or cracked nut, a broken tuner, or a buzzing fret. Your guitar won’t sound very good or be playable if these things occur. So where do you find acoustic guitar parts?
Make it or Buy it?
You’d be surprised at the folks who just make their own nut, saddle, pegs, bridge, etc. Hey, if you’ve got the time and a good piece of wood or bone, why not? However, it’s not expensive to replace any one of these parts with a replica that can be found in one of several places.
For those who enjoy the woodwork or geometric challenges of building a great guitar, it’s a no brainer. For the rest of us lacking those skills, though, we’d rather get the part now and get it fixed. If you’ve broken a nut or saddle, don’t panic! Most local music shops carry an assortment of nuts and saddles to fit your acoustic. They are not all the same size and distance etc. Finding a matching nut or saddle shouldn't be hard, but it does have to match perfectly or be cut to fit. If that sounds daunting, just remember that that may be as easy as sanding the bottom of the nut or saddle.
As long as the string slots are the same, the height can be adjusted by sanding some off, or adding a small shim in the slot beneath the saddle, nut, etc. In fact, about the only part of an acoustic guitar you might not find at a local music shop is the frets themselves. All other acoustic guitar parts are considered accessories and hang on the wall of most guitar stores.
Obscure Acoustic Guitar Parts
If you have an old Gibson or some other vintage guitar with broken tuners etc. You can look to Ebay as a possible source. There are lots of parts available there if you can’t find what you're looking for at Guitar Center. In fact, your bigger retailers probably won’t have any vintage parts at all. If you want it now, your mom and pop shop that’s been open for 40 or 50 years might have old parts in the back. It doesn’t hurt to ask, but you’ll probably need to look elsewhere.
Try Ebay and if that’s a no-go, try a vintage guitar shop. There are some in Nashville and other cities around the country that might have what you’re looking for. If you can’t find the original vintage parts, your next stop is a company that makes replica parts. If you can’t find the exact old tuners but there’s a set of new replica tuners, you may have to age them to make them look consistent with the old guitar. There’s ways to do that overnight. Finding the right acoustic guitar parts can be a challenge if you have an obscure guitar.
Just A Phone Call Away
If you have time to wait and you want great quality acoustic guitar parts. You can go online or pick up the phone and order just about anything you need from companies like Stew Mac, All Parts, STRATosphere, WD Music and others.
Stew Mac has been around for a long time and has an enormous inventory, as do the others. Just give these guys a call and describe what you’re looking for. They’ll either have a replacement part or point you in the right direction of one. That’s one of the great qualities of a company like Stew Mac. They have some very good luthiers on staff to help answer your questions or find the right tool. You will certainly find most normal acoustic guitar parts at these parts retailers as well as the tools to get the job done. Hey, not everyone is skilled or patient enough to do their own guitar repairs, so don’t attempt a new pickguard, gluing a new bridge, or fretting a classic Martin or Gibson guitar. Just take it to a qualified luthier.
Finally, there are some guitars that are no longer being made or the original makers may have cut things to a unique size or used a part that is no longer being manufactured. It happens!
Don’t panic. There’s a part that’ll exchange somewhere or you may have to fabricate it yourself. If you’re patient, you will find the right part or improvise. Some things might have to be modified but before you go drilling or cutting on your acoustic guitar, get some advice from a luthier. They’re not that far away. Most towns have someone in driving range who can help you with your situation. Research your area before your hour of need arrives and you can be all set.
Life can throw you a lot of curveballs when you’re a musician. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of the resources that are around you. With Pro Lessons, online guitar lessons are easier than ever. Train with our experienced instructors and move at your own pace. The best part? Our rates are affordable for just about any musician’s budget. Find out more by clicking on the link below.