Monday, September 30, 2013
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Winter Guitar Maintenance Tips
With the shift in the seasons comes changes in your guitars adjustments and playability. As the nights get cooler and the humidity dries up this Fall, it's time to familiarize yourself with your guitars 'signals' of change:
This first pic is most commonly how we assess your guitar's neck angle. It may not appear obvious to you but this neck has too much back-bow (too much angle pulling the strings closer to the frets). You may notice that most of the first position notes and chords are buzzing against the frets and it's difficult to play cleanly. This issue can usually be corrected by adjusting the tension on the truss rod (the adjusting rod inside the neck) which most guitars, except classicals, (traditionally built without) have.
The side view of the same guitar neck shows very low string height off the frets-a sure sign that something has changed. On occasion, a brace inside the body of the guitar can become unglued, break, and simply fall away from the top which will cause an immediate action 'adjustment', allowing the guitar top to sink and bring the strings further towards the fretboard.
Another sign of seasonal changes may be noticed on the fretboard. You may experience sharp edges on the ends of the frets where you play the neck. This is due to the wood of the neck loosing moisture and literally shrinking, leaving the metal frets to protrude out of their slots. This can be adjusted by adding moisture to the guitar via a humidifier and filing the offending fret ends down if the neck doesn't swell back into shape.
Guitar tops will distort with the accumulation and loss of moisture, sometimes warping (not always permanently) and 'sinking' in front of the bridge or bowing behind the bridge. Taking a few extra steps to control your guitar's environment via temperature and moisture will ensure that future repairs or maintenance are minimized. We often advise customers to 'Treat your guitar like you'd treat yourself: don't sit in your car in scorching hot or freezing cold weather!' Also be mindful of the quick transitions from a cold car right inside a warm home (and vice-versa). You must allow your guitar to adjust to the temperature and the best scenario would be to leave it in it's case until in 'acclimates' to the room temperature.
Enjoy the autumn weather and playing your guitar!