Fylde Guitar Reborn
Hat’s off to Warren at Audio Zephyr – he’s breathed a new lease of life into my beloved Fylde Othello guitar. It’s my favorite guitar, having owned this guitar for nearly thirty years and it has been with me throughout my whole guitar playing career just about. I first saw this guitar in Pink Noise – the music shop in Gravesend (UK) that I was working in as a student. It was used and belonged to the brother of one of the shop owners. It played so nicely and was such great price but still rather a lot of money for me at the time. I persuaded myself to buy it (as you do). A few years later I had the frets redressed and a Gibson slimline pickup installed by a somewhat average luthier in Southampton. I came to really love this guitar – it’s amazingly loud and lovely tone, but it was many years later I realised how quirky it is – the sound hole isn’t even central!
The Fylde has been played regularly over the years, but more recently the action was becoming more and more unplayable and it had been sitting in the corner for a while not being played. I was worried that there was something not right about the truss rod and that it was going to cost me a small fortune if I took it in. However, with such a precious thing as this that has been part of my life for so long, I’ve develop a deep almost spiritual connection with it and feel the responsibility to keep it well looked after and played. So I ‘bit the bullet’ and took it in for Warren to look at.
He spend a good long time umming and ahhring over this when he first saw it and spent ages pondering. He noticed the flatness of the neck, the quirky neck joint – the unusual body bracing – all things I’d never realised before. He well and truly turned his nose up at the slimline pickup under the bridge! But when he said that it needed a neck reset, but that he wasn’t prepared to do it … my heart sank. Fortunately he was able to come up with another solution. So it’s now got a brand new bone nut, mammoth tusk bridge (yes, you read that right – and it still smells of peat bogs!), buffalo horn bridge pins and a new K&K pickup system – also a straight and properly radiused neck with brand new frets! Yay – my beautiful Fylde sounds and plays like a million dollars! Many, many thanks to Warren for his efforts!
Here’s Warrens own write up of the project:
‘This early Fylde acoustic needed a neck reset etc… however because the original neck fitting method would be a bit of an unknown I was reluctant to attempt it… luckily it had an overly thick fingerboard (with almost no radius and a rising fingerboard tongue) and needed re-fretting, so during the leveling and radiusing to 20″ I removed about 2mm more at the nut end and almost none at the body fret and carrying on leveling out the rising tongue, giving us a new line of sight angle from the nut up to the bridge, the same as what a neck set would have given us. Then once fretted we had almost perfect alignment allowing reasonable saddle height and low action… not bad considering it came in with horrible action and almost no saddle height!!’