27 Jul Guitar Mantainance: keeping your fretboard clean

Guitars are supposed to be played – that is a given – but it also means that they will suffer quite a bit of wear and tear, no matter how careful or gentle you are.

The frets and the board itself are the parts which take most of the beating.

Obviously, the frets are under constant friction from the strings. All that grinding can leave the frets in pretty rough shape after a while, especially with a lot of bending and vibrato. You may start feeling like there is sand or something under the strings, making playing very uncomfortable. You can solve that by polishing the frets with a very fine steel wool. It’s a good idea to protect the board with tape before starting.

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26 Jun AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie” From Live Album “If You Want Blood”, 1978

Now, whether you know it or not, this is a controversial one. In the sense that, some folks believe this version was not at all recorded during the actual live show held somewhere in 1978 in Glasgow (and several dates at that); rather, they think it may be just an alternate version from some takes made in the studio at the time of recording studio album “Let There Be Rock”.  

Whether or not you believe this to be true  – I am personally in (more…)

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31 May AC/DC’s “Down Payment Blues” (Powerage, Studio)

While we already knew that the Schaffer-Vega Diversity System had been used on Powerage (first studio album where it got used, actually), speaking with Angus the other day (yeah, right) gave me additional gas to go and play Powerage stuff. Here to you. First Powerage Video of the Schaffer Replica series, and also a song I had never covered on video previously. Great song, naturally (like most of this era if you ask me).  Better get it right, right?

Just as a reminder of my theory (that finds recount on the “AC/DC in the Studio” book), this album was entirely played – by Angus (more…)

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09 Mar D.I.Y. Home made Nylon Nashville / ABR-1 Saddles

Hello Fellow SD Members. 06AngusSG here (Jon)

It’s been quite a while since my last article here but it’s that time again. Time for some more Do-It-Yourself (D.I.Y.) work articles. First off today we’ll look into some, scarce, history on the Nylon Saddles that we’ll be making. The reason I say “scarce” for the history is that when I started looking into the Gibson Nylon saddles there really isn’t much to be found.

So I’ll try to give a rundown of what I’ve discovered.

(I am  not calling this a “definitive history” but only what I can find. If you have any better sources please comment and I will update info.)


Wrap around bridge on a 1954 Les Paul

In the beginning of the Les Paul, and other hard bodies, they did not have the luxury of the Tune-o-matic bridge.

They had a wrap around stop bar that was set in the body at an angle to achieve an unreliable degree of intonation.








Grooves cut into stopbar to lower string action

Grooves cut into stopbar to lower string action


While some people were able to come up with some creative ideas for the high action these tails created, there just needed to be something else.








ABR-1 on a '59 Les Paul

ABR-1 on a ’59 Les Paul

Debuting on the 1964 Les Paul Custom came the ABR-1 Tune-o-Matic Bridge. This little piece of innovation changed the way that Gibson, and now many other brand, guitars functioned. The Tune-O-Matic allowed for a micro adjustment of the intonation and action height achieving a higher quality of performance.









So into the Nylon mystery. While there are varying, and no official, accounts to be found about these saddles I have boiled my research down to a single reason Gibson used them. Rattle dampening. Yep, that’s right, rattle dampening. While the ABR-1 bridge was a vast improvement over the wrap around bridge it also came with it’s drawbacks.

Due to the retaining wire running along the adjustment screws and the way the set posts were constructed with multiple pieces it seems that the ABR-1 had an inherent rattling problem. So much that it was audible through the pickups. Gibsons solution to this was the dampening quality of Nylon. While “official” 😉  accounts also vary in the years, it seems that the use of nylon saddles started somewhere from 1959-1961 and lasted up to at the latest 1970.

With the incoming of the newer (rattle free) Nashville Tune-o-Matic, the Nylon went to the wayside. And since then the tone arguments have ensued to this date. The major opinions are “tone sucking,” “tone fattening,” or “treble ping taming.” Even Joe Bonamassa uses Nylon on his unwound G B E strings to “tame” them.

Therefor comes the reason for this D.I.Y. With the Nashvilles being rattle free no one has ever produced Nylon saddles for them. Which leaves those of us with Nashvilles no way to try to form our own opinion (like or hate) on their tonal qualities. I being a tone nut, like a lot of you, do not accept this so I made my own.

The originals were constructed of Nylon 6-6 material. Fortunately this is the most produced and desirable type of Nylon made even today. I got ahold of the material to fabricate these from a hardware store 1/2 mile from my house. This in the form of a washer of the already correct thickness for saddles. ($2.40)





Tools needed are pictured here. As with all my D.I.Y. Posts I’m not saying anything in here is the only way to do something. It’s just my way. I’m trying to do these tutorials not with “proper luthier tools” but what tools most people generally have or are readily available.








Obviously you'll need to remove your bridge to do this. Simple...Take off strings remove bridge.These are the retaining spring for the saddle screws. You will need to push up on this to un-seat it from the retaining groove in the screw



Obviously you’ll need to remove your bridge to do this. Simple…Take off strings remove bridge. These are the retaining spring for the saddle screws. You will need to push up on this to un-seat it from the retaining groove in the screw








As seen here: you need to make sure that it is pushed out of the retaining groove so you can unscrew the saddles.



As seen here: you need to make sure that it is pushed out of the retaining groove so you can unscrew the saddles.










First is to pre drill the hole for the screw threads. My bridge is a Gotoh so I'm using a 2.5mm pre drill for the M3 x .5 threads. I use a drill press for this part so the hole is straight. If you don't have one just carefully use a hand drill.



First is to pre drill the hole for the screw threads. My bridge is a Gotoh so I’m using a 2.5mm pre drill for the M3 x .5 threads. I use a drill press for this part so the hole is straight. If you don’t have one just carefully use a hand drill.









Next is to tap the threads into the hole.  Again: If you have to use a hand drill try to hold as square as possible to the material. A crooked hole or thread will affect how the saddle sits in the bridge!!!



Next is to tap the threads into the hole. Again: If you have to use a hand drill try to hold as square as possible to the material. A crooked hole or thread will affect how the saddle sits in the bridge!!!











Once the threads are tapped shave off the “puckered” material with a razor blade.











Take the saddle and screw you set aside earlier and attach it to the nylon with the intonation screw. Make sure to twist it tight so it won't move around. Take a hobby razor knife and trace a groove around the saddle. Make sure to get all sides.



Take the saddle and screw you set aside earlier and attach it to the nylon with the intonation screw. Make sure to twist it tight so it won’t move around. Take a hobby razor knife and trace a groove around the saddle. Make sure to get all sides.











This is how it should look when you’re done tracing. (I rubbed ink into the groove for photo definition. Not a required step.)












After you use the fine cut saw to rough cut the outline, making sure to not intrude into the trace lines, use a flat razor blade to push down through the trace lines to get the final cuts. (a small jewelers type hammer lightly tapping the blade can help in this step)










Here is the true rough cut. Now comes the part where patience and detail come in. Go ahead and have a smoke break first………… :roll:












O.k. now that you’re done, here are the sanding blocks. They are just pieces of fir about 1/4″ x 3/4″ x 4″ long with sticky back sandpaper stuck to them. The grits are 120, 320, and 600. Here is the fit and finish. The razor cuts will not be prefect. use the sandpaper to file down the cuts and shape. Start with the 120 for the heavy lifting. Move to the 320 to smooth out the 120 scratches, and the 600 will more polish than remove material. Make sure to check the fit in the bridge often. It should be a tight fit but not be bound up. When using the 120 and 320 make sure to STOP sanding BEFORE you reach the desired finish point so the next grit will not take it down too far!!!!

(Otherwise your face will look like this  😡 when you realize you have to start this one over.)










You need to measure the saddle height from where it sits on the bridge to the top where the string will rest. this is a critical number that has to be kept so that the strings will run correctly down the neck.












Here is the adjusted Nylon. Even though this measurement is critical, to be within a few thousandths of an inch is o.k.

Here is where you want to be VERY conservative with your sanding. Only use the 320 or 600 to sand here so you don’t go to far.











Here is where to put the “bevel” on the face of the saddle. I find the easiest way to achieve a consistent outcome is to clamp the saddle in a vise and hold the blocks at an angle and slide back and forth.  Again not going to far with the 120 & 320 grits. If you don’t have a vise you can shape it by laying the block on a table holding the saddle at an angle in your fingers.

(Before you finish this step Check out the next one)










Compare your new Nylon saddle to your existing one on the top so you know how much flat area to leave on top.













Side by side of the final product. Just wash-rinse-repeat 5 more times and you’re done!!! 😆


(Insert Jeopardy Music here…..)











AHHHHHhhhhhhhh….. A little patience pays off right? For reference; this took me a good half of a Saturday to complete. So if you’re home and bored?????












O.k. now sit back and enjoy the mess you made. Or clean it up!!! You have more work to do!!!! Is you Guitar working yet?












So here we go. On to saddle slotting. Obviously I’m not going to tell you how to out your Guitar back together. You just took it apart. I would hope you remember. Anyway………..












After you’ve aligned the strings over the poles use a razor knife to mark their position on the saddle.













For the string slots use a very small “micro” file. Make sure not to file any deeper than half of the strings diameter.

Also, as in the picture, tilt the file down (doesn’t have to be a lot) in the back so the slot will have a high point on the beveled side.  This gives a clearer contact point and will help maintain tuning better.











All right!!!! Now you’re actually done!!!!!










Alright guys (girls???? have we ever confirmed a girl member yet????) I hope you enjoyed this D.I.Y. edition from


As usual any questions comments or corrections are welcome below. :mrgreen:


Jon (06AngusSG) signing off……………..



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Stereo Center

21 Feb UPDATED: Back and Hacked! New Developments, The BIB Album Tone & Playing debunked


Update is added to the end of the post!


Howdy Fellow members!,

Ant here writing up a brand new post…. for a while i have been brewing something special and i don’t mean in the flatulence sense!

First let me just put out there that i am not an audio engineer nor a hacker of any sort!! 😛 what i will be posting here is purely findings from my own research and experimentation with audio and various freebie software that’s on the net.

Tone searching, equalizing and listening is what i have been working hard on over the last year or two, searching ways, trying things out purely for the purpose of making decent original studio or live backing tracks from the original AC DC recordings and playing along with them. Of course in the beginning (not in 1955!) i was a complete newbie to the world of audio\listening and its theory but over time i came to learn more and progressed finding new techniques and using the tools readily available to me. Only recently (couple weeks) i stumbled across an amazing tool but i will cover this later on……  i know what your thinking so don’t even think of skipping the next bit!! 😛

Now i will leave you to have a quick listen to these two sound samples….


Angus (not Fil)

[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10276″]

Malcolm (again.. not Fil :D)

[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10244″]


Hi Welcome back! :-)

Sound familiar? Now you’re either wondering what the hell was that!? some of you may think “WOW” and others “Meh” but this my dear friends is something that will aid us in the very depths of our reason for being here.. to debunk and break down what the Young brothers are doing on these great albums and recreate the very pleasure playing it!.

So! what DO! we have here, well we are hearing Angus and Malcolm’s guitars INDIVIDUALLY yes its in bold and caps ^^ this allows us to listen even closer than before to boldly go where *cough* got to stop its star trek! wrong place for it, originally we were just muting either channel and monoing the one we wanted to listen too but THIS is an extraction of the very essence in the tack. There are artifacts in the audio yes this is inevitable but only because that the very frequencies they are on are being shared with the other instruments and vocals.


HOW? Well that’s a good question, its quite simple really (i say this after months of searching Doh! same old story!)

First it was just 5.1 audacity..

initially for live i would whip out the DVDs imported the 5.1 tracks essentially breaking up the instruments/vocals to a certain degree and the re-piece them taking out either Angus or Malcolm and exporting in a stereo format. Didn’t always work as you can still hear them in the mix and of-course it didn’t work for studio albums either as they were not 5.1

Next we have Riffstation..

Now this is a great piece of software as it analyses in on both stereo channels, it lets you dynamically whip out a specific section of the stereo with additional filtration.. i wont go into to much details but i would suggest checking it out! this software works wonders on some of the Young’s live performances

Third Audacity Phase cancellation!

another method i used to use was phase cancellation..yep i used the idea of mic phase.. by inverting one channel (make both tracks mono) the frequencies that matched each other canceled each other out leaving both guitars in a mono state in a single track, i then used this mono dual guitar track inverted it and then placed it back on the original track mono-ed again and inverted to cancel out the guitars 😛 nifty eh? didn’t always work to well but it was better than nothing at the time.

Then GoldWave.. ever heard of this one?

Well this little bad boy just made my day…

First let me cast you back in time… one day i was walking down the street singing do a dee a dede dum *cough* listening to the usual back in black and my headphone cable popped out of my phone just slightly now what happened to my ears was beyond a miracle i could hear Malcolm’s playing as clear as you could say dede do! i was thinking oh crap why is this happening its incredible (for me). So i started experimenting, Google searching and fiddling with cables to try and record what i was hearing but just couldn’t get it to work so here i was with a set of headphones that let me into the track that most people may never have heard before! oh the irony!… time past i went through all my tricks mentioned above until phase cancellation it became clear to me that the headphones connectors were jumping over each other and the tracks were inverting on each other!

Back to GoldWave, this little gem lets me dynamically remove/extract sections that are played from left, Center and Right with the use of a plugin called Stereo Center.
Download it and then the plugin and have a play! its free… for a while 😛

I haven’t read about how it works but it uses some advanced processing technique called Fast Fourier Transform… its beyond me to so cant explain any of it ^^ (rocket science)

I’m sure from here on with these audio extracts it will bring us that little bit closer to solving the mystery’s behind these great albums!
again im no sound engineer of any sort but some of you may have already witnessed these tools or even have better ones but the difference is im sharing my findings here for the benefit of the cause


Sound is wonderful thing.. the more you listen the more you learn and enjoy it.

I will leave you with a couple more for listening, i hope you enjoy them as much as i do.


What do you do? Angus & Malcolm

[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10268″]

[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10270″]


Shoot to Thrill Angus & Malcolm

[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10265″]

[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10267″]


Until next time 😉



UPDATE: Goldwave additional detail and a few Solo Snippets

Couple of people have been giving it a go so i thought it would be good to update the post with a bit more support on the goldwave program to assist others venturing into doing it themselves :)


First off download Goldwave from there website


Open a track that you have from one of your CD’s or downloaded Albums (iTunes ect)

Click Effects

Click Stereo

Click Stereo Center

This is what you should have.

Stereo Center













Choose either side/center to remove/isolate and change the 4x to 16x (better quality) FFT leave as default and click OK

give it a name, save and Bingo your done!

Happy Times!


Also been wanting to post these few solo snippets with added initial findings listening to them, Enjoy


Hells Bells – You can hear some sort of tape delay or re verb kick in part way though the solo.. hear it?

[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10477″]

Shake a Leg – This particular solo is one of the solos that was partly redone at electric lady land without the SVDS… can you hear when it changes? 😉

[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10479″]

Rock and Roll ain’t Noise Pollution – Those vibratos are killer! notice how its all one take for the solo track? truly amazing

[jwplayer config=”Standard Player” mediaid=”10478″]


Drop a comment in this post if you have trouble and i will respond

End of Update! :)

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