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    Technical FAQs

    Here you can find the answers to the most commonly asked questions about our products, including technical advice. The information is divided into sections:


    How do you grade your wood? 

    We take the following considerations into account when grading our wood:

    • The grain; straightness, evenness, closeness and grain runout i.e long or short grain
    • Stiffness
    • Evenness of colour
    • Figure; the degree and type of flame
    • Tonal qualities
    • Natural defects, such as knots etc
    • Our wood is either air or kiln dried or a combination of both. It is usually ready for use; however we cannot guarantee that this is always the case.


    Grain: Grain refers to the growth rings in the wood. Straight grain refers to the rings being straight and parallel to each other. Fine grain is when the rings are close together or appear as fine lines. Coarse grain is when the lines are wider apart and more visible.

    Figure: Figure or flame and quilting is a genetic quality of the wood or growing conditions often due to location or climatic conditions and runs approximately at a right angle 90° to the grain.

    Stiffness: This is an important quality; too much stiffness will cause less vibration and dampen the tone, too little will cause distortion in the wood. As a general rule, the stiffer the better as a top can always be made thinner.

    Colour: Even, consistent colour is a feature of higher grade woods

    What are ‘ribs’?

    ‘Ribs’ (or set of ribs) is the term used in lutherie to describe the sides of an instrument, or in the case of a lute or mandolin – the bowl back.


    What size truss rod do I need?

    This depends on the design and length of the neck and is not a set size. As a general rule, 330 – 400mm would be used in an acoustic guitar, 400 – 440mm in an electric guitar and 530 – 600mm in a bass.

    What size fretwire do I need?

    This is really a personal preference – as a guide, we would recommend a bead width of 1.15mm for Mandolin, 1.7mm for Banjo or Mandola, 2mm for classical, vintage acoustic and vintage Fender type guitars, 2.5mm for steel string and bass guitars and 3mm for Gibson type guitars.

    What do the measurements of your fretwire refer to?

    See the diagram below which shows the measurement references of our fretwire. All measurements are in millimetres.  Eg:on item 9617L  Fretwire Dutch nickel silver 5m coil the measurements are 0.62(A) x  1.15(B) x 0.75(C) x 1.70(D)mm. These refer to A, B, C and D on the diagram.

    How many lengths of Dunlop fretwire do I need for a guitar?

    We would suggest that 3 lengths would be more than enough for most instruments, allowing for trimming and perhaps the odd mishap!

    Which saw is best for fret slotting?

    The fret saw (part no.9859) is good for cutting fret slots – it has a 0.6mm cut.

    What adhesive is best for bindings and purflings?

    ‘Titebond’ (stock code 9950) is best for wood purfling and binding and our binding cement (stock code 9889) is ideal for plastic.

    Which type of transducer is best for my instrument?

    This is a matter of choice – you can either use an under saddle transducer (fitted in the saddle slot of the bridge) or an adhesive bug transducer that is usually mounted on the soundboard of the instrument.

    What size is the resonator cone and cover in your resonator kits?

    The spider type has a cone diameter of 265mm and cover diameter of 281mm and the biscuit type 242mm for the cone and 256mm for the cover. See resonator kits

    Do your tremolos come with fitting hardware?

    All our tremolo systems are supplied with mounting hardware.

    Do your machine heads come with bushes / screws?

    All our machine heads are supplied with screws and bushes

    What post spacing do our machine heads have?

    The post spacing on our machine heads is 35mm (industry standard), unless otherwise stated. Single machine heads can be used for non standard spacing.

    What components are included in an electric guitar kit? What is the body / neck wood?

    Our electric guitar kits contain all the components and hardware needed for construction – They do not include the lacquer for finishing the instrument (car spray paint works well). The neck is maple with a rosewood fingerboard and the body is basswood – with a maple top on the Les Paul and PRS style guitars.

    How many pieces of wood are used in your pre shaped electric guitar bodies?

    These are usually three piece, but occasionally two or four.

    What is the output value of our electric guitar pick ups?

    This varies from pickup to pickup – you will find detailed specifications on the relevant manufacturers’ websites.

    Do Schaller pick up covers fit other pick ups?

    Usually, yes – but not always – again you need to check your measurements against those on the Schaller website

    What is the fingerboard radius / neck profile of the electric guitar necks you sell? What type of fretwire do they have?

    Our high quality guitar necks (made in Japan) are vintage specification – 7.25” (185mm) radius with 2mm frets.

    How do I fit an uncut nut / saddle?

    We do supply the materials and tools for this job. However, if you do not feel confident, we recommend that you seek out a guitar technician or maker.


    How do I know which size REMO banjo head will fit my instrument?

    You need to match the outside diameter of the rim (pot) of your banjo with the measurements listed under the Remo banjo head section of our catalogue. These are available in three different heights: High - ½”, Medium - 7/16”, Low – 3/8”. Check this against the original head.

    How do you fit a vellum to a banjo?

    We have instructions on how to do this job - email us to request these.


    What is the difference between a ‘fitted’ and ‘unfitted’ bridge?

    A fitted bridge has the crown shaped and the string slots cut, whereas an unfitted bridge has surplus wood on the crown that needs to be taken down and shaped to suit the fingerboard radius. You need to shape the feet of both types to match the belly (top) of the instrument.  

    How do you fit violin pegs?

    The correct way to fit pegs and ensure a good friction fit is to use a peg shaver to cut the pegs to a set taper, and then ream the peg hole to the same taper using a reamer (both tools available on this site). This is a skilled job and should only be undertaken by a trained luthier or technician.

    How can I tell the size of my instrument (violin, viola, cello and double bass)?

    The most reliable way to tell the size of an instrument is to measure the back along the centre joint (not including the button) – a size chart is available on request.