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Tune-o-matic saddle and stop bar tailpiece
      I have a ten year old LTD Viper and the stop bar tailpiece is starting to pull forward. In other words, the studs that are pressure fitted into the body that hold the tailpiece in place are leaning forward towards the bridge (tune-o-matic). I'm aware that there are two sizes of studs (large and small, that's all I could find out). If my guitar has the small ones, could the holes be drilled to accommodate the larger ones? If I already have the larger ones, what needs to be done? What should be a ball park price? What other adjustments will have to be made? I should add that the guitar still plays well. Also, she needs a fret dress. What is the industry standard price? Alas, there is but one (1) real luthier that I could find in So. Fla. and he's a prima donna with a waiting list and a holier-than-thou  attitude that only works when he feels like it. Do you know of any luthiers within a 2 hour drive of Ft. Lauderdale? If not, I'm willing to ship. Would you like to do the work?
P.S. The "dudes that hangout in the back room of Sam Ash", that are not employees of the company (wonder why?),  that claim to fix all problems with guitars, bass, violins, ect...ARE NOT LUTHIERS. At least at the Sam Ash near me
- Cliff

      A fret dress is part of an "Action Set" wherein we adjust all the adjusting screws, including the truss rod, and file the nut as needed. The cost of the whole deal is $100. Shipping can be expensive, but if you pack snuggly around the peghead, it is quite safe. My first thought on your tailpiece is that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It doesn't matter what a stop tailpiece looks like if it's doing its job. My second thought is this: wood changes shape with every weather change. If it pulls back, it will pull forward, if it pulls forward, it has the string tension holding it in the new position. Onacoustic guitars this engenders an almost universal problem misdiagnosis. People bring acoustic guitars to me complaining that the top has "bellied up." Over the years the neck has moved to the point that it needs to be taken off and reset at the original angle. But, people finally noticing that their strings are too high, their eyes travel to the bulging top, and they think that that is the problem. Acoustic guitar tops are not actually flat (even though they are called flat top guitars). The solution is a neck reset, not a top flattening. In science, be careful of your evidence. Remember that it is perfectly obvious that the Earth is flat and the Sun goes by over head (maybe pulled by horses, who can tell looking directly at it).

      It is hard to imagine wood so soft that it couldn't hold tailpiece lugs straight. Slop in the threads could let the barrels lean forward. But that they are actually the wrong barrels is unlikely. A poor fit between the uprights and the crossbar will let the back end of the crossbar tip upward. Maybe there is something drastically wrong elsewhere, drawing your eye to the tailpiece. Stranger things have happened.
Steve Mason

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