‘Falling Slowly’ became my obsession when I was in Ireland on holiday last year. I didn’t really have access to a guitar initially, so it just kept haunting me with its beautiful and delicate intro circling around my head while I was cruising the gorgeous countryside of Ireland. I totally recommend the movie and the […]
SO when and why should you take your guitar for a bit of a check up?
Over time general wear and tear, vigorous playing, temperature and humidity can all affect the playability of your guitar. The action and the intonation are crucial contributing factors, and you can set these yourself, but if you don’t have the necessary experience it’s probably best to take your guitar to your local luthier. Because your guitar is a living, breathing, and evolving organism then change will be inevitable but just how can you tell if your guitar needs a little medicine?
Well, the key signs to look for are string buzz, general playability difficulties, tuning anomalies up and down the neck, and action problems. Although fret buzz can also be caused by significant problems, in many cases, simple adjustments like raising string action can make these problems go away
When it comes the the action, ideally your strings/action should be set at a height that allows you to fret easily and comfortably at any position on the neck but without ANY buzzing. Buzzing can be caused by a combination of factors such as the saddle heights, uneven and heavily frets, the setting of the guitars nut, the string action and the situation of the neck. You should not be struggling hard to fret or voice chords up and down the neck. If you are finding that chords become progressively more difficult to voice the further up the neck you play then your action may need a little tweaking.
If the neck has become bowed then the truss rod will need adjusting (do not do this yourself). The truss rod is an adjustable metal rod that runs down the center of the neck. Problems with cheap guitar nuts or poor quality bridges and saddles can ruin your playing experience too.
Uneven frets can contribute to buzzing and your expert luthier will be able to locate any inconsistencies and redress them through grinding, replacing or adjusting your frets.
As a guitarist it’s very important to develop a healthy and positive relationship with your local guitar specialist. Take the time to find out which luthiers in your area have a solid reputation for quality and excellence. Preferably your luthier should have a long history of building and repairing instruments. Take your guitar and ask them to have a look at the current set up and show you how and where any adjustments can be made.
Choose your luthier wisely because your luthier can contribute so much to the quality of your guitar playing experience. It`s highly worthwhile cultivating a healthy and positive relationship with them.
In New Zealand`s north island Simcha Delft is one of the most highly respected luthiers and Steven String in the South Island.
When it comes to hooking up your jam or practice room with inspiration art is a great way to go. We`ve already had a look at Paul Babyak and today its the turn of Paul Chase.
Paul Chase is an internationally known artist, author, innovator, visionary and guitarist. He is the founder and CEO of Graphicguitars Inc., fine art guitar paintings, prints and posters. He received a Bachelors degree in Art and a Masters in Communications. He has taught art in high schools, vocational/technical school, and at the college level for over 30 years. Paul is a distant relative of the “other” famous American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (and they are both developed their art “roots” in hometown Sun Prairie, WI) and his large close up guitar images reflect her large close up flower series. Pauls art is available for purchase online here at Rock N Roll Vintage.
For those out there using a 12 string guitar and having problems getting it in tune… I am having problems tuning my 12-string guitar. How do I do it? Answer. Even though it may look like a big challenge, ‘standard’ tuning a 12-string guitar is actually quite easy. For the bottom four strings (four thickest) […]
When you first begin learning any instrument it is important to develop a clear picture of what you want to sound like. In other words, having an idea in your head of what style you want to be playing. You can save yourself a lot of time if your playing has a clearly focused goal. […]
One of the most important things you’ll ever do in your music career is buy a guitar. We are often asked to give people advice about how to find a good guitar. The fact is that there is a LOT that goes into buying a guitar, way too much to put in one Newsletter, but […]
After last weeks biscuit tin bandolero post today`s magnificent homewares based gutar art comes courtesy of the fine, fine craftsmen at Daddy Mojo!After last weeks biscuit tin bandolero post today`s magnificent homewares based guitar art comes courtesy of the fine, fine craftsmen at Daddy Mojo!
If you have a penchant for the ostentatious and chocolatey flavours of the Republic of Cuba’s most famous export, hand rolled upon the thighs of young Cuban virgins as it is then light up another top ranking stogie because when you’ve finished that box the fellas at Mojo Daddy can turn it into a world of acoustic worhty of any bluesgrass, cotton-pickin’, square dancin’, chicken pickin` jamboree!
Which is the right way to learn?
With the explosion of the internet and the vast cornucopia of you tube videos, tablature sites and other resources available online it’s easy to forget that one of the key skills for any musician is the ability to listen. Before the internet came along most of us learnt from records – through attempts to emulate or approximate the playing of artists we enjoyed listening to.Not from the internet but through learning songs from records a nd playing along with them.
Eric Clapton has consistently reiterated that he listened and learnt his trade from artists such as Freddie, B.B. and Albert King for example. He didn’t use tabs – he learned by listening. Nuances come across in listening: listening cannot be written down; and while tablature can be a fast shortcut to playing a piece of music there is an invaluable experiential quality to be gained from using your ears.
Because listening is exactly what you`ll be doing when you’re playing along with a group or in the studio it’s a very highly valuable exercise for any guitarist. The particular qualities of any high calibre guitarist cannot be expressed in tablature form. What makes a guitarist exceptional is the combination of technique, timing, phrasing and tonal quality that they bring to their playing – facets that your ear alone can pick up.
It takes a long time but its worth taking the time to train your ear through replicating the sounds that you hear on records. To begin with you`ll struggle and find it difficult, but over time the process will become easier.
Being an imitator is the first step along the road to becoming a creator but there are ways of imitation. Looking up the tab on the internet is the fast easy way, but if you really want to develop then use your ears as well. Remember though the sound you`re really looking to find is the sound of yourself.
Boss have put together a basic interactive online pedal board that can help you configure and chain together some effects and sounds. If you are new to pedals then this is a great place to start.
It’s no substitute fro heading down to your nearest guitar dealer and playing Stairway to Heaven for four hours but it might help get you in the mood.
The sims custom shop are one of the grooviest custom shops around – I`m sure they’ve customised one of Jeff Beck’s strats with a funky camourflage finish. If you would like an LED system built into your guitar, some lazers, a custom scratchplate or a complete guitar finish overhaul SIMS custom guitar finishes can do […]