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Old March 26th, 2013, 09:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Acoustic - upgrades - worth it ?

Have med quality guitar, less $1k....

Is part update a meaningful thing?

- Corian or bone bridge
- replace plastic pegs
- bone nut
- professional setup

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Old March 26th, 2013, 09:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think replacing the nut & bridge can be great upgrades, plus a setup. After that, not so sure.
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Old March 26th, 2013, 10:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If you're in for a bone saddle, bone nut and a set-up, might as well spring the last few bucks for some bone or hardwood pins; a small but noticeable change from plastic.

Bone nut: Increased tuning stability and better play-ability (along with a set-up).

Bone saddle: Good step louder, more "presence", and this could mean more harshness in some guitars so YMMV.

Bridge pins: Look really cool.
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Old March 26th, 2013, 10:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Changing the nut and saddle can change the sound. I like bone, but some swear by corian or Tusq. Pins are a point of disagreement. I believe they do change the tone to a degree, but not much and my ears often hear what I want them to hear. If you check Bob Calosi's site, he has some strong opinions about all of it. he does beautiful work and I'm a happy customer.

A set-up is essential, and actually changes the tone more than pins, nuts, saddles, if only because it lets you play comfortably and find your own sound. I'd start there...

YMMV...
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Old March 26th, 2013, 10:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I think having a setup is definitely worth it and would be a good time to get a bone nut and bridge. I have also replaced plastic pins with ebony on a guitar, but that was because one plastic pin broke, the others were worn and the cost was about the same as a set of strings.
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Old March 26th, 2013, 12:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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A good setup is always worth it. Nothing else will make as big a difference. A good luthier or tech can make a decent guitar into a great guitar just by setting it up right.

I'd rather play a well set-up no-name budget box than a top o' the line Martin with action and intonation problems any day.

In almost every case, it's a better idea to spend some cash to setup your old guitar instead of putting it toward a fancier one that you can't afford to set up.

Bone is nice, and may improve the sound, and since it's more economical to do it all at once, why not go ahead and do it?

Bridge pins, well, I'm not sure that's worth the money. Different folks say different things about it, and I haven't tried it.
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Old March 26th, 2013, 12:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Setup, yes. Upgrades may or may not mame a difference on an inexpensive guitar. Depends on how jts made.
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Old March 26th, 2013, 01:09 PM   #8 (permalink)

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The nut and saddle will almost certainly be a noticeable and positive upgrade. As will a setup. I've never had a customer tell me they wish they'd stuck with a plastic nut or saddle, but almost every one of them is surprised by the increase in clarity and volume.

Setup: definitely. Without a setup, it's like trying to drive a car that's never had the wheels aligned.
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Old March 26th, 2013, 05:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Setup: a must.

Bone nut and saddle: A good choice.

Bridge pins: not necessary but they'll probably make you feel better.

Don't forget to try different types of strings. That can have a big effect too.

Jim
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Old March 26th, 2013, 07:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KokoTele View Post
The nut and saddle will almost certainly be a noticeable and positive upgrade. As will a setup. I've never had a customer tell me they wish they'd stuck with a plastic nut or saddle, but almost every one of them is surprised by the increase in clarity and volume.

Setup: definitely. Without a setup, it's like trying to drive a car that's never had the wheels aligned.
lol and thx
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Old March 26th, 2013, 09:16 PM   #11 (permalink)
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When you guys say "setup" do you mean including fret dressing?

Also, how do you know if your guitar does not already have a bone or tusq saddle/nut?
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Old April 1st, 2013, 02:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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+1 - jwsamuel
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 08:32 AM   #13 (permalink)
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- Got her in the shop now....can't wait
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 01:55 PM   #14 (permalink)
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One of the dumbest things that I ever did was to have the saddle and nut on a Martin OM-28V changed from corian to bone. After the change, my guitar didn't sound as good.

What makes it even worse is that there was no reason to make the change in the first place; I just got caught up in a bunch of guitar forum opinions that said bone was better.

Now, when I hear someone touting bone as an upgrade when they haven't even heard the guitar they're talking about, I'm experienced enough to take it with a grain of salt.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 03:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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If it's a guitar that's special to you and feels good in our hands, then you made the right choice. You can't put a price on an axe with sentimental value. I'm probaby gonna put some nice new tuners on my first guitar: a Fender Alexxus 30 (it was $150 brand new, 20 years ago). The tuners will probably be more valuable (in monetary terms) than the guitar itself but it will be nice to get to play my first guitar and have it keep in tune!
My big regret with all my musical "investments" was spending about $800 over 10 years upgrading an MIM Strat (with various replacement parts) that I ended up selling for $350. Of course a new MIM Strat is WAY less than $1000 (at least it was when I bought mine).
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 07:10 PM   #16 (permalink)
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One of the dumbest things that I ever did was to have the saddle and nut on a Martin OM-28V changed from corian to bone. After the change, my guitar didn't sound as good.
The Martin OM-28V comes with bone nut and saddle.

Jim
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 09:55 PM   #17 (permalink)
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The Martin OM-28V comes with bone nut and saddle.

Jim
Gotcha, Jim. Until mid-2004, the OM28V had a corian nut and saddle. That's from the Technical Reference book by Richard Johnston and Dock Boak.

I felt bad after changing the corian nut and saddle to bone, but you can imagine how much worse I'd have felt if I'd changed a bone nut and saddle to different bone that didn't sound as good!
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Old April 4th, 2013, 05:31 AM   #18 (permalink)
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First, try different strings. Especially different gauges.
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Old April 4th, 2013, 12:00 PM   #19 (permalink)
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First, try different strings. Especially different gauges.
+1 on this advice. Also get your saddle and nut height to your liking.
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Old April 4th, 2013, 12:30 PM   #20 (permalink)
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In my experience, in this order...

Set up.
Pick.
Strings.
Saddle.
Nut.
Pins.
Machine heads.
Brace shaving or anything else that a good luthier suggests.
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