Tale of Two Guitars

This is the history of two guitars I purchased in 1970; namely:

  1. A Maton CW 80/6 steel stringed acoustic guitar, purchased from Barrys Music in Goodies Arcade.

  2. A Yamaha G-100A nylon stringed acoustic guitar purchased from ? ? in George Street

They have both been very good guitars and used extensively, but, have seen some changes over the decades. The Yamaha has never left the house, whereas the Maton has seen a lot of road miles, even making it to Tamworth.

Your ear becomes atuned to differences especially when you record. Every blemish stands out like a sore thumb. Both guitars had issues, though different ones.

Maton CW 80/6

The Maton has really put in the hard yards. I don't take it out anymore, just keep it at home and record with.

For some time I have an issue with 'string buzz' and it has proved most intractable problem. I have taken it to several Luthiers over the years, even world renowned ones to no great result.

I could put up with it, but it just sounds wrong, not a pure sound.

OK, last effort. I took the guitar to the Maton factory and had a repairer have a play/listen to it. The issue is most noticeable between the 5th and 7th frets and the 'E' and 'B' strings. Derek was the repairers name and he played away and agreed he could hear the issue and even noted some other places that also had problems. He noted that the frets were rather low, due to attempts by previous luthiers, and suggested a refret. Hmm, major operation, but I accepted the recommendation and the work is now in progress. Hopefully all will be well.

Follow up

After the refret the same issue persisted, rather disappointed.

Stripped the guitar again and even made a new shaped saddle hoping that would solve the problem. the shape is angled and sharp at the neck end so as to keep the string free from vibrating against the saddle. Result, same!

Visited the Maton factory and spoke to two repairers and they rather sheepishly admitted that it's a string issue and there's no known solution. To demonstrate the point they took a new guitar from a wall display and lo and behold the same issue. Very disappointing.

Bought a slightly thicker set of strings (non Elixer) and the problem still exits but the offending notes are different and in fact worse.
What to do? Requires a more exhaustive search.

Yamaha G-100A

I have composed a large proportion of my songs on this guitar. It does't even have a case, sits in a guitar stand.

Over the last decade I had noticed a change in the intonation of the strings, gradually getting sharper and sharper. In an effort to keep using the guitar I have restricted my use of high notes. On the odd occasion where I have had to use a high note I have had to use software to correct the note. easy to do, but not really purist.

I took it to a few luthiers over the years and recently it just proved too hard. To get the guitar in tune I would have to move the bridge a centimetre or more away from the neck to get it in tune. Major work, not too happy about that.

As it happens, I was in a music shop in Newborough, Gregorys Sports & Music, purchasing something, when the thought entered my head to try the classical guitars they had on show. They only had two, but I was most taken with the Esteve, so I put it on laybye, paid it off and it's a wonderful guitar to play and record.

My old Yamaha has been retired and just looks good on the wall.