Contacting ShaneCallaghan
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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Reworking the basics.

Current mood: chipper

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When I first picked up a guitar I read a lot into the maintenance and upkeep of my instrument. I tried my best to understand the needs of the instrument and how to keep it in top order. But the material I got was not very informative so I naively succumbed to the advice of my local guitar shop, "If there's a problem big or small, drop it into us, even for the small stuff to avoid it turning big."

Now, this is sound enough advice to a 12 year old, but as I turned 15 and my woodworking and soldering skills flourished I should have picked up on the basics again and realized that this is relatively easy stuff. It's not like I'm wiring a dp/dt switch in a confounded series that has to power a dozen looms of motors, leds and actuators. It's solder this to that, add a capacitor here, ground that and don't burn yourself.

As much as I would recommend leaving unknown ground to professionals with all the guides available on the internet, even this very site, it's worth now more than ever having a crack at it yourself.

I recently got hold of a guitar luthiers guide to repairs, a book listing nearly every possible fix and minor tips to improving a guitar ten fold with the most basic of work. For instance, I thought for years I'd never be able to sort the tuning stability of my guitar unless I fitted a roller nut, roller string trees and locking tuners. Until I got myself a copy of this thing I did not even realize that a bad nut can cause nothing but hell for your tuning. My strings were placed inside the nut with the nut rising around the strings. Sanding down the nut till the strings are half protruding from the nut is the perfect saddle for the strings. Now not one issue with tuning, even if I dip the vibrato to the scratchplate.

So, if you've been having issues, try and address them yourself. Scour the internet for guides to improve your guitar for cheap. It takes basic tools and basic know how but it's a stepping stone if nothing else to better comprehend your instrument.

And don't fear the Truss Rod, the sacred artifact that must not be disturbed hidden beneath your fretboard. Just check the youtube videos, remember a quarter turn every 3 hours and you cannot do any harm, unless you are purposefully bending it beyond it's limits, then you're just taking the piss and need to watch a few more youtube videos on the subject and read a few guides.

Happy tinkering.
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