A FEW SUMMER TIPS
You should release the strings on your guitar anytime you don't intend
to play it for three days or more. You should also do this if you intend
to keep your guitar in the car for any longer than an hour, but please,
don't leave your instrument in the car this summer. It could be ruined
by the time you come back, that is if it's still there at all.
SEASONAL TRUSS ROD
ADJUSTING: NOW AND WHY
The first thing to understand is that wood is at its strongest during
moist atmospheric conditions and at its weakest during the driest months
of the year. You don't need to know anything else except that you will
need to tighten the truss rod in your guitar during summer (the dry
period) and do the opposite in winter (the moist period) if you want to
keep your instrument's action to your specifications and preferences.
Remember that occasionally the full result of the adjustment
will show only after
two or three days, sometimes even longer. Another
problem is sudden weather changes that occur in WA throughout the year.
Sometimes it is better just to ignore them and wait for the weather to
stabilize rather than readjusting your guitar every second day.
DRYNESS: A MOST DANGEROUS
Remember, moisture swells wood which in turn tightens the glue
joints, but dryness shrinks the wood, separating wood joints and wood
fibres which is not good for those expensive acoustic solid tops,
especially those of an older vintage.
If you have a few guitars you care about try and keep them in the same
room where you should keep a humidity reader. You should keep the
humidity around 40% by placing half a bucket of water in the room. You
should also monitor the humidity reader during the winter months,
especially if heaters are on for long periods of time. The easiest way
of all to care for your instrument is to play it because your humidity
will stabilise your instrument's humidity, so the more you're near it
the better it is. Makes sense doesn't it.
tips (Groove Mag)
I like to talk about
a couple of little solutions that can make a real difference on a couple
of renowned guitar problems, to my knowledge those problems were never
brought to public attention by any means of guitar information in the
world before, I think because of unawareness or more likely lack of
confidence given the fact that the issues involves beloved models
bearing great brand names.
Improving return to
pitch factor to all 6 screws floating
Bridges with 2 or
more springs in the back cavity.
The secret lay in
the 6 screws, the type employed for the purpose by nearly all
manufactures are mushroom head and have a cylindrical shape, because of
those characteristics the bridge is free to shift across the axis of the
screws and so to rest in a different position from the starting one.
If we replace those
6 screws with countersink ones the 6 bored holes in the bridge base
will have to rest on a conic shaped surface and return exactly in the
position they were before the swing.
It is only needed to
align them to the right high and the result will be impressive. (Of
course nut , trees and tuning pegs in good working conditions).
Fix bridge and tail
piece ensemble types.
The problem is in
the bridge and a possible solution in the tail piece high setting.
From their first
design those bridge had always been incline to collapse and band in the
middle jeopardizing a good set up as a result.
Nothing is been
improved to this days in the design and same weak material are still
used in the majority of the cases.
Adjusting the tail
piece as high as possible but still retaining a certain string brake
over angle will minimize the compression force on the bridge and
hopefully slowing the banding process.
If the bridge is
bended is possible to reshape it but has to be done by the right jig in
REAL GUITAR CARE
,oils, waxes, rust inhibitors, finger lubes, dozens of different types
and brands make some time the uninformed recede to the old spit and
polish method if not forget about the issue all together and by so,
starting a full on mushroom culture on their beloved instrument.
questions that customers pose to me, the one on guitar care is still a
big hit and I must say a very complex one to talk about, even if after
all, the actual task of nursing an instrument likes a guitar or bass is
you systematically trough the different ways and modes, highlighting in
the process those products that I found right for the job.
starting, you should get hold of a few things: old clean cotton T-shirt
or whatever other soft cotton item, new fingernails brush or new toot
brush (the harder the better), some foam pieces or synthetic sponge.
a Glossy finish:
based dirt like finger grime, saliva dribbles (spit …sorry) and any of
the artistic “blood sweat and tears” water based (or water containing)
cleaner must be used.
that the formula 65 by Dunlop, orangey yellow label, is a perfect no
film depositing cleaner for any shiny instrument and whatever plastic on
stickers, Gaffa tape residuals and oil build-ups can be removed with
Axewax by Dr Duck , Lemon and eucalyptus oils contained in the other
products I will mention will also work .
product on dirt and leave it on for a couple of minutes before wiping
PROTECTING a glossy finish
the shiny parts of the instrument are clean and I repeat and enounce
“CLEAN”! If you reckon is necessary you can apply a very good
Carnauba wax also in this case the best I found is made by Dunlop
under the Body gloss 65 green label, I suggest you to shake very well
apply the product by hand using them as a squeegee. Then wipe the all
job with a very clean and soft cotton rag.
process will leave a beautiful, hard, and long lasting coat on the
finish that will be washable and sweat resistant, only removable by
spirit. (It will take 3 days to harden to the maximum)
and Fender also make a good polish .They both come in exactly the same 4
ounce bottles with vaporizer, the content is of a milky colour, and a
little greasy , it deposits a protective and shiny film, but not as tuff
as the Dunlop carnauba wax.
other brands in the past, offering the same kind of thing, but always
some how too greasy and less efficient.
a relatively recent fashions of finish, the caring of those finishes is
quite awkward and to my knowledge no special product is been made
especially for them.
present also the tendency of getting shiny if they rubbed, even by just
playing the guitar the forearm of the strumming hand will simulate a
polishing motion creating in a short time a glossy surface difficult, if
not impossible to undo.
present Axwax by DrDuck’s is it for those finishes, apply and remove by
foam pads then by cloth.
glorious in this circumstance, are lemon oils, but better then nothing.
and oil finishes
finishes normally cover a very expensive instrument like hand made
classic guitars, mandolins, violins, lutes and other antiquities.
Hidersine guitar polish made in England is been around long time,
Gibson and Fender ones are also very good for those finishes.
case, I’d keep the water and oil based ones away, if you need to get
read of some fresh dirt just use your breath and wipe it off.
commune but still available those finishes should be treated only with
natural and mineral oil and waxes, no product is there specifically for
DrDuck’s Axwax does a fear job.
necks or other finished f-board just go over with the same stuff you
using for the body of your guitar, do not use oils.
finished in matt, the same recommendation of not buffing applies, remove
the dirt by a fingernail brush and soapy water (dishwasher liquid
solution), be fast to wipe all dry, and then go with Formula 65 Orange
is all you really need for nourishing it and clean the wood from fresh
ones I did try
in that order passed the “best quality” test. Other brands are out there
but as a rule of thumb just shake the bottle and check for impurities
before you buy.
let the grime accumulate and harden on it , if this already happened ,
do not use Brasso or other stuff that isn’t recommended and got nothing
to do with and on guitars, get some eucalyptus oil or use Kwik fret that
contains it and brash the fingerboard clean.
dirt is stubborn, do not get tempted in scraping it!
fret board a good wipe of lemon oil, then deep your brush in a rich dish
washing solution (meaning mainly soap and not to much water), the oil
will help in keeping the water out of the wood grain.
dirt away and wipe all dry with sponge or cloth, but bee quick!
the all fret board and you are done.
prevention to heavy cleaning is to care for the all guitar and fret
and tuning pegs are a real problem when rust attack them, blocking all
the moving parts and little screws that are used for adjusting and
setting up the instrument.
protect the hard ware on your guitar with mineral oils, rust should stay
seems as functional and practical as RP7 from Selleys in this case,
especially now, that the stuff is also available in a mini size bottle.
in the guitar case and just spry it on the bridge before the gig.
strings lubricant, cleaners and conditioners, many are around, Is a
personal choice because of the skins and sweat difference in any of us.
Fret I personally find it very functional and versatile.
Axwax Is also a good multiuse oil and gentle on your skin.
what the instructions say on any of the products is to apply with a
cloth (your product will go nearly all in the rag lasting you very short
tell you the best ways.
Spry directly on the instrument then buff with cotton cloth
wax: Shake very well then apply by bare hand, and then remove and buff
by a cotton cloth.
oil: apply on fretboard by a foam pad (one drop will go long way) clean
with the same and live it to dry.
lube: apply directly on your hand and wipe the strings over and under,
excess from your hands with a cloth.
lube Kwik fret as a dirt remover for fingerboards:
and brush out with nail or toothbrush, then wipe clean and dry with
bridges: keep them clean and lube with RP7 or Axwax and nailbrush.
all clothes when dirty, wash them and reuse them.
Stick to products made for
musical instruments, they are guaranteed by the manufacturer; user
friendly; long lasting; multi use and so convenient.
Dr.Riki (at your service).
DR RIKI SAYS
(from GROOVE Magazine)
How to choose an acoustic steel string guitar.
The first thing to know is that
on acoustic guitar we can not adjust and readjust things as easy as on
an electric so we have to make sure to walk out of the shop with an
instrument that is perfect for what we want to use it for.
There exists a delicate
interaction between the most important parameters of a stringed
,Intonation, you can’t
change one with out altering the others. The most important one on an
acoustic guitar is the Tilt (the angle at which the neck joins the
body). Why? Because to change it you’ll need to pull the whole neck off
and reset it.
To avoid falling into too
technical an explanation I will just suggest what to check first. Make
sure that the saddle (the piece of bone or plastic stacked into the
bridge) isn’t to low, you should be able to see the strings breaking at
a good angle between the saddle and the pins. Imagine, would it be
possible to lower the saddle in case of needs for a lower action. Can
you do this without the strings losing all the tension over the saddle
and so moving across it when plucked.
Another very important thing
that would require major repair to fix is the correct alignment between
the neck and bridge, proof of it is the well centred position of the
strings into the fret board area. Look where the neck join the body, you
do not want to see one of the two E strings (1st and 6th string) too
near to the edge of the fret board compared to the other.
Do not trust truss rod too much,
in many occasions where a new guitar needs neck adjustment a truss rod
will give more problems than solutions that way wasn’t adjusted already
in the fires place, so be sure that the guitar is nice and easy to play
as it is.
Be in love with the sound
and feel of the instrument, never mind the look. Your taste on the last
issue will very probably change but sound and feel is what you’ll always
want from your guitar.
WATER AND VAPOR
Water does not
compress, vapor does.
We would be wrong in thinking that a piece of wood will be more
stable in weather and temperature
changes only because it has been sealed with a non permeable
Even if it was possible , unless the wood was previously totally dried
of its moisture, in cool weather
it will have water, and in warm climate vapor in it.
When we have water in the fibres, the piece of wood will some how
resistant to all forces applied
to it, the water property of not compressing will act as
reinforcement to the wood ;
but in warmer atmosphere a quantity of this water, proportional to
the temperature around it, will
evaporate leaving the wood more free to move in any
direction that we stress it to or just in any direction or
form that its natural tendency tells it to.
Now we can better understand the necessity of more or less need
in truss rod adjustment depending on the seasons .
This also makes
understandable why it is wrong to sand down , for example a swollen fret
proceeding in a so irreversible action it would be sensible to try to
extract the humidity first
instead of removing wood from a
leave the water in it.
Atmospheric conditions influences on sound
and waves projection
musical instrument will sound better and louder in driest
atmosphere on the contrary dampen the wave propagation from the
instrument to the listener, also humidity in the woods dampen their
resonance ,a sound board for example loaded of moisture will be heavier
and less springy, two very
important characteristics for what it concern the optimum in
loudness ,tone and projection .
DR Riki says...
Don’t borrow your friend guitar
Don’t lend your guitar
Panic before it happen
Leave that glue alone now
Your friend won’t fix it…………Dr
Riki will !!