Basic guitar Maintenance: Tighten the screws on your guitar

When most people first learn guitar, they learn how to play. Very few people learn the basic maintenance skills for guitar until a later time. However, most people in the beginning use cheaper guitars that are not made by world class crafts men. This simple little thing will hold your guitar together and keep it in top notch condition. Even expensive model guitars sometimes need this maintenance.

When you sit down some time to change strings or there is nothing else to do, bring out one of your screw drivers and check all the screws on your guitar. Check the screws in the back of the guitar neck, the ones that hold the neck to the body. Check the screws on the pick guard. One of the most common places to find loose screws is the strap lock, especially if you play a lot with a strap. This will ensure your guitar is solid and firmly together.

It is also a good idea to check the screws on your tuners. These should not be tight, because that will prevent you from tuning your guitar, however they should not be loose either. It is best to adjust these with strings on the guitar and test them as you adjust. This will help your guitar stay in tune and it will make it easier to tune your guitar.

You do not need to do this a lot. A good time to check the screws on your guitar would be when you notice a screw looking or acting loose, and if this doesn’t happen check it once every year to 2 years.

Just one warning, make sure the screws are snug, but not too tight. Your guitar is made of wood and if the screw is too tight it can cause damage.

Guitar Picks – Should you use small or big picks?

There are many different companies that make guitar picks, and within these companies there are many styles of picks they make.  Some guitar picks are large and some are small. Which are better to use and why? How do you know what the best choice is for your own playing? These questions will be answered shortly.

Large picks are by far the most common style guitar pick. You find them everywhere; they are even turned into necklaces. These are the typical guitar picks that most people think of when they think of guitar pick. The large guitar picks have an advantage that you can find them lying around, which can cut back on buying new packages as often. The other advantage is that large guitar picks have a lot to hold on to. This could possibly make it less likely to slip as much, but not necessarily. The benefit of having more to grab on to can also be seen as a disadvantage because it is slower because the extra material to hold on to.

Small picks are used very rarely, these are mostly known as jazz picks except not only jazz players can use them. They are compact and make playing simpler because there isn’t so much loose material. The downside to these picks is that they can be dropped easily because they are smaller.  You won’t find these lying around at gigs and any place in stage or around other guitar players, but they have their benefits.

Choosing something like a guitar pick is extremely personal. No guitar teacher, guitar book or guitar blog could ever tell you what is best for you when it comes to guitar picks. I suggest you buy a couple different packages of guitar picks to find out what you like. If you do this, don’t just try them for 30 seconds and say you don’t like it. Stick with each style for a week then reevaluate what you thought of the guitar pick. You may find you like the small pick because of the extra control you have, or you may find that the extra material from the bigger picks works better with your fingers.

There are many benefits to both kinds of guitar picks be it small or large picks. Picking out a guitar pick you like is extremely personal and you should experiment with different sizes and styles to find what works best for you. Give everything a fair chance, you will be use to one thing and changing is hard, but you may find the change is a valuable part of your progress as a guitarist

Learn the Parts of the Guitar Starting With the Guitar Body

guitar body

A picture of the parts of the guitar body

Knowing the parts of the guitar will help you chat with other guitarists and help you know how to communicate about certain things. Learning about the parts on the body of the guitar will allow you to understand more about the guitar. In this lesson we will discuss the parts of the guitar’s body and I suggest you memorize the names of these parts and a little about their function.

The guitar is held on to the player by guitar straps. Guitar straps are held onto the guitar by using Strap Buttons. Strap Buttons are on the ends of the guitar and that is where the guitar strap connects.  The guitar cable connects to the output jack. This is where the sound is transferred from the guitar to the amp. Output jacks are sometimes in different locations depending on the guitar, but on a typical strat model it will be in the location on the picture.

Pickups are the thing responsible for picking up the strings vibrations. Because of this, they are always found under the strings between the bridge and the neck. Pickups give their signal to the output jack. The bridge is responsible for holding the strings on the guitar. It can also do cool things like whammy bar stuff. The Bridge is always found at the end of the guitar body right above the output jack.

Most guitars have volume knobs and tone knobs. The volume knob controls how loud your guitar is. Wild guess how it got its title? The tone knobs control the darkness of the guitar. Another similar switch on the guitar is the pickup selector. This is what determines which pickup is being used. Pickup selectors vary with different types of guitars.

The cutaways are where your hands fit. Some acoustic guitars do not have cutaways. All electric guitars do. When both sides have cutaways they are called double cutaways. Picks ups are there to protect the guitar from picks, but they also have a second purpose. They hold wires inside the guitar. Not all guitars have pickgaurds.

Learning the names and purpose of the parts on the guitar you will be able to communicate with other guitarists about the guitar. You will use this terminology almost every day as a guitarist. Spend the time to learn about the guitar and its parts and you will be glad you did.  You can now understand what other guitar players are talking about when they use these terms.

Learn The Parts Of The Guitar Starting With The Guitar Neck

A diagram of a guitar neck that shows the parts of a guitar.

A diagram of a guitar neck that shows the parts of a guitar.

The guitar can be separated in to 2 main parts. In this lesson we are going to discuss the parts of the guitar that are on the guitar neck. There are more parts of the guitar neck than those that are mentioned here, but this is all you need to know to get started. I suggest you memorize the names of the parts and try to remember some of the facts about them. You will be using this terminology the rest of your guitar career.

The guitar neck is the longer skinny part of the guitar. This is the section of the guitar that is responsible for the notes you play. On the guitar neck section the top part where the strings are is called the fret board. The fret board is where the frets are. Give a wild guess how it got its name? These guitar frets are what give the guitar its pitch. Every time you hit that note (if your guitar is in tune) it will play the same note.  If you are interested in learning about how to guitar changes pitch then click here. (To come soon) When you look at a guitar you will notice either dots or designs on the fret board. This is called inlays. These are sometimes used to help the guitarist locate their position on the fret board, or just to look fancy. Sometimes they glow in the dark and some even come with lights!

The very lowest part of the neck is a little plastic piece. This is kind of like a fancy fret that ends the neck. This piece is called the nut. After the nut you have the head of the guitar which holds a lot of mechanisms to make the guitar work. The guitar head is responsible for holding tuning knobs. Tuning knobs are what you use to hold strings onto your guitar and to keep them in tune. This is also called tuning machines and tuning pegs. Another thing that is past the nut is a string tree. Not all guitars have these. Their main function is to angle the strings to hold them into place. They hardly affect the tone of the guitar.

The guitar neck is full of gadgets and parts that are useful to the guitarist. Know what these are and what they are used for and you will be much more familiar with your guitar. You will use these terms in your whole career as a guitarist, even if you aren’t a professional you will use these terms. This is a good beginning list of the parts on the guitar neck and from here you can expand your knowledge with more in-depth knowledge of the guitar.

How to clean a rosewood guitar neck

Guitar necks get dirty from all the use. When we play guitar we sweat and have grease and dirt on our hands and the strings collect it and the fret board collects it. If we want to keep our guitar looking nice and sounding its best we should clean it. I am going to teach you an easy way to clean your rosewood guitar neck. However you should not do this on a maple guitar neck because it has a finish on it and this will ruin the finish. Rose wood guitar necks do not have a finish on it, so this is a good way to clean it. Let’s first take a look at what you will need to clean your fretboard.

The first thing you will need to clean your guitar neck is lemon juice. You do not need much at all. You will not need much of the lemon juice, you can probably just dab your cotton or tooth-brush once and that is plenty.  The second thing you will need is something soft to apply it. I use cotton to apply lemon juice. Q tips work well because it is soft and easy to hold on to. Another option that people use is a soft toothbrush. Make sure it is soft, because if it is too hard it may hurt the wood.

Once you have all the tools you will need to clean your fret board you can gently apply the lemon juice. You will see the gunk coming off of the fret board. When you wipe it down you can also clean the frets. Let it air dry for about a minute maybe 2. Then you should take a soft rag and wipe the fret board off. After you clean it, the neck should look as good as new.

I suggest you clean your guitar neck once every 3 – 4 months. This will keep your guitar in good playing condition and make it look good too! Some people suggest more, but this should be enough. When you take care of your gear it will last longer and look better. Your gear will thank you for taking care of it.

Guitar fret boards have a habit of collecting dirt. Even if your hands are clean they still have oils on them. This will be collected on the fret board. You can clean your guitar to make it look better and sound better as well. Use something soft such as cotton or a soft tooth-brush and apply some lemon juice to the fret board. Wipe it off when you are done and it should look as good as new. Happy cleaning!

The Importance of Putting Strap Locks on Your Guitars

Guitars usually come with strap pegs that are insecure and put the guitar at risk. Putting strap locks on your guitar is an upgrade that you should invest in as soon as possible. Many things can happen if you do not. Today we are going to discuss some of the reasons you need strap locks on your guitars

Guitars can and do fall. Strap locks will prevent this. I was at a band practice once and the other guitar player let go of his guitar for 5 seconds to get a drink from his water bottle and boom. His guitar fell and the neck cracked in half. Guitar straps would have prevented this because they do not come undone.  Strap locks will make you feel more secure that your guitar won’t fall every time you let go of it.

If you are in a situation where other people tend to use your instrument, you may find strap locks very helpful. Some people may be clumsier than you. Do you trust your guitar in the hands of someone else? Strap locks give you that extra security to prevent someone else from dropping your guitar. The couple extra dollars to upgrade to strap locks will pay for itself in the end.

If you are someone who tends to swing their instrument around a lot or bounce around while you are playing strap locks is mandatory. Jumping, bouncing, running and swinging will cause enough pressure on your instrument that it will fall off. Strap locks will prevent this. Some people who are really into entertaining tend can have more ability to show off with strap locks on their instrument. You can feel comfortable knowing that if your guitar has strap locks you won’t drop it and break it.

Strap locks are a necessary thing to create safety for your instrument. There are too many ways a guitar could drop. Having strap locks on your guitar will surely prevent dropping of your instrument. They are only a couple bucks to buy and easy to install. They will pay off for themselves in the long run. If you do not buy them you may need to buy a new guitar instead. I think most people agree that they would prefer to have a safe guitar with strap locks on them instead of risking your guitar. Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comment box below.

4 tips to buying a guitar for the future gear head

You are new to guitar and you are searching for the best guitar for you. What guitar could possibly make the journey of learning guitar easier and more pleasant? Sure you could just buy the guitar that some sales person tries to persuade you to buy, but being aware of what you want in a guitar will make you happier with your guitar choice later on in life. So what are these 4 tips to making the right decision when you are buying a guitar?

  1.  Pick a guitar with a good size body.

Many people automatically want to buy an acoustic guitar because that’s what their friends play. There are different kinds of acoustic guitar bodies. Some are big and some are small. Some around round and some are box-shaped. You may want an electric guitar. Some electric guitars are much heavier than others. Write down what kind of guitar body you want. Your options are big or small, heavy or light weight, box-shaped or round. Now when you talk to the sales person they might have a better idea of how to help you.

2.   Pick the right size guitar neck. 

As with guitar bodies, some guitar necks are wider than others. Some guitar necks have a flat fret board while others have a slightly round fret board. If you have smaller hands you may find a guitar with a smaller neck feels better. Also women may find electric guitars easier to hold because they are typically smaller and require less strength to play the note.

3.   Pick the guitar with a sound that you like. 

This may require some listening on your part before you go buying a guitar. Listen to a guitar player you like and see if they have a dark sound of a bright sound. This isn’t controlled completely by the guitar, but you can pick options that will help you get the guitar sound you want. If you like the darker sound you may wish to pick a guitar with hum buckers. If you like the brighter sound you may wish to buy a guitar with single coil pick-ups. I am not going to explain the difference between the 2 types of pick-ups in this post, but I will in later posts. If you can’t tell how dark of a sound the player you want to sound like has, find the style of music you like. For example, country guitar typically has a brighter guitar sound than jazz.

4.   Brand names are not necessary for your first guitar.

When you are buying your first guitar you do not need to spend the extra money to buy a brand name guitar. Once you progress in your playing you will notice a need for a better guitar and by that point you will know exactly what you want in a guitar with more detail than you get from this post. Many good guitar companies own cheap companies that sell beginner guitars. For example Gibson owns Epiphone, so instead of spending the extra couple hundred dollars for a Gibson, buy a cheaper Epiphone.  Off brands are perfectly fine to start learning on.

Now that you are well on your way to being a fully certified gear head, you can go out looking for your first guitar and know what to look for. With this information you can tell the sales person what you want and they can assist you in finding the product that fits your description the best. Remember, this is about buying a guitar to fits your needs for learning the guitar. Later on you can go buy a better guitar. Share your thoughts below.