Russ changes the strings on Steve’s Martin M-21 after ever gig. Also Russ uses a semi-liquid lubricant across the nut slots to stop the strings sticking in their slot and to ease tuning. All this may have caused the temporary repair to fail. After another phone call from Russ, it was decided that on the tour’s return to London, the next day, a new nut should be made and fitted.
Russ made his way over to the workshop in South East London on Wednesday morning and work was started on Steve’s guitar. On closer inspection I noticed that the top E string was very close to the edge of the fingerboard. This will cause the string to slip off the edge when played in certain positions. On quizzing Russ about this he mentioned that Steve had had this problem. So it was decided to change the string spacing on the new nut to alleviate this. The recommended distance for the nut slot on the top E is 3mm. Steve’s was less than 2mm.
After about an hour the work was completed and the guitar strung up and tested. Russ was on a tight schedule as he had to get back to the Barbican Centre to prepare for the evening’s sell out gig.
As a special favour to me and for helping Russ out of a tight spot, I was given two complimentary tickets for the performance at the Barbican that evening, complete with back stage passes to met Steve after the gig.
I invited my good friend Cormac Heron along, who’s a great admirer of Steve Earle’s music.
Cormac took this video footage and also wrote an excellent review of the evening. Many thanks to Cormac for his input.
Guitar tech Russ Garett talks through Steve’s onstage equipment
Read about the temporary fix here