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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am new to this forum and its exciting to be here!
I am an international student studying at UWaterloo, who just picked up a BR 160.
It sounds really good but that's out of the box, and I noticed that it has a plastic nut and bridge, and was would love to hear opinions on a bone replacement.
It sounds rather bright too, so would love some bassy/woody string recommendations.

This also is my first solid-wood guitar and I have no idea how to take care of it with humidity affecting the neck and all that.

As you can tell I would love any and all advice from you guys!

Thanks :)

PS - who is your favorite luthier based out of KW?
 

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Welcome to the forum R7maynard.

Thank you Google to know what is a BR-160.

IMO some kind looking plastic nut and bridge is very common.
I'm not sure you'll hear the difference with bone.
Generally guitars come with the smallest string gauge which gives a brighter sound than if the strings gauge were bigger.
A bigger gauge may need a truss rod ( and nut's string guide?) adjustment .
There is also the type of wood and the method of construction that influences the sound.
You should try several brands of guitars before buying. Have you done it ?

Luthier close to KW ?
Key West ??????


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I would recommend you put on some really light gauge electric guitar strings, and not worry about the sound so much just yet. I would recommend Ernie Ball Super Slinky 9-42 or even 8-38 gauge strings. The reason I say this is as a beginner the finger tips need to get calluses and your fingers need strength. Regular acoustic strings just plain hurt. The electric strings will be way easier to play and thus you will be able to practice longer and get better much faster.

Be sure to break your practice up into chords and scales etc, as well as learning songs or repertoire. That way you will be getting good at guitar, and building up as bunch of songs you can perform.
 

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.....a beginner the finger tips need to get calluses and your fingers need strength.

I agree
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" I would recommend Ernie Ball Super Slinky 9-42 or even 8-38 gauge strings."
player99
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- Neck truss rod may need adjustment. If not you'll have strings buzz.

Il keep guitar original ; strings gauge and nut and bridge.
Learn to play first
 

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Welcome to the forum. I agree don’t worry about the nut and bridge . Personally myself I never worried about that and what a great guitar to start off with . Also international student ? Welcome to Canada !, how long have you been here and where are you from? Have you met a Canadian goose yet aka a cobra chicken?
 

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Welcome to the forum. I am in the K-W area (Stanley Park area in south Kitchener)

There are a few places you could take your guitar if/when you need work done on it and/or need strings, picks, etc

Sherwood Music (off of Ottawa St near Charles St) ...Mike is the guitar tech. I have gone there for many years.

Folkway Music (Waterloo at Regina St and Dupont St.) near Long & McQuade ...excellent (GLOBAL) reputation but expensive.
You have to go there just to see the guitars they have in stock!

Bob's Guitars (Victoria St. at Lancaster St.) Ryan is the tech. CALL FIRST to be sure he is there.

Guitar Corner (Victoria St. and Park St) Dwayne is the owner.

The above are the first that come to mind and some are near the LRT.

There are many Guitars Canada forum members in the K-W area.
I was an international student myself (shortly after the ice age). Where is "home" for you?
 

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Just play it and don't change anything. Strings sound bright when they are new and get duller over time.
This!
Whatever you do don't put light gauge electric strings on it. A dread is best with 13-56. If thats too hard on you fingers don't go smaller than 12's so you can still drive that top somewhat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay, maybe I should've specified 😅 : I'm a beginner to this forum and the online internet community in general! Been a lurker for a while, but first time signing up :)
I should state that I've been playing acoustic guitar for 4 years now (had a Seagull S6 before, beautifully setup) and even though my Blueridge has a richer, deeper, less muddier tone, it definitely lacks in the play-ability department.

It squeaks more than my S6, and goes out of tune easier too. S6 had a tusq nut and the angular headstock which comes with even force dispersion on the neck (according to Robert Godin) whereas the Blueridge has a plastic nut and saddle it seems and a traditional rectangle headstock with grover tuners.

Looking forward to what everyone has to say about improving the way this guitar feels. Also let me know if anyone wants to hear audio samples, would love to play some guitar for the awesome folks here. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of responses I got, and how quickly I got them!

Cheers and have a great day 😁
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Welcome to the forum. I am in the K-W area (Stanley Park area in south Kitchener)

There are a few places you could take your guitar if/when you need work done on it and/or need strings, picks, etc

Sherwood Music (off of Ottawa St near Charles St) ...Mike is the guitar tech. I have gone there for many years.

Folkway Music (Waterloo at Regina St and Dupont St.) near Long & McQuade ...excellent (GLOBAL) reputation but expensive.
You have to go there just to see the guitars they have in stock!

Bob's Guitars (Victoria St. at Lancaster St.) Ryan is the tech. CALL FIRST to be sure he is there.

Guitar Corner (Victoria St. and Park St) Dwayne is the owner.

The above are the first that come to mind and some are near the LRT.

There are many Guitars Canada forum members in the K-W area.
I was an international student myself (shortly after the ice age). Where is "home" for you?
Thanks for the list! Is it true the Folkway Music store sold a guitar to Eric Clapton in the past?
I'm from India. Are there any music / acoustic venues here for like-minded people like us to hang?
 

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If it’s too bright and the strings on it squeak too much try elixir nano ph/brz 13s should dull it down and less string noise.

New guitars almost always come with crapped out strings or strings that I don’t like so the first thing I do when I get home is change them.

You should look after it for humidity. When I was living in the grad rez at Queens it was so dry that the bridge came flying off one of my guitars.

I wouldn’t bother changing the nut and saddle or the bridge pins or any of that stuff. Just play it and you’ll see more of a change in tone by using various strings. Another thing too is that I’ve noticed new guitars tend to play over a few months so give it time to settle before doing anything with modifications.
 

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Because your BlueRidge is a dread it may take a little longer for the sound to achieve a higher degree of tonal richness even if the bass has more power. Changing to tusk might help a little but it might not.

However sometimes factory guitars can benefit greatly from simple little tweaks to the intonation other times it makes no difference.

Best thing to do is wear out the factory strings that it came with then put on a set of medium gauge 12-53 PBs. Martin PB strings are decent as are D'Addario PBs. See if it jangles a little more in the upper register and especially if the harmonic at the twelfth fret 1st string closely, within a few cents, matches the stopped string at the twelfth. If it is out of wack and too sharp on the top e, b, g, and d on a fretted note as compared to a harmonic at the same distance from the nut: that is an indication that the guitar might benefit from a slight lengthening tweak in the intonation. If the 5th string is slightly out and flat that is normal as is it is with the 6th string and is compensated for with the pressure applied to press down the bass strings at the frets. The 5th and 6th strings should never sound sharp when stopped at the twelfth which indicates a very poor intonation setting. If the bass strings are slightly flat then you should be able to intone strings by ear with your finger pressure much the same way that a flute player does with their embouchure.
Jethro Tull even though he ate flute and was breathy in sound colour, had the ability to be bluesy by adjusting his embouchure with slight increases and decreases in pressure to the mouth piece.

A good guitarist develops the ability to colour the sound simply by varying pressure applied to the strings with the tip of the finger stopping the string.

But if the 1st is flat at the stopped octave in comparison to the harmonic octave you may have a very poorly intoned guitar right from the factory and I would dump it pronto or take it to a real luthier and fix it. Because moving the intonation forward requires a widening of the slot forward in which the bridge fits. It is easier to move the intonation slightly to the flat side back towards the string pins than the sharp side of the bridge.

For years the company that build Godin sold cheap acoustic guitars that had poor intonation that really benefited from moving the intonation to correct the pitch of the stopped notes. The fretting was fine but the guitars were jigged wrong at the factory. Dirty little secret that I am letting out of the bag here. But they did smarten up and improve their production a few years back so by and large their cheap guitars are setup correctly at the factory.

Here is another big laugh when it comes to North American guitar manufacturers. Gibson in the late 1960's brought out a classical guitar with bridge jigged in place with the same templates that they used for the steel string guitar production lines. They were horrible until you took it to a luthier and had the luthier completely change the position of the bridge slot and move it forward. They sounded somewhat ok if playing only in the first position but playing up the neck you got dirty looks from other musicians or told that you had no ears at all. Tune your high end "Gibson classycal GEETAR" from now till Sunday and it would still sound like a rotten tomato goat fart playing up the neck.

Chances are there is nothing wrong with your BlueRidge dread but it may benefit greatly from a simple little tweak that is commonly done to new factory guitars. A good balanced intonation can do wonders to increase the harmonic warmth and beauty of the sound of a decently constructed guitar made from good woods.
 

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A little PS on the last post. Wound bass strings do start to lose accuracy of intonation more than trebles as they age. So it is best to set up your intonation with slightly warn strings not when they are brand new.

When new they can sound flat at the twelfth but as they age they can suddenly start to sound more nasal and sharp with stopped notes up the neck. When they start to sound weird like a Donald Duck cartoon voice with covid you know your goose is cooked and it is time to go string hunting.
The reason is that the wrapped coil of PB, stainless or copper or whatever alloy is starting to loosen. Unwound strings stretch as do the cores of wound strings so it is best to change them if they start to sound sharp and are hard to tune before a big kapop happens.

Then there are players that have acidic sweat that can eat strings and leave a layer of skin cells on the underside of the string every time they play.
I have know musicians that need to change strings practically every other day if they play constantly even if they clean their strings after playing.
 

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IMHO a bone nut and saddle aren't going to change the world for you. Of course it depends on what strings are on it now. If they're 80/20's then their going to be bright. Try a set of phosphor bronze gauge 12 or 13.
 
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