Workshop: Shaved Shoves

Here's a good example of how many old guitars come into the shop: with a pre-shaved or altered bridge. This is a '47 Martin. My opinion: who cares?

This guitar's shave job was "done right" in the past (not accurate-looking but well-cut) and so the saddle has good back-angle on it and the action was dialed-in (before my work) just about right, even. There are those who would say that something like this needs to be corrected with major surgery: neck reset, new tall bridge, hugely-tall saddle... but why? That's so invasive and considering the number of pro-botched reset jobs I've seen personally, not something I tend to favor if more miles can be gotten out of a guitar otherwise.

If a guitar absolutely needs a neck reset, then I understand. The telltale sign there is mismatched geometry at the neck joint (a "ski jump" at the fretboard extension is common) leading to very low height of the strings over the body if you want a proper setup. That's not ideal and doesn't give much room for top-belly error-adjustment as the guitar travels through the seasons and action rises and falls over the year (most do, slightly).

But... if a guitar comes in and this is how it's been for a while? Spruce it up, set it up more closely, and be happy that it'll probably go the next 50 in just as happy a fashion if it's taken care-of.

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