Troubleshooting Guide for Guitar Problems
3 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Maintaining a Bass Guitar
Guitars are surprisingly hardy creatures. You can subject them to a rigorous performing schedule, keep them up all night, bang on them relentlessly, and they don’t mind a bit. Generally speaking, guitars never wear out, although you may need to replace some parts and perform some tweaks along the way.
However, no matter how careful you are with your guitar, preventing a guitar from sustaining some injury or needing a few repairs along the way is virtually impossible. Fortunately, you can perform most simple repairs yourself. If you’re at all in doubt about your technical abilities, however — or if you’re just a plain klutz — consult a qualified repairperson.
Comsult this quick guide for some of the most common guitar repair and maintenance tasks you may be able to take care of on your own.
|Strings have lost luster, are difficult to play, or fret sharp||Replace strings and wipe down new strings after every use to prolong their life|
|Dull or dirty wood||Wipe with cotton or chamois cloth, apply guitar polish|
|Dull or greasy-looking||Wipe with cloth, apply jewelers’ polish|
|Guitar swells and cracks due to moisture absorption; or guitar dries and cracks due to insufficient moisture||Keep in a humidity-controlled environment of 45–55 percent at room temperature (65–75° F)|
|Rattling or buzzing from hardware as you play||Tighten loose hardware connection with screwdriver or wrench|
|Difficulty fretting because strings are sitting too high; or buzzing because strings sit too low||Lower or raise the string saddles at the bridge|
|Neck bows outward (away from strings) between seventh and twelfth frets, causing strings to be too high and difficult to fret||Tighten truss rod to make neck arch upward slightly|
|Neck bows inward (into strings) between seventh and twelfth frets, causing strings to be too low and making strings buzz||Loosen truss rod to make neck sag slightly|
|Strings fret sharp; or strings fret flat||Adjust intonation by moving saddles toward bridge or toward nut|
|Tuning machine breaks or gears strip||Purchase and install replacement, making sure that mounting holes align exactly with holes already in headstock|
|Strap pin screw comes loose and doesn’t hold tight in hole||Apply plastic wood or white glue and replace, allowing substance to dry completely|
|Movable bridge has too much play or feels too loose; or bridge feels stiff and doesn’t respond well to whammy bar manipulations||Replace, tighten, or add springs to the tailpiece in the rear cavity; or remove springs or loosen plate|
|Crackling volume or tone knob or pickup selector switch||Vigorously turn the knob or switch back and forth to work out the dirt or corrosion|
|Crackling pickup jack||Solder loose or broken wire back to appropriate lug|
|Pickups break, wear out, or no longer give you desired sound||Purchase compatible replacement set, follow included directions, neatly solder all connections|