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Basic Instrument Care & Maintenance

Basic Instrument Care & Maintenance

Hey there guys,

I’ve decided to do a blog to give musicians, and in particular guitarists, with some good advice for all things musical. I will be giving tips and tricks to pro gigging musos as well as weekend warriors – there will be something for everybody!

Let’s dive straight in- in this first installment I want to talk about basic instrument care and maintenance. Its very boring but makes a huge difference. Even if you are a home player and have a budget instrument you must spend money on having your instrument set up properly. I would much rather play a well set up and clean cheap instrument than a badly set up expensive instrument. You can turn a very mediocre instrument into something decent by spending R500-R700 on a good setup. Try do this at least once every year or two as any instrument made of metal or wood will move and change, and the parts vibrate and move out of place.

Please change your strings regularly – at least every few weeks if you’re playing every day or every few months if you don’t play that often. To make your strings last longer keep a cotton cloth in your bag or case and wipe the strings clean after you finish playing. New strings make a huge difference to tone (especially on an acoustic) and just feel great.

Polish your instruments every now and then if you want to, but definitely apply lemon oil on rosewood guitar fingerboards as it cleans the board of all the goo and muck, and prevents the board from drying out and cracking. Learn to change your own strings so you can do this yourself. You can’t call yourself a guitar player until you can change your own strings (or tune a guitar without a tuner, but that’s for another day).

There are plenty of Youtube videos to teach you this….don’t be scared, you can’t break anything apart from the odd string every now and then. There are many different re-stringing methods for guitar but the best way in my opinion is to feed the string through the bridge and pull it tight over the nut and cut it off with side-cutters about 3cm past the machinehead post it goes through. Then feed it through the machinehead so that the end just pokes through, bend a kink into it and hold it there while winding the machinehead (with a string winder- saves loads of time) and taking up the slack with your other hand.

Wind each winding UNDERNEATH the last making sure not to overlap the windings. You should end up with about 3 wraps around the post each underneath the last.  This will give you the best tuning stability and the strings are easy to remove. Always remember to stretch the strings carefully before tuning as there is play in new strings and this will remove that problem.

That’s all for now folks!

Cheers….

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