Trivial/Commom/Generic DIY Guitar Repairs

Ernesto

Does not have the same opinion!
#1
Thought it´would be a good idea to make a thread about little guitar repairs for those that want to do this themselves. To most experienced guitarists that have gigged with guitars this is trivial of course, but nonetheless it might be useful for those that don't have that experience yet.

I would invite anyone to post such little repairs they think of to share the knowledge.

I'll start with something that every gigging musician comes across every once in a while... a loose screw, nono, not that kind of screw, but the screw of the guitar strap locks. With gigging comes extra strain on the screws or the buttons, and the screw eats it's way out of the wood, to a point where the button's just not reliably fastened into the wood of the body anymore. This should be repaired as soon as possible to avoid mishaps and to avoid damage to the finish of the guitar caused by a moving screw.

Modus operandi:
- unscrew the loose screw,
- clean the screwhole and hardware, remove wooddust from the felt spacer,
- insert a hardwood toothpick into the screwhole and mark the depth,
- cut the toothpick so that the end is 1 mm short to flush to the body when fully inserted,
- dip the piece of toothpick into woodglue (franklin titebond is a classic for guitar woodwork, but any tough hardening classic white woodglue will do, don't use any other glue than woodglue, because it might screw up the whole thing, and it may not reduce while drying and stay sticky or ruin the finish on the guitar),
- insert the toothpick dipped in woodglue into the screwhole, apply some force using the cut of unused end of the toothpick, don't spill glue over the guitar finish, immediately wipe off any excess glue,
- let it dry out for more than a day, two days is better,
- drill a new hole on the exact location of the former, using a drill that's a little smaller in diameter than the screw, and drill the hole a little shallow, so the screw will stay fixed,
- screw in the strap button, don't forget the felt spacer, tighten but don't overtighten.

:D
 

DrKarnivore

Browsing your web and SMS history
Staff member
#3
I think all my gigging guitars had loose straps issues, apart from one fix of gaffa taping the strap to the body (yes, I am an infidel and an enemy of the guitar).

It`s a problem for sure. In an emergency I have just thrown the matchstick in the screw hole, it does the job for an ad hoc fix.
 

flvinny521

Well-Known Member
#6
How about another thread with simple explanations (or links to videos) regarding setup guides for different types of guitars?
 

Voodoorider

Can spot a twat a mile away.
#7
Another thing i like to think people will always bare in mind is removing and rescrewing.. be it a neck plate screw, truss rod cover screw or whatever..

When a screw is first cut into wood, it cut's it's own thread into the wood, the first time a screw is screwed in is probably when it's ever at it's strongest, every time you remove and replace, you bore the hole out differently or chip away some of the original threads the screw made, meaning it's looser in the hole and therefore weaker..

However.. there is a way to keep the damage you do very minimal! Every time you remove a screw, rather than just whacking it back in the hole and screwing it in.. use the same screw back in the same hole. And when you put the screw back in, very gently lower the tip of the screw into the hole until it stops! Now.. slowly UNWIND the screw (yup, as if you're taking it out) until it gently plonks itself in a little further! This basically means it's seated itself at the start of the thread that corresponds to the thread of the screw! Once it's done that, applying very little pressure, just use your fingers to screw a couple of turns and the screw should be sitting back in it's original thread, following damn near the same as the first time!

This will help save your screw holes turning to sawdust and needing the toothpick/match treatment Ernesto mentioned above :)
 

Ernesto

Does not have the same opinion!
#8
@ flvinny: setup of guitars is very personal. From the massive number of posts on the forum concerning setup (e.g. "I changed from 9's to 10's, do I have to adjust the trussrod" or "I have stringbuzz" etc...), I can see that the problem would not be solved by showing how to set up a guitar, i.e. all the posters have seen the youtube videos on that many times but still have problems, but it's the lack of reference point, i.e. there is a lot of insecurity about what a well setup guitar looks like.
Setup is very personal, there are a lot of factors, especially with tremolo guitars, and especially with floating or locking tremolos, where the geometry of the tremolo depends on the entire geometry of the guitar, and not on the bridge itself.

So I thought I'd just take a few pics of my simplest guitar, my yamaha pacifica tele, to show the setup on it. It's a rock setup, the guitar is a double humbucker single cut big body long (normal classical) scale guitar, 15.75" fretboard radius, pickups and electronics upgraded (SD hot rails for tele, jazz humbucker, CTS 500k pots, schaller megaswitch, switchcraft jack). It's a cheap guitar, I got it about 14 years ago for less than 200 EUR new, and the upgrades were about 150 EUR. The fact that it's a cheap guitar is clear when you look at the fretboard edges and fret ends, not nicely manicured :D
But still this is one of my favorite guitars that has been gigged extensively and bares the scars thereof :D

I will post the pics in the posts to follow this one.
 

Ernesto

Does not have the same opinion!
#9
One of the first things that I thought of is the fact that most beginners on the forum ask questions to reduce the action on the strings, and then complain about string buzz or dead notes.

Thought I'd show you all the action on my guitar, from all sides, and the neck curvature. I know a lot of players like their necks straighter, but I like this setting, because it gives the guitar a little more voice and gives the strings a lot of free movement all over the neck, while still having a low action.

[attachment=1]<!-- ia1 -->Guitar setup 1.jpg<!-- ia1 -->[/attachment]
[attachment=0]<!-- ia0 -->Guitar setup 2.jpg<!-- ia0 -->[/attachment]

...
 

Ernesto

Does not have the same opinion!
#10
A well set up guitar with a straight fender type neck and standard non-staggered tuning posts is very easy to check in a glance, because of the optical illusion that is created in your brain when all factors are in balance, i.e.: the neck is not twisted, the height of the strings is perfect for the string movement and the fretboard radius/pickup magnet position, the action is set to allow free movement of the strings, the nut is cut right.
If everything is balanced, when you look up from the bridge to the nut, it will seem as if the fretboard is completely flat, although clearly it is not. Reason is that the bass strings/saddles are higher, which is normal because they need more free space to move, which shows at the bridge, and on the side of the head, the bass strings are cut deeper into the nut and the tuning posts for the treble strings seem higher than those for the bass strings (hence the need for string trees unless staggered posts are used). All of these factors together are processed by your brain, which concludes that the fretboard itself must be flat, not radiused.
[attachment=0]<!-- ia0 -->Guitar setup 3.jpg<!-- ia0 -->[/attachment]
 

Ernesto

Does not have the same opinion!
#11
Of course now you know it, you'll have to clear your mind again to see the optical illusion, but that's just how it works with those things, also, don't think you'll see the optical illusion on a 7.25" radius fretboard, cause you won't, because the radius is too small.

As far as pickup height is concerned, there are a lot of factors involved. Smaller distance between pickup and strings makes for a more punchy, direct, full range sound with a lot of harmonic content, and will also amplify string noises, so you have to play cleaner. Larger distance between pickup and string means more mid, less bass and treble, less dynamics and punch, less volume, but also less string noises. Pickups with individual under-string polepieces, can influence the free oscillation of the strings (what's called string pull), which does two things, first of all reduce sustain, and second of all induce a false node in the string oscillation, which causes false harmonics that cancel out good stuff and has other negative effects on the tone, so that's to be avoided. Blade magnet polepieces like the hot rails for tele don't have that, because there is no one point of magnetic pull, but it's even all over. That's also why the polepiece is curved so the string distance for all strings can be the same. That's why the hot rails bridge pickup is close to the strings, and the radius by which the string saddle height is set is set to the same radius as the polepiece curve.
The neck pickup has separate under-string polepieces and thus can cause stratitis (the short name for all of the above), so it has to be further away from the strings. It's immediately a lot further down than the bridge pickup, because string distance has to be appreciated with the strings fretted at the high frets, and the volume of neck pickups is normally higher because it picks up an oscillation with a greater amplitude than the bridge pickup.
[attachment=2]<!-- ia2 -->Guitar setup 4.jpg<!-- ia2 -->[/attachment]
[attachment=1]<!-- ia1 -->Guitar setup 5.jpg<!-- ia1 -->[/attachment]
[attachment=0]<!-- ia0 -->Guitar setup 6.jpg<!-- ia0 -->[/attachment]
 

Ernesto

Does not have the same opinion!
#12
In the pictures, it's clearly shown that the treble strings are very close to the fretboard, while the bass strings are further away from it. Also I like my low E string just a quarter of a millimeter higher than the normal curve, so I can grab it more easily with the plectrum when playing rhythm patterns. It also sounds extra full because of that.

The bridge pickup is closest to the strings on the treble side, and the neck pickup is closest to the (fretted) strings at the bass side.

I hope it means something to someone... :D
 

flvinny521

Well-Known Member
#13
Those are great to have as a reference. I always question myself when checking neck relief because it is very hard for me to tell what the neck is ideally supposed to look like. I have avoided truss rod adjustments that were probably needed because I couldn't tell what was going on.
 
#14
Hi guys!

Just wondering,
I have a music man axis with one volume and a three way selector

I'd love to have a coil tap but I'm wondering if you can put one on a volume pot

Sorry if its a bit of a n00b question but ive always wondered :)

Cheers,

Skuz
 

britishsligean

serial 1000000 coment thread poster
#15
LordSkuzworth said:
Hi guys!

Just wondering,
I have a music man axis with one volume and a three way selector

I'd love to have a coil tap but I'm wondering if you can put one on a volume pot

Sorry if its a bit of a n00b question but ive always wondered :)

Cheers,

Skuz
you should be able to the gibson 1997 jimmy page signature had 4 coil taps, and the gibson les paul studio has a varient with coil tap on the volume
 

Adji

Not Enough Prog
#16
LordSkuzworth said:
Hi guys!

Just wondering,
I have a music man axis with one volume and a three way selector

I'd love to have a coil tap but I'm wondering if you can put one on a volume pot

Sorry if its a bit of a n00b question but ive always wondered :)

Cheers,

Skuz
Yeah you can. My tech gave me the option of putting it on the volume or tone control and I chose the tone control, but its definitely possible.
 

Ernesto

Does not have the same opinion!
#17
@Skuz: you can get a push-pull or push-push volume pot, the difference between volume and tone pots is that they are either lin or log pots, in order to parallel-serial switch both of the humbuckers, you'll need the switch part of the push-pull pot to be able to handle two separate switchings.
A coil tap is basically something else though, it's what the name says, an intermediate coil tap that only outputs the induction of a part of a coil instead of the full coil. Humbuckers normally have 4 wires, which are basically the untapped in- and output leads of each coil. A coiltap in strictu senso is not involved, what you do to get low output quacky sounds (many manufacturers mistakingly represent that this is "single coil mode", but it is not), is wire both coils in parallel, whilst normally a humbucker has both coils wired in series. You could only use one coil, but that would reduce the output so dramatically that the difference in output with humbucker mode would render the guitar unpractical, and it would cause a lot of hum.
I would suggest using a Schaller Megaswitch though: it has several modes of operation for two humbuckers in a five-way standard switch scheme, and it's easy to install. Thing with having a push-pull volume on a guitar is that it is really a drag, it bothers the playing to have the thick moving volume knob, I think you would regret it. :D
 

Stuahnoir

Well-Known Member
#18
Another thing i like to think people will always bare in mind is removing and rescrewing.. be it a neck plate screw, truss rod cover screw or whatever..

When a screw is first cut into wood, it cut's it's own thread into the wood, the first time a screw is screwed in is probably when it's ever at it's strongest, every time you remove and replace, you bore the hole out differently or chip away some of the original threads the screw made, meaning it's looser in the hole and therefore weaker..

However.. there is a way to keep the damage you do very minimal! Every time you remove a screw, rather than just whacking it back in the hole and screwing it in.. use the same screw back in the same hole. And when you put the screw back in, very gently lower the tip of the screw into the hole until it stops! Now.. slowly UNWIND the screw (yup, as if you're taking it out) until it gently plonks itself in a little further! This basically means it's seated itself at the start of the thread that corresponds to the thread of the screw! Once it's done that, applying very little pressure, just use your fingers to screw a couple of turns and the screw should be sitting back in it's original thread, following damn near the same as the first time!

This will help save your screw holes turning to sawdust and needing the toothpick/match treatment Ernesto mentioned above :)
A good idea before putting the screw back in is to put a little bit of wax on the tip just to ease the screw back in and further prevent thread damage.
 
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