Saturday, November 19, 2011
Hey Turkey: Maintain Your Instrument!!!!!!!!!
This is a special "Thanksgiving" post. It's called "Hey turkey: Maintain Your Instrument!!!!!!!" There comes a time in every players life when a string breaks or something falls off your guitar. You need to be a little handy with tools and do some "preventative" maintenance along with learning your chops. Let's start with your guitar strings. In research I have done into string companies it seems the average life of a pack of strings is about 20 playing hours. That means when you play your guitar for 20 hrs its time to change strings. I say if your someone who plays everyday for about an hour or 2 change your strings every 2-3 weeks. If you play more adjust it to a shorter time between strings. You can let them go as long as you can stand it too. If the strings are all black, rusted and grimy , change them. If they start not staying in tune and sound stale, change them. I will do a whole piece later on to show you how to do string changing. String changing is a whole article itself. Another thing to check every time before you plug up and play is your input jack. Your input jack is that thing you plug your guitar cable in that goes to your amp. On the input jack is a little nut that comes loose very easily. Before you plug up just check and see if it's finger tight. Even if there is a lock washer on it and your guitar cost $1,000,000 they come loose. It will drive you turkey mad. Another thing that tends to come loose as a thanksgiving goose is your strap pegs. Those are the mysterious things that your guitar strap goes on. They tend to have screws in them. You wanna check them every once in a while. Take your fingers and grab them. if they are loose tighten them up with a screw driver. Be careful not to over tighten, just make them snug. With any screw on a guitar, just make sure they are snug. When you over tighten a screw going into wood you can strip the screw hole. It can be fixed but it is a pain. Next let's move to your tuners. Alot of tuners come loose too. There are 3 spots they come loose. Not every guitar has all 3 spots. On top of the peg ( where your string is attached) is a nut. Grab it with your finger (easiest when your changing strings and they string as already off) and if it's loose tighten it snug with a proper set of pliers. On the back of the head stock the pegs are attached with screws, take a small screw driver and make sure they are snug. On the tuner itself alot of guitar tuners have little screws on the side of them too. Grab the tuner and if it wiggles, tighten the screw. Don't make it too tight or the tuner will be hard to turn. While we are on the subject of screws there are others all over the guitar that vary from guitar to guitar. Just check them, tighten snugly on a regular basis. On your guitar neck you want to check to make sure it stays straight. Look down the neck and if you see a bow take it to a tech who can adjust the truss rod before it gets real bad. Check your frets and make sure they are staying put and are not worn down too bad. Check your nut and make sure it has no cracks and isn't coming off. Check your toggle switch and make sure it still properly moves and is not coming off. Sometimes there is a nut on it too. If it's loose just tighten it. Your volume and tone knobs should turn smoothly and not be loose. Your can normally take the knob itself off and there is a "pole" that sticks up typically with a nut on it too. Take the old gravy fingers and make that nut finger tight. Also when you are playing and turn the knobs there should be no crackling. Next check your pick ups and make sure they are the right height you want. They adjust with screws. Check your bridge area out. Make sure it is the right height and your saddles are in good shape and not worn down or worn themselves to a point where they wiggle. Now to the last thing I can think of is to check the body out. Make sure it is still staying in one piece and all that cranberry goodness. All the things I have went over are for an electric guitar or electric bass. An acoustic guitar has alot less to check over but you can apply most of the things we have went over. Regular maintenance can keep your guitar in rocking shape for may years. If you love your guitar you will take care of it <3. If you have any major problems take it to a qualified repair person. We have a couple great ones in our area. I can point you to them. Have a great Thanksgiving and write me a darn Thanksgiving song!!!!!! I don't know of any!!!!!!