Aaron Younce

Hi, I'm Aaron. I'm a custom guitar builder and stringed instrument repair tech by trade, and a musician and stage tech by night. I write and record original music under the moniker Atomic Tortoise, and I play bass in the New Orleans rock band Them Ol' Ghosts. When my hands aren't on a guitar, I'm probably out riding motorcycles somewhere...

Author's posts

Pinning a floating bridge

If you’ve ever owned hollow-body jazz guitar with a floating bridge, you know the perils of changing the strings without accidentally moving the bridge placement. Even scarier, the bridge is also able to slide around the top of the guitar under full string tension if bumped, potentially throwing off your string alignment and intonation, causing …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.strangeguitarworks.com/pinning-a-floating-bridge/

Output Jack Repair on a Gibson Thunderbird

When you play a Gibson Thunderbird on stage the way it’s supposed to be played, you’re probably going to break it at some point – and that’s okay! That means you’re doing it right and rocking out. This particular bass had the instrument cable stepped on during a gig (always loop your cable around your …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.strangeguitarworks.com/output-jack-repair-on-a-gibson-thunderbird/

Fixing a Broken Headstock with Splines and a Backstrap Overlay

I honestly don’t know how many broken headstocks I’ve repaired over the years. But I can tell you that when I first started doing this 20 some-odd years ago I wasn’t fixing broken headstocks with splines and a backstrap overlay – it was more like a single C-clamp and some wood glue. Boom. Done! Maybe …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.strangeguitarworks.com/fixing-a-broken-headstock-with-splines-and-a-backstrap-overlay/

Removing and Replacing a Broken Truss Rod

Inside nearly every modern guitar and bass neck is a truss rod: a long, adjustable steel rod designed to counteract string tension on the neck. Without it your guitar strings will eventually bend your instrument’s neck into an unplayable banana-shaped object. They are usually pretty sturdy, but if they are abused they can sometimes break. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.strangeguitarworks.com/removing-and-replacing-a-broken-truss-rod/

Filling a Kahler route on a vintage Gibson Flying V

Back in the 1980s, guitarists were cutting holes into their instruments for double-locking bridge systems like their Aqua Net was cutting holes into the Ozone layer. A popular choice among them was the Kahler Vibrato System: a stationary-mounted bridge with a cam-operated vibrato arm that allows for all the squeals and dive bombs a Spandex …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.strangeguitarworks.com/filling-a-kahler-route-on-a-vintage-gibson-flying-v/

Epoxy Coating a Fretless Bass

Back in the early 1970s, Jaco Pastorius took the electric bass world by storm with his trademark fretless Fender Jazz Bass sound – and people have been chasing that sound for decades. Part of his unique bass tone came from a coating of Pettit Poly-Poxy (boat epoxy) that he applied to the fingerboard to protect …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.strangeguitarworks.com/epoxy-coating-a-fretless-bass/

Repairing a Collapsed Acoustic Guitar

New Orleans humidity is rough on things. It’s relentless grip on the Gulf South is unforgiving of most man-made objects not designed for swamp life: houses, vehicles, books, anything electrical, and definitely guitars. The combined string tension at standard tuning is about 160 pounds of constant pressure on the soundboard – which means acoustic guitars …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.strangeguitarworks.com/repairing-a-collapsed-acoustic-guitar/

Repairing a broken Gibson headstock

Broken Gibson headstocks are very common, and we’ve repaired A LOT of them over the years using various techniques such as backstrapping, laminating multiple-layer overlays, routing reinforcement splines, and sometimes a combination of everything. We see so many broken Gibson headstocks that we’ve developed our own proprietary tooling to give us repeatable and reliable reinforcement …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.strangeguitarworks.com/repairing-a-broken-gibson-headstock/

Restoring Mike Campbell’s Vintage Gibson Dove

Our primary focus at the shop has always been to service the local New Orleans music community. Being gigging musicians ourselves, we’ve put a lot of stock in the symbiosis of the music scene here, and it’s been very important to us to do our part in helping it thrive and to develop meaningful relationships …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.strangeguitarworks.com/restoring-mike-campbells-vintage-gibson-dove/

Converting a Bolt-On to a Set-Neck

This one’s for my fellow woodworking nerds out there: converting a bolt-on to a set-neck. Our pal, Anders Osborne comes into our shop with unique requests on a fairly regular basis, but this one takes the cake. He had a custom Delaney guitar built for him using some cypress siding from his house that he’s …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.strangeguitarworks.com/converting-a-bolt-on-to-a-set-neck/

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