February 2016 Archives

Cactus King and the ESP


So, I'm a huge fan of my new (to me) ESP Eclipse guitar. I've been playing it nearly every day and it just keeps feeling better and better.

Because it arrived to me as a previously-owned guitar, it had a few areas that required some attention. When I first took possession of it, my friend Jeremy helped dial-in the set-up a bit. We replaced the bridge, cleaned and oiled the fret board, polished the frets, adjusted the pick-ups, and replaced the strings.

I thought that it was playing great, and it was. But, over time, I started noticing that I could never keep it fully in tune. As I worked my way up the neck (to higher notes), the tuning would change slightly. If I played a power G-chord, it was fine. Sliding-up to a power A-chord, and it would be just slightly out-of-tune. Slide further up the neck, and it would go farther out of tune... odd.

Jeremy has been in Los Angeles for the past few weeks (recording a new _AshAria album), so I started peeking around for someone to help me out with the tuning issue.

Enter Cactus King Guitars, located in Hartford, WI. I sent-off an e-mail, and within a day or two, received a response from the owner, John.

John suggested that I bring my ESP over to him so that he could take a peek at it and prescribe a course of action. I drove over to see him on Saturday morning (it was about an hour-and-a-half drive) and within a minute, he had an idea of the problem(s).

He noticed: the neck of the guitar wasn't 100% straight, the frets (at around position 9) took a dip and then rose back up (at around position 15), the bridge wasn't the proper contour for the neck, the nut (top, near headstock) was raising the strings too high, and that several tuning posts weren't 100% secure. He also suggested that we shave and oil the fret board to really clean it up and revive it.

I left the ESP with him and headed back to Madison.

Imagine my shock when he e-mailed later that day to report he completed all of the work and that I could come and pick-up my trusty axe.

I drove over on Sunday morning...


The guitar looked immaculate, and played even better than I could ever have imagined possible. The action (distance between the strings and the neck) is ridiculously low. And, it stays in tune no matter where I play. The fret board looks absolutely brand new as well.

John is a master luthier (stringed instrument crafstman/repair). He's also a super nice guy, and he works at ridiculously low prices. All of that work came in well-under $100, which I simply cannot fathom.

If your guitar(s) are in any need of attention, reach out to John at Cactus King. You'll be glad you did. I can't wait to bring a few of the other ones to him - especially my Martin acoustic!

Thanks, John!!!!


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2016 is the previous archive.

March 2016 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives