Beach Grooves

Spent the past week in a beach house on the Oregon coast for my wife’s family reunion. The weather was pretty good and overall it was relaxing, but the best part for me was sitting on the beach for a couple hours each day playing the guitar while the kids played in the sand around me.

beach guitar

I happily volunteered to take them down to make sand castles and run away from the waves. We even had fun making up songs about the family reunion, each other, and the ocean. It was great.

And I didn’t worry about my $20 garage sale guitar in the sand and ocean ear. I wasn’t putting it on the sand or taking it swimming. I was just using it to make music and enjoy myself.

But things happen. On a particularly windy day I was helping my son build a sand castle. I set my guitar in my chair and the wind blew the entire thing over. My guitar went headstock first into the sand. It stuck up for a long moment and then tumbled further, throwing sand everywhere as it traded punches with the folding chair.

There are a few additional dings, but a brief clean up and a retune had me back on the beach strumming away and humming along with the kids!

string gauge matters

IF you ever install a roller nut, make sure you use a string gauge that actually fits the slots in the roller nut. Otherwise you’ll be like me and have to start over with the installation.

When I put on the nut I just grabbed a loose string I had (I think it was a 54 gauge). I used it to hold the roller nut in place while the glue dried. Unfortunately I also used that string to measure the distance between the string and the second fret to make sure I had the right string height. What I didn’t realize until I put a smaller gauge low E string in that actually fits the slot on the roller nut was that the loose string I used had been resting on the top of the roller nut, not on the roller inside the slot.

Roller Nuts

On my Wolverine project guitar I installed a LSR rollernut. I really like it. With locking tuners and a Wilkinson trem bridge, this thing almost never goes out of tune. It was such an upgrade to the original tuners, plastic nut, and cheap bridge. I’ve read a lot of people who feel like the roller nut takes away from the tone of the guitar, but I haven’t heard it. Reshaping the neck made this guitar a dream to play. Now if I could just figure out how to make the body lighter without ruining my decoupage finish.

wolverine lsr rollernut

While digging through the parts section of one of my local guitar shops I found a Wilkinson roller nut. The original Wilkinson roller nut (or maybe second gen) from the late-80’s with a roller bar instead of two ball bearings like the LSR. Apparently some version of these were installed on Strat Plus’s in the 80’s until 1991. This one was still in the box and unused. So I got it for this MIM strat neck that I got cheap because the original owner hacked up the headstock. I love the neck profile of this neck, but the neck itself isn’t pretty.

project wilkinson roller nut

Throwing on some fender tuners from an old project that involved upgrading to locking tuners and I’ve suddenly got a complete guitar. And did you notice the cool, three string, roller tree string? Always fun to bring a bunch of parts together into a usable instrument!

wilkinson roller nut