Photo from WagnerGuitars.com
Adjusting, modifying and fixing your guitar can seem like an overwhelming experience at first. There are many factors that can greatly change the overall sound quality of your guitar; for better or for worse. It is important to take your guitar to someone who knows how to handle the subtle nuances that can improve your playing experience.
Larry Wagner, based out of Maumee, Ohio has been playing guitar for over 50 years and has been customizing and fixing guitars for the last 30 years. Wagner owns his own guitar shop and is known in the area as one of the best at handling all questions and problems related to guitars. You can visit his website at www.wagnerguitars.com.
Wagner has a few tips to fixing and maintain your guitar:
1. Set up is very impotant
- Intonation and string length have to be correct.
- Factory set ups leave much to be desired and often need work.
- The truss rod should be checked and adjusted, along with the action and bridge.
- Fresh strings will always help the sound.
“All this will help the guitar sound better because it is in tune with itself and the player will be much more comfortable with it,” Wagner said
2. How to fix fret buzz
- First step is to adjust the action.
- After that, the problem could be that the frets are uneven.
- Commonly, there could be fret wear due to a groove created from pressing down on the strings.
- Sometimes on a well-used guitar the frets come out of the fret board, especially if it has binding.
- Frets then need to be reseated and high spots need to be filled and re-crowned.
- Frets that are coming out of the fret board may need to be entirely removed and replaced.
3. Fixing Cracks
- Moisture needs to be introduced to the guitar using a humidifier.
- A humidifier will swell the wood and will close the crack as much as possible.
- If the crack is not too bad, glue or a tape clamp might work.
- Small cleats of spruce may be added to the inside to reinforce the wood.
“Other times you may need an inside caul and a piece of Plexiglas on the outside along with a spreader clamp across the body of the guitar to hold things together while gluing,” Wagner said.
4. How to care for your guitar regularly
- Proper humidity of 45 to 50% is key.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes.
- When finished playing, wipe the neck, strings and body of your guitar with a polishing cloth.
- When not in use, keep you guitar in the case or on a proper stand, this will prevent accidents
- When changing strings, clean the fret board and oil it once a year.
5. Strings make a difference
- Strings can greatly change the sound from mellow to heavy.
- The gauge, outer wrap and inner core all affect the sound.
- There is old flat wound, nickel round wound or stainless steel wound.
- There is hex core or round core.
- There is light gauge or heavy gauge.
- GHS strings have a tone chat on their packaging. (www.ghsstrings.com)
- Pickups will sound like they look.
- Single coil will sound thinner and brighter.
- Humbuckers will have more output and mid-range.
- Cheap guitars usually have bad pickups that can be replaced to get a much better sound
All these factors will help your guitar sound better and help to keep it sounding great for years to come.