The tips and tweaks thread!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Tone Disciple, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. Tone Disciple

    Tone Disciple Member

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    Yesterday I was playing my Les Paul and I was getting some pings while tuning that indicated the strings were binding a little in the nut slot. I was also getting that thing that happens where you turn the tuners and nothing changes until you reach a certain point where the string suddenly changes pitch.

    I finally thought - why do I keep putting up with this - (also read as why am I so lazy I won't fix this) - so I got out the Graphit-All guitar lube and applied very small amounts to the strings at the nut. After working the strings back and forth a little to work in the lube - problem solved.

    What I did not expect was the effect it had on string bending - which I do quite a bit. Now everything tunes and plays better as the strings don't bind at the nut.

    One simple thing and my guitar played and performed better!

    I can't believe how bad I am at procrastinating about implementing some of these very simple things I know about, but have just not taken the time to do.

    So - Let's hear your advice on simple tips and tweaks to improve performance. We might all learn something new!
     
  2. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Heres one i think i've mentioned here before. Whenever i do people seem to love it. It's a way to determine the correct polarity to use when installing pickups that aren't the same brand so that you will be assured they will be in phase when using 2 pups at the same time. You know the story.....you put a new pup in say the bridge of your strat and you zip it back up only to find that when using the bridge/middle position they are out of phase and super tinny and useless sounding. so heres how to wire it up right the first time so you dont have to yank the whole thing apart and reverse the wires. As an example lets say we are replacing the bridge pup on a strat with a different brand or type than the middle.

    1)-with a meter set to the correct resistance setting to read pickups, put the red lead to the hot wire of the existing middle pup and the black to the ground.

    2)-hold a screwdriver parallel to the polepieces about 2" above them, then very slowly move it towards the polepieces.

    3)-note the meter as you lower the screwdriver to the polepieces and see which way it moves. If the meter goes UP in value or DOWN, remember that. Lets say for the sake of this example it went DOWN.

    4)- now do the same with the new pup, and attach the red leat to whichever pup wire you think is probably the hot. Don't worry if you're wrong, just guess.Do the same screwdriver routine and see whether the meter goes up or down

    So heres the deal....remember that we tested the existing middle pup and it went down when the screwdriver got close. Now lets say when we tested the new bridge pup it also went down. that means that whichever wire on this new pup was attached to the red probe, that will be the hot wire. If the meter went the OPPOSITE way as the middle did, or in other words UP, then whichever wire was connected to the black probe will be your hot wire.
     
  3. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

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    Here's something I came up with to help attach short shank Schaller strap locks to thick leather guitar straps, especially new ones.

    Take two US nickels and vise grip them tightly together over each side of the strap's buttonholes. Leave be for a half hour or so. Now the threads will protrude far enough through the compressed strap to easily get a grip on a nut. The washer is the same size as the nickle.
     
  4. tjmicsak

    tjmicsak Member

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    Looks like a standard wash cloth available at wallyworld for cheap.
    Takes off finger smudges and great for wiping down the guitars after each play including strings.

    graphite the nut slots at each string change and include any string trees as well. I mix my own up using a teflon oil product and add some powdered graphite. There are products available pre-mixed for use on locks. Check the lock and key dept. at the hardware store.
     
  5. Tone Disciple

    Tone Disciple Member

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  6. devilrob1979

    devilrob1979 Member

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    Chapstick won't turn your leave smudges on your nut if you're looking to lube bone.
     
  7. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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  8. devilrob1979

    devilrob1979 Member

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    Here's one for floating trems. Put a stack of paper or playing cards under the bridge while it is in tune. You can now remove the strings and re-tune without the bridge going all the way back. Many retunes can be saved this way.
     
  9. openbar

    openbar Silver Supporting Member

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    Dazco - that's a clever idea. I can't tell you how many times I've changed a pickup only to find it's out of phase with one of the originals. Seems like almost all the Fender replacements are the opposite phase of real Fenders, it's so aggravating.
     
  10. dazco

    dazco Member

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    hey, i didn't figure it out....i read it somewhere long ago. but i try and post it whenever the chance comes up because for some reason it seems few people know about it, and it's a must when you change pickups. Saved me a heck of a lot of time over the years.
     
  11. HHB

    HHB Member

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    polish your strat saddles, I was getting a weird buzz and a tech friend suggested polishing the saddle slots, making sure the front was higher than the back ( barely ) did the trick! after lots of playing the front wear down and the back causes a weird vibration, amazing how such a small amount of wear can affect the overall tone, I though it would be useless but gladly eat my words
     
  12. valcotone

    valcotone Silver Supporting Member

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    If you are doing some work on a guitar such as replacing pickups, pick guards, bridges, etc, but want to leave the strings installed: put a capo on the first fret before you loosen the strings, then loosen them and pull the slack towards the body. This keeps the strings tight between the nut and tuners and prevents them from coming unwound off the tuning pegs.

    Cheap rig for keeping your neck off the work bench: a String Swing guitar hanger mounted to a 8" square piece of plywood (or similar).

    Soldering (common technique but not everyone knows): before applying your soldering iron to a solder connection to liquefy it, melt a small bit of solder on the tip of the iron first... this will help create a "solder bridge" and transfers the heat quicker to the work area.

    Buy a cheap $15 digital caliper with LCD display from ebay or elsewhere... use it to measure the nut widths, frets, necks, string spacing, string height, etc, on your guitars. This will give you a better idea for why you play better on certain instruments vs. others. [​IMG]Example (not affiliated with seller).
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  13. Tone Disciple

    Tone Disciple Member

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    Good stuff guys! I know there are more out there!
     
  14. RL in Fla

    RL in Fla Member

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    More conversions - http://www.stewmac.com/conversion

    If you're still dead set on using steel wool , pick up the "dust" with a magnet inside a baggie .
    Turn it inside out when you're through and pitch it , none on the magnet .
    Guitar unrelated , but a strong magnet on a yardstick or dowel does a good search for dropped stuff in the yard/shop/carpet .

    Rubber surgical tubing dry-rots . Hit an aquarium store and get the silicone stuff .

    (post rerun almost weekly) -> Nitro or not ? Put a drop of acetone (nailpolish remover) somewhere (under pickguard, in a cavity) .
    If it's nitro of some sort it'll get soft pretty quick . Poly just sits there .

    Great $6 item from Home Depot - worth it for the 4 small Phillips alone .

    [​IMG]
     
  15. jazzrat

    jazzrat Member

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    In addition to graphite in the nut slots I apply a very small amount of 3-in-one oil to the string where it goes over the bridge saddle. Seems to help with string life and tuning.
     
  16. valcotone

    valcotone Silver Supporting Member

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    Nice that they supply that page.

    Also, you can punch "1 11/16 inches in mm" (for example) into Google and get the result:
    [SIZE=+1]42.8625 millimeters[/SIZE]
     
  17. SoCalSteve

    SoCalSteve Member

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    Instead of strap-loks, I use rubber fender washers from Home Depot. They're about 1 1/4" wide and I think the opening is 5/16". They stretch over the button and stay on quite well. You can find them in the little drawers where the assorted washers are.
     
  18. Tone Disciple

    Tone Disciple Member

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    This may be the tip of the day! Good one!
     
  19. 9fingers

    9fingers Supporting Member

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    Been using them for years- WAY cheaper and easier to use than strap locks and they don't "extend" your strap location like strap locks do.

    I'll also have to remember that "magnet in a baggie" one!
     
  20. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    that works, but an easier way is to do the same test, but set your meter to DC voltage. slap your screwdriver or little metal ruler or whatever down onto the pickup, and leave it there. you'll get either a positive or a negative voltage reading. yank it back off and you'll get the opposite reading. do the same to the other pickup; if you get the same voltage polarity with the same movement of the screwdriver, the pickup is in polarity with the other pickup.

    the hipster version is to use the red gaskets off of grolsh beer bottles!
     

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