Washburn Acoustic Guitars Forums > Travel Series including The Rover

Rover setup

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Hi folks! I purchased a used Rover a couple of years ago and thought I would post some observations about the setup of my Rover since this information seems to be hard to come by.

When I first purchased the Rover I felt that the action was sky high, it didn't come with the second saddle but did come with the saddle shims which kind of surprised me since I figured I would have to sand down the saddle to get it close to a setup I liked.

I'm not sure what was done to it prior to my owning it but it seemed to have been around the block not so much in terms of wear but in terms of airport security tags from Africa, wish this Rover could talk!

Anyhow one of the first things I changed was the saddle height basically shaving it down as far as I dared to go which got it just about right. I also noticed that the truss rod was pretty much at it's maximum tightness (cranked to the point where it felt I would break something) so wondered if the neck actually required a reset.

Until the other day I hadn't really seen a lot of information setup wise on these little guitars or any recommendations on strings. I never liked the feel of the strings it came with which were unknown or the D'Addario lights I installed.

The other thing I noticed was that the bridge pins didn't fit right, now this may be due to the previous owner loosing one and replacing them but they just were not right. Because I wasn't overly excited about the stock plastic saddle I ordered a set consisting of a bone nut and saddle and bridge pins. The new bridge pins on the right in the photo below fit much better IMHO no real difference in sound just looks.

To get the action down to my liking I shaved most of the saddle down as you can see from the photo below. Basically just had a sanding block that I rubbed the bottom of the saddle on until I got it down to the height I liked granted I don't have anything left pretty much so the bridge would need to be shaved if I needed even more. The saddle in the kit was bang on as far as intonation goes.

The final piece of the puzzle were the stings, I had installed D'Addario EJ16 lights but they just never felt right on this guitar and as a result the poor old Rover wound up on the shelf. Then the other day I happened to see someone's ad for one and it showed in the specs that it had come with D'Addario EJ15 Extra Light Gauge so took a gamble and installed a fresh set. Man what a difference, now I really like the feel and in the back of my head I'm thinking I could probably loosen the truss rod ever so slightly.

To adjust the truss rod you will need a 5mm allen key the truss rod is METRIC and not imperial and is on the neck block and accessed through the sound hole. It is visible as soon as you sight up the sound hole towards the neck. I only turn 1/6 or one flat of an allen key at a time but if things feel real tight STOP and get a trusted tech to check it out. The last thing you want to do is force it and snap something!!

This is a very good article on how to adjust a truss rod, http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/GenSetup/TrussRods/TrussRodAdj/tradj.html

The Rover is a neat little guitar, I like the shape of it better then the Martin Backpacker and once set up properly it doesn't buzz and is quite a nice little player. Hope this helps.

Hello, Niteshooter and welcome to the forum. Your info does help. Had a question about the pins you acquired for your Rover....did you have to make use of a bridge pin hole reamer, slotting saw or file to make your new pins fit, or did they fit right out of the bag....without any adjustments?

Hi Sextant and thanks!

The new pins dropped right into the holes without any need for modification. I measured the new pins as well as the replacement saddle and nut and here are their specifications.

New saddle.
70mm wide 9mm high 3mm thick
Original saddle measured 69mm.

New Nut
42mm wide 8mm high 6mm thick
I have not replaced the nut.

New Pins
25mm long 5mm thick at head

Original Pins
27mm long 5.5mm thick at head

The extra little bit of thickness at the head and the resulting taper caused my problems, but again not sure if the original pins I have are stock or if they are replacements or do the pins on your Rover stick up as much?

I ordered these parts from Hong Kong back when I bought the Rover so my eBay transaction has long since expired. I recall that finding a 70mm saddle was tough back then and to get a nut that was the correct width was a real bonus as this came as a set of saddle, nut and pins. The seller called it bone but then just after mine arrived changed the description of the saddle to 'bony' which is probably some Chinese translation for bone coloured plastic! But the important thing for me was that the parts were a straight drop in with the saddle height being the only thing requiring a change. I did do a very quick look on eBay at these sets but the one's I saw were all 72mm saddles and with the sets I got the intonation was bang on so finding a set with the 70mm saddle might be important. Plus the pins fit….

I'm wondering if these sets were actually from Rover production because of their perfect fit. I think I paid a couple of dollars and no more than five for a set which also included free shipping. I bought three sets at the time in case I screwed up the saddle and only the other day realized the pins were  different when I put on the Ultra Lights.

You're welcome...the pins on my Rover do not stick up at all, I'm still using the original set that came with the Rover so I have not experienced any pins not setting properly in any way. Thought that if I ever wanted to change those plastic pins, in the future to bone or ivory, I would just send an example to Bob Colosi or someone of the like...I have two sets of pins for this guitar, so sending him an example and asking him to match it would probably be easiest for me. Having two sets gives me a little freedom of not having to pull a pin from the guitar, I can still play it at my leisure, while he's working on my order. I've heard it can be a B trying to get a correct intonation on these little guitars, you were able to receive, play yours without any serious tweaking of the truss rod...cool.  Had to chuckle about the Chinese translation for the saddle, a member (YerDugliness) in a old post, advised how to tell if a saddle is bone or plastic..."You can check them with a hot sewing needle...get the tip red hot and poke the side of the saddle with the hot needle and if it's plastic the needle will melt its way into the saddle, if it's bone it won't. Tusq...well, I'm not sure about that, but Tusq has been a popular recommendation around here, too." It's good news to hear that one can buy pins for this guitar without going though too many changes...had thought that it would take some adjusting of the holes in some way, if I had bought a set from stewmac or something like that. Thanks for posting this info and those measurements, yeah, I'm sure this info will help Rover owners well into the future, I know it will help me.

Thanks again!

I can't say I had any real issues with setting up intonation, the saddle I picked up dropped right in but needed a lot shaved off the bottom. But then I tried to match the compensation of the original with the replacement one.

The truss rod was another story, I found I had to tighten it up to pretty much to it's end point which was not great and with the lighter strings I can probably drop it back a touch. However right now it is perfect for me, I tend to prefer a slight up bow so I capo the G string at the 1st fret and if I'm lazy at the 14th fret and then measure the gap at the 6th which I found was .013 which worked out well in terms of no buzzing.

Action was a different story, that was where I had to shave the crap out of the saddle and if I needed even more I would have had to shave down the bridge then the saddle some more but I just squeaked it in. There is a part of me that keeps thinking the neck needs a rest though based on how much I had to take off the saddle and that the stock Rover's actually come with shims to increase the height of the saddle.

Although from the few threads I was able to find about these guitars it seemed that decreasing rather than increasing saddle height was more normal. Mine is probably an older production model so who knows what kind of changes have taken place over time. One thing I find interesting is that back and sides of mine more closely match our Rosewood acoustics then our Mahogany's for colour.

Pins, taper and width seem to be the trick here, thanks for letting me know about yours sounds like the previous owner might have changed the pins and put the wrong size on it. I ordered a set of these the other day out of curiosity. Will see if they really are bone, http://www.ebay.com/itm/252049999372?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT.

I have Tusq pins on our acoustics because that is what they came with. Seem like decent pins, I tried some of the Presentations on the Rover and they do not fit properly even though the measurements would lead me to believe they would. The Traditionals might actually fit better but I don't know. They are pretty good pins though. Up here they aren't overly expensive but the no name parts off eBay are a lot less expensive.


Have always heard good things about Bob Colosi's pins so wouldn't think twice about buying from him.  Guess the jury is out in terms of how much of a difference sound wise bridge pins have on a guitar. My gut feeling is fit is likely a lot more important than material with stings being the biggie. I know I'm a happy camper with the Ultra Light D'Addario's now, before I was not and the Rover just sat around.


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