There are many ways to destroy a guitar on stage, and there are even more ways to take care of your guitar off the stage. There is the obvious way of keeping it in the case so it doesn’t get beat up, and then there are other ways like whipping the strings and fretboard when you are finished playing to preserve string life. This article will teach you a few little tricks to keep things working without taking your guitar to the shop to be fixed.
The easiest way to keep string replacement at a minimum is to wipe them down after each use. If you are normal, your fingers get oily after not washing them for a few hours. When you play guitar, this oil gets on your strings and can corrode them. Wiping this off after you play will ensure that your strings aren’t rusting while you’re not playing. You can even buy products like "fast fret," which is a protective oil that keeps air off of your strings to prevent corrosion. "Fast Fret" also oils the strings to help you play easier and slide faster. You can also buy coated strings that have a thin layer of plastic over them to protect the strings from your fingers. Although expensive, coated strings last considerably longer than regular uncoated strings.
Bridge and Nut vs. String Gage
The nut of your guitar can dry out, and if you are using a large string gage, they may get stuck when you’re re-tuning. If this is a problem, you may want to try dipping your finger in cooking oil and rubbing it across the top of the nut. This will ensure that the strings are free to move through the nut when re-tuning.
If your bridge has a whammy bar and you are using a string gage higher than the original, you may encounter problems. In response to the strings pulling at the bridge, there are springs in the body of the guitar that help keep the bridge where it should be, flush with the body. As the string gage increases, tension on the bridge increases as well. If the tension of the strings is greater than the tension of the tremolo springs, then the back of the bridge will rise off the body without the tremolo bar being pushed. If this is the case you will need to open the back of your guitar and tighten down the string bracket OR switch to a smaller gage. This is a common problem with new string gages.
The first electronic piece to wear out on your guitar is the input jack or the pickup selector. If you can wiggle your cable and make the signal cut out, you have a bad connection on the jack. Often, it is because the tip connector is not putting enough force on the cable to make a secure connection. This is easily fixed by taking out the input jack and bending the tip connector slightly toward the hole in the jack. Just 1/16th of an inch may be enough, so keep your muscles under control. If this doesn’t work, you may have to solder the connection again, or take it to the shop if someone you know isn’t comfortable with electronics.