Hello everyone! Here is another Sovereign post for ya. My cousin, for whom I pay bass, had a string break and he was unable to get the guitar to stay in tune after that and switched guitars in the middle of practice. Seeing as how I'm cutting my teeth in the guitar repair biz, he asked me to see what I can do.

The condition: The guitar has no loose bracings or cracks, the bridge is completely sound and firmly planted (it's the kind that is strung from the top of the bridge, not through the guitar top with pins), the saddle is every so slightly slanted, but is almost straight like a classical. There was a cheep "repair" job done years ago in lieu of a proper neck reset. The dove tail was sawed through along the body to just shy of the fingerboard, bent back to correct the angle and re-glued and further anchored by a wood screw through the heel and block. The heel joint looks solid, no cracks or splits though there seems to be only hardened glue between the heel and body toward the the fingerboard.

My assessment: I was able to get the guitar in tune with no problem in my shop, though the G string is severely out of tune when fretted and played with any other string open or fretted. The intonation is correct or very very close for all strings but the G, which is about a 1/4 tone off. This makes sens with an almost straight saddle on a steel string guitar. I can play anything all the way up the neck, and as long as i play the G open, every thing is in tune.

He claims that in all the years he's owned it, it has never had an intonation problem until Monday when he broke the string.

I don't know what to think. All looks solid to me, and the truss rod seems to do it's job, though I wonder how the repairman managed to cut through without cutting through the truss rod too. There is a slight rattle when tapping hard on the center and rear of the neck, but nothing too alarming in sound.

Can anyone tell me if there is something in the neck perhaps, or elsewhere, that could have shifted causing this intonation to go out on the G when the string broke?

All I can see to do is widen the saddle slot, and set another one and do a zig-zag shape in compensating it.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Tags: harmony, intonation, neck, sovereign

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Rattle could be tuners or loose upper cross brace which I had on my classical for a long time til' I pinpointed it.I agree about the saddle fix.Action good?
Assuming it is the same model as the other Harmony listed currently, have pieces of one of these in my attic saved from being burned after a rage teenaged male smashed it 'cuz he was mad at his girfriend (and I'm sure that it truly taught her a valuable lesson from his sacrifice ). Anyhoo I can barely remember the sound of the guitar only that for an inexpensive guitar I coveted it at the time (hence any loss or disappointment you might sense form this smashing report) as it played easily and sounded good around a campfire as well as being light to carry. The bridge which I still have isn't compensate other than being slanted and it is held on by those two screws on each end. The bracing may be a little thick but it's also spruce so in relationship to the CA mahogany the mass ration may still work out. Over the years I've hoped to find one of the cuz I've got many of the normal wear parts as well as enough unburned side and top (almost complete) to do fairly large "piece in" repairs.

I hope you get it going - as has been suggested start with another new string (bad strings happen to bad little boys ) and go through every other part of the system. Then if you still feel it is the bridge make a temporary individual bridge/saddle which will wedge in either before - string flat - or behind - string sharp) the saddle and try to play it. Yeah, the G will be harder to push down but you can use it to verify diagnosis for about the first five fret positions - as long as it is as close to the height of the other strings as you can make it clearing obstructions. Don't forget an ill placed nut (no, I won't go there ) which might be resonating behind the playing string and throwing things off.

Was it the G string that broke, and was replaced? If so, I'd say it's a bad string.
Thanks everyone. Good point about the possibility of a bad string. I called him, and in fact it was the G string that broke! A bad string or a problem with the nut seem so obvious. sometimes the obvious things just don't occur to one at the time. I will have a close look at the nut and try a new string and see where we are. If that doesn't do it, I'll take Rob's advice about a temp fix on the saddle to see if that puts the stars back in alignment. If not, I'll be back ;-)

I'll check the cross bracings again too.

Bad strings happen to bad little boys- LOL!
Could the problem be between the ears?
Well, indeed the string was bad, AND I found some unevenness in the G string nut slot along with a little chip in the slot too that I've remedied. I've put it through the paces and played around with all sorts of chording and tuning and it stays in tune and its intonation is correct now with no alteration to the saddle at all.

I'm sure I would have suspected a bad string at some point on my own, but I'm also sure I would have dismissed it as too easy and answer to be a possibility. Glad I asked you guys! It makes sense though. All was fine until the string broke and a replacement installed, then came problems. Working backwards in the correct order is my lesson for today ;-) Thanks!

I am still curious how the neck heel was sawn through like it was without cutting the truss rod. Any ideas? (see above for details)

Why we're on the subject, what makes a string bad anyway? Or could it vary from one case to another? Just curious.

Many thanks!!!!
Magic? Removed T/R and sawed. Sawed around T/R? Truss rod is a fake? Beats me.
The truss rod probably ends at the heel. I don't know if this is one of them or not but some of truss rods actually turn down into the heel so they won't twist in the slot but they don't go through the heel into the headblock.

I'll have to remember this lesson. I'm in the habit of changing all my strings when I need to change one and that would have made this problem harder to diagnose.



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